“What’s your favorite scary movie?”

In the spirit of Halloween (take note: my favorite holiday, folks), I thought it might be fun to share my favorite scary movie. Ya know, not because the world gives of a shit what I have to say, but because everyone else is sharing their thoughts and I thought, hey, I’m the fucking queen of scary movies and should have a say, dangit!

A child of the 80’s, I grew up on scary movies. I wasn’t the kid who knew what was happening on Fraggle Rock, though I’ll argue that Fraggles are creepy enough to star in a hit horror film, thankyouverymuch. When it came to Abby’s childhood entertainment, I watched movies like Nightmare on Elm Street (major love for Robert Englund), The Exorcist (this explains why I’m mucked up), and other things that kept me up at night and worried I’d spew pea soup all over my momma.

So, as you might expect, I’m quite picky about what scares me today. Thinking back on it, the Blair Witch Project didn’t do it for me. I found it nauseating and humorous. Scream was fun. I’ll admit I was on the edge of my seat, especially that opening sequence with Drew Barrymore, but the slasher film still doesn’t stand out. The Strangers is horrifying, though not “scary.” The Ring is eerie… and yet having seen it a couple times since, I don’t find it nearly as haunting. (Ringu is much scarier, BTW, and the book is even more so.)

There is only one movie that shook me up recently. The format was different. It played with my fear of the paranormal, but not with over-the-top special effects. Since 2007 when the movie debuted, I have not let my foot dangle off the side of the bed (that’s 5 damn years—this is a problem!). I’m still convinced sleeping with the door open means a demon is going to pluck me out of bed and drag me down the hall screaming.

If you haven’t guessed the movie, I’m talking about:

Paranormal Activity.

Yep. Not the second, not the third, maybe not even the fourth Paranormal Activity, but the first for all its uniqueness and completely unexpected genius. The ability to make me feel just as isolated in the middle of a cold movie theater as Micah and Katie, the skill at building up my anticipation until the hairs on my neck stand on end, the lingering reminder that I am not even safe in my bedroom is why I give Paranormal Activity the title of “Scariest Movie Evah (according to Abby).”

So what’s your “Scariest Movie Evah (according to ….)?

Don’t mind me… just stretching… before I kill you.


  1. The DH

    I think you’re very right on Paranormal Activity. However, please don’t forget the Shining (The Kubrick version), which definitely stands on its own above the book.

    • Agreed on The Shining, but after seeing it year after year, I’m kinda numb to it, especially since we both tend to fall asleep before the scary “blood elevator” part.

  2. I’ve always been a fan of werewolf movies. American Werewolf in London, Stephen King’s Silver Bullet were childhood favorites (pre-teen). And Teen Wolf.

    I remember watching a ton of really bad “Thrillers” as a kid too – The Howling, Candyman, Children of the Corn, “Silent Night, Deadly Night”, Pet Cemetery, and my favorite – Killer Clowns From Outer Space

    as for movies that really “scare” – it’s not thrillers, it’s the real life concepts in dramas – like having your memory erased in Eternal Sunshine, The dread of unfulfilling life in American Beauty, or the tragedy of House of Sand and Fog

    • We just re-watched “Children of the Corn” and it was hilariously entertaining. Oh, the things they got away with in the 80’s.

      I like knowing what scares people—because it’s all subjective. So, going on your taste, I think Silence of the Lambs is pretty damn scary. But The Strangers strikes a chord since I–and you–know what it’s like to live out in the middle of nowhere. Have you seen it?

      • silence of the lambs wasnt really scary to me – that i place in my movies that have a WTF factor – how loud i say WTF when the movie ends. 9mm, Kids, Ken Park, Gummo (pretty much any Larry Clark or Harmony Korrine movie), Requiem for a Dream, The Machinist, Arlington Road…I havent seen the strangers, but I will!

        While making this I remembered another awesome 70’s “horror” flick – the Texas Chainsaw Massacre – Leatherface is the shit and probably responsible for all of the haunted house rooms that have someone in a strobe light wielding a chainless chainsaw.

  3. Terah

    Pet Semetary. It’s ridiculous, yes, but I probably watched it at every slumber party I went to between junior high and high school. Especially freaky is Zelda…I think that’s the name of the sister that was confined to the upstairs room. Eek!

