Friday, September 3, 2010

Movies that go bump in the night

Originally, I intended for this post about writing and revising, but you know what? I didn't feel in the mood to talk about those things. Instead, my mind kept sliding to a totally different topic: horror movies.

Maybe because it's September, which means of course that next month is October, and leading up to Halloween, channel after channel on the TV will play horror movies. Ah, I love that time of year. Yes, I have the Chill channel to get my fix in the meantime, plus Netflix, plus the occasional horror flick on premium channels, but there's something about that October parade of cinematic carnage that just makes me happy. Yes, I realize this may put me in Strange column, but here on Supernatural Underground, strange is the norm, right? So I'm just trying to fit in, heh.

And since I love the horror movie parade almost as much as the candy that flows more freely during October, I thought I'd get an early jump on the season by listing some of my favorite horror flicks. Let's get to it!

The Classics:

Halloween 1 and 2, the originals (don't ever ask me what I thought of the recent remakes unless you have a spare hour to listen to me rant). Ah, Michael Meyers. You in your eerie white mask walking slowly to the beat of that terrifying music has haunted my nightmares for decades. Well done, Michael! You will always be the only Bogeyman for me.

Friday the 13th, the original 1 and 2. Who doesn't like a little slasher with their horror? Jason was a great villain for me because, like M.M. above, he just kept coming back no matter how many times you killed him. Add how I went to sleepaway camp as a child in a setting that looked *just* like Camp Crystal Lake - minus the dead bodies - and this movie franchise has remained dear to my heart.

Jaws. Come on, who watched this movie and then didn't look at the ocean with a shiver? I know the statistical improbability of ever getting bitten by a shark, but I can tell you that every time I've gone into the ocean, this movie has lurked in my subconscious.


Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness. I'm sure these weren't the first campy horror movies on the scene, but they were the first ones I saw, and it was love at first "give me some sugar, baby!" Bruce Campbell as Ash slashed and wise-cracked his way through the creatures after him as well as his own hand (and how hard I laughed at that scene disturbed my mother so much that she left the room. Poor mom was grossed out and could not understand why I found any of it funny).

Shaun of the Dead. Simon Pegg was brilliant as the bumbling but sweet boyfriend who ended up winning back his girlfriend only after slaughtering a whole lot of zombies. So many scenes in this movie had me laughing out loud. Mad props to the supporting cast, too.

Zombieland. "Time to nut up or shut up" became one of my favorite phrases after watching this movie, and while the main characters all gave stellar, hilarious performances, Bill Murray's cameo stole the show. Loved this movie, even though every time I see it, I end up wanting a Twinkie afterward.


The Ring. Yeah, it's not the best horror movie ever, but I can tell you that when I saw it on opening night in the theater, I screamed out loud (along with many of the other moviegoers) when that freaky little girl climbed out of the TV. And I kid you not, seven days later, I was giving my own television a wary eye. When a movie can make me do that, it's a win in my book.

28 Days Later. It didn't have many jump-in-your-seat moments, but what resonated with me was how this was the first zombie movie I saw where the zombies could move. No staggering shuffle that you could easily avoid, these suckers were fast. And even a scratch, or a drop of their blood into your eye could turn you into one of them. Props also to the creep factor of waking up one day to having literally no one around, and to the brutality humans can display to each other in dire survival situations.


Jeepers Creepers 2 (absolutely not to be confused with the first Jeepers Creepers, which I hated). Why do I call this thoughtful? Because, like many good horror flicks, the main drama didn't come from the creature; it came from interactions between the people the creature stalked. The premise of your true self being revealed under extreme circumstances was played out by a group of high school students trapped on a bus in this movie, and in addition to there being very good acting for a group of unknowns, I also loved the premise of harsh redemption portrayed through the vengeful father.

Wind Chill. It's hard to articulate what I liked so much about this movie. It was low budget, not terribly imaginative, but the protagonists really stuck with me after it was over. They started out pretty stereotypical - a geek secretly in love with snotty girl who'd never noticed him before - but by the end of the movie, they felt real to me. And the last line of the film hit me as so tragically sweet.

I could go on, listing some favorite SciFi horror (Pandorum, Alien, Aliens, Alien Versus Predator) but this is already a long post. So I'll close with this, the horror movie that had me sleeping with a light on for - no joke, ask my husband - six months because it touched on my deepest fear of trying to battle an evil entity that you can't even see and who resided in your own home: Paranormal Activity.

