Top 10 Most Terrifying High-Rises!

What the hell is about towering skyscrapers and sinister high-rises that serve as a perfect setting for a terrifying movie action? Is it the mere size of a gargantuan facade? The inability to escape such a self-contained unit? Is it the sheer acrophobia of it all? Well, whatever you attribute it to, Ben Wheatley's new film HIGH-RISE certainly doesn't disappoint in this regard. Which is why, as the film opens wider next Friday (May 13th), we started racking the old melon for similar types of titular movie buildings. That is, what are some of the most mortifying movie high-rises ever erected?

So, from mega-franchise action blockbusters to indie foreign horror, we got this territory canvased. Think you got what it takes to handle the heights? Good, climb all the way up and peep our Top 10 Most Terrifying High-Rises!

#1. METROPOLIS (1927)

Staunch Arrow in the Headers already know we tend to show great deference to the OG, and in that respect, major props go out to the master Fritz Lang and his 90 year old masterpiece, METROPOLIS. Seriously, without this gaudily Gothic architecture, who knows how many of the other films on this list would even exist. Perhaps slim to nil. Such a true trailblazing visionary was Lang that his sturdy structural designs have remained upright for almost a goddamn century. And they're still terrifying!

#2. BLADE RUNNER (1982)

Oh shite, it's the ultra-evil and equally powerful Tyrell Corporation. You know, the futuristic company responsible for the quartet of Nexus-6 replicants in Ridley Scott's BLADE RUNNER. Yup, that one! And scope those headquarters protruding from the smoggy skyline...a retro-futuristic Mayan ruin or Aztec Temple like facade decorated in a multitude of lights. Odd indeed! But never mind the exterior, what about the shady back-deals and nefarious plots hatched on the inside...the cold blue light, the ceiling fans, the noir-ish Venetian blinds, etc. The place is insane!

#3. DIE HARD (1988)

Yeah boyyy, I can already hear Christmas in Hollis in my head, the unofficial anthem of sir John McClane as he strolls up to the ill-fated monstrosity that is the Nakatomi Plaza. Ah, the memories! Of course, we'd be remiss not to mention the contributions of the late great Alan Rickman to the arch-enemy Hans Gruber, who gave as towering a performance as the Plaza itself. Speaking of, the Nakatomi is none other than the Fox Plaza, built only a year before in 1987, and still located in Century City. Wow, how could such a newborn edifice leave an ungodly wake of bloody corpses?!

#4. THE SENTINEL (1977)

Okay, so more of a baleful brownstone than an outright horrifying high-rise, but come, too many odious happenings occurred in THE SENTINEL to omit this one from the directory. Mix a little ROSEMARY'S BABY with a dash of AMITYVILLE and you get the f*cked up lovechild that is THE SENTINEL. The eerie building in question serves as a hellish portal of sorts, manifested by the menacing menagerie of neighbors poor Christina Raines is subjected to. Shite gets weird, really weird. We all know real estate is a tenuous lover at best, but good goddamn, this one pernicious piece of property.


Leave it to the great Joe Dante to excoriate the corporate world of media in THE NEW BATCH, the follow up to his gross-out family-pop horror joint GREMLINS. I love this movie! Really, what's not to adore about an entire staff of stuck-up yuppie pencil pushers getting gruesomely waylaid by a ravenous pack of winged mutants? Too damn good! Even better when you consider how the name of the building in the film is Clamp Tower, no doubt a snide jab at Trump Tower, the ultimate paragon of 80s excess.

#6. DEMONS 2 (1986)

Dude, DEMONS 2...what else need be said? Dario Argento on the keys, Mario Bava's son Lamberto behind the camera, a match made in horror lover's hell! You know the high-concept gist...a putrescent swarm of titular ghouls run absolute roughshod over a 10-storey high-rise. Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide...just an ever decreasing amount of untainted human blood! By the end, only a few are left uninfected, while the rest of the building's inhabitants morph into feverish flesh-melting fiends. Oh, and Asia Argento...who's responsible for many of high-rise in my shorts over the years, makes her movie debut!


I'm almost embarrassed by how many times I've seen POLTERGEIST III. Really. It seemed to play on an endless HBO loop back in the late-80s-early-90s, so much so that I've been unable all these years later to efface the image of little Carol Anne getting sucked into a parking lot puddle like Big John Depp in Elm Street. Shite's gnarly. The possessed high-rise in the film undoubtedly plays a major role in the film, as its the setting that serves as a conduit of pure evil.

#8. HIGH-RISE (2016)

Give it a little more time and you're sure to see HIGH-RISE ascend to the upper-floors of the most sinister skyscrapers of all. It's that sturdy! Highlighting a class divide that somewhat harks back to what Fritz Lang was doing in METROPOLIS, HIGH-RISE is a trippy and violent misconception of what the haves and have-nots would like look if forced to live together. It's a place with no law, no rule, no legal or moral compass, which breeds all kinds of depravity. Be sure to keep close for our review of the flick next week before checking out the film in theaters May 13th.

#9. ROBOCOP (1987)

It just sounds malevolent doesn't it...Omni Consumer Products, or OmniCorp...the plutocratic corporation embedded at the heart of ROBOCOP? Sure does to us. After-all, it's the very company that gentrified Detroit for the upscale Delta City in return of an authoritarian police force. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and that's exactly the case with Omni Corps and its equally prominent exterior. Truth be told, the actual location used was none other than the Dallas City Hall building, albeit redesigned quite a bit.

#10. ATTACK THE BLOCK (2011)

We're favoring the little guy to kick things off here, as we genuinely enjoyed the indie-British monster movie ATTACK THE BLOCK from a few years ago. If you have yet to peep it, please do so, you're sure to be entertained throughout. See, a passel of young thuggish punks have a lot more than the streets to worry about when their tower-block tenement is suddenly infested by a legion of neon-mouthed, bearlike aliens down to eat everything in sight. Good characters, tense action, a few laughs and a hell of motherf*cking location!
Tags: Hollywood

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