I often ponder what makes a movie scary, usually after watching a horror movie that did nothing but bore me, or gross me out. I've said before that one movie that totally spooked me, and had me sleeping with the lights on afterward, was "The Blair Witch Project." A lot of people would disagree with me on that, and can certainly see their point. What's so scary about a bunch of annoying slackers getting lost in the woods and yelling at each other? I think, for me, it was the totally low-budget filmmaking that elevated the scare factor for me. There was nothing Hollywood about the movie; no gloss. That removed a barrier between the movie and me, and just made everything seem so...present.
I feel the same way about the original "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre." It is different from "Blair Witch" as it is telling its horror story in a standard narrative way; it's not the product of supposed found footage. But because the film was made on such a low budget, it has that missing Hollywood element again, that makes everything on screen seem scuzzy, and cheap, and...real. So, I'll put it up on the list of movies that genuinely scared me, although it's lost its scariness after several viewings. "Blair Witch," on the other hand, still has me dreading looking into dark corners after I watch it.
Check out the original "Texas Chainsaw" on IFC 6pm and 10pm.