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 films from the silent era battle it out today with the classic film Nosferatu taking on The Headless Horseman.

Nosferatu

In this highly influential silent horror film, the mysterious Count Orlok (Max Schreck) summons Thomas Hutter (Gustav von Wangenheim) to his remote Transylvanian castle in the mountains. The eerie Orlok seeks to buy a house near Hutter and his wife, Ellen (Greta Schroeder). After Orlok reveals his vampire nature, Hutter struggles to escape the castle, knowing that Ellen is in grave danger. Meanwhile Orlok’s servant, Knock (Alexander Granach), prepares for his master to arrive at his new home.

The terms of a lawsuit by Bram Stoker’s widow called for every known print and negative of the film to be destroyed. The film resurfaced from second generation reels in other countries.

Pros

Max Schreck is perfect. Terrifying to look at and engaging.

Great imagery.

Cons

The movie is a slog to watch even at an hour and a half.

Not scary.

Watching Orlok lug around his own coffin full of dirt is objectively funny.

The Headless Horseman

The village of Sleepy Hollow is getting ready to greet the new schoolteacher, Ichabod Crane.

The film was shot on land owned by the Rockfellers.

Pros

It was an interesting thematic choice to make Crane the bad guy in the film.

A couple of interesting special effects for the time period.

Cons

The movie is a dry, lifeless bore.

Every character is insufferable.

Every setup is a meandering bore.

I will be the first to admit that what was scary in the past might not hold up to modern sensibilities, but out of both of these snooze fests, only one had something that could possibly be considerd scary and that was…..

Nosferatu

Do you agree or disagree? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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