We thought it would be fun to reach out to the horror genre’s biggest and brightest stars – both legends in the industry and up-and-coming superstars – to ask them two quick questions: What’s your biggest fear, and what’s your favorite scary movie?
Some of the results will make you laugh. Some will make you shiver… and some, well some are just too funny for words. Sit back and get ready to hear from the likes of Anne Rice, John Carpenter, Robert Englund, the “Ghost Adventures” crew, cast members from “The Walking Dead,” George A. Romero, and many – MANY – more. Who knows? You may even find some new movies you should check out or at least revisit.
Let the scares begin!
Co-host “The Dead Files”
1) Aliens. Spirits I can handle.
2) It’s a tie between The Changeling and High Tension
Writer – The Toolbox Murders (2004), Schism, Night of the Demons (2009), Mother of Tears
1) I write horror because I fear many things, so I can’t narrow this down to one thing. Thus, four categories
– Biggest horror movie trope fear: woman alone in house harassed by stalker (see SCREAM opening, which reduced me to tears)
– Biggest fear in the animal kingdom: crocodiles/alligators
– Biggest real-world fear: never working again and going broke (This can’t be exploited for horror; no one wants to see “RENT’S DUE: THE SEQUEL”)
– Most random thing that creeps me out: those stupid inflatable “sky dancers” that buck and wave in front of car dealerships. See what I mean?
2) Right at this very second I’ll say The Exorcist, which I just rewatched the other night. It’s so grounded. The characters do everything they can NOT to believe in possession, which makes the situation all the more frightening.
Co-host – “Ghost Adventures”
2) Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Director – Wrestlemaniac; Producer All Hallows’ Eve, Mischief Night
1) Clowns (shameless All Hallows’ Eve plug)
2) Argento’s Deep Red.
Producer – The Puppetmaster franchise, From Beyond, Troll, Ghoulies, Zombies vs. Strippers
1) Running out of dough!
2) The Exorcist.
Director – The Zombie Diaries, The Paranormal Diaries: Clophill
1) Being banned for life from a cinema chain that I have never heard of.
2) The brilliant film that launched M. Night Shyamalan’s career: Jacob’s Ladder.
Paranormal radio talk show legend
1) Having a hole open and being swallowed by the Earth.
2) The Exorcist
Actor – The Terminator, Aliens
2) The Exorcist
Actor – Among Friends; Director – The Night Visitor
1) Actually seeing a ghost and whatever happens afterwards.
2) The Exorcist
Director – The Saw franchise, Repo! The Genetic Opera, The Devil’s Carnival
1) Someone not believing me or refusing to believe me because it makes them uncomfortable. Example: I see a ghost and I run in and tell my wife and she wont allow herself to believe me. It seems small, but it’s a horrible paranoia of mine!
2) My favorite horror film right now is Requiem for a Dream. It’s not horror, I know, but it is horrific, disturbing, and hard to watch. In essence it has the three staples of what makes me love horror. It just unnerves me. If doesn’t have to be Freddy vs Jason to be horror! As for a more traditional horror film… Rosemary’s Baby It’s simplistic yet truly engrossing.
Actor – You’re Next, House of the Devil, A Horrible Way to Die, The Signal
1) That I’m a monster.
2) I’m gonna say Murder Party or Something Wicked This Way Comes. Nothing beats Carpenter though so Halloween. Oh, and Halloween III: Season of the Witch!
Actor – 2001 Maniacs, Drive Angry; Producer – Texas Chainsaw 3D, Eliza Graves
1) I’m claustrophobic ! So small places… The fear of not being able to breathe… That scares the crap out of me!
2) I grew up on Poltergeist… But I love Repulsion! The dead rabbit freaks me out!
Writer – Sinister
1) Home invasion by police error. There’s something terrifying about the authorities busting in, shooting your dogs and hauling you out in cuffs all because some overworked clerk wrote the wrong numbers on a warrant.
2) Peter Medak’s The Changeling starring George C. Scott.
Director – Soulmate; Actor – Centurion, Doomsday
1) I can’t walk past mirrors at night. I don’t know what it is I’m afraid to see in there, but mirrors in the dark freak me out.
2) Any day: David Cronenberg’s The Fly, or The Devil’s Backbone. For a fun party: Re-Animator. For Halloween: Donnie Darko, Satan’s Little Helper or Halloween III: Season of the Witch.
Director – Halloween, The Fog, The Thing, Escape from New York, Prince of Darkness, They Live and many more
1) I’m afraid of everything equally.
2) Almost impossible to pick one. I’d have to go back to when I was young and stupid. Maybe The Thing from Another World.
