Posts Tagged ‘Scream’

School is almost out for summer, and so in honor of the end of the school year and the start of the lazy days of summer (for those lucky enough to not have to work) I wanted to share some of my favorite high school horror movies. High School can be a terrifying place as it is, but throw in aliens, serial killers, and witches, and it becomes an even more dangerous place to be.

So without further ado, some of my favorite high school horror movies:

The Faculty (1998)

The Faculty


Directed by Robert Rodriguez

This tale of an alien invasion is one of my favorite sci-fi films- kind of a cross between a couple of other favorites (Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Thing). Imagine seeing all your classmates and teachers being replaced by weird (but identical) versions of themselves…who really want to shove disgusting creatures in your ears. How awful would that be? High school seems like the perfect place from which to start an invasion of the world.

Scream (1996)



Directed by Wes Craven

Of course I would have to include Scream on this list as I pretty much find a way to include it on all my lists of favorite horror films. We don’t see much of Sidney, Tatum, Randy and the rest of the Scream gang in their high school habitat, but we see enough to know they go to school with some mean girls, and have pretty much the coolest principal to roam the planet… and those high schoolers can throw some awesome parties!

The Craft (1996)



Directed by Andrew Fleming

High school is a tough place to be, especially for the new kid, so when you find a group that accepts you and makes you feel like you belong, you stick with the group, even if they are wannabe witches. Sarah and her friends feel justified when they cast spells that deal with the high school jerk who lies about girls to his friends, and the racist mean girls who take pleasure in causing others mental anguish…. But being a witch isn’t always fun and games when it’s taken too far.

Carrie (1976)



Directed by Brian De Palma

Carrie has an extremely tough life in both her home life, and at school. Living with her crazy religious mother, and pegged as an outcast because she doesn’t fit in with her classmates, she is made fun of on probably a daily basis. Carrie has to deal with the cruelest of all high schoolers who gets joy out of playing cruel jokes on poor Carrie. Her salvation comes in the form of the discovery of her telekinetic ability, but this also proves to be her downfall.

The Loved Ones (2009)



Directed by Sean Byrne

Prom can be a stressful event in the life of a teenager. If your desired prom date rejects you, it might cause some mental anguish…. Or if you are a bit deranged, and convinced that a certain guy is the prince you’ve been looking for, you might go a little farther than a normal person… Having your dad capture him, and forcing him to be your date at your own private prom.

Prom Night (1990)



Directed by Paul Lynch

Speaking of proms… How could I not include this movie, which has one of my favorite dance scenes known to man… Disco and horror were meant for each other. This slasher classic, while really not a good movie by any measure (except for that amazing dance sequence and great opening scene), is still one of my favorites for nostalgic reasons.  Creepy phone calls, menacing notes, and murder, make prom night an even more stressful night that it normally is.

Halloween H2O (1998)

Directed by Steve Miner



Boarding school must be a tough place, especially when your headmaster is Michael Myer’s sister. To be stuck in a secluded high school, far away from home, with a mass murderer out to get you, has to be pretty stressful experience… Far more stressful than having an overprotective mom that won’t let you go on a student camping trip.

Dance of the Dead (2008)



Zombie and prom don’t mix well. You already are worried about impressing your date, trying not to dance too awkwardly, and trying not to act dorky… Isn’t that enough? Zombies just mess everything up… They’re much more into eating brains, than dancing.

Jennifer’s Body (2009)



Directed by Karyn Kusama

What do you do when your best friend suddenly turns into a murderous demon? High school friendships can be hard enough without having to worry about whether you should ignore your friend’s sudden cannibalistic tendencies, or whether you should do something about it.

Detention (2011)



Directed by Joseph Kahn

This quirky film is not totally horror, but has enough slasher elements to keep to horror crowd happy. Dressed as the villain from a fictional horror film- Cinderhella- someone is murdering students from Grizzly Lake… But who? And why? And what does it have to do with time travel, a stuffed bear, and the destruction of the world? …and of course, there is a prom in this film as well. Prom and horror are just a match made in heaven.

Do you have any high school horror favorites of your own?

