The Washington Times - October 31, 2008, 11:32AM

When the folks at Moviefone decided to compile a list of the 31 scariest movie moments of all time, they had no qualms digging deep into the vaults.

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“Some of those go all the way back to when Count Orlok first looks at the camera in ‘Nosferatu.’ Some of that stuff still holds up,” says Moviefone Editor-in-Chief Scott Robson of the 1922 fright fest.

The list includes expected favorites like “The Sixth Sense,” “The Birds” and “Psycho.” Coming in at number one — “The Shining.”

“We considered more than one ‘Shining’ moment for the list,” Robson says. Ultimately, Moviefone chose the image of those creepy twins in the hotel hallway.

Horror movies might get short shrift come Oscar time, but they effectively tap into the audience’s primal fears.

“There’s something about horror films that, when they’re done really well, affect you unlike any other movie can,” he says.

One non-horror movies made the cut.

“The flying monkeys from ‘The Wizard of Oz’ … generations of film goers are scared by them,” he says.

While recent fright flicks like “The Descent” (2006) made the list at no. 17, Robson thinks the task of making a great horror film is getting tougher all the time. Today’s audiences have become jaded to the tricks of the trade.

“The music builds to a crescendo and out pops the ghoul … it doesn’t have the impact it might have had years ago,” he says.

And some movies make the mistake of thinking the more blood gets spilled, the more the audience will shriek in terror. That’s hardly a fair equation, he says. Just consider the “Saw” franchise, a profitable film series which releases a new installment each Halloween. None of the “Saw” features made the Moviefone list.

“We looked at those films. But there’s nothing scary about them. They’re gory and gross,” he says.

(Photo: A scene from “The Descent” made Moviefone’s list of 31 allt-time scary film moments.)