Creator – “Horror’s Hallowed Grounds”
2) The Shining (1980)
Director – The Phantasm franchise, John Dies at the End, Bubba Hotep
1) Being forced one day to explain the full meaning of Phantasm. Just kidding there of course! Like all homo sapiens, a hundred thousand years of evolution have ingrained in me a fear of being eaten. That’s probably why zombie movies have always been so popular. Those photos of golfers found inside Florida gators just freak me out.
2) Well of course I love great genre movies like Bride of Frankenstein, Godzilla, Invaders from Mars, Exorcist, Suspiria, Texas Chain Saw Massacre, etc… But the one that terrified me as a kid was The Twonky by Arch Oboler. A sentient TV that walks – freaky stuff!
Actor – Re-Animator, From Beyond, You’re Next!
1) My biggest fear in life is to not feel enough. I want to taste every joy, every sorrow deeply. Horror movies are such a thrill ride and provide me with enough tension, scares and relief of such… to allow me to feel emotions on a visceral level. I can scream, run, hide and fight my enemy by watching my favorite hero and final gals over and over again. I enjoy the excitement and aliveness horror movies allow me to feel.
2) The supernatural ones are what really get me. The Haunting, The Exorcist, the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, Candyman, The Fog, The Omen, and Phantasm are just some of the movies which still terrify me to this day.
The feeling of not being able to name or fight your attacker with conventional means sends delightful shocks through my entire system. That feeling is an energy I crave. I enjoy, crying, screaming and running to safety while…acting It’s very cathartic! In the movie From Beyond, my character Katherine McMichaels says: “I want to see more, feel more!” That about sums me up.
It’s hard to choose a favorite horror movie. I usually say The Texas Chain Saw Massacre which is not supernatural but the one that I saw when I was too young and very impressionable and the one that seemed to stay with me the longest after seeing it for the first time. That movie is pure fright beginning to end. Gunnar and I have become friends over the years and it’s funny to be friends with a person who scared you to death as a child! The Shining has a special place in my heart because of the cabin in the woods story with a husband terrifying his family. There is something so base to that premise, it’s relatable to all. The humor and darkness that Nicholson puts into his character never gets old. Rosemary’s Baby is terrific and the camera work is stellar. I love that Guy Woodhouse sacrifices his wife for a successful acting career! Melancholia really hit a nerve with me. But maybe you won’t think that’s a horror movie?
Director – Red Clover, Camera Obscura, numerous short films
1) My biggest fear is the dark. Not that interesting of an answer, I know, but I have a good genesis of why it scares the hell out of me and I’ll share it now. When I was 9, I grew up in the midwest and the winters were (and still are) unbearably harsh.
Two other facts you need to know, going into this story.
One is that our garage was a separate building than our home, one of those old homes where the garage was next to the house. Two, is that my dad would by cartons of soda (the old glass bottles) in bulk and store them in the fridge.
Well, one night, the weatherman came on and said that the temperatures were going well below freezing later that night. Dad called from work (he worked 3rd shift) and told my mom to have me bring in the soda pop bottles from the garage so they didn’t all burst from the cold. Normally, I just went out in the dark, guided by the light of the snow and the moonlight, and brought them in. But on this night, for some reason, I decided to turn the light inside the garage on first. We had a switch inside our house that turned the lights on in the garage.
And that’s when one of the most horrifying moments of my life occurred. You see, car thieves were inside our garage trying to steal our car, and when I threw on the light inside the garage from the safety of the house, our car roared to life in the garage, and the thieves tried to back the car out THROUGH our garage door. The car got stuck in the door framework, and the tires spun and squealed, and eventually the thieves, flustered by the car that was no stuck in the shattered and bent garage door – ran out and away into the darkness.
By the time the police arrived, the thieves were long gone. And I was changed forever.
I would never enter a pitch black room again without turning on a light, because had I not turned the light on in the garage that night before heading out, I would have walked into a dark garage with men who would have done me incredible harm.
And that’s why, as a fully capable grown-ass man at 6’2″ and 250 lbs, I still turn on lights before going into rooms.
2) In context of what I’ve told you, two of my favorite horror films are the 1967 Wait Until Dark and 1971’s See No Evil, both about blind people being terrorized and being at a disadvantage for not being able to see their antagonists.
Director – Sinister, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Beware the Night, Two Eyes Staring
1) The death of my children.
2) A tie between The Exorcist, The Shining, The Changeling, Silence of the Lambs, Suspiria and 28 Days Later.
Director – Dread, Cassadaga, Paymon, Missionary
1) I nearly choked to death a few years ago, I was at lunch with my Dread producer Joe Daley, and something stuck in my throat, and I made the decision to make a full on scene in the restaurant! It’s definitely a decision you only have a short window to make, get up, knock everything off the table, draw attention to yourself to let everyone know you’re dying! Well after a few awkward attempts at the Heimlich maneuver I was saved, but that shit sticks with you.
