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It’s the season of the witch ... so be nice to your local witch. They’re good people, and they can help in all kinds of sticky circumstances, such as an annual blog post that you feel obliged to produce yet have no creative thoughts about.
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WEB 3110 blog sh cape fear
An ominous scene from Martin Scorsese's remake of Cape Fear. It's one of the best suspense/thrillers I've ever seen.

It’s the season of the witch ... so be nice to your local witch. They’re good people, and they can help in all kinds of sticky circumstances, such as an annual blog post that you feel obliged to produce yet have no creative thoughts about. Sometimes they even bring chocolate to the office.

I typically write about horror movies every year on Oct. 31, for no particular reason. Perhaps you’ve read a few of those very long essays. Perhaps not.

This time, I wish to be briefer and take a little side step on the subject. Instead of pure horrors, I will tell you about some of my favourite …

SUSPENSE THRILLERS! 

These are movies that don’t necessarily have the amount of gore, jump-scares or outright violence that you would otherwise find in horrors. What they do have, however, is tension. Pantloads of tension.

Some hallmarks of great suspense thrillers are heightened moods of oppressiveness or anxiousness regarding the outcome. The writing, acting and directing (including cinematography, score and other elements) must all work together to depict characters in the middle of some pressing circumstances.

They do have some notes of high drama, but usually they are categorized as S/T because of the influence of the supernatural or the threat of great personal harm to the main characters or the importance of the protagonist’s quest to solve a mystery or achieve freedom from a relentless pursuer, or something of the like. The stakes are just higher. It’s enough to make the viewer hold their breath and sit on the literal edge of their seats.

Some examples of sub-genres to this category are whodunits and spooky stories, but the gamut runs long for different types depending on whether the film features creatures or action or technology or psychology or what have you.

Here are some of my faves, not in really any particular order.

  • Get Out
  • Jaws
  • Seven
  • Cape Fear (1991)
  • The Shining
  • Psycho (1960)
  • Signs
  • The Silence of the Lambs
  • Panic Room
  • Zodiac
  • Body Double
  • Glengarry Glen Ross
  • Stir of Echoes
  • The Name of the Rose
  • No Country for Old Men
  • What Lies Beneath
  • Freaks
  • The Terminator
  • The Cell
  • Alien
  • Kiss the Girls
  • Dead Again
  • Poltergeist
  • Single White Female
  • The Hand that Rocks the Cradle
  • The Babadook

Directors to pay attention to

  • Alfred Hitchcock
  • Night Shyamalan
  • David Fincher
  • Brian de Palma

 



Scott Hayes

About the Author: Scott Hayes

Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.
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