New York City: home to a gritty, groundbreaking, independent film. In contrast to Los Angeles, New York offers filmmakers more artistic freedom with their work. Here you are not bound by the pressure of the big Hollywood studios. and while budgets can be lower, the results of financial constraints are often worthwhile. Lots of hip, young directors take their inspiration from this exciting, fast-paced city and use it as a backdrop for some of the most nightmarish and scary films ever made.
10 nightmares lurk right behind the story
10 Requiem for a dream
Director Darrren Aronofsky’s 2000 psychological drama doesn’t hold back from portraying the devastating effects of addiction. With standout performances by Jennifer Conelley, Jared Leto, Ellen Burnstyn and Marlon Wayans, this modern day fable follows four addicts who live on Coney Island and whose lives get out of hand as they will stop at nothing to solve their problems. This film is an investigation into how strongly drugs and other stimuli affect those who fall victim to their attraction.
The late, great Roger Ebert described Aronofsky’s ability to portray the various mental states of his addicts as “fascinating”. Commenting on the film’s “worthless” NC-17 rating, he said, “Anyone under 17 thinking of experimenting with drugs wants to see this film that pays off like a travelogue from Hell.”
9 Rosemary’s baby
This psychological horror film from 1968, which was groundbreaking for its time and written and directed by Roman Polanski, is a haunting chronicle of a woman’s pregnancy. Rosemary (Mia Farrow) and Guy (John Cassavetes) are a young couple who just moved into their first apartment in New York City. Rosemary will soon become pregnant. Alone and locked in her apartment, she becomes increasingly skeptical about an older couple who live next door. As Rosemary’s paranoia grows, she becomes convinced that they are part of an evil cult that wants to take away their baby and use it in their rituals.
Polanski’s script is based on Ira Levin’s 1967 novel of the same name. In 1980 a “quiet, thoughtful and insecure” Levin said of his childhood horror inspirations: “I can’t remember being scared at all. Now I’m scared, “says a Vanity Fair article that describes Rosemary’s baby as” the cursed hit movie of all time. “
8th The devil’s lawyer
Keanu Reeves plays Kevin Lomax in this 1997 supernatural thriller / horror film directed by Taylor Hackford. Kevin is a defense attorney who lives in Florida with his wife, Mary Ann (Charlize Theron). The couple move to New York City after Kevin is offered a high-paying position in a law firm led by the charismatic John Milton (Al Pacino).
While Kevin is busy with work and indulging in the many benefits of the job, Mary Ann begins experiencing frightening visions and unraveling. As his wife’s mental health deteriorates, Kevin realizes that his boss can actually be Satan himself.
Trivia: Donald Trump’s private apartment in Trump Tower with gold decor and views of Central Park was used as the home of Kevin’s client Alex Cullen (Craig T. Nelson).
7th Disastrous attraction
Adrian Lyne’s legendary thriller from 1987 is a story of love, lust and obsession. Dan (Michael Douglas) is a happily married Manhattan lawyer who lives and works in New York while raising a daughter with his wife, Beth (Anne Archer). Everything changes when Dan meets Alex (Glenn Close), an editor for a publishing company. The two have a casual weekend affair while Dan’s wife and daughter are out of town. However, Alex wants more than just an affair and manipulates Dan to spend more time with her.
When his family returns, Dan no longer spends time with Alex, who is obsessed with him. Dan makes it clear that he doesn’t want to continue the matter, but Alex refuses to accept it. She becomes more and more aggressive and starts chasing him and molesting his family. As their behavior escalates, Dan realizes that his top priority is no longer hiding the matter but rather protecting his family, whose safety is now at risk.
Producer Sherry Lansing wanted Barbara Hershey to play Alex, but Hershey wasn’t available. Melanie Griffith, Jessica Lange, Michelle Pfeiffer, Susan Sarandon and Debra Winger were also on Lansing’s wish list.
6th Dressed to kill
This 1980 neo noir slasher film was written and directed by Brian De Palma. New York prostitute Liz (Nancy Allen) witnesses the brutal murder of housewife Kate (Angie Dickinson). While the police suspect Liz as a murderer, the real murderer tries to kill Liz as she is the only witness to the crime. Kate’s son is the only one who believes Liz, and the two team up to reveal the truth about his mother’s murder.
