Not all scary movies are horror movies…are they? Hmm… While you ponder that question, listen to Jay, Daryl, Sandra (from 28:19 Show),and Producer Freddie share their TOP 5 SCARY MOVIES! Did we hit on YOUR Top 5? What would you put in YOUR TOP 5 SCARY MOVIES? Let us know by posting in the Facebook Group!Unlock this content on Patreon!
The Story Geeks’ blogger Ashley Pauls responds with her own take on the questions discussed in the podcast.
As a whole, I’m not super familiar with the horror genre. When I think of “horror,” my mind automatically goes to movies like “It,” “The Ring,” and “Friday the 13th” — and those look waaay too dark/scary for me. However, lately my views on horror films — and my assumptions about the genre in general — have started to change, thanks to the movie “Get Out” (which is going to show up on this top 5 list!). I kept hearing so much about it, that despite my squeamishness regarding the horror genre, I decided to give it a try.
I’m super glad I did. Sure, it was scary, but it was also fascinating, well-acted, and very thought-provoking. It helped me realize that horror films don’t have to be just about creepy clowns; the genre is simply one more tool for storytellers to use to examine real-life issues and help us process the fears that all humans share. And, once I expanded my definition of “horror,” I found that there are some horror crossover films that I already like, such as sci-fi/horror and fantasy/horror.
Some of the films in my top 5 may not be considered traditional horror films, but they do use decidedly scary elements to tell a story or communicate a theme. So, here goes!
5. Pan’s Labyrinth
Guillermo del Toro’s fantasy/horror film is beautiful, disturbing and tragic, all at the same time. Set in post-Civil War Spain in the 1940s, the film presents a dark fairy tale that blends fantastical and real-life elements to tell the story of a young girl named Ofelia who travels to a magical world in order to escape from her cruel surroundings. It’s such a powerful film, and remains one of del Toro’s best.
4. Get Out
This film works on just a surface level as a scary movie, thanks to the movie’s creeping sense of dread, which slowly but persistently increases throughout the film. Yet there also are some very deep and very important themes buried within the story. Although we’ve come a long ways, racism is still very much an issue in our modern culture, and this film forces its viewers to ask some hard questions about the prejudices we may be harboring without even realizing it. “Get Out” is an important wake-up call.
3. Shaun of the Dead
Technically, this is more of a horror/comedy, but I love this movie and wanted to include it because I think it’s an interesting example of how horror often crosses over into other genres. Although my favorite Edgar Wright/Simon Pegg/Nick Frost comedy is “Hot Fuzz,” “Shaun of the Dead” is also super clever and funny, following a bunch of slackers who have to survive the zombie apocalypse. Plus, there’s actually some cool zombie fight scenes (vinyl records make excellent zombie defense tools — who would have thought?).
Even though I actually like “Aliens” the best in this franchise, I’m going with “Alien” for this list because it feels more like a straight-up horror film. From its badass heroine Ellen Ripley to its perfectly executed sense of claustrophobic terror, “Alien” is a classic for a reason. As the titular alien picks off the crew members of the Nostromo one by one, the tension builds, until we all cheer as Ripley finally blows the alien out of the airlock.
“Annihilation” is a weird movie. I promise, I mean that as a compliment. I’m never really sure how to describe it, because if you go into any kind of detail, you risk revealing spoilers, and this movie works best if you know as little as possible going in. The film follows a group of explorers venturing into a strange anomaly known as “the Shimmer.” While this is technically more of a sci-fi film, it has some truly terrifying moments that will linger with you long after the film is over. It’s a fascinating film (but one you may want to watch with the lights on).