[dropcap size=small]I[/dropcap]t isn’t easy for the medium of cinema to give goosebumps to its viewers but some movies do just that. Here is Crizic’s ode to such hair-raising, spine-chilling and shockingly great movies in hollywood. Here are the 10 greatest thrillers of all time in Hollywood history.
Even if the action of Spielberg’s hit wasn’t terrifying — and it is — it would hardly matter, since John Williams composed the single most hauntingly suspenseful music cue in modern history, a slow, menacing build to utter mayhem that plays like a musical realization of the entire suspense movie ethos.
9. Rosemary’s baby
One of the few credible arguments against Hitchcock’s surprise/suspense theory is Roman Polanski’s 1968 classic, which keeps its bombshell from the audience until the last possible moment, spending its first two hours building up an atmosphere of unexplained fear and dread, leaving us uncertain of what, exactly, is wrong with Rosemary’s firstborn — until we find out. Oh boy, do we find out.
8. Les Diaboliques
It’s often described as the greatest Hitchcock film Hitchcock never made, but Henri-Georges Clouzot’s masterful flesh-creeper about a headmaster whose wife and mistress plot to kill him has a lip-smacking nastiness all of its own.
7. The Usual Suspects
‘The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.’ With this showy Baudelaire quotation, Bryan Singer and Christopher McQuarrie announced their intentions from the off. Beginning as a fairly standard thriller – the aftermath of a massacre sees the sole survivor, Verbal Kint (Kevin Spacey) interrogated by police – the film slowly acquires mythic dimensions as a legendary crime lord, Keyser Soze, becomes the pivotal figure in flashbacks of a heist planned by a gang of ne’er-do-wells, including Keaton (Gabriel Byrne) and McManus (Stephen Baldwin). Finally, one of cinema’s most iconic twists reveals what, precisely, has been going on.
6. Rear Window
Had Rear Window been made by a director like Truffaut, it would have ended up being a meditation on voyeurism, the role of the cinema and that of the auteur behind it, and the participation of the audience in the relationship. As it was made by Hitchcock, it is all these things, but also a gripping and exciting thriller revolving around wheelchair-bound photographer LB Jeffries (James Stewart) and his suspicions that his neighbour Lars Thorwald (Raymond Burr) has murdered his wife. Hitchcock moves from light social comedy to edge-of-seat suspense with alacrity, and is helped by a positively luminous Grace Kelly as Stewart’s girlfriend.
5. The Third Man
Dominated by Orson Welles’ extended cameo as the charming Harry Lime, believed dead in post-war Vienna but returning to befuddle his old friend Holly Martins (Josepth Cotten), Carol Reed’s noir thriller is one of the great British suspense films. Debate constantly rages as to how much of Welles’ performance was either written or directed by him – including the famous ‘cuckoo clock’ monologue – but this speculation is a disservice to Graham Greene’s excellent, cynical script. Beautifully capturing the atmosphere of a world where nothing seems to count any more, the film is helped immeasurably by Anton Karas’ zither score.
4. The Sixth Sense
Filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan’s breakthrough movie was released in 1999, when spoiler-happy movie websites were dishing every detail they could find about upcoming flicks. But somehow, some way The Sixth Sense made its way to the big screen unspoiled and blew audiences away with a surprise twist ending that no one saw coming. The film, starring Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment, was an unexpected blockbuster that benefited from positive word of mouth that spread like wildfire… but the ending largely remained unspoiled.
3. The Silence of the Lambs
Jonathan Demme’s iconic Oscar winner ends, memorably, with a return to Wait Until Dark territory, as Jodie Foster’s cub FBI agent finds herself alone with a serial killer in his basement lair — and at a distinct disadvantage in the dark, which he is able to puncture with his night-vision goggles. Your film editor saw this one under the best possible circumstances: in a darkened theater on opening night, totally unaware that its climax would serve as nightmare fuel for years to come.
Psycho, the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock film starring Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh, has changed the way anyone who’s ever seen it feels about being the in shower. Believe it or not, when Psycho first came out, audiences weren’t completely into it. For Hitchcock, who had previously crafted films like North by Northwest, Vertigo and Rear Window, the film was a significant departure from his established formula.
Widely regarded as director Alfred Hitchcock’s best, Vertigo is a complex, psychological thriller starring James Stewart and Kim Novak. Proudly sitting atop of the much celebrated Sight and Sound Poll (in 2012), this masterpiece is a movie filled with suspense that unfolds in an extraordinarily haunting climax. Vertigo had a strange ride to its now firm standing as one of the greatest movies of all time. Upon its initial release, the film broke even financially, and many critics were less than enamored with it. But as time passed more people began to adore it. The always great Jimmy Stewart is a retired San Francisco detective who has an extreme fear of heights and becomes obsessed with the woman he’s been hired to follow. Vertigo is also noteworthy for being the first film to use the dolly zoom, which pretty much gives one a feeling of vertigo by itself.