Source: Scream Trilogy

Source: Scream Trilogy

To this day, Scream (1996) is one of my favorite horror movies of all time. I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said that I have watched it 30+ times. Why? For its time it was one of the most innovative films in its genre. In fact, I would venture to say that today it remains one of the most intelligent and complex horror films ever made.

Why do I love this movie so much?

It pokes fun at every single horror movie cliche out there

Scream mocks the entire horror movie formula throughout the movie. Horror movie buff Randy explains to his friends that there are certain rules one must abide by to successfully survive a horror movie:

1. Don’t have sex. Sex = Death.

2. Don’t drink or do drugs. Drugs and Alcohol = Death.

3. Never say “I’ll be right back,” because you won’t be.

Some people break the rules and pay the price. Sidney, however, manages to subvert the rules. She mocks “big breasted” actresses in movies who should be running out the door instead of up the stairs…then proceeds to do the exact same thing. In any other movie, that would spell the end for the character, but she manages to escape death. Sidney also starts out as a virgin in the beginning of the movie, but later decides to have sex with Billy. According to horror movie rules for survival, this should mean doom. Only virgins are supposed to beat the killer. But again, Sidney manages to beat the rules.

The Blend of Horror and Comedy

When it comes to horror movies, I usually highly prefer a seriously scary movie over one that injects moments of comic relief.  But Scream manages to be equal parts scary/thrilling/suspenseful and funny/ridiculous, and succeeds in seamlessly combining two completely different genres.

Famous Cameos

Scream debunks the usual assumption in movies that bigger stars are the ones who “make it” to the end. Drew Barrymore and Henry Winkler both play some memorable  parts in the movie. But their iconic status doesn’t save them from perishing!

Source: Entertainment Weekly

Source: Entertainment Weekly

Source: That Was a Bit Mental

Source: That Was a Bit Mental


The Director Inserts Himself Into the Film

I love how Quentin Tarantino and Stephen King give themselves obscure parts in their own movies. Wes Craven plays a bit part in Scream as well, as a janitor named Fred who Henry Winkler stumbles upon after hours in the high school. “Fred” is wearing a red and black striped sweater and a large brimmed black hat that look eerily reminiscent of someone else….

Source: Screened

Source: Screened

Classic Horror Movie References Galore

Scream directly and indirectly references lots of well-known horror classics. Carrie, Psycho, Halloween, The Howling, and Halloween to name a few. There are also many parallelisms between Scream and many of the older horror classics, which are discussed in detail on the website Hello Sidney.

The Quote Factor

If you asked us to, Emily and I could probably reconstruct the entire Scream screenplay. That’s how much of the movie we’ve memorized!

Here are a few favorites…

Tatum: “Please don’t kill me, Mr. Ghostface, I wanna be in the sequel!”

Sidney to Stu: “Stu, Stu, Stu, the media are going to be looking for a motive. What are you gonna tell them?” Stu to Sidney: “Peer pressure. I’m far too sensitive.”

Billy (licking red off his fingers): “Pigs’ blood. The same stuff they used in Carrie.”

Randy: “Did you really put her liver in the mailbox because I heard that they found her live in the mailbox next to her spleen and her pancreas.”

Casey: “You better leave now. My boyfriend’s gonna be here any minute and he’s gonna be pissed. He’s big and he plays football and he’ll kick the shit out of you!”

Ahhh, I could go on and on, there are so many quotable lines!

These are a few of the reasons I so enjoy watching Scream time and time again. To me it’s a movie that gets better and better with every viewing. In fact, I think I might go watch it again right now…

Billy and Stu look like your average high-schoolers, well, maybe ones that have stayed back a few years.  They don’t seem like dangerous guys.  They have lots of friends, are well-liked, both have devoted girlfriends, and they live in a nice, wealthy town, based on the houses we see in the movie!!  Underneath the surface though lurk malice, unstableness, and murderous desires.  Now Billy’s motive is revenge, as he blames Sidney’s mother has for led to the downfall of his family.  He and Stu have already murdered her mother, and now they want to massacre a few others, with the finale being Sidney and her father.  Stu doesn’t have a motive.  He tells Sidney that it’s peer pressure, he’s far too sensitive, and he was dragged into this by Billy.  They both seem to have had a lot of fun planning these murders, coming up with a creative costume, and well thought-out plot.  Adding to the fun is the fact that they have watched a lot of horror movies, and are basing their plan of attack on what happens in the movies.