For De Palma from New York, it was “pretty great” to shoot the film in the city. “It’s amazing to be shooting all over town and in different locations. Of course they did the inside of the museum in Philadelphia, but the movie was shot in New York, that was really cool. “
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5 American psycho
Christian Bale is Patrick Bateman in this 2000 psychological horror film, co-written and directed by Mary Harron. Patrick is a handsome, young New York investment banker by day. His life revolves around maintaining his looks and social status, and endlessly striving to be the most respected of his co-workers. At night, however, Patrick indulges in his uncanny desire to torture, kill, and sometimes even consume any helpless victim who may be unlucky enough to cross his path.
What begins as a portrait of the everyday life of a narcissistic serial killer turns out to be a psychological whirlwind as reality begins to blur and Patrick tries to cover up his tracks that may even have been left behind or not in the first place.
Since the studio thought Bale might not be famous enough to play Bateman, it looked like American Psycho would become an Oliver Stone film starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Activist Gloria Steinem allegedly kept DiCaprio off the project to protect its Titanic appeal among young female fans. In an odd twist, five months after American Psycho was published, Steinem married David Bale and became Bale’s stepmother!
4th Eyes wide closed
Eyes Wide Shut from 1999 was the last film ever made by Stanley Kubric, one of the most famous directors in film history. This erotic psychological mystery thriller tells the story of the New York couple Bill (Tom Cruise) and Alice (Nicole Kidman) Hartford. Bill is a doctor and Alice is a home mother to her daughter. One night after smoking some weed, Alice tells Bill that she once had sexual fantasies about a man who was so strong that she left her family.
This revelation triggers something in Bill who previously claimed he was never the jealous guy. Bill is tormented by this information and visualizes the scenario in his head. He embarks on a nightly adventure through New York City, where he attends a masked secret society party. The next day, after returning to his normal life, he discovers that a woman he met at the party was found dead.
“Life goes on,” says one character cynically. “It always does until it doesn’t.” Kubrick died four days after the film was completed.
3 Black Swan
Darren Aronofsky’s iconic 2010 psychological horror film is an uninterrupted roller coaster ride that never fades. Every aspect of this film shows impeccable writing, filmmaking, and performing across the board. Natalie Portman plays Nina Sayers, a dancer for a New York ballet company who still lives at home with her arrogant mother, played by Barbara Hershey. Innocent and naive Nina is thrilled when the company’s Artistic Director, Tomas (Vincent Cassel), selects her to play the coveted role of Swan Queen in the upcoming production of Swan Lake.
The role of the swan queen, however, requires the dancer to portray both the virgin white swan, which Nina perfectly embodies, and the evil, sensual black swan, for which fellow dancer Lily (Mila Kunis) is better suited. As a rivalry develops between the dancers, the competition and pressure to not only hold onto her role, but perform perfectly, drives Nina insane on a downward spiral of self-destruction.
Aronofsky had considered incorporating ballet into the plot of The Wrestler to create the story of a love affair between a wrestler (the epitome of “low art”) and a ballerina (the epitome of “high art”). But the director realized that wrestling and ballet were too big for just one movie.
2 Jacobs ladder
This 1990 psychological horror film was directed by Adrian Lyne. War veteran Jacob (Tim Robbins) wakes up on a New York subway after returning home from Vietnam. He now works as a postal worker and lives in Brooklyn with his girlfriend.
Jacob mourns his old life and the death of his child while experiencing vivid flashbacks and hallucinations. His world begins to fall apart around him as people and things turn into the most disturbing and terrifying images.
Lyne considered several big stars to lead them. Richard Gere, Dustin Hoffman, and Al Pacino were all interested in the role. Don Johnson and Mickey Rourke each refused.
1 taxi driver
Robert De Niro plays Travis Bickle in this psychological drama from 1976, directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Paul Shrader. Travis is a loner and insomniac who works as a New York cab driver at night. After meeting a campaign worker named Betsy (Cybill Shepherd), Travis makes a plan to kill a presidential candidate. Travis narrowly escapes a campaign event to which he brought a gun, then turns his attention to a 12-year-old prostitute named Iris (Jodie Foster) whom he must rescue.
Fun Fact: Since Foster was only 12 when filming, she wasn’t allowed to participate in the most explicit scenes. Her old sister Connie, who was 19 years old, agreed to be Jodie’s body double.
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