So what about you? We know you like books that go bump in the night *wink* but what are some of your favorite movies that do the same thing?


Taylor Bright said...

I love Jeepers Creepers 2, Chucky movies, The Grudge, One Missed Call(japanese version), and nightmare on Elm Street :)

Meshanna said...

I love watching Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Halloween! This is my favorite time of the year...Fall!!

Candace Blackburn said...

The top three that scared me to death *snort* - Nightmare on Elm Street (the original), The Exorcist and The Ring.

Loved Army of Darkness - how can you not love Bruce Campbell! Isn't that the one where he worked at S-Mart?

Trader Mare said...

All time favorite theatrical release has to be Psycho. A true classic. And any Vincent Price horror movie is entertaining in a campy way. And I'd have to say my favorite TV horror was Trilogy of Terror with Karen Black. Even though it is 35 years old now, I still get the chills when I see that African Doll that came after her. It's another classic, that's a "must see". Guess I'm dating myself with those choices, but the oldies are the best!

Smash Attack Ash said...

I absolutely love horror movies! My list is long! 28 Days Later is a fav (as is Cillian Murphy)!

Kristy Smith said...

Wolf Creek and The Shining,

Unknown said...

The Nightmare on Elm Street series is my favorite. I thank my grandmother for introducing me to the series when I was 5 years old. Yup, scared the crap out of me but not matter how many sequels or remakes they do of it, I will always come back for more.

Stephanie G
Paranormal Haven

Texadan said...

I am into Asian horror. My favorite is the Thai film "Shutter" but "Ringu" (the original of "The Ring") is right on up there, too.

Victoria said...

Scariest movie I ever saw was called the Descent made in 2005. Six female friends are thrill-seeking professional cave explorers who run a team of the top divers in the world. They come upon some very "interesting" stuff while trapped below.

Sullivan McPig said...

I LOVE horror and zombie movies!
Some of my favourites:
Black Sheep
Jeepers Creepers (both 1 and 2)
Shaun of the Dead
Dead End
The House on Haunted Hill
Session Nine
Planet Terror

Heather said...

I would have to say my favorite horror movies are those that actually were able to scare me.

Paranormal Activity was definitely the #1 until the very end but if I forget about that then it is still #1.

White Noise didn't exactly scare me while I watched it but it did make me never want to hear/see white noise on the TV/radio. Not saying I'm a believer but not will to test the theory.

For some reason I absolutely love the Saw series (with the exception of #3). It's a well done gorefest and it keeps on going!

Cry Wolf was also a little known favorite of mine. It didn't do so well in money but I liked the story.

Jessica @ a GREAT read said...

OMG I LOVE Jaws!! One of my fave movies for sure!! The sequels were blak, but the first one was the best!! Love it!

Never saw Paranormal Activity though, that one looked too scary and plus it was one of those weird camera movies. I can't stand those. People were talking about how scary the preview for the sequel was and when I saw a movie last, that was one of the previews. Admittingly I closed my eyes for the whole thing!

Luckily though no one else was in the theater, seriously I basically had a private screening all to myself. So no one knew that I couldn't even sit through the preview. Of course now everyone here knows, but oh well! ;)

I like the classic horror movies too. Creature from the Black Lagoon is my absolute fave!

Patricia Lynne said...

Horror movies! Eep! No way, I can't watch them. they give me freaky nightmares that wake me up crying. Horror books I can devour, but trying to watch a horror movie, nope can't do it. (although I did watch zombieland but I think that's because it was funny and that dulled any scariness) I remember watching Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds and that night I had a weird nightmare that scared me senseless. All I remember was violins playing but when I woke I was terrified. Add to it when I was little the chucky movies were made and now I am scared for life!
So thank you very much, but I'll stick with scary books.

PS: after watching the blair witch project I rolled my car in the ditch and had to walk a mile in the dark surrounded by trees to get help. I slept w/ the lights on that night.

nymfaux said...

Great post!!! As soon as you mentioned scary movies, my mind went to The Ring, Haught Tension, and Misery.

I'm a huge movie buff, but scary movies aren't much my thing--I'm a huge Alfred Hitchcock fan, but that's more about suspense. But, as a big movie fan, I'll watch anything, so one October when I was in college, a friend and I rented a bunch of Stephen King movies, and a bunch of the scary movie originals.

