Some of the best horror writers pick their five favorite scary films.
Carnival of Souls
This low-budget 1960s classic is one of my all-time favorites. Regardless of its miniscule budget, it delivers real terror and dread. The black and white cinematography and psychological overtones remain with viewers until long, long after the final frame.
The Haunting (the original, 1963 Robert Wise production)
The wonderful thing about The Haunting is that it's so unsettling, yet all the scariness stems from subtle, unseen horror. There are no shrieking violins, no gore, no monsters, yet the film is nightmarish and real.
I know it's in-your-face and over-the-top, but I can watch this film again and again. See the director's cut which has a scene in it where Linda Blair comes down the steps, twisted into some obscene shape, like a spider. The subliminal moments, too, are truly terrifying.
The granddaddy of all slasher flicks. I remember seeing this in the movie theater when it first came out and it scared the hell out of me; I'd never seen anything like it at the time. I was looking over my shoulder all the way home.
This Liv Tyler vehicle about a couple being stalked and terrorized in their vacation home is nightmare-inducing. The titular strangers are masked sadists, intent on scaring, and eventually killing, the couple. And the scariest thing of all? We never know why.