2) It has to be Peter Medak’s The Changeling. It’s a film that I go back to over and over again. An elevated ghost story that The Ring drew a lot of inspiration from. A scary as hell film hinged on a great performance by George C. Scott.
Author – Exorcizing My Demons; Actor – The Exorcist, Helter Skelter
1) Attics scare me, and being ignored or invisible scares me… that people don’t see me.
2) The scariest movie I have ever seen was the original Night of the Living Dead. I saw it alone in NYC and walked home alone and I thought Zombies were hiding behind every building. After that was Jaws, having grown up near the Long Island Sound I thought there might be sharks everywhere.
Writer – The Saw franchise, The Collector, The Collection; Director – The Collector, The Collection
1) A spider larger than my hand… even most of the spiders smaller than my hand… pretty much a blanket alert on all things with that many eyes and legs scurrying toward me in the night. And the sound… that horrible sound they make with their pincers… rubbing them together like a chef sharpening knives.
2) Suspiria. It is simply perfect. So beautiful. So savage. A genuine article.
However for readers of DC, I imagine this selection is typical. In light of Goblin knocking the walls down at the Egyptian to a sold out crowd, I imagine it is downright familiar. So, I reach further to an image which scared me deeply. Not the film per se, but one moment in a film where my heart stopped…
The film: The Adventures of Pinocchio (1996). Yes, it is a children’s film. At the time I was an usher at a movie theater which played The Adventures of Pinocchio and I had no bearing on the story at all, I just saw the end… And when I walked into the theater all I saw was Martin Landau… sitting on a beach with his eyes beaming… wanting… Landau’s mouth in a half-smile… yearning… pleased… This older man was sitting in the sand watching something… And then they showed what he was watching: Jonathan Taylor Thomas. The young boy danced and splashed in the crest of the water line before his rocking audience of one creepy old man. In the movie, sure, a moment of wonder as Geppetto finally sees the wooden boy come to life… Out of context; a horrifying shout-out to child predators ’round the world. That movie still scares the white shit out of me.
Actor – The A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, Eaten Alive, 2001 Maniacs
1) My biggest fear used to be snakes but now it’s LA rush hour. Or motorcycle flash mobs on the 405.
2) My favorite scary movie is Brian DePalma’s Sisters. I also like The Innocents, May, Rosemary’s Baby, and John Carpenter’s The Thing.
Writer – Jason X, My Bloody Valentine 3D, Drive Angry
1) Losing your love.
Director – Crystal Lake Memories; Co-director – Never Sleep Again; Producer A Haunting in Connecticut
1) A cold toilet seat on a winter morning.
2) John Carpenter’s Halloween.
Actor – Paranormal Activity franchise
1) My biggest fear is being alone- really really alone.
2. My favorite scary movie (today, that is, as it changes sometimes), is Jaws!
Director – Absentia, Oculus
1) Confrontation, actually. I’m terrible at it. That, and large spiders. So I guess having to have a confrontation with a spider would just about do me in.
2) Always an impossible question to answer… there are so many. Today I’ll go with Robert Wise’s The Haunting. It’s so amazing what he does, how that movie jump starts your imagination and turns it against you. Brilliant.
Director – The Dead, The Dead II: India
1) Not having had enough fun in this life before death takes me!
2) The Exorcist – it’s not like I want to watch it all the time, or even ever again but that thing has a raw power that goes beyond the sum of its parts… It’s the boss!!
Actor – Dawn of the Dead, The Devil’s Rejects
1) Man’s ever escalating cruelty to man
2) The Exorcist
Actor – Shriek of the Sasquatch!, Insectula!
1) Porcelain dolls.
2) Child’s Play
Director – The Stand, The Shining (1997), Sleepwalkers, Bag of Bones
1) Nothing scares me more than the Tea Party (and I don’t mean Boston). Ted Cruz is perhaps the most terrifying living dead creature since Freddy Krueger.
2) My favorite scary movie depends entirely on my mood: Classic: The Bride of Frankenstein. Funny: The Howling or An American Werewolf in London. International creature feature: The Host (and most assuredly not the Stephanie Meyer namesake). Dark and brilliant: Dead Ringers. Ghosts: The Devil’s Backbone and The Changeling. And to fill out a week’s worth: Cronenberg’s The Fly.
Director – Autopsy, Night of the Demons (2009), Fertile Ground, Schism
1) The answer to the first one is simple: DYING! Whether it’s disease, cancer, or somebody slipping Ricin in my pudding!
2) Number two is also easy. Rosemary’s Baby. The matter what I write or direct Roman Polanski’s influence always slips in. To me it’s the perfect film. I love the way all the action happens offscreen, And it’s left up to you for your out what’s going on. A perfect movie!