As for Stephen King, The Children of the Corn was literally "corny" and The Stand was loooooong. But we both agreed that The Shining was suitably creepy, Pet Cemetery was scary and Misery was just as unsettling as the book. *shivers*

Of the "scary" movies we watched, Nightmare on Elm Street still sticks with me because of the ending--I was a girl used to happy endings, and before that, don't remember an ending that was more unsettling--Just when I thought everyone was safe and had gotten away, it was worse than ever!!!

Being a movie buff, The Ring was like my worst nightmare--I'd seen and remained completely unphased by most scary movies, but this is one movie where I didn't anticipate ANYTHING and it really freaked me out--I don't mess with the Japanese inspired scary stories anymore.

And thanks to Haught Tension, I don't see scary movies by myself anymore--None of my friends wanted to go, so I just went by myself, and was on edge the whole time driving home in the dark.

I did watch Hole a year or so ago--seriously disturbing.

Oh, and I agree with Sullivan about the House on Haunted Hill--but I don't know if you meant the remake or the original--there were a couple of remakes done around the same time, that one and The Haunting--I thought The Haunting had some fantastic imagery, but House on Haunted Hill is my pick for scariest--plus, Geoffrey Rush does an AMAZING Vincent Price impersonation!!!!

Oh, and the Scream movies.

delitealex said...

Fright night, Howling (early ones)and Monster Squad are some of my faves.

CdnMrs said...

Horror movies totally freak me out! My poor husband loves them, but he has to watch them alone or I don't get ANY sleep!
Anything with demons and possession totally scares the wits out of me.
So the scariest movies I love are Zombieland (It's Bill F'ing Murray!), Constantine, Sean of the Dead, and The Orphanage (it's a Spanish movie).

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

What is funny is that I'm not big on scary movies although you wouldn't know it from the books I read. :)

However every Halloween I must watch Lost Boys around that time. Just became a "must do". I do love the campy stuff and Bruce Campbell is perfect. :)

Cylver said...

Personally, I love movies that combine horror and comedy. Nothing like laughing and screaming at the same time! Some of my favorites are Arachnophobia, The Lost Boys, Fright Night, Shaun of the Dead, The Evil Dead, Army of Darkness, Drag Me To Hell (anything by Sam Raimi, in fact!)

SiNn said...

wellsinc ethe first friday the 13th the killer was jasosn mother it didnt scare me or anything he didnt becomethe icon he is untill 2 i live for freddy even today, as far as the remke is awesome but for its time the orginal will alway sbe my fav micheal myersnever scared me even from the first , Now if we want to compare horror id have to say iconicly speaking IT scare dthe crap out of me the book and the movie ( i hate clowns but is myf av movie of all time) I live for horror all of it even the cheesy low budget films we all watch the scream fest every year awesome,but you havent seen horror untill you watch horror from Japan thats pretty much all i can say about that really. And of course 8 films to die for always has one or two that stand out in all their epic awesomeness

Jeaniene Frost said...

Lots of nods for Nightmare on Elm Street. I agree. That almost made my top three for classics but I just couldn't edge out Jaws, Friday, and Halloween. Still, it had an effect on me. The idea for one of my vampires being able to literally kidnap someone out of their sleep was rooted in dear Freddy :).

Black Sheep - ha, I laughed all through that one! It was so bad it was awesome. And Cry Wolf is another great one. Didn't get a lot of fanfare, as was mentioned, but I thought it was a clever film.

Lots of great selections, everyone. Keep them coming, I love this topic! :)

Midnyte Reader said...

Halloween is a classic. It epitomizes the holiday for me. I lalso oved your thoughts on Jeepers Creepers 2 and I totally agree. I also loved the first one as well. I love the strength and love between the siblings.

My favorite Horror Movie of all time though is "May" by Lucky Mckee.

Ash Wolf said...

"Paranormal Activity" had me afraid to close my eyes at night. I'm told that if I had watched one of the other versions first and then the scary one, I wouldn't have been so freaked out be it. Heh, to bad for me then.

"The Ring" is another that freaked me out. Picture this: my brother on one side of the living room, me on the other, tv in the center. By the end of that movie, my brother and I were sitting right next to each other on the couch, knees almost touching.

"Jaws/Jaws 2" are absolute favorites. We had Jaws 2 on beta when I was little, and I remember hiding behind the couch whenever the shark showed up. My aunt remembers seeing the first one in theaters. She said that when she heard that music, she lifted her feet up off the floor and onto the seat in front of her. She now lives in Florida along the Gulf, and she says that sharks are still in the back of her mind before she gets in the water. Living in a landlocked state, they don't bug me.

