Ric’s Top Scary Movies — and a few stories

I love scary movies. Always have. Growing up, I’d stay up late, well after my parents went to bed, to watch something scary. When I was little, I’d catch late-night showings of Tales from the Darkside or reruns of The Twilight Zone.

I remember watching A Nightmare on Elm Street with my cousin when it first came out on video. That scene with Johnny Depp, where he’s pulled into the bed, and then the final scene when the mom is pulled through the little window in the door are frightening — or at least they were to a 7-year-old. Of course, such things often led to bad dreams. I remember a particular nightmare I had when I was five or six. I woke up in my bedroom to find every stuffed animal I had glaring at me. Each had razor sharp teeth dripping with saliva, ready to attack.

I’ve always loved to be scared. In addition to being a regular in the horror movie section of the corner video store, I’d read gobs of ghost stories and mysteries. I’d read the ones that would leave more to your imagination when the lights were turned off. I’d hear every creak and pop our house would serve up during the night. I’d throw the cover over my head and wait to hear the door inch open and feel the presence of whatever monster was coming to get me.

Speaking of monsters, I’m not fond of them. My preference is to read a book or watch a movie about a “real” killer — a human, or at least something resembling a human — instead of some freaky half animal/half alien thing. Although, I do have some of those movies that I really like.

I’ve also always loved Halloween. It’s probably my favorite holiday. I always dressed up for Halloween when I was a kid. I guess it helped to have a grandmother who was as gaga about Halloween as I was. My grandma rarely missed the opportunity to put on a costume. She was creative. She’s been everything from Miss Piggy to a can of green beans and a devil. And I loved that she never called a mask a mask. She always referred to a mask as a “false face.”

I also enjoy scaring people. My mom was always a good target. Rin doesn’t really go for such shenanigans.

As for scary movies (the reason you’re reading this), I’m more of a thriller kind of guy than a gory kind of guy. Yes, the movies I’ll mention have some gore in them, but they’re known more for the suspense. I don’t enjoy watching something simply because it’s gross. It has to have suspense and be scary.

So, here you go. These are in no particular order. They’re just some of my favorites.

Rear WindowAlfred Hitchcock’s classic tale of a voyeuristic Jimmy Stewart who witnesses his neighbor’s murder — or was it? — through the lens of his camera. Grace Kelley and Raymond Burr are in this movie. Burr is incredible as a mysterious neighbor. This movie includes a type of scene that scares me every time — it’s that scene where you look out a window and someone is staring back at you. Several movies use this trick and I get freaked out each time. There’s a point in this movie where you are looking through Jimmy Stewart’s camera at an unknowing Burr. All of a sudden, Burr looks up and right at you. Caught!

Jaws – One of the best movies ever by Steven Spielberg. From the first scene to the last, you’re on the edge of your seat — often not even seeing the shark, only hearing the familiar music that indicates it’s near. Roy Scheider as Chief Brody and Richard Dreyfuss as Matt Hooper team up with an incredible seafaring shark hunter named Quint, played to perfection by Robert Shaw. What a ride! My dad had this on VHS when I was a kid and I watched it many times. Still scares me today. One of my favorite lines in the movie is actually not so scary: “That’s some bad hat, Harry.”

<>

 

Friday the 13th Part IIThis is the first time we really experience the killer Jason – although we meet him in flashbacks in the first movie. In this movie, he doesn’t wear his iconic hockey mask (that comes in Number 3), but he dons some overalls and potato sack with an eye hole. He, of course, hunts down the camp counselors who did him wrong when he was a little boy drowning in Crystal Lake. I like the first three of these movies, then they get pretty goofy. As for machete-wielding killers, Jason takes the cake.

