Do you like scary movies?
From the fangs of Nosferatu to those Texas chainsaws, there's plenty of spine-tingling scares awaiting you on DVD. Check out the titles listed below, a select crop of some of the most terrifying movies of all time. Watch with someone you trust.
(1974, Pioneer, R, only available as a rental) Inspired by the true story of flesh-eating serial killer Ed Gein, this stomach-churning descent into darkness has been sequeled, remade and ripped-off but the original remains an unparalleled frenzy of debauchery and dread. Narrated by John Larroquette, the film follows a group of doomed hippies (including Marilyn Burns) after they take a wrong turn in the backwoods of Texas.
Best Treat: The commentary by Leatherface aka Gunnar Hansen reveals that the temperature inside the house was a hellish 110 degrees.
Q: THE WINGED SERPENT
(1982, Blue Underground, R, $20) Anybody can make movies about werewolves and zombies but only a cracked genius like Larry Cohen would drop a dragon-like Aztec god named Quetzalcoatl atop Manhattan's Chrysler Building. Michael Moriarty stars as an ex-con piano player who has discovered the big bird's hiding place and hopes to make a few bucks off the monster.
Best Treat: Chatty commentary by Cohen, who is also responsible for a handful of other underrated B-movies, including The Stuff, God Told Me To and The Ambulance.
(2001, MGM, R, $15) It begins with a horrifying sequence of a sister and brother (Gina Philips, Justin Long) nearly run off their road by a maniac in a beat-up truck, and gets scarier as it goes along. Don't read the back of the case before watching. Just slip it in and hang on for dear life.
Best Treat: The smart commentary by director Victor Salva, whose other scare machine the new-to-DVD Nature of the Beast with Eric Roberts and Lance Henriksen serves up unforgettable characters, a twisting plot and a shockeroo finale.
THE EXORCIST: THE VERSION YOU'VE NEVER SEEN
(1973, Warner, R, $20) Linda Blair , a head-spinning, hurling horrorshow of a possessed teenager, undergoes a purging at the hands of a conflicted priest (Jason Miller). Still engrossing and gross after all these years.
Best Treat: You can freeze-frame on the Devil's face.
(1982, Universal, R, $25) It was ripped to shreds by critics when it was first released but time has been kind to Paul Schrader's over-the-top remake of the Val Lewton classic. From David Bowie's hypnotic title song to the wild visual effects, this New Orleans-set saga of bestiality, gumbo and killer leopards is sickening fun.
Best Treat: Director Paul Schrader using the commentary to air his off-screen obsession with the movie's star, Nastassia Kinski.
HALLOWEEN: 25TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION
(1978, Anchor Bay, R, $30) For better or worse, John Carpenter's serial-killer-thriller kicked off the slasher movie phenomenon of the '80s. But forget about all of the Jasons and Freddy Kruegers who followed; none of the other nutcases can hold a candle to a rampaging Michael Myers. Released after 15 years in a mental asylum, the deranged psycho has murder on his mind when he breaks into the house where Jamie Lee Curtis happens to be babysitting.
Best Treat: A guided tour of the film's location with producer Debra Hill.
(1976, MGM, R, $15) Directed by Brian DePalma from a novel by Stephen King, this shocker about the revenge of a tormented high-school misfit (Sissy Spacek) is guaranteed to make you jump out of your seat at least once. Among the cast are future stars Amy Irving, John Travolta and Nancy Allen (who went on to marry DePalma).
Best Treat: A dissection of the musical version of Carrie, arguably the biggest flop in Broadway history.
NOSFERATU THE VAMPYR
(1979, Anchor Bay, PG, $20) Werner Herzog's lush homage to F.W. Murnau's 1922 classic stars Klaus Kinski as a scary yet strangely sympathetic bloodsucker. Whether lingering on the arrival of a plague ship, which noses into the frame like evil incarnate, or following the scores of rats that infiltrate the town square, the movie practically pulsates with a sense of impending doom.
Best Treat: Fascinating behind-the-scenes footage of Herzog showing Kinski how to hover menacingly.
The best of Hollywood's fright fest offerings.
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