It’s been said that endings are best. But we prefer beginnings. The opening credits to be exact. No matter the vehicle — whether it’s throwing us into the action, then bam! hitting us with the title screen half an hour later, the way Martin Scorsese’s The Departed does; filtering in the credits as the opening scene unfolds, as in Touch of Evil; or going with an entirely separate treatment, like Kuntzel + Deygas’s Catch Me if You Can, Tom Kan’s Enter the Void, or Aaron Becker’s The Conjuring (which we couldn’t embed but you can and must watch here) — we have a driving fascination with the art of the opener. So let’s tour some favorites. Since it’s October, we’ll stick with the witching genre. And there’s no better place to start than Vertigo. Vertigo Hypnotic and graphic, Saul Bass’s sequence, set to Bernard Herrmann’s dizzying tunes, uses a woman’s close-up to heighten the audience’s senses. It’s a classic cinematic riddle that sets the tone for a landmark enigmatic tale. Seven There are directors we’ve come to expect a mesmerizing title sequence from. Think Jason Reitman (Juno, Up in the Air), Wes Anderson (Moonrise Kingdom), and David Fincher. Fight Club and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo make the grade, but Seven, designed by Kyle Cooper, is a ten. Funny Games Michael Haneke’s English remake of his own Austrian film begins the same way as the original: with a nice drive. Until it runs into some heavy metal (portending trouble). Give it a spin; you’ll see what we mean. The Shining Watch Room 237, the conspiracy doc about Stanley Kubrick’s horror classic, and you’ll never see The Shining the same way again. Including the intro. Supposedly, the howling sounds are those of the dead, you can see the faint outline of Kubrick’s face in the clouds, and the movement of the camera precisely mirrors that of the closing scene (which it does; we tried it). Have fun. Opera Dario Argento’s 1987 thriller starts off with an operatic rendition of Macbeth. From the reflection of the raven’s eye to the first-person POV, you get a bird’s-eye view of the master of horror at work. American Horror Story: Coven Then there’s television. Film title sequences work with one general theme, while TV, being a vehicle for series, works with several. What to do? Keep it random. We see this in Nucky’s walk on the beach in Boardwalk Empire and Tony’s drive to Jersey in The Sopranos. But American Horror Story takes the cake. And Coven just unveiled its sequence, which has somehow achieved an effect creepier than those of Asylum and Murder House put together. Frankenweenie Let’s not forget about animation. Tim Burton knows a thing or two about making the dead come alive (Beetlejuice, Sweeney Todd), but check out the heart he (and a ton of graphic designers, of course) brings to this 3-D stop-motion opener. For more entertainment, flip through our theater must-sees, the costumes of Rush, or the fall TV lineup.