What makes Billy and Stu so scary is that they are just nice seemingly normal kids.  They could be your next door neighbors.  They are not loners, they don’t dress all in black, they don’t display the average signs of depression, or hostility toward others.  Basically, they don’t fit the mold that the media has laid out for us about what to look for in a psychotic person.  What also makes them scary are the lengths they go to in their plan of massacre.  This is not a crime of passion, but rather a well thought out plot to kill a lot of people, pin the murders on someone else, and then plan a sequel where they can kill more people.  They seem to enjoy being the source of destruction and fear.  They still behave naturally after murders are committed.  Stu is still a constant joker, and they never show any remorse.  The closest either one of them gets to remorse, is when Stu is handed the phone, after they have told Sidney of their plot, and she has escaped, and turned the tables on them.  He then says that his mother and father are going to be so mad at them.  He still doesn’t seem to be sorry about any of the murders though.  And Billy never shows remorse once.  They are psychopaths who seem like well-adjusted youths, and this is terrifying.

Well, it’s a day late, but this is a new feature I hope to have up on Saturdays, highlighting some of the scariest, funniest, or most memorable moments of movies I watched during the week in a series of screenshots.

Black Sabbath

Little kids are so creepy!

Why don't we hang decapitated heads outside our houses any more?

Super creepy dolls

More dolls!

and more......Why so many dolls?

The Craft

Is this John Bender's locker?

Neve, give Skeet his grease back!

Yay, we killed a man!

Indiana Jones would not be happy

Remind me never to cross Rochelle!



Why does she have this program, and more importantly, did she have a killer in the house before?

I wasn't aware Dunkin' Donuts delivered to California

Did Kevin McCalister booby trap this house?


I wonder if Scream holds the record for the amount of times a phone is used as a weapon in a movie

Yummm, cheetos!

A new feature in which I will watch a double feature every Friday.  The two features will be connected in some way- by director, actor, theme, setting, etc.  I will post something on the double feature I watch- movie connections and similarities, thoughts on each…sometimes it’ll be short, sometimes long, depending on motivation/time/level of sleep deprivation, etc

I’m kicking off this new feature with a double dose of 90’s horror.  Our features tonight will be Scream and The Craft, both starring Neve Campbell and Skeet Ulrich, and both from 1996.

The Craft (1996)

Directed by Andrew Fleming (Bad Dreams, Dick)

“Relax….It’s only magic….”

In The Craft, Sarah (Robin Tunney), has just moved, and is starting at a new high school.  She catches the attention of some wannabe witches, Nancy (Fairuza Balk), Bonnie (Neve Campbell), and Rochelle (Rachel True).  Each has an issue in school- Nancy is white trash, Bonnie has burns covering a large percentage of her body, and Rochelle is discriminated against by Laura Lizzie (Christine Taylor).  After her love interest Chris (Skeet Ulrich) spreads cruel rumors about  Sarah sleeping with him, she joins the witches coven.  These four invoke the power of Manon, and each ask for something- Rochelle asks to not hate those who hate her, Bonnie asks to be beautiful outside as well as within, Sarah asks to love herself more and to be loved more by others, and Nancy asks for all the powers of Manon.  Well of course this works, and things start happening to our now actual witches.  Not everything about the wishes ends up being so great though, and Sarah decides that she needs to stop her friends, especially Nancy.  What happens next?  Well, I don’t want to spoil it for you if you’ve never seen it.

Scream (1996)

Directed by Wes Craven (The Last House on the Left, The Hills Have Eyes, A Nightmare on Elm Street)

“Someone’s taken their love of scary movies one step too far!”