Co-host – “Ghost Adventures”
1) I fear a few things but do them anyway. My biggest fear? I really don’t know. I don’t really fear death so all those fears are more like worries to me and i try to never worry
2) 13 Ghosts, but only because the ghosts just keep getting closer and closer. At the time that got to me. I fear that in my hunts as well… a face right next to me popping up. Scary movies don’t scare me really. Ever since I was a kid I knew they were just movies and that one scene takes like 20 takes. But yeah, 13 Ghosts got me just a few times.
Director – Hatchet, Frozen, Spiral; Actor – “Holliston”
1) As lame as it sounds- I am scared of bugs. Pretty much all of them. Spiders, bees, you name it- I turn in to a 6 year old girl as soon as I come into contact with one.
2) While it’s impossible to pick just one, come Halloween time three of the films in regular rotation in my household are Trick ‘r Treat, Disney’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, and Disney’s animated The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Three “must owns” for any serious Halloween holiday fan.
Co-host – “Ghost Adventures”
1) I have done a lot of crazy things in my life. I really don’t have to many fears, but if I had to choose one it would be being locked in a morgue alive until I pass on to the other side. That would be a fear I wouldn’t want to go through.
2) I am a horror fanatic. Took me along time to figure this out. The Exorcist is my scariest film. This movie personally got to me for the realism that possession can happen and evil does exist.
Actor – The Devil’s Rejects and every other movie ever made
1) My biggest fear is to not be able to show what I can do as an actor, beyond what all of you have seen.
2) My favorite scary movie is the original House of Wax.
Actor – The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers, Texas Chainsaw 3D
1) Closed places.
2) The Haunting (1963)
Actor – The Halloween franchise, the Hatchet franchise
1) I have a fear of fish. I love the ocean and I’m kind of fascinated by them, but if one swims up to me I will freak the fuck out! I was just in Hawaii and I was on a paddle board when a school of fish swam around me and I started to hyperventilate. No joke, you’d have thought it was a shark!
2) My favorite scary movies are Poltergeist and Gremlins. I saw Piranha when I was 4. Joe Dante screwed me up with that one.
Actor – The Hatchet franchise, the Friday the 13th franchise
1) I don’t have any fears.
2) Seeing The Exorcist in a theatre.
Director – Child’s Play, Fright Night (1985); Actor – Hatchet II, Psycho II
1) Not being Loved.
2) Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho
Game Director/Lead Designer – The original God of War, and the Twisted Metal franchise
1) I am terrified of a very human but still ghostly spirit standing in the doorway of my bedroom and just staring at me… like in the first Paranormal Activity when Katie gets out of the bed and just stares at her boyfriend, hovering over him. Sooooo creepy! So yeah, that scares the shit out of me.
2) A Nightmare on Elm Street, the original. Creative, creepy, surreal and just plain fun!
Actor – Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy, Hellboy II, Absentia, John Dies at the End, Quarantine, “Falling Skies,” “The Strain”
1) Losing my independence, physically or financially, becoming dependent on others, and wondering who to trust.
2) The Mummy (Boris Karloff). Oh, and there’s love for you, ya big silly! Editor’s Note: Right back ‘atcha!
Magician; Writer – “Penn & Teller: Bullshit!,” Actor – Night of the Little Dead
1) I guess it’s claustrophobia. I used to be terrified of scary movies and very jumpy, but there were too many smart powerful movies in that genre, so I had to work through that for art. And I worked through claustrophobia too I’ve hidden in little tiny places behind mirror that I couldn’t get out of with Teller, so I could magically appear. I’ve been in a barrel unable to move with swords all around me. I’ve done that for long enough that it would cramp me up and I would get panicked, but I learned to handle it… you know… for art. But, I can’t shake it completely.
Sometimes I have nightmares that I’ve somehow scammed the world into letting me go into space. At a zillion dollars a pound, I’ve convinced them to spend 300 zillion on me, and then I’m on the launch pad and I can’t stand the idea of being in that little space and I ask them to stop and let me out. And I’m so embarrassed and humiliated but I’m more scared of being in the little space in space. You can’t open a window. I don’t like thinking about not being able to stand up or open a window. I went to see a shuttle launch and the night before the launch, in my hotel room, I started thinking about the astronauts being strapped in and I just started flop sweating. I had to go outside in the middle of the night and just breath. Even the world seemed too small for me. I didn’t put on clothes. They seemed too confining. I was just naked outside in the chilly sweaty Central FLA night trying to not feel trapped, trying to get more air in my lungs and there didn’t seem to be enough in the world. And that, officer, is my story. Yeah, closed spaces. Reading “Packing for Mars,” a great book, was a nightmare for me. I would have to get out of bed and go outside when reading that. I would have to go outside, naked, in Vegas, and breath the dry chilly night air and try to hope there was enough. Even looking at the Apollo lunar landing module on exhibit makes me crazy. But, I didn’t strip naked at the Smithsonian. And that, brothers and sisters of the revolution is my biggest shame.
