1. The Shining
directed by Stanley Kubrick
There’s a reason cinephiles flock to Stanley Kubrick’s unsolvable 1980 puzzle film as the greatest entry into the horror genre – it uses purely the instruments of cinema to inflict its terror. Twin girls, kindly old men, bartenders, lavish parties, and a series of brightly-lit rooms are not subjects of fear. Yet somehow, by putting everything out in the open and twisting the behavior of his characters juuuuuust so, Kubrick takes the welcoming and makes it absolutely repulsive, if only we weren’t so damn taken in by the whole thing. Sure, it might not be the alcoholic analogy Stephen King wrote about, or even a meditation on domestic abuse – by asking Jack Nicholson to go so overboard with his performance, his contribution to our fear is actually diminished, but Kubrick’s fears are much greater than any of that. His forces far exceed ghosts or insanity or isolation or any of that. It’s within us, it’s completely outside of us; it can be readily identified yet remains completely intangible. There’s no defeating the evil at its core. It’s an elevator full of blood, but it’s also a zoom on a smile. It’s the quiet voice that whispers that all is not right with this world, and never will be.
Called it! Good list guys! Has quite a few I haven’t even heard about.
I was walking around all day trying to figure out what #1 could possibly be…man am I disappointed in my fellow BP listeners. I know it’s all subjective but I don’t find The Shining to be scary at all. Even as I kid I just thought this movie was boring. I’m just going to end it there though. If I get started on my diatribe about how Kubrick is the most overrated director of all-time this comment will turn into a book and I’ll make a bunch of new internet enemies. I don’t need anymore of those.
I’m certainly not a fan of The Shining but it clearly has a following, Room 237 is evidence of that on its own. I did nominate A Clockwork Orange which predictably didnt feature in the Top 50 but hope was there that it might of squeezed in.
Two others i was disappointed not to see were Event Horizon and Return Of The Living Dead, the former being actually really scary and the latter pretty scary, lots of fun and a great soundtrack.
More lists please.
Great movie, I’m glad this is the #1!
Whatever you think of Kubrick, I’ve had my troubles with him, The Shining is pure genius if you ask me. By far the most satisfying and powerful horror movie ever made. While Clockwork is certainly horrific, I don’t think it’s really fitting into this genre. More of a distopian film, really.
I haven’t heard great things on Event Horizon but have been vaguely interested in it. What’s the verdict on that one from those who’ve seen it?