Horror movies have always been a staple part of my movie diet. I’ve enjoyed watching them since childhood, though couldn’t tell you what my first was.What I can tell you is that my father let me hire and watch The Silence of the Lambs and Gothika at age 10. The only film he wouldn’t allow me to see was Arachnophobia - and thank goodness, I doubt my childhood fear of spiders would have been helped by that scream fest. My mother was a little bit more anti-horror film, but only when it came to the films she had already seen and been afraid of (read: Child’s Play and The Exorcist) but when we visited the video store she would let me pick a scary film and watch it alone in my room.
Because there’s nothing more healthy than ten-year-old girls watching Wrong Turn by themselves. A particularly horror-fruitful night was the evening that my bedroom television miraculously began to play proper television, and not just movies through the video / DVD player. It was one of those teen flicks starring Joshua Jackson and was about a killer re-enacting all those ghost stories you heard as a kid… Scary? Not really. Scary at 11pm by yourself on a stormy night when you’re only 10? Yep! My step-sister and I were also scared poop-less by I Know What You Did Last Summer, and despite all the adrenaline pumping fear of horror movies, I was hooked. I still haven’t seen everything, or even a lot, but I will pick a scary flick over a romantic comedy or drama any day.
The top spooky films that have given me the heebie-jeebies to this day however, would have to be….
1. The Shining
Perhaps it was because the first time I saw any part of this film I was about eleven, and it was the woman in the bathtub scene. Probably that. I had been out with my parents, we returned home, flopped on the couch and switched on the telly and it just came on. I was spooked.
It was the next viewing though, a year or two ago, that finally allowed me to see the mastery of this film. It’s striking, and eerie, the atmosphere is complete and ominous. Plus, Jack Nicholson’s eyes, the kid chanting Redrum, the dead kids, the increasing insanity… Yep, definitely creepy.
2. The Exorcist
There really isn’t any other reason for the film disturbing me than Reagan’s possessed face. That thing would scare a dog. Possession is a different cinematic experience to gory films or thrillers, and perhaps that is why the majority of films that scare me involve these ghosts and demons. They get your goosebumps up with disturbing your mind and conjuring up your imagination. They creep..
3. The Chaser (Chugyeogja) , I Saw the Devil, and A Tale of Two Sisters
I did just lump together 3 Korean thrillers, yes. This is possibly racism, but I’m going to look at pushing them up together as an ode to the Korean ability to mesh thriller and action so well. The Chaser had me yelling at my television screen, a Tale of Two Sisters made me cover my eyes and I Saw the Devil had me jaw dropped in apprehension. Winners, all of them.
4. The Woman in Black
This film has all the classic elements: a creepy, old house in an isolated area, the feeling that the protagonist is trapped (the home is surrounded by swamp at different times) the scary legend in the small town and the strange movements when your back is turned…
5. What Lies Beneath
Now this is a thriller. Michelle Pffeiffer is spectacular (ly pretty) and the suburban house feels like a looming, ghost home of secrets. There are some great jump moments, but it doesn’t rely purely on the jump – the climaxing creep is what gives you the real tingles.
6. Amytiville Horror
I actually had a couple of nightmares over this one. A friend and I decided to watch it on a stormy, dark night alone in her big, isolated house and it was quite the mistake… When the boy goes to the bathroom, washes his hands and looks to his left and that thing is standing there, we screamed, hugged each other and actually shed some tears.
I was honestly disturbed by this movie, even feeling like I couldn’t watch it again. I think it has to do with the setting – one room. One room you can’t leave. One room that’s beginning to turn on you… On my second viewing I tried to look for moments where John Cusack’s character could have left, and every moment he doesn’t take to leave the room makes me feel uneasy. In my mind, John Cusack is still in that room today. I’m sensing a theme between my horror movie fears and buildings turning on their occupants…
Anything to do with ghosts, or demons, or possessions, trumps gore for me, but what scares you?
Leave some scary suggestions below and I’ll check them out and post my verdict on what made me covered my eyes the most.