(es+u+cs+t) squared +s+ (tl+f)/2 + (a+dr+fs)/n+ sin x - 1.
es = escalating music, u = the unknown, cs = chase scenes, t = sense of being trapped,s = shock, tl = true life,f = fantasy,a = character is alone,dr = in the dark,fs = film setting,n = number of people,sin = blood and guts,1 = stereotypes
The winner: Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of The Shining. I never thought of it as the scariest movie, but yes, it did have it's moments.
In more movie news, I see that the latest installment of the Bourne mockery is set for release in the UK. I firmly believe that movies can never do a book justice. In recent years, this firmly held belief has taken a bit of a pounding, admittedly; what with LotR and even the Harry Potter franchise. But for the few successes, I can point to a string of disasters. Take the Bourne series, I fell right into Hollywood's trap and wasted time actually watching the first installment; expecting something like this rendition, what a disappointment that was.. or even some Clancy adaptations.
They make films with the same name as popular thrillers. But in the end, people (like myself) who watch it for the nostalgia value generally go away thinking they've been cheated. When the plot deviates from the book, I sniff and think "ha, they got that wrong" or "how weak is that?". Rarely do good books become good movies while staying true to the original plotline, and rarer still are movies which deviate from the plot and still remain worth watching. "The Shining" and possibly "Jurassic Park" are two movies which got it right. Lots more don't.