"Sleepy Hollow" I saw in theaters with friends. Stupidly, I covered my eyes at one part in the beginning, but then forgot to do it for the rest of the film. My friends even told me the part I covered them was a mild scene. When I saw it again, I rolled my eyes when I saw where I had hid. Still love to watch this film around Halloween.

"When A Stranger Calls" is my favorite story sense it comes from an urban legend that has always freaked me out, especially when I babysit. You never see the villian's face until the end. I did not like watching this movie the first time by myself.

I have more favs, but these rate at my top five.

Katie Dalton said...

Only a few are standing out for me right now, here they are:
Signs (does that count? lol)
Army of Darkness
The Happening (hmm M. Knight theme going on here)

I think thats about it. :) I can't watch super scary or I will have nightmares for weeks. lol And sheep need there sleep!

Ashleigh said...

Because my Mom was traumatized as a kid with Texas Chainsaw Massacre, we never watched scary movies at my house. And as such, I am a complete chicken. For a while the show Bones freaked me out. Seriously.

Even with movies that aren't that scary and sort of intrigue me, I have to watch in the middle of the day, on the couch where nothing can sneak up on me, often clutching the remote, just in case. Books, I can handle just about anything. But seeing it on screen gives me nightmares. Maybe it has to do with getting way sucked into things.

Mysteriousrose said...

I agree with a lot of you on many of the movies I liked The Ring, Paranormal Activity, Nightmare on Elm Street mv.

I really like the ones which I think about after I have seen them

A few I did not see mentioned are: Skeleton Key and Final Destination (the first one).

Bella@BeguileThySorrow said...

I totally agree with 28 Days Later, Jaws, and Zombieland! But Texas Chainsaw Massacre (the original of course)scared the tar outta me when I first saw it,lol!
That one is probably the best I've seen. As a kids though, my siblings and I looooved watching this movie called "The Gate"; does anybody else remember that one? We used to randomly yell at each other the line, "YOU've BEEN BAAAAAD!" lol
I also love the Hitchcock classics like Rear Window and Psycho, and the Guillermo del Toro film Devil's Backbone.

Jeaniene Frost said...

OMG, how could I forget the original "When A Stranger Calls"?? That movie freaked me out when I was a kid! My sisters and I used to crank call each other on our home phone to ask, "Have you checked the children...?" and then hang up.

Skeleton Key was another good movie. Not sure why I've never considered it a horror. I thought of it as more a supernatural thriller. *shrug* Tomato, to-mah-to, right? :)

And I loved Sleepy Hollow. That was my favorite Halloween story as a child, and the remake with Johnny Depp was awesome.

nymfaux said...

hey, guess what, all the Jaws movies are on Encore this week--I'd only partially watched the first one, and it's been a while, so I thought I'd catch up.

Also, does anyone else remember the People Under the Stairs? I remember it being totally campy and creepy at the same time, but all these years later, it still feels creepy!

Sullivan McPig said...

@nymfaux: Yup, I was talking about the one with Geoffrey Rush. I'm a big fan of him.

And I remember the People under the Stairs. haven't seen it in a long time, but loved it back then.

nymfaux said...

@Sullivan--Agree!!! I haven't seen Geoffrey Rush in anything for a while, though!!!! :(

And glad somebody else remembers the People Under the Stairs!!!

Bella@BeguileThySorrow said...

@nymfaux-- oh yes! loved People Under the Stairs as a kid too!! havent seen it since then but Im sure Id still love it lol

Crystal @ RBtWBC said...

Eekk, I can't watch scary movies. Totally freak me out, my imagination goes crazy. My husband is way into them though and most of the movies everyone listed he has watched. He use to watch them out in the living room while I read but after peeking over the top of my book too many times at the wrongs moments I make him go in the other room now. Harsh but its either that or me waking him up every 20mins saying "What was that?" & "Do you see that?" LoL
I loved Zombieland though, so funny!

Sarah K said...

I suppose it's more of a thriller than a horror movie, as most of the action happens off-screen, but Pontypool is an amazing Canadian film that anyone who loves both words and zombies needs to see.

A bunch of us rented it with the intention of making fun of it (based on the movie description, we thought it was a sure-fire bet for some mst3k-style fun) and instead were so thoroughly drawn in that we were unable to crack any jokes. Seriously awesome movie.

Vicki Pettersson said...

This list alone is freaking me out.