2) George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead — and that would be my answer even if you dropped the adjective. It’s smart and it’s visceral. The purpose of art is to have to intellect and the visceral collide at the highest speed, with the biggest explosion. Think and feel and do it at once. Dawn of the Dead delivers.
Voice of The Cryptkeeper on “Tales From the Crypt”
1) My biggest fear is permanently losing my voice.
2) All of the original Universal Monster Movies, even Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein.
Producer – Freddy vs. Jason, Snakes on a Plane
1) Being buried alive.
2) John Carpenter’s Halloween
1) Author – The Girl Next Door, Off Season, The Lost
1) Alzheimer’s. No question.
2) There are so many great ones. But the one that influenced me most was the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
Actor – The Human Centipede (First Sequence), Why Don’t You Play in Hell?
1) Being eaten alive.
2) The Human Centipede of course!
Actor – Chillerama, Rob Zombie’s Halloween
1) My biggest physical fear is of heights and falling.
2) The Shining
Creator “Carnivale,” Executive producer NBC’s “Dracula”
1) It’s a tie between rats and being devoured alive from the inside out. So I guess my greatest fear is being devoured alive from the inside out by rats.
2) The Shining. “Come play with us, Danny. For ever. And ever. And ever…”
Author – Twisted Loneliness, Sucked Up Phit, Thirsty
1) My biggest fear is spiders. When I was 10 I woke up in the middle of the night to find a spider biting my scrotum. As much as I LOVE things nibbling on my genitals that was a case that freaked me out and made me hate those ugly little fucks.
2) My favorite movie of all time is Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2… for personal reasons. That being said, the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre is the best horror movie of all time. I still get goosebumps when Leatherface slams that metal door shut. So gritty, so real, so perfect.
Actor – The Hellraiser franchise, Lightning Bug
1) I try to live a life devoid of fear.
2) Lambada: The Forbidden Dance.
Director – The Apparition
1) Big country spiders on my face!
2) John Carpenter’s The Thing.
Director – My Bloody Valentine 3D, Drive Angry
1) That the sound in the night that I’m sure is the cat running around jacked up on catnip is in fact not the cat… because the cat’s hiding next to me saying… ‘shit, dude, what the fuck is that?‘ And I’m saying, ‘I thought it was you,’ and the cat’s saying, ‘fuck no, it’s not me… it’s found us… IT HAS FOUND US!‘ And I say, ‘What you mean ‘IT’, what the fuck is IT????’ And then the cat vanishes under the bed whispering, ‘You go check, dude, but tell It I’m not here.‘ Damn cat.
2) A tie between Kaufman’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers, (1978) and Medak’s The Changeling, (1980).
Actor – “Holliston;” Director – Wrong Turn 2, Knight of Badassdom, Chillerama, Everly
2) George A. Romero’s Day of the Dead… for today anyway.
Actor – Michael Myers in Rob Zombie’s Halloween, Halloween II, X-Men
1) Being on the ocean in a sinking boat.
2) Jaws. Needless to say I don’t go on many cruises.
Creator of Hollywood’s The Blood List
1) My biggest fear is drowning.
2) The Shining is the best movie ever!
Director – The Devil’s Chair, Luster, Junkie, Pig, Not Safe for Work
1) My biggest fear is when you get a phone call out of the blue, and the voice on the other end of the line is different to normal… and you can just tell subconsciously somehow from their tone that they are about to tell you that someone close to you has died. Times like that scar you for the rest of your life.
2) I’ll never forget the first time I saw Texas Chain Saw Massacre. It was back in the early 90’s when it was banned in the UK, and my best mate’s older brother had that on a 3rd generation VHS – which made it all the more terrifying somehow. The picture kept dropping out to static, and in parts the image was so degraded that you really couldn’t make out what was happening… but the sound in that movie is such a huge part of what makes it so completely awful and harrowing.
I remember walking home at 2 or 3 in the morning through the totally silent village where I grew up, and ending up running as fast as I could, the line between the movie and my reality blurring for that moment… I haven’t seen a movie in years and years sadly that had that absolute gut reaction to me in terms of absolute terror.
A close second would be when I was 15 and I saw a midnight screening of The Exorcist in a tiny cinema in Lyme Regis (an old school British seaside resort). In the scene where Regan is being prodded around at the hospital – a girl behind me stood up and screamed, and fell down the whole flight of stairs. They had to stop the movie while she was carried out. For a movie that people used to talk about in hushed whispers – that was a hell of an added attraction… The film didn’t let me down, and still doesn’t to this day.
Producer – Former showrunner “The Walking Dead”
1) Outliving my wife and kids.
2) The Exorcist.
