In honor of the day, let’s talk terror, shall we?
I don’t like “horror movies.” Let me rephrase that; I don’t like horror movies as they seem to have evolved. I love a delicious, spine-tingling suspense-fest, but I have no patience for the spatter-and-gore slasher films that have come to be what people think of when they think of “horror movies.”
When I think of books that have satisfied my need to be heebed out, the first place I go to is the shelf holding the Stephen King novels. While I’m most fond of his short stories (The Green Mile is my very favorite, followed very closely by The Shawshank Redemption. Neither of them is the least bit scary), I can honestly tell you that the first book that really creeped me out was The Shining (the book that Joey, on Friends, puts in the freezer when he gets too scared – I’m sorry, but I can’t find a clip of that scene…). I also remember being terribly satisfied with Thinner.
Though it’s not exactly a horror story, I remember being very glad that Mr. Chili wasn’t away on business the first time I finished reading The Prestige; the ending was just creepy enough that I wouldn’t have wanted to go to bed alone that night. I’m also pretty deeply in love with two of the standard classics – these being Frankenstein and Dracula – and I’ve got a soft spot in the black part of my heart for Poe, particularly The Tell-Tale Heart, The Cask of Amontillado, Hop Frog, and The Pit and the Pendulum. Oh, and The Raven, of course.
And then there are the movies. I love, Love, LOVE The Sixth Sense. No matter how many times I see it, I remain delighted by the twists and turns that the film takes us through, and even though I wish I could see the movie again for the first time, I keep watching it because it keeps delivering (I love showing it to students; I have a lot of fun watching them get it). Along similar lines is The Others (which I was looking for at the store the other day but couldn’t find; I’m going to add it to my next Amazon order). I didn’t think I’d like this movie, but it turned out that I loved it. (Chili’s note; I was trying to embed the trailer for The Others here, but it won’t work. Go here to see it)
I didn’t sleep well for a week after watching Silence of the Lambs (and there remains, to this day, a scene I’ve not actually watched, even though I’ve seen the film several times since that first night in the theater. The part where Lecter is in the metal cage? Just before he kills the police officers guarding him? Yeah, I close my eyes every time). I also really liked Fallen (Denzel as a detective chasing down an executed serial killer who’s figured out how to transfer his soul to other bodies). Though it crosses the line a bit farther into gore than I would have liked, I felt like I got more than my money’s worth of creeped out with Seven (so much so that, while I found it a very satisfying film, once through it was enough for me).
There are a couple of t.v. series that I like (or liked, as some of them are no longer on the air) that fit the theme, as well. I was in love with the too-short-lived American Gothic, Mr. Chili and I really dug Tru Calling, I got hooked on the few episodes of Dexter that were aired on network t.v. (so much that I bought the first season on DVD, and will likely complete the collection), and we’re very much looking forward to the start of the new season of Medium.
Do you like being creeped out? If so, what does it for you?