Over the last few months Andrew and I have been watching a lot of scary movies – horror, suspense, thriller, etc. I’m not sure what started it. Somehow I borrowed Poltergeist from my cousin Spencer and it just went from there.
We had so much fun getting all kinds of different movies from Netflix and from the library. I think Andrew wants ‘Scary Movie October’ to be a regular tradition for us.
Today, in honor of Halloween, let me present you with my reviews/impressions of the scary movies we have been watching. Pick something good to scare yourself with tonight.
*Andrew says ‘The Ring’ is the scariest movie he has ever seen. Too scary to re-watch this month.
P.S. At the end of the reviews are some helpful hints.
P.P.S. I’ve lost count of how many of these are Stephen King’s
P.P.P.S. The movie titles are linked to Netflix for easy viewing.
Beware of spoilers (nothing major).
(in alphabetical order)
28 Days Later – Zombie movie. One of Andrew’s favorites. Not really supernatural – people become zombies because they have been ‘infected with rage.’ Not actually back from the dead. …. So good. Frightening.
Arachnophobia – Kind of reminds me of the birds in theme/subject. Easy to be scared if you actually do have a problem with spiders. Jeff Daniels is great in it. As usual. Great scary movie for kids because it is kind of campy and not too scary, but easy to get into.
The Birds – Seriously, who knew birds could be so scary. Alfred Hitchcock, apparently. The first 3rd of the movie or so I was … skeptical. I should know better than to doubt Hitchcock. I love all the movies of his I have seen. Which is a lot. But by the climax of the movie I am honestly afraid. True classic. You MUST put this on your list.
Blair Witch Project – Actually scary. My first time seeing it. Makes me never want to go camping. I think you all know the premise. Allegedly the actual footage found from a group of 20-somethings trying to make a documentary. The girl annoyed the heck out of me. But only because I used to know people exactly like her. But the movie itself did really well with the thrills, and the fear of the unknown. And the end? Love it.
The ‘Burbs – Ok. Not really a scary movie. But talked to a couple people who were pretty scared of it when they were kids. … light, funny, Tom Hanks, but still hints of scary, are-they-or-aren’t-they-murderer neighbors.
Carrie – Andrew LOVED this movie. Pretty frightening, actually. And not too gory. A girl with telekinetic powers takes revenge. That’s all I’ll say. Really good though.
Children of the Corn – Yikes. I’m never having kids. This would have been a really great movie if it wasn’t for the random cheesy lines here and there. Still good, though. Kids kill all the adults because of religious fervor. The kid who plays Malachi is in the burbs. That’s where you’ve seen him before.
Dawn of the Dead – Fantastic zombie movie. Must-see.
Deliverance - So good. Thriller. Not scary, or horror movie per se. But so so good. Really …. Psyche-disturbing. To me, because it is not about the supernatural or extreme psychopaths but actually has realistic ‘bad guys’ it is that much more frightening.
Friday the 13th – I can’t believe Kevin Bacon is in this … in tiny little shorts. Not too gory. Not especially suspenseful. Not one of the best, but not a terrible movie to watch on Halloween. Totally unexpected ending.
Halloween – I was surprisingly impressed with the cinematography of this movie. Andrew says it was one of the first slasher movies. Jamie Lee Curtis’ debut. Some of the camera angles were just brilliant. I don’t know if I can watch any of the sequels, but this one was great. One of my faves of the movies we watched.
The Hills Have Eyes – We saw the newer version. Oh. My. Word. So disturbing. Not only does it have the traditional slasher movie rules, but it also has very emotional, poignant part. I am never ever driving through the desert again. Apparently this story was inspired by the true story of this family in Scotland. I have to say, though, triumphant music kind of ruins the suspense of the is-this-the-final fight.
Hostel – I couldn’t watch all of this. The filmmaker didn’t really seem interested in scaring me, but just grossing me out. There wasn’t really any suspense or lead up, or really much of an indication anything was wrong …. Until you see a decapitated head. I gave up at that point. Andrew kind of liked it.
House of 1000 Corpses – By Rob Zombie. Crazy. Totally bonkers murdering movie. Really good, though. A little bit similar (plot-wise) to Texas Chainsaw Massacre. A lot of the same movie rules.
House of Wax – The Paris Hilton version. I couldn’t watch this all the way through. The first 20-30 min or so was kind of annoying because the screenwriter tried to give the audience a backstory, so we care about the characters. I just found it annoying. And the gore was so gory I couldn’t watch any more. Adheres to many of the rules, though.
Jurassic Park – Not a horror movie, but a lot of the same principles as slasher movies. Being hunted, suspense, etc. It’s still so good even after all these years.
Notorious > – Alfred Hitchcock thriller. Excellent as they all are. About spies. No blood.
Pet Sematary – dreamt about it the night after we watched it. I mean, it’s from 1989, so it’s not like the effects were especially scary … but there is a lot of blood in the movie. And apparently the imagery stayed with me enough to make me dream about it. If you don’t know the plot, it’s kind of a zombie movie. Kind of. It’s based on a Stephen King book, so I can see how the book might be pretty frightening.
