Horror Heavyweights Share Their Biggest Fears and Favorite Scary Movies!
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