Movies that are . . . actually scary?

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I love the horror genre. I try to avoid movies with a lot of jump scares. Jump scares can be fun, make you jump in your seat, but every time I see one I think, here's a jump scare because the movie really isn't that scary.

Once I filter out the jumpscares, what remains is, naturally, a mixed bag and the quality is all over the map. But rarely, if ever, do even the better offerings really frighten me. And I want to be frightened. Shook. Walk out of the theatre in a fog. Changed, if even for a day or two.

The Exorcist scared me. The Watcher in the Woods scared the shit out of me when I was eight (I recently rescreened it and idgi).

Some psychological thrillers got in my bones. Jacobs Ladder. Even Pi, to a degree.

I watched Don't Look Now, which I've seen ranked by many as 'the 2nd scariest movie next to The Exorcist'. Unfortunately, it didn't get me (or I didn't get it). Rosemary's Baby is fun, and funny, but not scary.

I am a film noob. Please recommend movies that really scared you. Not because there's a killer on the other side of the door...

Fuck, I guess I'm just looking for good Psychological Thrillers, because that's what works for me. Something that suggest that reality, as you know it, might differ to a small or large degree from what you've become comfortable with.

Lol, I have failed to pinpoint what I'm seeking. The Exorcist and The The Birds relied on rather cheap conceits, but worked. Maybe because Friedkin, Hitchcock.

TL; DR, what are some scary movies that are actually scary?

Thicc Nhat Wanh (rip van wanko), Friday, 7 August 2020 01:52 (one year ago) link


emil.y, Friday, 7 August 2020 02:03 (one year ago) link

The end of Annihilation got me

Thicc Nhat Wanh (rip van wanko), Friday, 7 August 2020 02:08 (one year ago) link

The Matrix succeeds as a horror film, because the idea that reality is computer generated is horrifying.

But the menace could have been something far more compelling than white guys in sunglasses who can fight really well

Thicc Nhat Wanh (rip van wanko), Friday, 7 August 2020 02:11 (one year ago) link

This turns out to be a more difficult question for me than I would have expected, as it turns out my criteria for evaluating the quality of a movie, horror or otherwise, has little to do with how "scary" it is.

That said, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (the original, of course) is relentless and disorienting in a way that more closely resembles an actual nightmare than any other film I've seen (the possible exception being Martin Scorsese's After Hours, but that's different).

A White, White Gay (cryptosicko), Friday, 7 August 2020 02:17 (one year ago) link

I’d recommend the original “REC.” Don’t want to say too much about it

calstars, Friday, 7 August 2020 02:21 (one year ago) link

rec is great

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 7 August 2020 02:25 (one year ago) link

These are my favorite scary movies that actually scared me.

The Descent (UK version)
The Babadook
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The Orphanage
Inland Empire
Night of the Living Dead

Cow_Art, Friday, 7 August 2020 02:53 (one year ago) link

Jacob’s Ladder
The Ring (japan)

sound of scampo talk to me (El Tomboto), Friday, 7 August 2020 02:56 (one year ago) link

Loved Hereditary, and was mildly spooked. Ringu was scary!

Thicc Nhat Wanh (rip van wanko), Friday, 7 August 2020 03:27 (one year ago) link

And Lynch is a master

Thicc Nhat Wanh (rip van wanko), Friday, 7 August 2020 03:29 (one year ago) link

^^ whatever jjusten says is scary in those threads probably is

sleeve, Friday, 7 August 2020 03:32 (one year ago) link


Thicc Nhat Wanh (rip van wanko), Friday, 7 August 2020 03:35 (one year ago) link

Just because I recently watched this:

US (2019) dir Jordan Peele

1) The first scene in the hall of mirrors
2) When the doppelganger family first shows up at the vacation house

both of those scenes scared the shit out of me. There's probably 3-4 more incredibly scary scenes in that film but for those first 2 I was absolutely terrified.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Friday, 7 August 2020 03:35 (one year ago) link

^^ cosign

sleeve, Friday, 7 August 2020 03:40 (one year ago) link

No movies really scare me (because I'm a tuff guy!). Unfortunately. The closest I usually get is unease and dread. Lynch can bring it, oftentimes. My top two recommendations on this front are usually Testament and Possession (1981). YMMV, of course.

Why does this relates to Yoda? (Old Lunch), Friday, 7 August 2020 03:47 (one year ago) link

Green Room, maybe? It's not exactly what I think of when I think of 'scary' but boy oh boy did watching that thing ever put me through the wringer.