  4. Amy Metzger

    “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”- those little men hanging out with the princess scares the crap out of me. But seriously, I am not a scary movie fan, but the miniseries “The Stand” gave me nightmares.

  5. Kim Seib

    Not my favorite but Carrie made everyone at the theater jump out of their seats at the end with the hand even though some of them knew it was coming. Still kinda makes me jump.

  6. For me, there are so many different types of scary movie that it is difficult to choose just one.
    favorite psychological horror: Don’t Look Now (1973) [In the Mouth of Madness (1994) is an honorable mention in this category]
    favorite slasher horror: Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
    favorite social commentary horror: Night of the Living Dead (1968)
    favorite meta-horror: Scream (1996) [Cabin in the Woods (2012) is an honorable mention in this category]
    favorite this horrible shit can and actually does happen to people: Silence of the Lambs (1991)
    favorite scared the shit out of me as a kid: Tremors (1990) [Poltergeist (1982) is an honorable mention in this category]
    favorite nature is scary as shit: Jaws (1975)
    favorite art horror: The Shining (1980)
    favorite bodies are horrifying and gross: Videodrome (1983)
    favorite horror comedy: Evil Dead II (1987)
    favorite sci-fi horror: Alien (1979)
    In the end I’d say if I had to choose one it would Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

    • Awesome list! To this day, Jaws make me nervous about swimming in the ocean.

      It seems like The Shining and Texas Chainsaw Massacre are big hits. Sadly, I haven’t seen Texas Chainsaw. Please don’t flame me.

      • that should be the next horror flick you watch! preferably on an old VHS where the color is all washed out and dark. 🙂

        • Haha. If only I had VHS still. Le sigh.

          But maybe I’ll watch it this weekend and report back. All I know is there’s some gnarly scene with a meat hook.

      • I wrote a paper on TCM as an undergrad for a Gothic Horror class. For a supposedly ‘dumb’ slasher movie full of legitimate gotcha moments and jump cuts (not to mention insane close-ups with screechy music) TCM is one of those movies where if you dig in and think hard about it, it gets even scarier.

        and Abby, I haven’t seen Paranormal Activity because I am too afraid to! Supernatural/haunted house stuff, especially naturalistic documentary style horror movies are like a perfect storm of scary to me. I’m not sure I could handle it. I can’t even watch the silly ghost hunters shows on cable.

        • I know what you mean about PA. I thought a lot about seeing it and whenever Andy suggests it, I consider what it will do to my head.

          It’s not always what scares me while watching the movie–but what fear lingers days after.

  7. Mary Pekar

    Of course the original Night of the Living Dead holds a special place in my heart (first date!!), bur Salem’s Lot was scary because I saw it when I was sick and by myself with a new baby (namely, Abby!) and I still can see that vampire boy in the window! For me, favorite movies have a personal connection.

  8. Sara

    I haven’t watched a scary movie in years, but The Shining will always be my go-to horror movie.

  9. Predictably, I’ve never watched Paranormal Activity b/c I know I will be scared shitless XD As to scary movies, this is rather embarrassing but Silent Hill scared the crap out of me. The janitor was total nightmare fodder, as were the nurses. The only creature that didn’t scare me was Pyramid Head even though he was supposed to be the Worst Thing Ever, b/c… well. Look at him. haha. And I’m STILL broken up about the policewoman dying. *has issues*

    • I did not see Silent Hill, but am now gonna watch it. So, would you say any haunted house movies freak you out? They are my favorite (for reasons discussed on your blog).

      • AND I’ve been seeing commercials for Silent Hill 2, which is like DONOTWANT xD

        Most of the haunted house films I’ve seen turned out ridiculous, which is saying something since I’m the mother of all pansies. House on Haunted Hill and those similar films all began with the promise of Scary Happenings but mostly they were just gross and ended with me tilting my head and going ‘eh?’

        I quite liked The Others, because it was such a fantastic twist. And although I haven’t seen it yet, I’ve heard House at the End of the Street with Jennifer Lawrence is really good.

  10. The DH

    Looking this list over (and quite a list it is!) – I don’t think I saw the Rob Zombie Halloween reboot. I’m only going to mention the first in the new series, as I think the others were a bit of a letdown. Would love to see more classic scary movies re-invented by today’s voices.

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