Director – Rogue River, Children of Sorrow
1) Losing control of myself. The idea of having a psychological meltdown and committing unspeakable atrocities is one of the scariest things I can possibly think of. This became more terrifying as I became a father. It’s one of those very real things we hear about too often today that scares me to the core and to make matters worse we rarely know why people go crazy. That’s my biggest fear.
2) The Shining
Writer – The Saw franchise, The Collector, The Collection
1) Well, one of my biggest fears came from a movie I watched when young. Did you remember Michael Man’s Manhunter? It was based on Thomas Harris’ novel Red Dragon, which came before The Silence of the Lambs. Anyhow, it begins with this POV shot of the someone entering a house at night under the cover of darkness. The person moves from room to room and then comes to the master bedroom, waking up the couple sleeping by simply shining a flashlight on their face. The movie cuts at that point, but that sequence always stuck in my head… and it’s probably one of my biggest fears, to be woken up in that manner.
2) That’d have to be the original Halloween. In my estimates, it’s probably the “perfect” scary movie. Suggestions of ghost and demons and fantastical monsters don’t particularly scare me. I think they’re fun, but they don’t really scare me. Humans scare me. And Halloween exhibits everything that’s scary about a real human threat.
Director – Big Ass Spider!, The Gravedancers, The Convent
1) Sewer rats.
2) My favorite scary movie is The Exorcist although that documentary about rabid Tiffany fans, I Think We’re Alone Now, scared the crap out of me.
Actor – Leatherface: The Chainsaw Massacre III, Hatchet II
1) Death, because it is the end of earthly delights.
2) Leatherface: The Chainsaw Massacre III, Hatchet II, Smothered (for obvious reasons).
Director – Unidentified; Producer – Hatchet II, Frozen, Chillerama
1) My biggest fear is sharks! Ever since I saw Jaws when I was a very little kid I’ve been afraid to swim in the ocean and when I was little I was scared of the deep end of the pool. Thanks Steven Spielberg!
2) My favorite scary movie evolves with new releases. I think my favorite go to now is Drag Me to Hell. I love how the all the scares are well crafted but still fun. Sam Raimi went back to his roots but definitely upped his game!
Director – I Spit on Your Grave (2010) and I Spit on Your Grave 2
1) Directing the sequel to the remake, that I also directed, of a cult classic film when you know everyone is going to fucking hate it and want rip your head off no mater what just because its a sequel.
2) Total 3 way tie – The Exorcist, Jaws, and Alien.
Actor – Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, The Devil’s Rejects
1) Something bad happening to my children.
2) The Exorcist.
Actor – Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies, Take This Lollipop, Resolution
1) The Devil
2) The Exorcist.
Actor – The Clerks franchise, Brutal Massacre
1) Being burned alive.
2) The Exorcist
Director – The Hills Run Red, Coldwater
1) My biggest fear is death.
2) George A. Romero’s Creepshow is without question my favorite horror movie.
Director – Paranormal Activity; Producer – Sinister, Insidious, Insidious 2
1) The unknown.
2) The Exorcist
1) My biggest fear is waking up to find my nightmares have become a reality.
2) My favorite scary movie is the original version of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting.
Actor – George A. Romero’s Day of the Dead
1) Death. Especially at the hands of pus-fuck zombies!
2) It would be a toss up between Howard Hawks’ The Thing From Another World and Son of Frankenstein.
Actor – Laid to Rest franchise, Madison County
1) To be immobilized. To lose all body movement and sight, but still be able to think and feel.
2) Tomb of the Blind Dead 2 (aka Return of the Evil Dead)
Writer – Final Destination franchise
1) My biggest fear is dying a long, slow death.
2) My favorite movie is the original A Nightmare on Elm Street.
Actor – “The Walking Dead”
1) Dying alone.
2) The Omen (1976)
Author – The Vampire Chronicles, The Mayfair Witches, The Wolf Gift Chronicles
1) I’m scared of the dark and scared of ghosts! Really scared of them. Really, really.
2) Oh, I love so many scary movies. I would say The Others with Nicole Kidman is my top choice scary movie at this time. I mean there are so many subtle terrifying ghost scenes in that film. Love it.
Director – Look, Chillerama, Detroit Rock City
1) Embarrassing as it is to admit, my biggest fear is Pseudodysphagia, better known as the fear of choking to death. There’s nothing romantic about fearing choking to death. It lacks the excitement of Acrophobia (heights), the romance of Nyctophobia (the dark) or the sheer curb appeal of a real in your face, chills up and down your spine kind of fear, like Arachnophobia (spiders). No, Pseudodysphagia is a blue collar fear.
