My husband and I have a Halloween tradition we’ve followed every year since we were married: Chinese food and a scary movie. Since the kiddos have come along, we still keep to this tradition, albeit it starts a little later, after trick-or-treating and after the kiddos are in bed sleeping off a sugar coma. Having been married twelve years, we’ve watched a bunch of doozies through the years; my favorite memory is watching Rosemary’s Baby the year I was pregnant with the girls. This year, I have no idea what we’ll be watching, but I do have a scary movie theme for this Friday’s Top Five. These are my picks for my personal Top Five Scary Movies:
28 Days Later
This one is still a bit intense for me, even though I know what’s coming and at what point it’s coming; there’s just something about this whole movie that is super creepy – almost to the point of hopelessness. The film tells the story of a bicycle messenger waking from a coma (you guessed it – 28 days later) to a new world – a rage-infected world. Call them zombies, call them whatever, the people infected with “rage” are looking to pass it on to the next normal person caught out and about. As horrific as this sounds, it’s not quite the scariest notion. No, that honor goes to fellow humans who are using the situation to lure survivors – but they’re a bit picky in who they really want to survive. It’s in-your-face and bleak, a reminder that sometimes the monsters aren’t the obvious, snarling ghouls trying to get in your safe hold.
Children of the Corn
I remember watching this one when I was in high school and being super scared by it – especially the sequence that showed the kids of the town deciding anyone over eighteen shouldn’t be around anymore. And that’s really the premise of the movie in a nutshell: some Midwestern kiddos got religion in a big way (but a weird, corn-driven religion) and decided having parents and responsible adults around was a no-no. Some years later, having gathered enough gumption to try the movie again, it was not nearly as scary as that first time – but I’m still including it on my list because, frankly, it freaked me out way back then. I also recently listened to the short story the movie was based on (by none other than Stephen King) and thought that was just as creepy as when I first read it.
The Hills Have Eyes (2006)
I watched this remake a few years ago late one night when the girls were sleeping – most likely because we had one of those free HBO or Showtime preview weekends. Anyway, I was so scared by it I had trouble winding down enough to sleep afterward. This movie is just in-your-face horrific in that this family (including a baby! Never a good thing, a baby in a horror movie!) who becomes stranded in the desert while vacationing is absolutely, relentlessly terrorized by a group of forgotten, mutated-from-a-nuke-test (or something like that) freaky people. I don’t think I’ve watched this a second time, it disturbed me that much.
This is a scary movie with brains. First, you have a back story involving the death of a child and infidelity – already some heavy stuff. Next, you have a group of strong female characters, with two who were directly affected by the affair and child’s death. And then you throw all of the characters into unknown territory on a cave exploring trip that’s supposed to be fun and challenging and bonding. Of course, it’s anything but, with the major injury of one of the group and then the knowledge setting in that they are not alone among the tunnels of the cave. This is a well-paced, smart movie with plenty of scares. Watch it and then come discuss the ending with me!
I think a lot of lists detailing scary movies would have the original Alien (minus the “s”); for me, the sequel is the best of the franchise. In fact, it’s one of my favorite movies – probably third behind Gone With the Wind and The Princess Bride. In it, a group of marines plus consultant and lone survivor from the first movie, Ripley, head to check on a colony on a distant planet – one that’s been lacking in the communication department. What follows is a great story of survival and betrayal, all done in such a way that it’s hard to believe the movie was made in the mid-80’s. There are great special effects, strong characters and many tense moments along with a little girl with the most piercing scream ever.
So there are my picks for movies that deliver the scare goods. What about you? What movie has you watching with your face half-covered?