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Brian – 

5. Silence of the Lambs:
Jonathan Demme crafted a frightening masterpiece with this film.  Anthony Hopkins is absolutely unforgettable as Hannibal Lecter in a role that defined his career and earned him an Oscar.  But, it’s Jodie Foster, also in an oscar winning performance, that is the glue that holds our attention and provides the greatest scares.  We walk the movie side by side with her and because she’s a rookie FBI agent, the audience and Clarice Starling are discovering the most macabre and disgusting behavior that humans are capable of for the first time together.  It will leave chills up your spine! See it!
4.  The Texas Chainsaw Massacre:
A super low budget gem from director Tobe Hooper that is still just as terrifying as it was 35 years ago.  After a slow start, this film turns into a 1 hour adrenaline rush where the lead heroine is put through a torture machine with the most disgusting “family” in cinema history.  Years later, its documentary style and raw energy have yet to be recreated.
3.  The Shining:
I’m not going to shy away from saying this.  Stanley Kubrick is the greatest director in the history of cinema.  I say that not only because the craft of his films are absolutely spellbinding but the diversity of his work.  He worked within almost every genre and his turn at horror is a masterpiece.  The tension through Kubrick’s use of sound is amazing.  Heartbeats, droning music, and harsh dialogue raise the adrenaline level to a very satisfying conclusion.
2.  Jaws:
I saw this movie when I was 8 years old and to this day I will not swim in natural bodies of water.  I don’t care if it’s a pond in North Dakota, I’m not going into anything that I don’t know what’s in there with me.  Never mind that the acting is brilliant, the direction superb, and the pace perfect, this film will frighten you to whits end when you realize you’re not alone in the water.
1.  The Exorcist:
I’m 35 years old now and this film still scares me.  It’s a deep, dark, and disturbing tale.  I suppose my fear is drawn from Friedkin’s amazing ability to treat this as completely believable.  This IS what pure evil must be like.  The demon’s psychological attacks are far more powerful than any gory film could ever dream to be.  And, for that, it is my pick as the most frightening film of all time.
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