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Top 10 Best Scary Movies… You’ve Probably Never Seen

Top 10 Best Scary Movies... (List) (Horror Movies) What are the best scary movies to have been ignored, overlooked or forgotten? Some of the choices here you may have heard of but never seen, while others may mean nothing to you at all, but if you’ve walked the well worn path of horror movies, prepare to take some diversions you’ll find ghoulishly entertaining.

WHEN A STRANGER CALLS (1979)

Top 10 Best Scary Movies
This is a movie of two halves – the first 20 minutes, and the rest. The rest you can discard. The opening sequence is a complete short film in itself, telling the classic urban legend of the babysitter alone in a house who starts receiving strange phone calls asking her to “check the children”. Unlike the hamfisted remake, this is a masterclass of suspense that pulls no punches, and it’s accompanied by an excellent score.

SESSION 9 (2001)

Top Scary Movies
Before he made The Machinist and (another) hidden gem Transsiberian, director Brad Anderson tackled this ‘ghost’ story set in an old mental hospital. The great cast – David Caruso, Josh Lucas, Peter Mullan – play members of an asbestos removal company contracted to go in and clean up. Before long the imposing energy and the influence of old patient case files is sending the group into madness. Session 9 makes full use of its creepy location, creating a foreboding sense of dread while keeping the scares grounded.

PARENTS (1989)

What if your seemingly normal parents were really cannibals? What if the meat you were being served at dinner was really the houseguest who visited yesterday? This 50s-set story taps into something eerie from the ‘perfect homemaker’ era, with Randy Quaid on career best form as the creepy dad. Directed by Bob Balaban, who went on to do Seinfeld, this sits on the nightmarish, skin-crawling side of black comedy.

BURNT OFFERINGS (1976)

Top 10 Best Scary Horror Movies
Before Oliver Reed became the comedy drunk of the tabloids he was one hell of an actor. And he took leading man duties here in what was, in many ways, a precusor to The Shining. Ben (Reed) accepts a post as a caretaker, with his wife and young son, in an old gothic house. Unfortunately it’s a house from hell which rejuvenates a part of itself with each death on its premises. With great character actors like Bette Davis, Burgess Meredith and Karen Black, the top quality casting lifts the whole film. It’s a little slow perhaps but makes up for it with a truly chilling ending. Also features the scariest ever chauffeur in a movie.

THE EXORCIST III (1990)

After the absolutely disastrous Exorcist II, who would want to see Exorcist III? Well, it’s a whole different sort of film entirely. Unlike its predecessor it’s written and directed by Exorcist author William Peter Blatty, and based on his best selling novel, Exorcist: Legion – the true sequel to The Exorcist. Gone is Linda Blair, and it actually has very little to do with exorcism, instead focusing on a philosophical police detective (screen legend George C. Scott) investigating a strange series of satanic murders in Georgetown. The movie is full of visual invention, scares and creepy confrontations.

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25 Comments »

  • Jay Curry said

    Splinter and Triangle are two good ones…even though Triangle could be seen as more of a psychological thriller. Honorable mention: High Tension

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  • lavakillu said

    Man, I love seeing Ravenous on a list! You’ve gained serious cred with me, for what it’s worth. Don’t know if you saw the 1974 version of “Black Christmas” which, when I saw it in ’74, was titled “Stranger In The House”. That movie had me looking under my bed for months! Even though the movie preceded “When A Stranger Calls” and “Halloween” and many other, more well known movies, it just never got the recognition I thought it deserved. Solid acting from Olivia Hussey, (who I was still crushing on from Romeo and Juliet), Margot Kidder, (before she was consumed with schizophrenia) and Keir Dullea, and a perfectly constructed plot that made this the most believable horror film I had ever seen. In fact, the solution to the plot was not revealed until the end credits rolled. When I re-watched the film, many years later, it seemed a bit dated…it’s hard to be frightened of someone wearing flair legged pants, dingo boots and a members only jacket. I was really looking foreward to the remake, until I saw it.

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    • Sheridan Passell said
      Sheridan Passell

      Yes Black Christmas is an amazing film, just the audio on the phone calls alone is perhaps the creepiest on film. I think it didn’t go on this list because I thought more people had heard of it, but I could be wrong. I was also highly anticipating the remake, the team who did it had some good prior credits, but it was a big letdown.

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  • Dave said

    “The Keep” is well done, big names in it and disturbing on so many levels.

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  • Filipe Costa said

    The Exorcist III is awesomely terrible.

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