Poltergeist (1, 2, 3) –#1 is the best. If you are a movie fan you should see it just to see it. #2 I didn’t get past ½ hour or so. Too ridiculous. I actually saw #3 when I was in 1st or 2nd grade. At the home of a babysitter. And it was vivid enough to me then that I still remembered many parts of it. The scary part comes from the other-worldliness in mirrors and reflections. Which is always scary.
Psycho – Utter brilliance. Hitchcock, of course. The villain is actually based on a few different real-life serial killers. Which is truly frightening. There is a reason this movie is a classic. I don’t really want to give details. But on Netflix we gave it 5 stars. [Apparently there is a remake. And sequels. Can’t really tell you about those.]
Rosemary’s Baby – Less scary than just sad. Poor Rosemary. Everyone against her. But Ruth Gordon is in it and she is fantastic. I believe this is the movie Roman Polanski was making when his wife (Sharon Tate) was murdered (by the Manson family). Creepy.
The Shining – We watched this movie right after watching Poltergeist. Where that movie lost some of its scary due to the use of very dated effects, The Shining is still totally frightening. No real effects. Just the use of suspense, and the unknown. I very much loved this movie.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre – Someone said this was based on a true story, but I don’t think it really is. According to Wikipedia, it was loosely based on Ed Gein (but there aren’t that many real similarities). Still totally frightening. We rated it a 4 on Netflix.
The Wicker Man – This movie I didn’t actually watch more than 30 minutes or so of. It is about a police officer from “the main land” going to a small, private island off Scotland to investigate the case of a missing girl. He finds there, basically, pagan worship. Not sure how it develops cause that is when I turned it off. When the innkeepers daughter is singing a song, calling the police officer into her room (he’s rented a room in the inn), and she is totally naked, banging on the common wall in time to her song. Hmmm …. [I believe there is a remake with Nicolas Cage]
Horror movie rules: or What We Learned While Scaring Ourselves Silly
- Be wary of abandoned cars (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Hills Have Eyes)
- Don’t have sex with your boyfriend (Halloween, House of Wax, Friday the 13th)
- (related) Girls, don’t take off your clothes, or go bra-less (Halloween, Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre)
- Stay away from locations where you are the only person/small group of people – Don’t EVER assume you’re in the middle of nowhere (Blair Witch Project, Jurassic Park, The Shining, The Hills Have Eyes, Deliverance, Friday the 13th, House of Wax, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, House of 1000 Corpses)
- Be wary of seemingly abandoned buildings – especially if you hear a radio playing an old country song (Halloween, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, House of Wax, Friday the 13th, The Hills Have Eyes, Blair Witch Project, House of 1000 Corpses, Children of the Corn)
- Don’t EVER take the shortcut (House of Wax, The Hills Have Eyes)
- If you knock at the door and noone answers, but the door drifts open don’t go in (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, House of Wax, Friday the 13th, Children of the Corn, House of 1000 Corpses, Psycho)
- Men at gas stations are not necessarily friendly (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, House of Wax, The Hills Have Eyes, House of 1000 Corpses)
- (related) Never take directions from men with bad teeth (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, House of Wax, The Hills Have Eyes, House of 1000 Corpses)
- If you have a dog, expect it to die and/or be eaten – or a bird, or a cat. (The Hills Have Eyes, Pet Sematary, Halloween)
- If you have a baby, at least one of your group will survive. Small children help your survival as well. (The Shining, Arachnophobia, The Birds, Halloween, Jurassic Park, The Hills Have Eyes)
- Note: Some exceptions apply (Pet Sematary)
- If you are a doctor, don’t move/go to a small town (Arachnophobia, Children of the Corn, House of Wax, Pet Sematary)
- If you are the most vocal or the most responsible in the group, you’ll have the best chance of survival – or you might just have to watch all your friends die ‘cause you’re the last one left (Arachnophobia, Halloween, Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Delivarance)
- If you are being chased, even if you think you have lost your attacker, do not slow down and look over your shoulder. You will walk RIGHT into him (Friday the 13th)
- (related) If you are being chased, make sure you are not wearing white bell-bottoms at night, a red sweater in the forest, or something equally eye-catching (Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre)
- Don’t split up (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, House of Wax, The Hills Have Eyes, Jurassic Park, Halloween, Deliverance, Children of the Corn, Blair Witch Project, House of 1000 Corpses, Friday the 13th, Psycho)
- (related) If you do get split up, and your friend is missing awhile, don’t go looking for him/her (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, House of Wax, Friday the 13th, Halloween)
- If you are home alone, don’t investigate the strange noises you hear. Also applies if you are in a group and the only one awake (Halloween, The Birds, 28 Days Later, Friday the 13th, The Hills have Eyes)
- If you are kind of a bully or pushy around your friends, you will
probably die first (Halloween, The Hills Have Eyes, Children of the Corn, Jurassic Park)
- Don’t waste your bullets or drop the killer’s weapon if you happen to get a hold of it – even if you think you’re safe (The Hills Have Eyes, Halloween, House of Wax, Friday the 13th, The Shining – I think,)
- If you lose a piece of clothing or other personal item, you will be a victim (The Hills Have Eyes, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, House of Wax, Pet Sematary)