74 + Scary movies, 10 Scary scenes

Two years ago I threw down my top 74 horror movie list. Given the list is 2 years old now, I’d like to retroactively add a few more movies to that list, but do it without retroactively removing some of the old titles. That doesn’t make total sense, I know, but I’m doing it anyway.

Movies I’ve seen after I made the list:

Lake Mungo goes in my top ten. No movie in the past two years has moved me the way that sad, creepy movie did. Link to my review. Clicky.

May. Top 30. Finally got around to watching it this past weekend. Funny, sad, and disturbing. Like Mungo, the sadness comes from the characters’ authentic emotional lives and how those lives are broken or are being broken. The horror, of course, comes from the same place.

House of the Devil. I’d put it somewhere in the late 60s of my list. The retro-horror movie dares to take its sweet ass time, and it looks real pretty. Effective enough to make the list.

S&Man. Places in the early 60s of my list. A faux-documentary about extreme indie horror movies. Metafictional fun with a horrifying ending. Made doubly horrifying because REDACTED.


Ginger Snaps (Heathers with werewolves?) should’ve been on my list, and I should’ve given Clive Barker flicks some love toward the end of the list. Maybe Lord of Illusions (Scott Backula!) and/or Nightbreed.


Two years ago Stephen Graham Jones copied my list of top 74 movies. So this year, I’m copying his top ten scary scenes.

My criteria for top ten scary scenes is purely subjective. I’m going by number of nightmares given to me along with a quotient involving factors of I-think-about-this-when-I’m-in-the-basement-alone and how fast do I then run up the stairs, plus the cover-my-eyes constant multiple, which can’t be forgotten. Anyway, enough math. The list.

1) Quint buys it in Jaws. I’m posting this scene but I’m not watching it. I saw it in fifth grade. I had twenty plus years of shark nightmares after. I’ve seen Jaws maybe 40 times since, but I won’t watch the Quint scene again. I never do. I cover my eyes or change the channel.

2) Donald Sutherland now playing for the other team in Invasion of the Body Snatchers:

3) Nightmare on Elm Street. Freddy visited my nightmares almost as much as Jaws did. So much so, I really only watched the first and third of the Nightmare movies. His first kill messed me up good.

4) The end of Blair Witch project. So, yeah, anyone standing alone in the corner freaks me out. No one puts baby in the corner.

5) Event Horizon. The scene is when they find the film of what happened to the previous crew. This clip isn’t quite it, but you get the gist. When I saw it at the time, I resolved to never watch it again.

6) ‘Salem’s Lot. The kid at the window. I still sleep with my windows locked.

7) Lake Mungo. Finding the of footage on the cell phone. I watched this movie by myself and when this happened I moaned out loud to no one. An existential moan.

8) Rec’s final scene. I’d seen Quarantine first. So I figured I knew the ending to REC. Yeah, um, I was wrong.

9) Fright Night. The original. Sure it’s campy now, but the big-teeth reveal (much like Karen Black at the end of Trilogy of Terror) scared the kid that was me witless.

10) The Ring. Still too scared to watch the original version (which I own on DVD, but haven’t watched yet).


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11 responses to “74 + Scary movies, 10 Scary scenes

  1. Richard Thomas

    So glad you said the end of BLAIR WITCH, that scared the crap out of me. Also, love the old school BODYSNATCHERS, that was a moment, right?

  2. thelittlesleep

    Blair Witch tends to be a barometer for me. If you liked the movie, you’re okay in my book. You pass again, Richard. 😉

    • Richard Thomas

      lol, whew, thank goodness. yeah, that ending freaked me the hell out. i don’t know why, it just felt…overwhelming, unexpected. the camera tipping over, ah, just gives me the creeps thinking about it. 🙂

  3. OMG – the last scene of Blair Witch was like getting kicked in the gut. Just rewatched last week with my 13 year old son (his first viewing)… amazingly he was untouched by it. Are kids really that cynical and jaded these days?

    • thelittlesleep

      I could be wrong, but I think many adolescents just aren’t emotionally mature enough yet for the subtlety of a non-gore horror movie/ending.

      But I could be wrong!

  4. Just followed the link here from Goodreads. I remember when you posted the original list and it led me to check out Session 9, which I loved! So when I saw this “add-ons” list, I knew I needed to track down Lake Mungo. Luckily, it’s on Netflix and I just finished watching it. Fantastic! It was beautiful and tragic and subtle – elements lacking in a lot of recent horror. It was the vague images and the realness that made it so creepy. It’s one that will stick with me for a while.

    • thelittlesleep

      Cool! Glad you were able to find your way to 2 of my favorite flicks. I actually own two copies of Mungo. One for me, and one to proselytize with.

      I should’ve added the Finnish movie SAUNA too. Not as subtle as Mungo, but a great, original creepy story. Highly recommended if you can track it down.

  5. Wasn’t the director of “May” making another film–“The Woods” or something? It was supposed to be especially frightening. I also liked his episode of Masters of Horror–a weak series overall but with highlights.

    I came across another top ten halloween list that your readers might like–and maybe you should add to: Scariest Books. It was posted on Slate’s site for their Halloween issue. Here’s the link:


  6. Ah. Good to know The Woods was released. I seem to remember some kind of issue… haunting on the set, murder, car bomb… something like that.

    I was pleasantly surprised by the Slate list. Not all the usual suspects. Fun to see someone as little known as Adam Golaski mentioned along with Stephen King and some other heavy-hitters, and good to see cross-over stuff. By the way–since you seem to know this stuff off the top of your head–any idea when Golaski is going to release another book?

  7. Pingback: bait and bleed | NADIA BULKIN

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