It hits those of us who experience it squarely where we live. Well, technically where we eat. And it could happen at any mundane meal. The idea of abruptly cutting off a good laugh over dinner by inadvertently sucking a hunk broccoli deep into my windpipe, and not being able to breath, or wheeze, or utter any sound of distress of any kind hunches me over in dread. And once it lodges the clock starts ticking. A good Samaritan would have less than four minutes to save me from death or permanent brain injury. The hope, the entirely unreliable hope, is that someone at the dinner party or on the other side of the restaurant is skilled at administering the illusive and wholly under trained for Heimlich maneuver. Of course, part of the fear is imagining a restaurant filled with blank staring faces. Nobody knowing what to do. Waiting for someone else to take control. Or worse, someone who has no discernible idea of how to administer the Heimlich properly and finding myself slowly and painfully losing consciousness while all of my ribs are loudly snapping. I know exactly when the fear took hold. I was probably three. Perhaps four. I was sitting at the foot of my parents’ bed watching my father put on his pilot’s uniform while I ate a banana. I laughed. Before I knew what had happened a bite of banana was down my throat. My breath stopped and panic gripped me. I remember my father’s fingers digging down my windpipe, trying to grab hold of the slippery morsel. Being that this was pre-Heimlich, he had no other field of reference. I don’t remember which direction the banana ultimately went, up and out, or down. All I remember was the subsequent fear when I ate. A fear that still haunts me today.
2) I’m not going to list an obscure Italian cannibal movie or a rarely seen cult creeper that can only be found on bootleg VHS. No, my favorite scary movie happens to be the most successful scary movie in all of cinema history. The Exorcist. And no, not the “new and improved” Director’s Cut released in 2000, the original 1973 cut only. The film doesn’t scare me because it taps into deep religious iconography and fears that had been beaten into me from my youth, far from it. One needn’t be religious to be traumatized by The Exorcist. To me, the reason The Exorcist excels beyond all others is because it’s not presented as a horror film, it’s a gritty 70’s drama about a priest questioning his faith. LIke The French Connection before it, William Friedkin’s directing style is stark, simple and almost documentary in it’s no nonsense presentation. The performances are authentic, the camera work, minimalistic and there’s barely a musical score. Consequently, it feels real. Sure there are some great “boo” moments, and Dick Smith’s “monster” make-up is the stuff of nightmares, but Friedkin’s grounded styleless style makes The Exorcist feel like it could actually happen in your town. In your house. In your soul.
Director – Alien Raiders; Production Designer – The Blair Witch Project
1) Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not really a control freak, but I am a self-control freak – and I think my biggest fear is being out of control of my body and/or my mind. When I hear about things like “trapped-in syndrome” or certain kinds of illness that rob people of their mental capacities… That shit freaks me out. I know it’s supposed to be bittersweet, but books like “Flowers for Algernon” mess with my head just thinking about losing my mind and knowing I’m losing my mind.
And spiders. They scare the living fuck out of me. Little ones, big ones, poisonous ones, ones that keep other bugs at bay. In college I had a pet scorpion and my roommate had a pet tarantula – I could handle the scorpion all day but thinking about Ray’s long-dead tarantula right now makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Tap-dancin’ Jesus do I hate me some spiders.
2) There are so many and I desperately want to blow you away with some obscure gem that nobody’s ever heard of but the choosiest of horror fans, but it’s hard for me not to loop back to John Carpenter’s The Thing. It manages to be grounded in a very real world of very real-feeling people where very surreal things happen, and those surreal things want to eat you. It’s a movie than never takes the stupid shortcut of having people do something stupid just so the plot can be advanced, and the practical FX in that movie especially have always had a lifelike creepiness. I think I’m going to go watch it again right now.
George A. Romero
Director – Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Land of the Dead, Creepshow, Martin, Monkey Shines, The Crazies
1) Tea Party loonie, Ted Cruz.
2) The Thing from Another World
Host “Paranormal Paparazzi”; Paranormal speaker
1) Zombies, man, they creep me out. Relentless hordes of the resurrected dead is scary enough, but the idea that my loved ones could come back and try to eat me — unless I destroy their brain — just really eats at me (ahem). Outside of zombies, the closet thing to a “real” fear I have is cockroaches. I grew up in Florida, where nothing ever dies, it just gets bigger. Cockroaches are disgusting, flying, swarming creatures that can survive an apocalypse. Come to think of it, they are kind of like the zombies of the animal kingdom. Give me spiders, snakes, sharks or anything else traditionally freaky — just please keep me away from the cockroaches.
2) I saw Night of the Living Dead when I was too young and I think that legitimately did some damage to me. But 1980’s The Children seems to have stuck in my head more. The low-budget horror about atomic zombie kids with black fingernails who kill adults through hugs makes me never want to procreate. Not surprisingly the Stephen King-penned “They’re Creeping Up On You” chapter of Creepshow still disturbs me. While Romero messed with me with NOTLD,” it’s this cockroach horror story that continues to churn my stomach. I nearly lose it when the buggers crawl out of Upton’s mouth. As a runner-up, the scene in Jaws when Ben Gardner’s corpse floats up and startles Hooper makes me jump every time.
