Most Haunting/Nightmarish Films (mid-revision)

  1. Inland Empire - Lynch (2006)
  2. Eraserhead - Lynch (1977)
  3. The Exorcist - Freidkin (1977)
  4. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre - Hooper (1974)

  5. Those are probably the top 4. After that, the list order is chronological (for the time being):

  6. Repulsion - Polanski (1965)
  7. Cries & Whispers - Bergman (1972)
  8. The Shining - Kubrick (1980)
  9. Possession - Zulawski (1981)
  10. Blue Velvet - Lynch (1986)
  11. The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover - Greenaway (1989)
  12. The Kingdom - Von Trier (1994)
  13. Lost Highway - Lynch (1997)
  14. Pi - Aronofsky (1998)

Texas Chainsaw Massacre will definitely be on here, if I ever get back to finishing the damn film!

Cremaster Cycle!

Only seen one Cremaster film (#3 I think), but not all the way through. Not sure what to think of it--someday I'll probably get back around to finishing it.

Vampyr is on my "to add" list with about 30 others.

Never seen Seconds

Seconds is by the guy who did the original Manchurian Candidate. It's also one of the things that caused Brian Wilson's mental breakdown in 1966. It is pretty fucked up.

I just finished Riget, and can see why it is second. :\

It was extremely good, and reminded me of condensed Twin Peaks at times with how it mixed horror/documentary/comedy/drama. They are also opposites, as The Kingdom feels very personal, while TP is quite distanced and detached.

I am curious as to why it's so high on your overall film list?

Ah, The Kingdom... The camera is a "blood-soaked" POV of a horde of ghosts darting through the hallways and rooms of the hospital as well as hovering above and encircling it. The "Greek chorus" of the dishwashers, the bleeding walls and erupting streets, the haunted ambulance, the amazingly absurdist cast of characters with Stig Helmer taking the cake as one of the most outlandish in all of cinema, Dr Bond (am I remembering that name right?) and his obsession with hepatomas and dead bodies, Operation Morning Breeze, the cult rituals, the virtually braindead dying little girl, the elder woman who can hear strange things and speak to the dead, the terrifying nightmare memory sequences from Mona, the "ghost baby"...etc... the film is a maniacal, absurdist hospital drama - perhaps the most blackly comic film in all of cinema - it is uproariously funny while also quite disturbing/horrific/haunting with the end being a series of climaxes that leave on the ultimate, shocking cliffhanger. On top of its themes, its editing is absolutely astonishing, in that even though it is 5 hours and presented in a shaky, handheld pseudo-doc style it pulls off the herculean feat of being both "out-of-control" yet every shot serving a real purpose. The more closely one watches it the more nuanced it becomes and the more intricately composed it becomes. It's all very awe-inspiring.

Well, I'll be jumping into Riget II soon enough. And it was Bondo!

Also, the end was completely messed up. As I said on my blog, I yelled out 'what the f!ck' at the end.

Check out Michael Haneke's The Seventh Continent. Watching it was one of the most uncomfortable experiences I've ever had. It was incredible. Your best bet is to evade anything that gives away even the most trivial detail of the plot. I don't know if it fits exactly under the list title, but Sleepaway Camp also came to mind.

Good call on Possession, Inland Empire and Repulsion.

I totally agree. I've seen it (7.3/10 Greatest Films Extended List), but I could use another watch. Indeed, it should be on here. I'll add it when I update this list, which I'll do soon.

Sleepaway Camp: remarkable call! I watched that movie as a teenager...the last scene...I was just like, "oh my Gaaaaaaaa."

How did The Shining not end up on this list?

It definitely would be in the top 5 if I updated it, which I'll do soon.

Have you seen Pasolini's Salo? I think a little part of my soul died after seeing that. Not the best film of his films to start with really. Takashi Miike's Audition had me shaking by the end. Todd Haynes' Safe is probably the film that most haunts me (and it doesn't contain any violence). The film that i've found to be the most nightmarish is on your list - The Texas Chain Saw Massacre*.

*Sorry for being pedantic but that's the correct title. The director spelled it wrong for the copyright.

Thanks, I haven't had much, if any, desire to see Salo. If I get convinced that it is truly artistically redeeming of its content (as in, intellectually/emotionally rewarding and not just a "novelty act"), then I may give it a go. Haven't seen Safe or Audition, but I've been interested in both of them before.

Thanks for the correct title -- I'll fix it :)

Note: this list needs to be updated...

I would never recommend Salo but i wouldn't dimiss it as schlock. It's Pasolini's vision of fascism and the complete control it can give some people. He must of felt unable to depict it in any other way. Probably a film better read about than seen.

The Birds!

Maybe... :) I find most Hitchcock films more emotionally/psychologically revealing, "perverse games" between the director and his actors/audience than being particularly haunting/nightmarish -- albeit that in itself is, to a degree, "haunting/nightmarish" ... (and it doesn't mean many of them don't have their moments. The Birds, as you mentioned, being a very good example).

But really, I need to revise this list. Inland Empire and Eraserhead are probably 1 and 2 (though I do need to rewatch Inland Empire), but after that, it's a bit of a free for all.