Thursday, April 12, 2012

Film critic haunts top five horror movies

By Courtney Donlin, Guest Writer

Nothing goes more hand in hand with Friday the 13th than horror movies.

Some films stick out in audiences’ minds for years, scaring them well into old age.

A few are too legendary to go unnoticed, especially these top five.

5. Jaws

Based on the novel by Peter Benchley, the 1975 film Jaws ruined beach trips for years. The film, which earned $7 million during its opening weekend according to the Internet Movie Database, created a villain out of a monstrous great white shark.

There’s something innately horrifying about innocently swimming along only to become a gruesome snack for a creature that cannot be reasoned with.

4. Silence of the Lambs

Is there anything creepier than a serial killer wearing his victims’ skins? How about an eloquent cannibal with renowned skills as a psychiatrist?

The 1991 film Silence of the Lambs combines both. The plot follows FBI Special Agent Clarisse Starling on a manhunt for a serial killer known only as Buffalo Bill.

To help track Buffalo Bill down, Starling seeks help from former psychiatrist Hannibal Lector, who is imprisoned for cannibalism.

Hearing Lector whisper, “Hello Clarisse,” can send shivers down anyone’s spine.

3. Suspiria

The first of Italian director Dario Argento’s The Three Mothers trilogy, the 1977 film Suspiria follows an American ballet student to a German dance school with downright eerie teachers and a mysterious past.

Suzy Benner, the protagonist, arrives at the prestigious academy and is immediately affected by the strange atmosphere.

Benner falls ill, faints during class and is prescribed a daily glass of wine to deal with the stress.

Meanwhile, students are disappearing with no explanation.

Argento is a master of anticipation and Suspiria is arguably the best example of his skill.

2. Evil Dead

If B-list horror movies ever earn respect, it will be because of cult classic The Evil Dead.

Bruce Campbell stars as Ashley Williams, otherwise known as Ash. Ash and four friends visit a cabin in the woods and find a flesh-bound book called the Necronomicon and an audiotape of a mysterious stranger reading from the book.

The group plays it, inviting an ancient evil into their company. One by one, they become possessed and turn into evil deadites, insane and murderous shells of their former selves.

This horribly cheesy but absolutely unforgettable 1981 film spawned two sequels, Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness.

1. The Exorcist

William Peter Blatty said in an interview with National Public Radio that he never meant to scare anyone with his novel The Exorcist.

Despite his intentions, the 1973 film inspired by his book has become practically synonymous with horror. When Regan MacNeil, the daughter of a Hollywood actress, becomes possessed, a priest in the middle of a crisis of faith is called to save the day.

Before poor little Regan is saved, her head spins around, she spider-crawls down a flight of stairs and spews pea soup, among other unsavory atrocities.

The Exorcist was banned in the United Kingdom after its debut. One moviegoer even fainted and consequently broke his jaw, according to the IMBD. Imagine what Blatty could do if he had intended to scare people.