As I've mentioned here before, I've always enjoyed reading horror stories and watching horror movies. Why? I don't really know. There's probably some deep, dark psychological reason for it, but I don't really want to delve that deep. So, for now, let's just say "for some reason" I like them. A lot.
So, in honor of Friday the 13th, I'm going to go the well-traveled route of bloggers across the world and give you a list of my 10 favorite horror movies of all time.
WARNING: There will be video links. While they're not too graphic, they may be a little disturbing, especially if you don't normally like these types of movies.
So, here you have them, more or less in no particular order – although the last two listed here are my top two favorites:
10) Misery (1990) – Being holed up in an office all day, having to write descriptions for things that I could sometimes care less about, seems like child's play compared to being holed up in a cabin in the middle of nowhere and forced to write a novel by a crazy lady with an axe who claims to be "your number one fan."
9) The Birds (1963) – Of all the things to be scared of, who would have thought we, as a viewing public, would ever buy into the idea of attacking birds. But after one viewing of this Hitchcock classic, you'll never go into an attic alone, or a phone booth for that matter, without looking around cautiously, and listening for the flutter of beating wings.
8) The Exorcist (1973) – This controversial film has sparked plenty of criticism and support over the years, and for good reason. Its frank portrayal of a demon-possessed girl and the people around her whom this affects is equally fascinating and horrifying. And while it's all done up for Hollywood, the fact that demon possession is actually possible makes this fictionalized depiction of it all the more disturbing.
7) A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984) – I never saw this movie as a kid, which is probably a good thing, because I've always been a vivid dreamer, and I might have taken it too much to heart. The idea of dreams – well, nightmares – being more than just dreams and being able to affect your real life, and even kill you is truly disturbing. Not to mention the guy who makes all this possible, Freddy Krueger.
6) The Ring (2002) – The concept of watching a videotape that causes you to die within 7 days of viewing it is, admittedly, far-fetched. But then you watch the movie, and the videotape itself within the context of the film, and well, there's just something unbearably creepy about it. The Japanese movie that this version was based on, entitled Ringu, is apparently even better, but I've never seen it. Incidentally, this was the first scary movie that I ever convinced Mary to see with me while we were dating. It was also the last. She's not a scary movies kind of girl at all. Not. One. Bit.
5) Night Of The Living Dead (1968) – The sheer fact that this movie is in black-and-white (at least originally – there is at least one "colorized" version out there somewhere) lends an overall creepier feel to the whole thing. It's the ultimate, and maybe even the original zombie movie. What makes it so horrifying is that the whole thing seems so real. These are normal people being terrorized by undead creatures who were also once normal people. Most of them still wear the clothes and general appearance of their former lives. But they're coming for you. And you're locked up in a spooky old farmhouse with a bunch of strangers, just trying to survive. You're in the moment with these people, and you want out. Like, now!
4) Stephen King's IT (1990) – Now this one, I did see as a kid. I was 12 when it was first broadcast on ABC as a two-part miniseries. I was already reading Stephen King books by that time, and so I taped it. The first time I saw it, I was just as scared as the ninth or tenth time I watched it. It was horrible, it was wonderful, it was fascinating, and it was terrifying. One of the main characters from the film, a young boy about my age, has a stuttering problem. After watching this movie several times in a short period of time, I also developed a stuttering problem. It was, fortunately, short-lived, but it just goes to show you how deeply I was affected by it. That being said, it was then and still is one of my favorites. Incidentally, I still don't care for clowns, and this movie is also responsible for that.
3) The Amityville Horror (1979) – There's nothing like a good haunted house story. And this is one of the best. The very architecture of the house (the attic windows look like glowing eyes) tells you something very bad has happened and will continue to happen here. The actors play their parts so well, you almost believe that it's based on a true story, which is how it was portrayed at the time. It's fiction, but it's very good fiction. And I'm never moving to Amityville, New York. For any reason.
2) Poltergeist (1982) – This is another horror movie that I did see as a kid, and remember being fascinated and terrified. I loved it! Like Amityville, it's, at the core, a haunted house movie. But in this one, we see some truly bizarre and disturbing things happening to a basically nice family. It also offers a warning to prospective real estate developers: Don't build over a cemetery. The dead might not like it, and might have some unfinished business with you. "They're here...."
1) Psycho (1960) – Ah yes, the innocent young innkeeper who "wouldn't harm a fly" and his unwitting victims, who only wanted to stop in at the Bates Motel for the night to get some shut-eye before starting back on their journey to wherever. But his "guests", like Marion Crane for example, they never leave. And are never heard from again. What's that all about? Better ask Norman's mother if you want the real story. This is Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece, and my all-time favorite horror movie. They don't make them any better than this one!
NOTE: For some reason, the blog site stopped letting me add the videos with thumbnails after the seventh one. Hopefully, they'll still show up. If not, I'll try again later.