Director – The Blair Witch Project, Altered, Exisits, Seventh Moon, Lovely Molly
1) Other than something bad happening to my kids – being buried alive is my biggest fear.
2) The Exorcist. It just freaks me out so badly.
FX Legend; Actor – Dawn of the Dead, Land of the Dead, From Dusk Till Dawn, Machete Kills
1) Crazy People!
2) The Exorcist.
Actor – Night of the Living Dead; Our favorite Ghoul Next Door
1) I have so many fears it’s hard to know which one to list. I think the main one is a fear of losing my mind/getting dementia.
2) Favorite scary movie of all time: Jaws
Director – Dark House; Writer – Tales From the Hood
1) The suffering that often proceeds death.
2) Rosemary’s Baby.
Actor – Nightmare Man, Night of the Demons (2009)
1) Heights, and being kidnapped and forced to live in some freak’s basement.
2) The original A Nightmare on Elm Street and also The Conjuring. Special nod to the campy Motel Hell and Attack the Block.
Author and Splatterpunk icon
1) Drowning in bullshit. (But any shit would be pretty bad.)
2) My scariest favorite movie is Jacob’s Ladder. My favorite scary movie is like a hundred-film-long human centipede of cinema greatness that I could spend all day enumerating. Let’s call it DAWN OF ROSEMARY’S EXORCIST MEETS DEAD ALIVE INHUMAN RESOURCES FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, ASKING WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN TWIN PEAKS, CREEPSHOW STYLE, WITH A SIDE OF SANTA SANGRE AND AN ORIGINAL TEXAS CHAINSAW PSYCHO OF THE LIVING DEAD MESSIAH OF EVIL, STARRING DR. PHIBES, SHAUN, MAY, AND THE LORDS OF SALEM, WITH SPECIAL GUEST HENRY, PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL SHINING VIDEODROME FLY BROOD THING ALIEN PHANTOM OF THE CARRIE-DICE (NOW WITH MARTYRS, TARGETS, AND A TWITCH OF THE HOWLING BLACK SABBATH PRINCE OF DARKNESS!)
Actor – Paranormal Activity
1) I don’t want to tell you my biggest fear, because a voodoo witchdoctor might use that information to control my brain. That shit is real!
2) Paranormal Activity
Producer – Feast, Pulse, The Prophecy
1) Public speaking.
2) Little Miss Sunshine. Those little beauty queens scared the shit out of me.
Director – Grace, Dark Summer
1) Down time. And maybe dying alone, or something boring and existential like that.
2) Jacob’s Ladder. But this is a difficult question…. Aliens, Alien, The Thing, The Shining… Impossible to decide.
Co-director – American Mary, See No Evil 2
1) My biggest fear is Sylv dying. I would go dark Willow if that happened.
2) John Carpenter’s The Thing and American Psycho.
Co-director – American Mary, See No Evil 2
1) I’m afraid of commitment (truthfully).
2) American Psycho and Antichrist.
Director – The Last Exorcism
1) I always thought it would suck to do arts and crafts and accidentally get one eyeball super-glued to an anvil and the other to a helium balloon. It sounds crazy but it’s true.
2) Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho always terrified the shit out of me.
Director – Witchboard, Night of the Demons, Brain Dead
1) My in-laws. Ha! (Although Uncle Creepy is a close second) Editor’s Note: It’s always friggin’ me.
2) The Exorcist
Actor – “The Walking Dead,” The Devil’s Rejects
1) Getting curb stomped like in American History X.
2) Rosemary’s Baby
Former Fangoria editor
1) Fatal, lingering illness
2) Psycho (1960)
Actor – The Candyman franchise, the Hatchet franchise, the Final Destination franchise, Night of the Living Dead (1990)
1) When I was a kid deathly afraid of earthworms.
2) Rosemary’s Baby.
Former editor – Rue Morgue Magazine; Director – The Captured Bird
1) As a mother, that one’s easy: birth control failure.
2) There are many. But I always defer to John Carpenter’s The Thing when forced to choose. A near perfect film that’s just as effective today as it was the day it was released (when it was panned by critics who later ate their words). A Lovecraftian masterpiece.
Actor – “The Walking Dead,” The Exorcist III
1) Getting eaten by walkers.
2) The Thing From Another World
Director – A Horrible Way to Die, You’re Next, V/H/S/, V/H/S/2
1) Being hyper aware of a slow painful death.
2) It’s a tie between The Shining and Alien.
Actor – Shelly in Friday the 13th Part III in 3D
1) That I will go through life without making sweet love to Uncle Creepy. Editor’s Note: See what I mean?
2) George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead
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