I talked about this a bit in my review of the 1979 made-for-TV miniseries Salem's Lot oh so many moons ago- it's just that amazing.
Aside: this was made for TV. MADE FOR TV. Made for TV and it's got more scares than most of the crap at your local thee-ay-ter. The old days were better, etc etc.
Anyway, while there's plenty of vampire action and weird goings-on going on in the Lot, all everyone keeps talking about is "Mr. Barlow this" and "Mr. Barlow that". Who is this guy? Some shy, old antiques dealer? More than two hours into the production, we meet this Mr. Barlow, and...well...
Actually, "meet" is too gentle a word to use for our introduction to this mystery man. Suddenly, oh so suddenly, he's there- BAM, in your face like an edgy comedian or an energy drink. We may have suspected that Mr. Barlow was the king of the new crop of vamps floating and biting their way around town, but no one could have suspected he'd look like that, like your worst possible nightmare come to life. Not. Cool.
I don't care what you say, I love The Ring. Certainly the waterlogged ghost-girl idea has become boring since this film hit in 2002, and there's no denying that the herky-jerky camera style has been overused in horror like an old man's handkerchief, but come on. When we were introduced to Samara all those years ago we were innocent! It was a novel concept! The endeavor was as invigorating as a York Peppermint Pattie with only half the calories (no, that doesn't make sense).
Anyway, The Ring. Sure, we see Samara a bit on the eeeevil videotape, and we see the results of...whatever it is she does to victims seven days after they watch said tape. But it's not until the film passes the 90-minute mark- not until we think everything's gonna be a-ok, that Samara has gone off into the light- that we see her in all her water-logged, stinky glory. It's bitchin'. No, we still don't really know what she actually does to people, but I don't really care. She crawls out of TVs, and that's all I need to know.
Oh, and when getting these screencaps I noticed that this...
...is a copy of The Craft. Thought you might like to know.
I don't usually find monster movies scary, but Alien is a huge exception to that. Part of the reason why the film works so well is because it keeps building and building- the crew of the towing vessel Nostromo faces an enemy that quickly adapts to its environment as it grows. We get a glimpse of the titular xenomorph more than an hour into the proceedings, when Brett (Harry Dean Stanton) heads into the bowels of the ship to find the tiny alien which burst from the chest of a crewmate just hours earlier. The alien is no longer a chestburster, though: it's grown into a hugely tall, drooling, dual-mouth-wielding, acid-blood-squirting badass. Yeah, didn't expect that.
In related news, I want to open a sci-fi-themed strip club called The Titular Xenomorph.
Our plucky spelunkers of Neil Marshall's The Descent are pretty well fucked about 20 minutes in. After a section of the uncharted cave they're exploring collapses, they desperately search for a way out...and then stupid ol' Holly (Nora-Jane Noone) goes and injures herself, putting a serious damper on a decidedly crappy day. Oh yeah- and they're not alone.
Marshall gives us quick glances here and there, enough to let us know that there's something in the depths with the women, but we don't get a good look at the crawlers for almost an hour...but when we do, it's a complete shock. As their dire situation causes the women to begin to panic, their infrared camera pans around and a crawler is THERE, having snuck up behind them silently. Yes, I use "snuck" even though it's not a real word, because it sounds cooler than "sneaked". My tenuous grasp on the English language aside, the sequence is fucking brilliant, a highlight of the terrifically terrifying film.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
Holy crap, whaddayou know: Tobe Hooper is responsible for two out of my five choices!
In the first half hour of the film, a van full of teenagers deals with a lot of bad stuff- the unrelenting Texas sun, the crazy hitchhiker who brandishes a knife at them (and himself), Franklin whining and eating a sausage- but it all leads up to the horrors inside the isolated farmhouse that Kirk and Pam find. There's a generator running, but no one seems to be home...when Kirk heads inside to investigate, his curiosity is piqued by the squeals of a pig emanating from a strange doorway that's bedecked with animal skulls. Of course, it's not a pig- it's Leatherface. He appears in a close-up, and before we even know what's happening, he's bashed Kirk over the head and dragged him inside the mysterious room. He slams the door shut without a word, and it's on. It's absolute horror movie perfection.
So there you go, my five faves. I must say, I'm slightly less cranky now, having written about some of the best scenes horror has to offer...unless it's just the Thunderbird I've chugged while writing this. Either way, I feel so pretty!