Top 10 Scariest Movies without the Gore

Top 10 scariest movies in chronological order by Sharon Eberson:

“PSYCHO” (1960) — Alfred Hitchcock was a master of building suspense, but he didn’t shy from blood-and-guts horror, with “Psycho” a prime example of both. It helps that the movie is in black and white so that there’s still much left to the imagination — such as the shower-curtain shadow of knife-wielding Anthony Perkins behind unsuspecting Janet Leigh, perhaps the most iconic scary movie moment ever. The late Leigh said she never liked showers after that, and who could blame her?

“WAIT UNTIL DARK” (1967) — Audrey Hepburn is a blind woman terrorized in her apartment by, would you believe, Alan Arkin (winner of Best Supporting Actor last year for the comedy “Little Miss Sunshine”). Amid a haunting score by Henry Mancini, Arkin’s back-from-the-dead lunge is a heart-stopping moment.

“ROSEMARY’S BABY” (1968) — John Cassavetes is in on it from the start, leading a pregnant Mia Farrow down the path to the harrowing discovery about the child she is carrying. Her rape by Satan or approaching the baby carriage in anticipation of what’s inside it … take your pick.

“JAWS” (1975) — Bravo picked Steven Spielberg’s “Jaws” as No. 1 in its “100 Scariest Movie Moments,” and we were thinking decapitation by shark and munched-on swimmers aren’t what we had in mind. But the first sight of the great white shark did contribute to less-crowded beaches for the rest of the summer.

“CARRIE” (1976) — On a prom night gone terribly wrong, when a misfit girl gets her telekinetic juices flowing, Sissy Spacek’s Carrie unleashes hell on John Travolta and the rest of her classmates. It’s the end, though, when a hand suddenly reaches out from her grave, that had audiences setting high-jump records.

“THE OMEN” (1976) — Almost as awful as children in peril are perilous children, such as little Damien the Antichrist. Almost as bad as what he does to his mother (a wide-eyed Lee Remick) is the appearance of Billie Whitelaw’s Mrs. Baylock in Remick’s hospital room to finish what Damien started. (Note: Mia Farrow played Mrs. Baylock in the 2006 remake.)

“ALIEN” (1979) — Bet you thought we were going to go with the alien bursting through actor John Hurt’s chest (a scene voted No. 2 on Bravo cable network’s “100 Scariest Movie Moments”). Nope. We pick the moment when Jones the cat’s screech breaks a silence filled with the expectation of confronting an alien, startling even the steadfast Ripley.

“THE SHINING” (1980) — Jack Nicholson terrorizing his family in a secluded hotel, as written by Stephen King? Priceless. Post-Gazette horror maven Allan Walton’s favorite scares: Jack’s Johnny approaching his wife (Shelley Duvall) from behind as she reads his “all work and no play” prose, or the twin girls.

“MISERY” (1990) — Oscar winner Kathy Bates standing over a horrified James Caan with a sledgehammer. Enough said.

“THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT” (1999) — Three student filmmakers in the deep, dark woods tracking a scary legend … hand-held camera angles, spooky lighting, declarations of terror … it’s down to two students and the end (of the movie) is near … one is facing into the corner, the camera is yanked and goes dead …


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