I can actually think of lots of scary scenes in movies I wouldn't necessarily otherwise deem 'scary movies'. I believe I may have already started a thread for that particular topic, though,

Why does this relates to Yoda? (Old Lunch), Friday, 7 August 2020 03:50 (one year ago) link

IT is awful but it destroyed me when i was eight years old, i wish a better movie had burned itself into my brain. Martyrs disturbed me as a young adult. the movies that have scared me had less to do with how good the movie is and more to do with where i was at in life (e.g. eight years old.) i absolutely love horror but none of my favorites were the ones that really scared me

karl...arlk...rlka...lkar..., Friday, 7 August 2020 04:06 (one year ago) link

I did pretty much list all my choices in the thread Old Lunch just posted.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 7 August 2020 18:12 (one year ago) link

Possession (1981)

i'm not a horror movie guy so ymmv, but this one got under my skin in a way that no other 'scary' movie has. it starts with manic acting in a completely abandoned post-nuclear landscape and just builds from there. the disorientation and dread i felt from that it is hard for me to pin-point and isn't even directly related to the most grotesque elements of the plot. i was definitely 'changed' by this movie.

Give me a Chad Smith-type feel (map), Friday, 7 August 2020 19:00 (one year ago) link

it's a soviet bloc 'blue velvet' on pcp

Give me a Chad Smith-type feel (map), Friday, 7 August 2020 19:03 (one year ago) link

I don't find most movies scary, but there are a couple of particularly suspenseful/intense ones. Like "The Invitation."

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 7 August 2020 19:10 (one year ago) link

One of the many things I love about Possession is that the elements that earmark it a horror movie (to the extent that it even is a horror movie per se) are among the least uncanny and disquieting elements of the film.

Why does this relates to Yoda? (Old Lunch), Friday, 7 August 2020 19:20 (one year ago) link

Possession is the film I haven't seen yet that I'm most positive I'm going to love.

jmm, Friday, 7 August 2020 19:21 (one year ago) link

I haven't seen it in years, but I would cosign on Threads.

After missing its original run I saw Mad Max: Fury Road recently in a mostly empty theatre. I found it almost unrelentingly oppressive, for the first two thirds or so anyway — it conveyed a really visceral threat of bodily obliteration. Maybe not the kind of scary RVW is thinking of, but not a million miles from Texas Chainsaw either.

eatandoph (Neue Jesse Schule), Friday, 7 August 2020 19:36 (one year ago) link

Loved Posession, but wasn't that scared by it.

Films which have genuinely scared me:

* The Haunting (1963 version)
* The Ring (original Japanese version, US version very much not)
* The Descent (watched with a weirdo roommate who gave me the creeps anyway)
* The Lady In Black (The 1989 version which is just getting re-released for the first time)

Anti-Cop Ponceortium (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Friday, 7 August 2020 19:42 (one year ago) link

really annoyed that there's another cut of The Descent where they ruined the ending, nobody needs to see that

Anti-Cop Ponceortium (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Friday, 7 August 2020 19:43 (one year ago) link

Come and See was the last film that left me genuinely shaken. It's not fun-scary, though.

jmm, Friday, 7 August 2020 19:47 (one year ago) link

the most I get is "vaguely unsettled" but The Innocents managed it.

the quar on drugs (Simon H.), Friday, 7 August 2020 19:49 (one year ago) link

imo Ghostwatch is probably the scariest thing I've seen

imago, Friday, 7 August 2020 19:51 (one year ago) link

(I am also not easily scared at all)

imago, Friday, 7 August 2020 19:52 (one year ago) link

watched Ghostwatch last halloween, and yes, still scary

Anti-Cop Ponceortium (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Friday, 7 August 2020 19:53 (one year ago) link

Nothing has ever scared me as much as seeing the 1985 Australian TV movie 'Fortress' when I was younger. It's about 3 guys with shotguns wearing the creepiest masks imaginable kidnapping a teacher and her students on a field trip (based on a true story supposedly). The masks and violence are bad enough on their own, but it's low budget origins give it all a layer of fuzzy sleaze that really makes the difference.

Judi Dench's Human Hand (methanietanner), Friday, 7 August 2020 20:02 (one year ago) link

Older movies seem creepier on the whole

calstars, Saturday, 8 August 2020 00:39 (one year ago) link

Never seen this, but these two guys always creep me out.

Philip Nunez, Saturday, 8 August 2020 01:00 (one year ago) link

The only movie that gave me the actual shakes in the theatre was Don Coscarelli's Phantasm.

oder doch?, Saturday, 8 August 2020 10:26 (one year ago) link

Polanksi's Repulsion is very scary.

