1. The Thing (1982)

Memorable quote: “Somebody in this camp ain’t what he appears to be. ”

Scare factor: What makes this the top fright fest? Could it be the fear of complete isolation in the face of disaster? Or the invisible enemy in sub-zero temperatures? How about the terrifying feeling of not knowing which of your supposed friends and colleagues are who they say they are, and not a shape-shifting alien? Yeah, all those things.

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2. Jaws (1975)

Memorable quote: “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

Scare factor: Be honest, every time you hear news reports of great white sightings off the coast of Cape Cod, you think of "Jaws" (which was actually filmed on Martha’s Vineyard). Due to this movie, millions of people think twice anytime they set foot in the ocean. If you have ever freaked out when something has brushed against your leg in the water, thank Steven Spielberg.

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3. The Exorcist (1973)

Memorable quote: “The power of Christ compels you! The power of Christ compels you!”

Scare factor: No child should ever be that foul-mouthed and that convincingly scary in a movie. Linda Blair’s seminal performance is almost enough to make you believe in demons (that is, if you didn’t believe in them already). If you haven’t watched this in a while, do yourself a favor and check out the director’s cut, then go ahead and try sleeping afterward. Good luck with that.

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4. Poltergeist (1982)

Memorable quote: “They’re heeeeeere.”

Scare factor: From white-noise on the TV to empty in-ground pools to ancient Indian burial grounds, the scares are almost too numerous to count. This movie would make anyone want to know as much as humanly possible about the history of a house before buying it. It’s the ultimate haunted house movie.

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5. Ju-on (2002)

Memorable quote: “Eeeeeeeooooooooooow.”

Scare factor: There is perhaps no movie in history with creepier children than this classic Japanese haunted house/ghost story. The one that stands there, frozen-faced, mouth-agape, while meowing will keep you up at night. Add in a creepy low-key soundtrack and some legitimately striking visual scares and you have a recipe for instant nightmares. Oh, and don’t forget the single scariest scene involving a staircase in cinematic history.

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6. Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Memorable quote: “They’re coming to get you, Barbara! They’re coming for you! Look, there’s one of them now!”

Scare factor: Not only did George Romero’s movie essentially spawn a whole genre with this zombie classic, it also set the standard for the barricade-yourself-in-the-house survival tactic. Admit it: You have assessed your dwelling’s defensive strengths and weaknesses because of this film.

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7. Halloween (1978)

Memorable quote: “I realized what was living behind that boy’s eyes was purely and simply evil.”

Scare factor: It isn’t just that Michael Myers is a homicidal maniac. He’s a homicidal maniac who wears a mask that carries an expression of pure blankness, as if killing is boring. This film set the standard for all supernatural serial killer films to follow. And it stars a very young Jamie Lee Curtis.

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8. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

Memorable quote: “Hit ’er, grandpa, hit ’er.”

Scare factor: Frankly, there’s not much to not be scared about in this movie. Even before the bodies hit the meat hooks, the movie is simply unnerving. Once Leatherface makes his entrance, get ready for a full hour of psychological terror. If you ever complained about your in-laws, watch this movie and thank your lucky stars.

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9. Alien (1979)

Memorable quote: “I admire its purity. A survivor, unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality.”

Scare factor: Maybe it’s just a little indigestion. Yeah, that must be it. Oh wait, what’s that bulge violently erupting from my torso? If serving as the incubator for a killing machine from outer space doesn’t scare you, then just wait until it grows up, and hides in the shadows of your spaceship, and picks off your crew one-by-one. Luckily, you have a cyborg on your side. Right?

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10. The Ring (2002)

Memorable quote: “Before you die, you see the ring…”

Scare factor: Beautifully ominous settings, a creepy soundtrack, and a good, if somewhat gimmicky, plot device to drive the scares. "The Ring" — based upon the Japanese film "Ringu" — did successfully carve its own path, and let disturbing visuals and an impending sense of doom ride to good effect. You may indeed be scared to death.

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11. The Shining (1980)

Memorable quote (three-way tie):
“Heeeeeeere’s Johnny!”
“Redrum! Redrum!”
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

Scare factor: From your little boy seeing horrifying visions to your well-adjusted husband slowly descending into madness and becoming a homicidal maniac, there’s plenty to frighten you in this classic, another Stephen King-inspired thriller.

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12. Rec (2007)

Memorable quote: “The police won’t let us leave and are giving us no explanations.”

Scare factor: This instant classic has some serious grip-your-armrests and hold-your-breath scares in it (and it’s better than its American remake, "Quarantine"). If you live in a multi-unit apartment building, you’ll be planning your escape routes after watching this film. And go ahead, try maintaining complete silence in the grip of total panic. It’s not so easy, is it?

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13. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

Memorable quote: “I keep seeing these people, all recognizing each other. Something is passing between them all, some secret. It’s a conspiracy, I know it.”

Scare factor: Honestly, the wide-open mouths, extended fingers, and high-pitched screeching should be enough to keep you locked in your house for at least a week.

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14. Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Memorable quote: “It puts the lotion on its skin.”

Scare factor: An incredibly disturbing serial killer is on the loose, and the FBI seeks the assistance of an even more disturbing — yet somehow very charming — serial killer in a maximum security prison. Unlike most horror movies, the conversations here are scarier than the gore. But fear not, the gore doesn’t disappoint.

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15. Psycho (1960)

Memorable quote: “She just goes a little mad sometimes. We all go a little mad sometimes.”

Scare factor: There’s a reason women are wary of guys with mommy issues. And that reason is this movie. Thank you, Norman Bates. Janet Leigh’s iconic shower scene has become imprinted on the American psyche due to this Alfred Hitchcock classic.

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What’s your favorite scary movie? or Do you prefer the Originals over the Remakes?

– AL

Al Grant Realty Group – Re/Max Allegiance

Office Phone: 202-580-6607 – Cell Phone: 202-256-8592




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The finest compliment I can receive is a referral from a friend, client or colleague. If you know of someone thinking of purchasing or selling a home, I would appreciate an introduction. Be assured, I will extend to them my highest degree of service and professionalism.


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