Scream was released later the same year, and also stars Neve Campbell and Skeet Ulrich, thus our double feature.  With this self-aware slasher, Wes Craven is credited with reigniting the slasher/horror genres.  In short, this movie is about a serial killer who begins targeting (mostly) teenagers in the quiet town of Woodsboro, a year after the death of Maureen Prescott, Sidney Prescott’s (Neve Campbell) mother.  A strange man is calling up his victims, and terrorizing them on the telephone.  Sidney is one of the first would-be victims, but is able to stop her attacker.  She then accuses her boyfriend Billy (Skeet Ulrich) after he appears at her window during this attack.  He is released the next day after the phone records to Sidney’s house exonerate him.  After a few murders, a curfew is imposed, and Stu (Matthew Lillard) throws a party at his parent’s house.  More murders ensue.  This whodonit/slasher/comedy is a horror movie that points out the rules of the slasher, and gives shout outs to many horror films that came before it.

Thoughts on the double feature

Some SPOILERS follow

–        Although these two movies are different sub-genres of the horror film, there are some similarities.  Obviously I chose these two because they both star Neve Campbell and Skeet Ulrich, and they were also both released in 1996

–        Skeet Ulrich appears in all his greasy hair glory, although he is much less greasy in The Craft, I suppose it is because his hair is shorter, and in each he has issues getting girls to sleep with him, and he’s kind of a jerk about it when they don’t

–        Skeet Ulrich appears outside out main characters window late at night in both.  In The Craft he just sits outside the window on a ledge, and says that he can’t stop thinking about Sarah, and in Scream, he enters Sidney’s room, and says that he was watching TV (The Exorcist) and got to thinking about his and Sidney’s relationship

–        Both take place with characters in high school, and both include a scene where our main protagonist hides in a bathroom

–        In each, the protagonist has lost her mother- In The Craft, Sarah lost her mother when she dies giving birth to her, and in Scream, Sidney’s mother was murdered

–        In each, Neve Campbell’s character has gone through some sort of traumatic experience- In The Craft she suffered severe burns, and in Scream her mother has been murdered

–        In each, there is a huge house party thrown that our characters attend

–        In each, the main villain tries to pin a murder-suicide on our protagonist.  In The Craft, Nancy tries to make it look like Sarah has killed herself, and was the one who killed Chris.  In Scream, Billy and Stu want to make it seem that Sidney’s father was the murderer, and at the end of his murder spree kills himself and Sidney in a murder-suicide (obviously neither of these plans work out)

–        In each movie poor Skeet Ulrich dies

Other random thoughts

–        In The Craft, when Sarah is braiding Laura Lizzie’s hair into Rochelle’s hair for a spell, she makes a comment about Laura having split ends, and apparently this means that she does not have natural blond hair, but instead bleaches it….ummm, what?  I wasn’t aware that having split ends means you dye your hair- I have natural blond hair AND I have split ends, but yet I have never dyed my hair…..what am I doing wrong!!!????

–        Another movie connection- This is the second movie in a row in which Robin Tunney has tried to commit suicide, although in The Craft she says that she used a kitchen knife, unlike Empire Records where she uses a pink Bic plastic razor with daisies on it….Also, according to IMDb she had to wear a wig for this movie, due to the fact that she shaved her head for Empire Records

