"The Silence of the Lambs"
A timeless thriller allocates its story around young ostracized FBI agent Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) and the high functioning-but-detached cannibal Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) during her hunt for serial killer Buffalo Bill. What makes this film thrilling is not the fact that the villain is lurking around a dark corner; it's the fact that he is restrained, behind bars, well-mannered and fiercely intelligent. Starling must use "Hannibal the Cannibal" in order to track down a serial killer only Lecter knows how to find. Perhaps the most enthralling aspect of the film is the relationship between Lecter and Starling, as they have startling similarities — both are damaged and misunderstood, but from totally different worlds. A racing heartbeat underlies perfectly with a complex and involving story.
John Carpenter's 1979 horror film is bottom line petrifying. The unmoving, insensitive white mask of a killer armed only with a knife and an air of immortality has viewers holding their breath. Young Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) is being stalked by a psychopath who has been institutionalized for years and is now beginning his killing spree with his former doctor (Donald Pleasence) desperately trying to capture him. There are no cheap tricks, and at least they were original at the time. It is a pure scare that is hard to come by in horror films today, but "Halloween" masterfully uses the camera as a tool of fear heightened by Carpenter's score.
Diving into the religious paranormal, "The Exorcist" has the ability to strike the fear of God, and more importantly, the devil into a person. Ellen Burstyn plays the mother of a girl (Linda Blair) clearly tortured and disturbed by something medical science has no answer for; her loss of hope reflects that. A drab, dimly lit bedroom of a once-normal girl becomes the scene for happenings beyond comprehension. A demon prowls not just the soul of the innocent victim, but the entire room where priests use divine intervention as well as other feeble attempts to save her. The performances are hauntingly human and the special effects bar none.
"A Nightmare on Elm Street"
"A Nightmare on Elm Street" invades a place where many feel the safest: their beds. There exists one villain that can make a Christmas striped sweater and a brown fedora scary, and that is none other than the severely burned killer, twisted on vengeance, Freddy Krueger (Jack Englund). Freddy has the unique ability to enter dreams and whatever damage he manages to inflict transcends into the real world, terribly unnerving any peace of mind. Wes Craven provides perhaps one of the best examples of a campy terrorized teenager flick a horror enthusiast can hope for.
Countless people have an irrational fear of clowns, but that is probably because of Stephen King's childhood killing "It." The master of literary horror adapted his novel into a TV mini-series in 1990, and the scene with It looking up from the sewer remarking how everything floats down there is likely to give anyone chills. It dawns a playful puff of red hair complimented by yellowed, pointed teeth, easily capable of inspiring loss of sleep. He tracks down his prey by using their known phobias and his clown faÃ§ade to his advantage. A killer clown and a late night are a dangerous concoction this October.