To go in tandem with NBC'S star studded horror anthology FEAR ITSELF gearing up for another season on June 5, 2008 (yup, today), I decided to write a TOP 10 LIST of the films that prompted the most FEAR within me throughout my courtship with horror. Now let me clarify: this is NOT about the best or even the scariest of all time, but about the 10 films that scared ME!

I'm not arrogant enough to think that what frightened me also got to you. But who knows you might relate to a couple of them. So here they are, the 10 Films that put the fear of Zeus into me throughout my evolution within that wonderful genre we all love - horror.


Lets get scared!

What makes THE ENTITY so effective and terrifying is that its grounded in reality. Carla is an ordinary woman, living in an ordinary house, living an ordinary life. Within that mundane setting, a slew of shocking attacks and rapes from an invisible ghost (that some reviewers thought exploitiveI didnt) arise and nope theyre not pleasant to witness. The violence is very real here and the aggressive score that plays when the ugly happens make the scenes even more visceral. Rape alone is scary; rape by an unseen assailant that seemly cannot be stopped - now that's bone chilling! I had trouble sleeping after watching this one, view it in the day!

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What sets THE EVIL DEAD apart from other gore fests on the block is the way director Sam Raimi approached it. The directing in this film was outstanding: kinetic, energetic, relentless, tension driven and even artistic. Whoever said that good directing is when you don't notice it, is full of shite. The film was filled with shocking scenes and was rarely polite enough to hold back. A woman gets raped by trees (f**ked up), people get hacked to pieces, hands get chewed offyou name it, it's here and it had me wet my pants. The Evil Dead was actually the first horror flick I ever saw, and I watched it in a cabin in the woods at that i.e. it marked me.

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POLTERGEIST is probably the best ghost movie I have ever seen. The movie has everything going for it, starting with its characters. The Freeling family felt like a real one. The chemistry between all those who composed the unit was astounding. I swear to god I really believed Craig T. Nelson was married to JoBeth WilliamsdamnI still do! Since the setting felt so ordinary and the heroes were so likeable, it made the grisly events that transpired even more horrifying. The film took harmless childhood fears and turned them against us with no apologies. Be it the closet, the creepy toy clown, the loud storm outside or the spooky tree out the window. Every time you think the film cant go any further in scaring the crap out of youit does.

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If you thought the 70s were all about "peace n love"you were dead wrong. Because of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE I will never look at a chainsaw the same way. The performances here really made this movie happen for me, they were so honest and true, it really didn't seem like anybody was acting. The film had a seamless pace and doubled downed on foreboding to then deliver full blast suspense and SHOCKING bits. Moreover, the mood here was one of DECAY and DEATH - always fun stuff! It got under my skin. And wait till you see the extended stalk set piece that didn't let me come up for air and the brutal happenings that had me squinting my eyes like a bitch. A mean and stressful movie to watch!

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Much like half the population of planet Earth, I was scared silly to step into the water after my first viewing of Spielbergs classic JAWS. Shit, I was even afraid to take a bath and had to stick to showers for a couple of years. Spielberg's restraint, axis towards tension versus obviousness and the leeway he gave us to let our minds gap what was missing (which is usually scarier than any shown prop), made it all come together. "Jaws" is still a very scary movie today. Why? Because weve all been swimming at one time or another and weve all been put in that vulnerable situation on some level. Spielberg was smart enough to use that universal fear against us.. Load up the boat, let's go fishing!

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Robert Wise's THE HAUNTING was mucho innovative for its time in the sense that it relied entirely on suggestion when it came to its ghostly shenanigans and delivering its potent scares. I'm talking doors that shut by themselves and bumps that go LOUD in the night. I personally will never forget the "ghost running up the hallway" scene - the footsteps get louder and louder - we don't see the ghost (its all sound) - hence closer and closer to our heroes...creeepyyyy! The Haunting worked caused it used bleak atmosphere, clever sound design and the simplest of things to frighten us. I'll take a creaking door over a CGI ghost blob any day!

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For a film shot in 1973, THE EXORCIST didn't pull any punches. Watching this flick was like going a few rounds with Satan himself. It hits you from all sides until it knocks you the hell out.
This film worked so well because it was character driven. You get to know these people, you get to care about them and then you get pulled into hell when all the crazy stuff happens. The actors on hand were dead on and the fact that the special effects were flawless made the gruesome happenings hit even harder. The religious aura of the picture also contributed in goosing my bumps. I was raised Catholic and always thought a dead dude on a cross resting on my bedroom wall was creepy. Here it went much further than that. Unsettling!

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NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET wears its title well since watching it is like witnessing a down and dirty nightmare captured on film. Its dark, weird, unpredictable and very out there. We get many disturbing images (the long armed Freddy scene or the running lamb did it for me), creepy settings, a few gore shows, some nice surprises (Freddy phone tongue) and a messed up ending. Freddy Krueger was responsible for many of my own nightmares when I was younger due to this flick. He was the embodiment of "fear" and "perverseness" and even though the later entries in the franchise turned him into a clown, I will always have a soft spot and a brrr factor for the original.

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THE THING owned on all counts with the first notch on its belt being the involving setting in which its mad tale took place. The desolate, icy and snowy surroundings wondrously amplified the films overall bleak and claustrophobic tone. I could really feel the aura of isolation while watching this movie and that helped me sympathize with the characters and their predicament on a deeper level. Scare-wise, if it wasnt the constant sense of imminent doom crawling snuggly under my skin, it was the surprise beast attack that got to me. I was bouncing off my couch like a tweaked up grass hopper. FUN STUFF! A moody, oppressive and at times downright terrifying flick.

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THE OMEN's airtight and well developed screenplay was its first strength. It's said that when the film was initially released, it sent moviegoers back to the Bible and the Book of Revelations to double check on the passages quoted in the film. After watching it recently, I didnt go back to the Bible (I went for a Hustler instead) but I had bought what I heard, signed, sealed and Zip-locked. Moreover, Goldsmith's chilling Gregorian chants score, his army of spooky whispers and odd sounds backed the film up like Murtaugh had Riggs' back!

So many scenes were shot through the roof of this creepy mansion by Williams score alone. INCREDIBLE! Finally Richard Donner aced this one by tackling the human drama credibly, addressing the supernatural/religious themes in a dead serious manner, kicking my ass via the inspired kills and injecting his fear scenarios (now all classic scenes, gotta love them Rottweilers) with thick suspense and a powerful style. A must see!

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