  1. Halloween (1978) From the opening scene, seen from Michael Myers point of view as a knife wielding 6 year old, to the stalking of Laurie Strode and friends 15 years later on Halloween,  Myers is the embodiment of evil.  This movie is gory, suspenseful, and has a great Halloween atmosphere.  Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie, the responsible babysitter, is perfect in the role, even though I have a hard time believing that she is a teenager.  She has always looked like an adult to me.  I bet that as a 10 year old she looked just the same.  Her friends break the rules of the horror movie, and thus die- drinking, smoking pot, and having premarital sex.  Michael Myers stalking her from the shadows is very creepy.  And of course who can forget Dr. Sam Loomis, the one who has tried to help Michael, and now realizes that he is beyond help and must be destroyed.  The music in the movie is also one of the most memorable and recognizable horror movie themes, as is Michael Myers’ Mask, whom some will recognize as an evil Captain Kirk!
  2. Scream (1996) – Now of course Scream is a horror-comedy, poking fun at the conventions of the horror flick, and parodying itself.  The movie discusses the rules of the horror film. Where it is stated if you drink, do drugs, have premarital sex, or say “I’ll be right back”, YOU WILL DIE!!!  This movie exists in the world of horror movie watching teenagers, and quite a few horror films are mentioned in this movie- Halloween, The Town that Dreaded Sundown, Friday the 13th, and Carrie, among others.  This movie became the most quoted movie in my life, and my fellow blogger Rebecca and I frequently quote it to this day.  “Liver alone, liver alone…get it? It was a joke.”
  3. The Descent (2005) – This movie made me never, ever want to enter a cave again.  It was scary even before the albino flesh-eating mutants appear.  The scene in which the women crawl through the narrow tunnel in the cave, and it begins to collapse on them, scared the living daylights out of me, and even though I have never been one to experience claustrophobia, just watching this scene gave me a feeling of what it must be like.  Of course the albino mutants are also freaky, and the thought of being in the dark with these creatures, which don’t need light to find and eat you is terrifying!
  4. The Shining (1980) – I love creepy kids in horror movies.  Danny is a really creepy kid, especially when Tony, “the little boy that lives in his mouth” is speaking. “Danny’s not here Mrs. Torrance”…..”Redrum, redrum, redrum”.  And of course the girls in the hallway that invite Danny to play with them forever, and ever, and ever, are terrifying, even before Danny sees them hacked to pieces with an axe.  Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance is the perfect actor in this role, and I was scared of him even before the hotel brings about his insanity.  Also disturbing is the feeling of isolation- the hotel is evil, the father is going crazy, and we are stuck up here with no outside contact, no transportation, in the middle of nowhere, and cannot escape.
  5. The Ring (2002) – I still have trouble watching the scene where the girl’s face is shown after she has been killed, or scared to death by Samara.  After a watching a film, you will die after 7 days, and also will be slowly driven insane by visions of a little girl.  The film that they watch is terrifying in itself; it seems like something out of a nightmare, with images of things that seem to be random, unless you take the time to investigate them.  And even if you do investigate, and solve the mystery, and find the little girl who was never properly buried, you are still cursed, because “she never sleeps”.  It is really hard for a film to scare me, and this film scared me!
  6. Shaun of the Dead (2004) – the first zombie comedy I ever saw, and still my favorite. Hilarious and disgusting, this movie still delights me every time I watch it.  Simon Pegg as Shaun and Nick Frost as Ed, make the perfect pairing.  I love the scene where they first encounter the zombie in the backyard, and think she’s just drunk until they push her over and she falls onto the pipe, stands up, and we see the huge gaping hole in her midsection, hilarious!  The debate over which records are bad enough to throw at the zombies while they try to stop them is always amusing.  Of course references to other zombie flicks are numerous- “We’re coming to get you Barbara”, and the gore is definitely not lacking.  I especially love David’s disembowelment scene- that’s what happens when you try to escape through a horde of hungry zombies!
  7. The Exorcist (1973)This movie just gets better, and better the more I see it.  It’s a scary thought that an innocent child could become possessed by a devil.  And how did this come about, was in through something as innocent as a Ouija board?  There are many scenes in this film that are cringe inducing- there is of course the puking of the pea soup, the peeing on the living room floor in front of party guests, the 360 degree head turn, the growing disfigurement of Regan, and the filth that comes out of her mouth due to the possession- “Your mother sucks cocks in hell”.  It’s terrifying that the priest finally had to draw the demon into himself and throw himself out of a window to rid Regan of this demon.
  8. House of Wax (2005) – Yeah, the one with Paris Hilton, I know, I know.  But this is one of those horror movies that is so entertaining, and has some great death scenes, not the least of which is Paris Hilton’s, being speared in the face with a rusty pole and slowly sliding down onto it.  Just awesome!  Imagine ending up in some creepy town that is full of wax people, and under the wax are real people.  It just makes me cringe to think of Jared Padalecki being paralyzed, having his hair waxed off (OUCH!!), then being sprayed with hot wax (double OUCH!!), and being displayed in the wax house.  And he is STILL ALIVE.  Then your friend finds you, and when trying to help you, peels off your skin!!!  I also love that our heroine gets such nasty wounds- its not every day that you get your lips sealed shut with super glue and part of your finger cut of with pliers!
  9. Jaws (1975) – A huge shark terrorizes the water off northeastern vacation spot.  This movie hit close to home, as my family and I would vacation on Cape Cod for a week every summer when I was growing up.  It’s enough to be afraid of jelly fish and horseshoe crabs, but now I have to be afraid of great white sharks too?  It always scared me that a killer shark could just come up out of the water and take a bite out of your leg.  Isn’t vacation supposed to be relaxing? Not off Amity Island!
  10. Final Destination (2000) – Imagine having a premonition of your death, being able to escape it, but then seeing those you saved once, still die.  So death is coming after you, you know it, and are pretty much powerless to stop it.  The ultimate movie in thinking that everything is out to get you- even when you think you’ve escaped certain death, you are never safe.  Instead of being killed by a train plowing at you when you’re stuck on the tracks, you will be able to get out of the car, but then be decapitated by flying shrapnel!  Even if you escape once, you will need to watch your back for the rest of your life- as evidenced by Clear Rivers (Ali Larter) in the sequel, who is resigned to staying in a padded room of an asylum in order to survive.  I love this movie for its wonderfully gory and creative deaths!