 

Silence of the Lambs – My mom (who hates scary movies) took me to see this Best Picture winner for my 15th birthday. On the drive home, she was so tense. She was shaking as she drove and said, “Just don’t talk to me right now!” Hannibal Lecter really freaked her out! He was a villain unlike any we’d ever seen on the big screen. And you actually kind of like the guy through the movie! Great suspense. Great lines. Anthony Hopkins won the Academy Award, as did Jodie Foster. A few years ago, Rin and I went with some friends to see this rereleased on the big screen. She’d never seen it before. She loved it!

Aliens – I’ve liked this one since I was a kid. This is the sequel to Alien and involves a group of futuristic U.S. Marines (and Sigourney Weaver) checking on a colony of people with whom they’ve lost contact. These Marines — featuring Bill Paxton as a maniac soldier — take on the acid-blooded aliens that have conquered, killed, and impregnated the colonists. The scenes with the aliens, their tentacles moving silently behind unsuspecting soldiers, are creepy. In the end, the aliens swarm like cockroaches and make for a cool battle scene. Lots of surprises.

The Thing – This is like the alien version of Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians. I get a kick out of this movie. A group of scientists, secluded in Antarctica, end up battling an alien that can literally morph into an exact replica of any human or animal it encounters and devours. The scientists are killed off one by one and, because of the morphing alien, you never know if you’re talking to a friend or the killer alien. Some great special effects in this John Carpenter flick. Kurt Russell is the big star, but there’s a whole cast of popular character actors that make it a lot of fun.

Halloween – Another John Carpenter film featuring Jamie Lee Curtis. Michael Myers is one creepy and tough killer. He stalks his prey through the dark. I think the scariest parts are when you think nothing is in the hallway, but then you see just a hint of the killer’s white mask emerging from the darkness. I love the music. Want to see Michael Myers play his own theme music? Check this out.

Poltergeist II – I picked this one simply for Preacher Kane. This is a scary dude. If you haven’t seen this, it’s the sequel to Poltergeist, and centers on a little girl who is being haunted by the spirit of a cult-leading preacher. When he strolls down the walk singing: “God is in his holy temple” you get instant chills. I keep seeing it when I flip through my Netflix selections; and while I often want to watch it, the thought of Kane scares me a little and I move on to the next selection. Don’t believe he’s scary?

Scream – What an innovative movie! Wes Craven made fun of scary movies, but created a movie just as scary as any of its predecessors. Plus, it started a new franchise. Rin is scared to death of Ghost Face. When we went on our honeymoon to Jamaica (over Halloween) the entire resort staff dressed as the killer. That was fun….for me. The first time I saw this was at a dollar theater with my best friends from high school. Lots of fun. The first 20 minutes are classic.

The Shining – Just one whacked out movie. Although I’m not much for possession-type movies, I love this one. Jack Nicholson is excellent as the author-father who goes crazy in the Overlook Hotel and begins to terrorize his wife and little boy. I think the progression of his breakdown is what makes this movie. There’s a part where we see Jack, a horror author, typing and typing and typing. His wife, Shelley Duvall, has a great, spine-tingling scene when she checks his novel only to find he’s typed hundreds of pages of one repeated line — All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

4 Replies to “Ric’s Top Scary Movies — and a few stories”

  1. I’m wearing ghostface at our party tonight. At 13 Jacob still gets scared when he sees it! Good times 😉

  2. I read The Shining when I was very pregnant with Caryn and couldn’t sleep. To this day, topiaries give me the creeps. Bradford Park Animal Hospital had bushes sculpted into giant rabbits; when I took my dogs in for shots, etc., I hated driving by those gigantic rabbits. Aliens is also a favorite of mine because of the scene where Sigourney Weaver fights the mother of all aliens to rescue the little girl. Also, went to see Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte when I was in jr high; my friend and I enjoyed many satisfying screams. Psychological thrillers – love them!

    1. Janet – That’s funny about the rabbit bushes. The final battle scene in Aliens is great! And Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte is a very suspenseful movie! I enjoyed that one too. Olivia deHaviland (sp?) was wicked.

Comments are closed.