Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Countdown To Halloween--Movies Guaranteed To Give A Good Scare

Ask anyone, and they'll tell you I'm definitely -not- a fan of modern day "slasher" films.
I hate all of them. I mean, seriously, who wants to pay money to watch someone get brutally murdered??
As it turns out, plenty of people do, and that's why Hollywood keeps turning out these things.
Since Halloween is just a couple of days away, I wanted to point out some other classic scary movies that will make you jump or grab the person next to you.

"Halloween" (The original) Still as creepy as it ever was, this movie succeeds where it should--the anticipation factor. The music is really what gets you here--that fabulous piano-rich score, telling the audience that, yes indeed, something very bad was about to happen. It's a simple construction of a movie, and the panic on the face of a young Jamie Lee Curtis is enough to keep your heart racing. Violent, yes, but not nearly as much as current movies.

"Poltergeist" From the '80s, this is a film that doesn't really start out terribly scary, but lulls you comfortably into the family home where Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams sleep soundly until those magic words: "They're heeeeeeerre!" from young daughter Carol Ann.
This should be good, as it was touched by the hand of Spielberg. As scary as they come. Be sure to put away any clown dolls before watching it.

Speaking of Spielberg, for sheer terror, check out his early effort called "Duel."
Originally made as a TV movie, it stars Dennis Weaver as a businessman on a road trip who finds himself in a showdown with a semi. It all starts when Weaver passes him... The cat and mouse game is guaranteed to make you squirm in your seat. Helpful hint: Don't watch it the night before any long trips.

"The Others" Nicole Kidman stars in this story of a woman and her two small children who stay at a remote house in the country. Then strange things start to happen at home. Curtains vanish, things go bump in the night, the housekeepers add a dash of extra creepy, you get the picture.
The music alone will make you want to turn away. I saw this in theatres, and opened my eyes at the wrong time. Ouch. It felt like I jumped 6 feet in the air. The usher says it was only 2.

"The Omen" Gregory Peck unwittingly becomes the adoptive father of the son of the Devil. Yee-ikes. The music alone is enough to unnerve you, and the story moves along at a breakneck pace. By the way, I'm talking about the original here, not the recent remake. As Peck finally uncovers the unspeakable truth about his son Damien, you'll find yourself reaching for the nearest nightlight. Its sequel, "Damien: Omen II" isn't bad, either. But you can skip the third one, even if it does have Sam Neill as the title character. 

"Dial M For Murder" The list wouldn't be complete without something from Hitchcock. This clever plot will keep you guessing. Most any Hitchcock film will fill the bill this Halloween. You might also like "Rear Window," with Jimmy Stewart. A recent movie called "Disturbia" with Shia Lebeouf, that's loosely based on  "Window" is also very good. David Morse is excellent as the creepy next door neighbor.

"Psycho" How could I possibly leave out this Hitchcock chiller? A great film that many only remember because of the infamous Bates Motel--people tend to forget that the first half showcases Janet Leigh with a hidden agenda. A great score and tense plot will leave you wanting more. Look for character actor Martin Balsam in a small role as a private detective.

Naturally, there are plenty of movies with a good scare or two out there, these were just a few of my favorites.
Enjoy, and Happy Halloween!

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