10 movies to shit your pants to
by Benoît Lelièvre
Last week, I gave you guys a list of ten books that would make you shit your pants in terror, but if you haven’t started yet, that project of soiling your underwear for Halloween might be a little tight. Don’t worry fam, I got you. Below, you’ll find a list of movies that’ll help you do the deed in your Fruit of the Looms in 90 minutes or so. Because it’s always easier to get scared by movies anyway, right? You just have to stare at a screen and let the monsters come at you.
Begotten : Starting off strong with an experimental cult classic about the endless cycle of death and rebirth. How is that scary? Let’s just say E. Elias Mehrige has his own philosophy on what kind of fucked up imagery should illustrate the fatality of existence. The succession of unexplained (and sometimes inexplicable) images will leave you crying and begging for meaning.
Event Horizon : Can you believe this movies originally flopped in theaters? I lost many nights of sleep over that one. What makes Event Horizon so goddamned scary is that it uses the setting (the end of our galaxy) as a way to draw a line between human knowledge and, literally, the greater unknown. And it’s fuckin’ game-on over there. There is never a clear cut explanation for where the Event Horizon spaceship has been, only human rationalization and that’s fucking scary.
The Exorcist 3 : Also known as “the Exorcist movie that’s actually scary” by hardcore horror movies enthusiasts. I mean, it’s another meat-and-potatoes demonic possession movie, but it’s the William Peter Blatty direction that really shines here. He is a master of misdirection. He plays off horror movie conventions to put scary scenes when you have your guard down. Very difficult movie on the nerves.
Gerald’s Game : What’s so great and terrifying about the latest Stephen King’s adaptation is that it’s “just” a smart movie for about 80% of it and then it takes a sharp turn into your worst fucking nightmare. I mean, having a mental breakdown is a poor excuse for crafting terrors, but it’s when you understand Jessie isn’t hallucinating everything that Gerald’s Game becomes guts-churning.
The Invitation : Another one you can find on Netflix and watch right after you’ve finished this listicle. What makes this little independent movie scarier than most is that it theoretically “could” happen to you if you’re unlucky and make shitty enough life choices. I mean, every adult person reading this has been at least once at a dinner where they brought a bottle of wine, laughed at someone’s terrible jokes and killed wildlife on their way in, right? RIGHT?
It Follows : If you’ve seen this movie, don’t spoil it in the comments. I know it has some flaws, but the first half of it is fucking brilliant. This movie understands how to scare people: give the audience an unexplained threat and let them panic for a while, trying to rationalize what they’ve just seen. The explanations they’ll come up with will always be scarier than what you can invent. If the movie didn’t try to wrap everything so neatly at the end, it could’ve been one of the scariest films of all-time.
The Mothman Prophecies: The scariest thing about this movie is that I don’t know why it scares me so much. But it does. The first time I’ve watched it, I’ve slept with the lights on and I was like 22 years old. I think it’s the unknown and the helplessness of the characters I’ve related to. They’re prey to something bigger than than and they can’t do shit, except waiting for it to happen. Not the most rational scares, but if mood and lighting affect you, this movie is way too fucking efficient at it.
Rebirth : One thing that scares me is corporate culture. How companies are trying to alter your reality and become a part of your life. Tyler Durden said “you are not your job” twenty-something years ago, but what exactly is left of that? Rebirth draws a fine fucking line between corporate reality and reality reality and felt WAY too fucking real for me. If you’re searching for meaning in your life or if you ever did at some point, this movie will annihilate you.
Session 9 : The scariest movie of all-time, in my opinion. One of these perfect things that doesn’t need a reboot or a sequel. It’s perfect the way it is and should be left untouched. The premise is simple: Gordon and Phil’s company is getting hired to remove asbestos in an abandoned insane asylum. Only problem is that attracts them to the building using their own weaknesses. Saw it maybe 20-25 times. One of the scariest and smartest movies I’ve ever seen.
DO IT, GORDON.
Zodiac : Widely hailed as David Fincher’s low-key masterpiece, this movie isn’t THAT scary if you’re familiar with the Zodiac killer lore but if you aren’t, don’t read anything and go into it blind. You’ll love the feeling of insecurity and uncertainty that stems from it. David Fincher recreates the Zodiac killer panic with such a creepy attention to detail, it’ll make you breathe in a paper bag. My favorite serial killer movie of all-time. And by far.
Benoit Lelièvre is a critic, author, sports enthusiast and apostle of critical awareness living in Montreal, Canada with his better half Josie and his dog Scarlett. Read him at www.deadendfollies.com