Some other horror flicks that were considered for my list:

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) – Don’t we all love deranged and cannibalistic families?  And who could forget Franklin?

Psycho (1960) – The famous shower scene is still shocking to this day!  Even though every one knows now that Norman Bates is the killer, the revelation that his mother is a corpse is still horrifying!

The Hills Have Eyes (1977) and (2006) – Terrifying mutants stalk family stranded in the desert!  Mutants that we created due to atomic bombing! Both versions are quite frightening!

The Others (2001) – A scary haunted house flick, with more scary kids who are allergic to light!!

The Orphanage (2007) – Another flick that takes place in a big old house, with frightening kids.  Scary and sad at the same time.


Halloween is fast approaching, and I thought, what better way to celebrate than to put together a list of my top 10 favorite horror movies?  A great idea in theory, but the task turned out to be much harder than I originally anticipated for a few reasons:

1. I’ve watched A LOT of horror movies

2. There are a lot of great horror movies that span the years, so narrowing it down to 10 was very difficult

3. Determining the order for the top 10 was even harder…it may be completely objective, but it’s still like comparing apples to oranges

4. My memory wasn’t as great as I’d hoped, and I may not have considered a few I should have

Difficulties aside, here’s the list I came up with.  Maybe some of your favorites are in here too!

  1. The Shining (1980): It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen this movie, it is just as scary and impactful every time I see it.  Those little twin girls telling Danny to “Come play with us forever and ever and ever” will remain branded in my brain forever, I fear, as will the creepy scene where Shelley Duvall finds Jack Nicholson’s manuscript and all it says for hundreds of pages is: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”?  And how about little Danny’s finger saying, “Mrs. Torrance” in that croaky voice?  Oh yeah, it’s spine-tingling.
  2. Scream (1996): Not exactly scary, but absolutely awesome for the way it pokes fun at all of its predecessors’ stereotypical plots.  Scream breaks down “the rules” for its audience.  You can’t drink, you can’t say you’ll be right back (because you won’t be), and you definitely can’t have sex.  Witty banter, a slew of gruesome killings(including The Fonze being scissored to death), and lots of horror movie references (“We all go a little mad sometimes”, “Corn syrup, same stuff they used for pig’s blood in Carrie“) make this movie an entertaining slicefest.
  3. The Devil’s Rejects (2005): Rob Zombie, please do not ever stop making horror movies.  Thank you.  But seriously, Zombie has a knack for films.  His plots are particularly twisted, his murders about as gorey and graphic as they come, his cinematography is excellent, he makes the coolest soundtracks, and never before have I watched a movie where I actually felt bad for the bad guys and sympathized when they met their demise.  This movie is not for the faint of heart.
  4. The Descent (2005): This is one of the freakist concepts for a horror movie I’ve ever come across.  Several ladies decide to explore the depths of a cavernous cave together…and are greeted by a posse of opaque, blind, flesh-eating mutants.  I don’t even know what these things are…are they human or otherwise?  Who knows.  One thing is for sure, their blindness doesn’t seem to slow them down much.  These suckers move fast and they’ll tear you to pieces.  I never had the desire to go cave-exploring…flesh-eating mutants pretty much seal the deal.
