Ready to have the skeleton scared out of your body this Friday in As Above/ So Below? Everything we’ve seen from the Universal and Legendary’s Parisian Catacombs thriller makes it look scarier and scarier. Couple that with the fact that they actually shot it in the actual Catacombs beneath the streets of Paris alongside six million dead bodies and you have a recipe for cowering in your seat. To celebrate our impending adrenaline spikes, we caught up with the film’s directors, John Erick and Drew Dowdle, and had them scare up a list of their top 10 favorite horror films. We’ve rounded up numbers ten through six below, but if you want to see numbers five through one, you’ll have to watch the video above.
10) Silence of the Lambs
John Erick Dowdle: Yeah, so, you know, Silence of the Lambs, I mean, it’s one of the greatest character studies especially of serial killers and and yet [Jonathan] Demme did such a great job of bringing the surreal. Like you see the – the cell he’s in. It’s all so weird. They really – it’s a very creatively shot and designed movie and yet it all feels really natural somehow.
Drew Dowdle: The investigative element too is just so well crafted. It’s just one of those really razor sharp investigations.
JED: Jaws is the most shocking rated-PG movie in the world. It’s so scary. You know, it was such a great step in horror cinema in the idea of not seeing whats scary. When you actually see Jaws, I mean, it just looks ridiculous, but under the water it’s so upsetting to know there’s something around that you can’t see where it is. You almost just have to wait to feel its effects.
DD: Yeah, what not to see. And Jaws, I have to say, is probably the most affecting. I mean, more people have been affected by the movie Jaws than any other film, any other horror film ever made, I would imagine. Everyone who’s seen Jaws has had trouble swimming in the ocean, trouble swimming in swimming pools. I mean it really ruined the water for so many millions of people.
JED: Psycho is one of those movies I remember we saw pretty young, and I remember seeing that with my mom. That was her scariest movie growing up, and so it was almost a Dowdle coming of age moment when you’d sit down with mom and finally watch Psycho.
And there’s something in that the twist at the end, if you don’t know its coming, its so bizarre and upsetting and especially in my ten year old mind like, “WHAT, he’s, you know – what the hell has just happened?!” It really packs a punch man, it’s really great.
DD: We’re huge Hitchcock fans and he’s made so many great suspense films, and this is one that was true horror to its core. Like John said, that reveal at the end, when you’re a kid and you see that, it breaks your brain and it’s such a lasting impression. And the shower scene is the shower scene, but that reveal is just so powerful.
JED: And killing the lead like ten minutes into the movie – it was such a ballsy movie, and Bernard Herman’s score is just so weird and cool. I mean its really a masterful
DD: Really an innovative film, to say the least.
7) Rosemary’s Baby
JED: And then we have Rosemary’s Baby. Again there’s a question of identity and a question of just trying to figure out what’s going on in her surroundings. And Ruth Gordon ,who you know from Harold and Maud, one of my favorite non-horror films, to see Ruth Gordon be so evil is really delightful.
Some of those surreal moments where you know, like, “This isn’t a dream! I’m not really dreaming!” You’re seeing all this weird shit – like naked old people. You know, really anything with naked old people, I’ll sign up for.
DD: The whole idea that something evil could be growing inside of you is just such an innate human fear in some way that it’s so effective in that way. And Mia Farrow is just so terrific that you get the sense that she might be losing her mind. Like John said, it’s a question about identity and a question of perspective throughout.
JED: This movie I saw in the theater in New York when I was in film school. And, literally, my hands were shaking by the end of the movie. If you actually sit and you don’t pause the DVD to go get chips and stuff – if you watch it start to finish, it’s so upsetting. The black and white is so unnerving and the pacing, the way that Polanski builds the tension of this movie, and Catherine Deneuve being crazy and alone…it’s really a masterpiece of surreal weirdo imagery.
DD: As Above/ So Below definitely makes homage to this. We definitely used that as a touchstone for As Above.
As Above/ So Below opens nationwide on Friday, August 29. What are your favorite horror films? Share them with us in the comments below.