The Halloween season is here and in the run up to the big day I decided to
examine what is considered “scary” in the world of horror movies.

Going with Rotten Tomatoes list of the 31 scariest movies, I decided to
compare each film with another horror film from the same year to determine which one I found scarier.

Two more classics duke it out in today’s showdown with the Alfred Hitchcock classic Psycho taking on the British alien thriller Village Of The Damned.

Psycho

Phoenix secretary Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), on the lam after stealing $40,000 from her employer in order to run away with her boyfriend, Sam Loomis (John Gavin), is overcome by exhaustion during a heavy rainstorm. Traveling on the back roads to avoid the police, she stops for the night at the ramshackle Bates Motel and meets the polite but highly strung proprietor Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), a young man with an interest in taxidermy and a difficult relationship with his mother.

Janet Leigh, who stars as Marion, famously stated that after seeing the film and how vulnerable women are in the shower, she decided to only take baths.

Pros

Brilliant cinematography. Every scene ramps up and holds the tension of the audience.

The dialogue is great and draws you in as the Norman and Marion uncomfortably talk to each other.

Anthony Perkins performance is amazing.

Janet Leigh gives Marion depth and humanity throughout the short time she’s on screen.

There are moments throughout the film where you have fear for Norman getting caught.

Bernard Herrmann’s iconic score.

A fantastic ending filled with terror and tension.

Cons

Honestly, I can’t think of any.

Village of the Damned

One day the peaceful village of Midwich is cast into a mysterious sleep for several hours, but with no obvious consequences, until soon all the women of child-bearing age turn out to be pregnant. Their children are all born at the same time, and grow quickly into very spooky young people, with strange white-blonde hair and eerie eyes.

Based on the novel ‘The Midwich Cuckoos’ which refers to the fact that cuckoo birds often lay their eggs in the nests of other birds who then raise the chicks as their own. The cuckoo chicks also kill their nestmates in competition for food and attention.

Pros

The kids are delightfully scary.

The effects are great, especially the eye effects.

The story is engaging as the audience tries to determine what the children’s motivations truly are.

A great ending that is a slow burn to a satisfying resolution.

Cons

Letting these kids just grow up in the town is a stretch.

After giving birth to these children, the mother’s are sidelined throughout the rest of the film and barely acknowledged.

While the children are scary, the adults are annoyingly inept.

While both films are entertaining and have great things going for them, there is only one that is almost flawless from start to finish. Only one that continues to scare and delight to this day. That film is….

Psycho

Which film is your favorite and why? Let me know in the comments below.

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