  5. Grindhouse: Planet Terror (2007): I chose only part 1 of the Grindhouse double feature because while I love Death Proof, I don’t consider it part of the horror genre.  Planet Terror was so awesome, I had to see it twice in theatre.  Rose McGowan plays a kickass babe with a machine gun for a leg who kills infected zombie-like people like its her job.  This movie explores new territory…it’s not very often a movie decides to show a kid shooting himself in the face.  Such things are fair game in Planet Terror.  Then there’s the Fergie cameo…she doesn’t look so pretty with half her head missing.  My vote for most awesome slaying scene, though, is when about 20 infected mutants are taken down by the blades of a helicopter.  If you’re easily offended, pass on this movie.  If you’ve got the stomach for it, I think you’ll find it just as awesome as I do!
  6. Night of the Living Dead (1968): Zombies are my personal favorite type of horror movie…I love the particular type of suspense in a zombie movie where these slow-moving, groaning creatures persistently stalk their victims for flesh.  This old classic is scary and will make the heart pound…”They’re coming to get you, Barbara.”
  7. The Others (2001): A spooky ghost movie with a twist at the end.  There are no grisly deaths, but somehow this movie scares me more than most others.  Nicole Kidman stars as a British mother of two whose husband never returns from the war.  She slowly starts to unravel, as unexplained things keep happening around her house.  Did I mention her kids are allergic to the sun?  One morning, she wakes up to find every curtain in the house has been inexplicably removed.  This film builds a quiet kind of terror as it develops.
  8. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974): The inception of the “family of killers” concept…a real house of horrors.  The way the movie begins, you think you’re watching crime scene footage from an actual real-life event.  Viewers are then taken back in time to a day when several teenagers break down in a remote Texas town, and are brutally tortured and killed off one by one by the chainsaw-wielding “Leatherface”.
  9. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978): The concept of aliens from outerspace replicating a person while he or she sleeps, killing the host, and slowly taking over the whole world is another seriously creepy one.  There are a few versions of the body snatcher movie, and while I really enjoyed the original film from 1956, the 1978 version with Donald Sutherland and Jeff Goldblum is my favorite (Leonard Nemoy even makes a cameo!).  I was especially impressed with the effects–the growing pod, the person being replicated.  It all seemed well ahead of its time.  Another thing I like about this one…there is no happy ending.  Even the main characters are killed off.  That’s perhaps the scariest part of the movie.  They win.  We lose.
  10. The Strangers (2008): This one, starring Scott Speedman and Liv Tyler, is one of my newest favorites and one of the most disturbing I’ve seen…plus, the acting is really good.  A young couple retreat to a secluded cabin for a romantic weekend, and are terrorized by masked people (the masks are so creepy!!) for no particular reason.   The masked maniacs toy with the couple throughout the movie, but I think the scariest thing of all is that they keep entering the house somehow, and the couple can’t seem to figure out why or how to prevent it…cell phones end up in the fire, items are moved, and so on.

And a few honorable mentions:

  • Dead Alive (aka Braindead) (1992): gory, gross, and utterly hilarious movie about zombies
  • High Tension (2003): an utterly horrific foreign film…I don’t even want to say anything about this one for fear of giving it away.  Just go see it.
  • The Hills Have Eyes (2006): a remake of the 1977 version…like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a family of deranged killers stalks a marooned family.  Only this time it’s out in the desert, and the killers are a mutant-looking, incestuous clan that suffers from radiation poisoning.
  • The Ring (2002): Watch a movie, and die in seven days.
  • Dawn of the Dead (2004): Another zombie movie–a remake of George Romero’s 1978 rendition.  Zombies take over, and a few living stragglers take over a mall.  Lots of suspense.  These zombies don’t walk, they run…fast.  My favorite scene is when the main characters play target practice on the zombies in the mall parking lot.  A Burt Reynolds look-alike zombie gets popped.