Gerneten-flüken cake (jed_), Saturday, 8 August 2020 16:27 (one year ago) link

not many films have actually scared me as an adult but the one which keeps me up at night is the documentary, The Nightmare, with people recounting their terrifying stories of sleep paralysis with reenactments. I always always always close my wardrobe door now

doorstep jetski (dog latin), Sunday, 9 August 2020 17:29 (one year ago) link

We watched The Autopsy of Jane Doe last night. I'd seen it before, but my daughter was suitably scared. It's a clever spooky setup.

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 9 August 2020 17:41 (one year ago) link

Thank you DL! Sleep paralysis sounds like the ultimate horror

Thicc Nhat Wanh (rip van wanko), Sunday, 9 August 2020 19:47 (one year ago) link

(so I will definitely be watching this)

Thicc Nhat Wanh (rip van wanko), Sunday, 9 August 2020 19:48 (one year ago) link

Come And See.

I really liked It Follows.

The Descent.

When I saw Blair Witch on VHS before it was out and nobody knew anything about it.

So many movies it’s hard to say because I saw them as a kid. The exorcist terrified me but so did the amityville horror. The latter at least would probably seem pretty silly.

dan selzer, Sunday, 9 August 2020 19:56 (one year ago) link

As far as fun house gimmicks go, I thought the Paranormal Activity movies, at least the first three, were pretty scary.

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 9 August 2020 20:04 (one year ago) link

Kill List

SQUIRREL MEAT!! (Capitaine Jay Vee), Sunday, 9 August 2020 20:21 (one year ago) link

Agree on the first Paranormal Activity

Thicc Nhat Wanh (rip van wanko), Sunday, 9 August 2020 20:39 (one year ago) link

Re: Blair Witch, I know I've mentioned before that some friends and I got free passes to a preview screening, knowing absolutely nothing about the movie going in, and I can confirm that that's the best way to see it. The entire audience just sat quietly in their seats for an unusually long time after it ended. It's the one time I recall being legitimately frightened at the movies.

Why does this relates to Yoda? (Old Lunch), Sunday, 9 August 2020 21:32 (one year ago) link

(The effect was, eh, considerably diminished upon a second viewing.)

Why does this relates to Yoda? (Old Lunch), Sunday, 9 August 2020 21:33 (one year ago) link

I refuse to believe that Blair Witch isn't really scary.

jmm, Sunday, 9 August 2020 21:36 (one year ago) link

Yeah I’ve told my story before but my friend who was an NYU film student brought over the VHS and before watching it he didn’t even know if it was a documentary or what. It was like oh this is some thing that’s been copied around. We were terrified.

dan selzer, Monday, 10 August 2020 01:47 (one year ago) link

I thought it was proper scary

Thicc Nhat Wanh (rip van wanko), Monday, 10 August 2020 03:29 (one year ago) link

scared the shit out of me

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 10 August 2020 03:35 (one year ago) link

so strange that Blair Witch was able to do what it did. you couldn't really pull that sort of stunt off these days where you convince a significant amount of people that what they are watching is in fact real

doorstep jetski (dog latin), Monday, 10 August 2020 09:40 (one year ago) link

I could imagine something like that turning up on youtube and people debating whether it is real

Robert Adam Gilmour, Monday, 10 August 2020 19:13 (one year ago) link

There was one made in 2007, by a Britisher in fact, "Louise Paxton"

Thicc Nhat Wanh (rip van wanko), Monday, 10 August 2020 19:57 (one year ago) link

The Blair Witch crew were really canny wrt promotion. IIRC, the actors' IMDB profiles were modified for an entire year to show them missing? I can't imagine a working actor giving the okay on that nowadays.

Why does this relates to Yoda? (Old Lunch), Monday, 10 August 2020 20:11 (one year ago) link

That could easily have the opposite effect too, though. Personally, I wasn't aware of any of the promotional stuff and hadn't heard anything about the movie beforehand. Had I known that there were people claiming that THIS IS TOTALLY A REAL TAPE, the skeptical asshole in me probably would have kicked in and ruined the experience.

jmm, Monday, 10 August 2020 20:31 (one year ago) link

I would love a Criterion or equivalent Blair Witch release with docs and stuff detailing their efforts

the quar on drugs (Simon H.), Monday, 10 August 2020 20:32 (one year ago) link

As OL, points out: The Blair Witch marketing was INDEED super grassrooted and heavily, heavily seeded for longggg-game. There were a ton of early websites and other red herrings and deliberate misinformation planted all around.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Monday, 10 August 2020 20:42 (one year ago) link

I saw it on opening day lol that's how much I had bought in to the hype. Stood in line for 2 hours at an OLDE urban single-screen theater. I brought the newspaper (!) with me in line, it was the day after JFK Jr. died in his plane crash, so that was notable.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Monday, 10 August 2020 20:44 (one year ago) link

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