What makes Stephen King movies so scary is how normal their characters can seem at first. They’re writers and doctors, moms and dads, whose lives suddenly take a twisted turn which transforms the familiar into something freakishly frightening. This month, SundanceTV is airing some of King’s creepiest — THE SHINING, CARRIE, CHRISTINE, and CHILDREN OF THE CORN. Below is a top ten list of the horror master’s best.
Just in time for Halloween, the ten most terrifying movies on the Sundance Channel run a gauntlet of horrific styles. For traditional slasher-movie thrills, we’ve got the original FRIDAY THE 13TH (and, inevitably, a slasher sequel with FRIDAY THE 13TH PART II). Others are horror classics too distinctive to be called traditional; David Cronenberg and Roman Polanski rarely seem more at home than when they channel their own personal obsessions into the horror genre with movies like ROSEMARY’S BABY, THE FLY, and SPIDER. Lars Von Trier’s ANTICHRIST fits into this pattern, too; it bears little resemblance to its genre brethren and is unmistakably the work of Von Trier, yet it is a horror picture, of sorts, filtered through the director’s bracing, often lyrical misery. Of course, there are other ways to get scared without even going into horror; Danny Boyle’s THE BEACH offers a scary vision of paradise corrupted, and, come to think of it, so does David Lynch’s BLUE VELVET, in its own way. If you want to freak out, there’s no shortage of options.