Tannis, anyone?

Lists are always subject to great debate. What does it for you, may not do it for me. It’s all about taste. Or sensibilities. With a list like this one the age of viewing also carries subjective clout. And I can’t imagine a list more subjective, more prone to personal criteria than this one:  Top 50 scariest movies of all time. I started at the end (the scariest): The Thing (1982) , and I’m not even sure if I’ve seen it. But I did see the original (The Thing from Another World), from 1951 – both from a story by John W. Campbell Jr. The original would sure be in my top 5 – but of course I was probably ten or so when I first saw it. At a remote military outpost in the Arctic, something is unearthed in a block of ice and brought back to base camp, a blanket thrown over it. Drip, drip. “The thing” begins to melt. Or should I say that the ice that entombs the thing begins to melt. I literally can see that army blanket and the black and white camera pan to the melting ice beneath the table. It was very suspenseful. James Arness played “The Thing”, by the way. There are in fact, plenty of remakes on the list. Remakes and franchises are a recurring theme in the genre. Probably 80% or more of the movies on the list have a II and III (or more) version. Give the people what they want. Again and again.

Japanese horror is well represented (for good reason): Ju-on (2000), Ôdishon (1999), Janghwa, Hongryeon (A Tale of Two Sisters) (2003). Great flick. Thankfully, the originals are represented, not the English remakes.

Alien (1979) comes in at #5. Definite agreement on this one (top five material). In the 11 spot, The Shining (1980), which I’d have in the top 5 as well.

Here’s two that are “scared out” (over-exposed) – which is not to say they aren’t fine movies: The Exorcist (1973) at #14, and Jaws at #15.

I’m partial to originals. Here’s three on the list that I just might have the original, rather than the newer remake noted. I might waver on Invasion.

  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), with Donald Sutherland. The 1956 version with Kevin McCarthy. In a now almost obligatory nod, McCarthy appeared in the remakeincredible
  • The Fly (1986). The 1956 version with Vincent Price.
  • At #45, The Blob (1988). There’s the 1958 version with Steve McQueen.

For me, the most egregious placement is for Rosemary’s Baby (1968). It’s a toss-up on these (1-2): between Rosemary and The Shining. Those are some scary movies. And on these lists, there’s always at least one: “Where is…”. For me, that would be The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957). A chilling, memorable ending.



Filed under Movies

2 responses to “Tannis, anyone?

  1. Pat D'Amico

    John Carpenter’s remake of The Thing is one of the very few remakes that’s as good, if not better, than the original. I love the Alien trilogy, but the second one, Aliens (with the female Marine, remember her?), is my favorite. The last few minutes of that movie, when Ripley straps on all that ammo and goes back for Newt, and then they make it to platform only to think Bishop’s abandoned them… damn, what a great flick. Scariest scene is when Newt is standing in the waist high water holding her headless doll and waiting to be rescued. Man, that was intense.

    The originals of The Thing and Invasion of the Body Snatchers scared the heck out of me when I was kid.

    The Exorcist and Carrie didn’t really scare me that much. The Shining, now that was way creepy. I wouldn’t place Rosemary’s Baby too high on my list, either. I don’t think that holds up well. I actually think Jaws is a good pick. Spielberg sure knew how to build suspense in that flick. BTW, if you didn’t catch Steve Donoghue’s recent reread and essay about Benchley’s novel, it’s a must read.

    Charlie, I’m going to be posting a review ofa book titled The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey on Like Fire that I read this week. You want to talk about scary? Hoo boy! Best part is: it’s wonderfully written and unique with a capital “U”. I don’t usually tell people to run out and buy a book (I may suggest they do so, or take it out of the library), but this is totally worth the dinero. I think it’s going to be a classic. Whatever you do, don’t read any other reviews, don’t even go to the book’s website, until you read it, though. Even the smallest clues will ruin it for you. I wish I’d read it sooner, so I could have recommended everyone read it for Halloween. Fabulous, friggin’ story. Do Not miss it.

    Also, check out Andrew O’Hehir’s review for “Il Divo.” He rarely goes off about a movie this passionately. I’ve already put it in my Netflix queue.

    Happy Halloween! Don’t run out of candy!

  2. chazzw

    Will be Watching Il Divo tonight.

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