Welcome to October! One of the few “themed months” that we have. Seriously, is there any other Holiday that dominates an entire month? Christmas comes close. But it seems the mood of everything in Pop Culture changes for the entire month of October.
Movies are no different. Where as a “Halloween” movie is its own genre, horror movies are associated with the holiday as well. I view horror movies very specifically – they have to scare me. Throughout the entire movie, I need to be terrified. That doesn’t happen often for me. In fact, I can think of very few movies that outright scare me throughout. Serial killer movies don’t do it for me (I enjoy them, but I don’t find them that scary). I need plot, character, and atmosphere. Also, I need them to not get really cheesy at the end (a downfall of a lot of horror flicks). Luckily I was able to find three that meet my criteria.
First, a bonus. The scariest movie I’ve seen recently is “The Woman in Black.” It stars Harry Potter and is creepy as anything. It is all atmosphere (and one really creepy plot) – but it works. It gets really close to “cheesy” territory but it rescues itself and goes back on the attack. Good stuff.
3) “The Ring” – I’ve heard a few people recently dismiss this movie. I’m not sure why. It is one of the few horror movies where every loose end ties up. Everything makes sense (as much as it can in a horror film). It has everything a horror movie needs: creepy music, creepy kids, creepy settings, a scream queen, etc. If you haven’t seen it in awhile, or think it was cheesy, I dare you to watch it again. With the lights off. Alone. (For what it’s worth, I’ve also seen “Ringu” and “The Ring” is far better.)
2) “Poltergeist” – This entry really should go to “The Shining” but I needed to get a Spielberg movie on this list (even if it wasn’t really directed by him (even though we all know it really was)). “Poltergeist” is the best “haunted house” movie ever. For the most part is still works today. If you haven’t seen it in awhile – re-watch it. The face clawing, the maggots, the tree, the toys, etc., it is all still frightening. Spielberg created this as the antithesis to “E.T” (which came out in the same year and may be set in the same subdivision). The two movies show two sides of living in suburbia – “E.T.” with the joys and “Poltergeist” with the horrors.
1) “The Changeling” – NOTE: This NOT the Angelina Jolie movie that came out a few years ago. This stars George C Scott (also of the very under rated horror flick “Exorcist III” – seriously. Watch it, it’s fantastic). Here’s what I remember of “The Changeling” – I watched it with my wife and we both declared it the scariest movie we’d ever seen. About 5 years later we tried to watch it again and she (who is a horror fan) couldn’t get through it a second time. We needed to turn it off (I, for the record, was perfectly ok with that decision, but I wasn’t going to initiate it. It was like a game of horror chicken. I’m happy I “won” and happy that we stopped watching it again). It’s that eerie. That good. That scary. It has the bonus effect of being relatively unheard of (which for a movie 30+ years old is odd). Odds are you haven’t seen this (heck, you might have never heard of it) – if you like horror movies watch it.