In honor of the upcoming DVD release of this year's stalker-thriller Prom Night, we've collected a top ten list of the best stalker films in Hollywood history. So lock the doors, turn off all the lights, and whatever you do, don't answer the phone...
10. Sleeping with the Enemy (dir. Joseph Ruben, 1991)
9. Single White Female (dir. Barbet Schroeder, 1992)
Bridget Fonda is the object of Jennifer Jason Leigh’s affections in this creepy roommate thriller that serves as living proof that even some of the sweetest girls are stone-cold crazy. As Leigh’s character progresses from jealousy and creepy impersonations to outright murder, studio apartment leases skyrocket.
8. The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (dir. Curtis Hanson, 1992)
Rebecca De Mornay is woman who blames a family for her miscarriage and her husband’s death, and in return poses as a nanny to infiltrate their lives and get revenge. The film was dismissed by most as a cheap knock-off of Fatal Attraction, but it deserves better – De Mornay shines as a murderous homewrecker in this one.
7. One Hour Photo (dir. Mark Romanek, 2002)
What makes this stalker flick super creepy is the fact that bad guy Robin Williams finally plays totally against type, shocking the viewer into devoted belief in his lonely photo-shop employee who grows ever more jealous of one particular family’s seemingly perfect lifestyle (as he sees it through their pictures). Pushed over the edge after he is accused of theft, the four-eyed photobug decides to tear the family apart.
6. Fear (dir. James Foley, 1996)
Back when Mark Walhberg was still known as Marky Mark of “Marky Mark & the Funky Bunch,” his take on the possessive psychopath David offered the first real glimpse of his acting chops. He starred alongside love interest Reese Witherspoon, a teen also headed for greater roles on the silver screen, in this dark tale of obsession and betrayal.
5. The Fan (dir. Tony Scott, 1996)
This psychological thriller starring Robert DeNiro and Wesley Snipes explores the obsessive dedication of certain sports fanatics – in this case, baseball. De Niro’s character grows increasingly disturbed throughout the film, as his favorite player’s performance spirals downward and his own life follows suit. Once people start dying, however, the game appears to be over. Or is it just getting started?
4. Cape Fear (dir. Martin Scorsese, 1991)
This Martin Scorsese remake of a 1962 film of the same name centers on the fantastic Robert De Niro as Max Candy, a jaded ex-con out for vengeance against Sam Bowden (played by Nick Nolte), his former lawyer. Max terrorizes Bowden’s family in the quiet resort town of New Essex, North Carolina, until an epic thunderstorm-showdown between the two men put an end to things once and for all.
3. Taxi Driver (dir. Martin Scorsese, 1976)
Robert De Niro is Travis Bickle, an unstable, lonely Vietnam vet with insomnia who becomes a taxi driver to pass the nights. His rejection at the hands of a love interest (played by Cybill Shepherd) drives him to violent thoughts and an immersion into an intense physical training regimen to prepare for a war on the moral decay of society. He ends up attempting to assassinate a senator and kill himself as well, with disappointing results – for him, not the moviegoer. The film is commonly praised as the finest work of both De Niro’s and Scorsese’s careers.
2. Scream (dir. Wes Craven, 1996)
The masked-killer film that revitalized the stalker/slasher genre in the mid-nineties was a massive commercial success and featured several teen idols of the time, including Neve Campbell, Drew Barrymore, Courtney Cox and Rose McGowan. Plot twists and murder motives abound, and audiences were captivated enough to come back for three sequels.
1. Fatal Attraction (dir. Adrian Lyne, 1987)
Glenn Close personifies crazy in this jilted-lover thriller about a married man (Michael Douglas) who has a weekend affair with a woman who refuses to allow it to end. Her obsession escalates from stalking to kidnapping and attempted murder before a final showdown with Douglas’ wife. If there was ever a convincing case in film for men to stay faithful, this is it.