All-Time Top 10: Movies That Scared Me

When I wrote the Fear Factory entry I focused on fears caused by watching a movie and the idea that the strong visuals we experience whether they be real or on television stay with us. Sometimes they affect us in detrimental ways such as sparking a fear of the dark or monsters and so on. This led me directly to think of the movies I had seen that triggered these fears in me. Oddly many aren’t horror movies and some are very much family friendly. Let’s see if we can’t spot the patterns.

Strangely, violent action films, crass comedies and gory horrors never really affected me in any way. Why is that? Is it that those genres carry so much unreality that you can dissociate from what you are watching? All I know is the movies that involved kids versus an evil character of some description affected me most, however fantastic the sets and characters were. Most of my top 10 were probably watched between the ages of 6 and 12. It’s an impressionable age so this makes perfect sense. What doesn’t make sense is that a number are family movies. Of the horrors I take fear from, there isn’t alot of carnage so I tend to be freaked more by the psychological nature of the Japanese chillers for example.

The Child Catcher from 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang'...Sweet Dreams Children...

The Child Catcher from ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’…Sweet Dreams Children…

Do I still find these films scary? Not really, one or two maybe. This top ten is based on how I felt when I first watched them. Start the countdown. Boo!

10. Empire of the Ants (1977) – Watching it now is laughable. There’s nothing scary about it. But as it was the first movie I saw on the ‘Sunday Horrors’ it deserves a mention. I told my uncle I was fine to watch it but afterwards I was a blubbering wreck.

9. Pufnstuf (1970) – Just really freaky. Whoever came up with this was doing alot more than just ‘Puffing on the Magic Dragon‘. There are some scary looking witches and none more scary than Mama Cass in her orange outfit.

8. Nutcracker Fantasy (1979) – ‘Beware the Rag Man’…the opening scene of this movie is a real WTF moment. The first few minutes are up on you tube here. See what I mean?

7. The Day After (1983) – Nothing scarier than a post-apocalyptic scenario. In this case it is a nuclear holocaust. I watched this back when Ronald Reagan wanted to get us all microwaved and when collecting nuclear weapons was as common as collecting baseball cards. For the time, this was pretty well made which added to the realism. I genuinely thought it could happen back then.

6.Insidious (2010) – Although I don’t find most of the ‘Paranormal Activity’ type movies scary, these sort of movies are more scary than the traditional horror because it is about the unseen rather than a dude walking around with a chainsaw.

5. The Ring (2002) – If you watch this video you will die in seven days. I didn’t know if they meant the movie or the snippet of film you watch within the movie. But when the girl comes out of the TV, I was genuinely freaked watching that. Based on one of the Japanese horrors..pretty atmospheric.

4. Jaws (1975) – I lived on an island and regularly paddled out on my shitty little polystyrene surf board. I’m not going to lie, after watching Jaws, I often thought about really big fish in the water. It didn’t stop me getting in but man did I think about it alot.

3. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1971/2005) – I’m not a big fan of Oompah Loompahsl. Theyre evil little bastards. And in the new one, things take a turn for the worse. Why was Johnny Depp acting like Michael Jackson and why did they use Joe Pesci’s little brother to play all of the Oompah Loompahs? Freaky!

2. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) – Like the ‘Rag Man’ this movie has a character that is after kids as well. And surprise, surprise, he is called the Child Catcher. The actor – Robert Helpmann – really hams it up but is genuinely terrifying in the role.

1. One Direction: This Is Us (2013) – I haven’t seen this. I am going to do my best not to see it. It really scares me.

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