There's not much better than settling down with a scary movie when Halloween's close by. For me, scary movies are always in the rotation, as is "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation." I'm just weird like that. But for others, this is really the only time of the year they watch creepy movies. So why not go for the big scare?
Sure, you could turn on TMC and watch a super edited version of "The Exorcist," or try to find one of the million and one "Friday the 13th" movies on FX at 3 a.m. and DVR it. But that's lame. To get the real effect of horror movies you need to treat it like a committed relationship - realize that it's scary, at times you might want to cover your eyes and cry, but if you do it right, it's great fun.
So from a classic and campy horror movie aficionado, here's your list of must see movies this season.
"A Nightmare on Elm Street" - I would recommend the original first movie. The remake is fine, but your first dose of Freddy Krueger should be old school. Freddy is the quintessential movie monster. He's freaky to look at, he makes repulsive sexual advances to the female victims, he's every-freaking-where and he prays on one of our most basic needs - sleep. You go to sleep and you die. How scary is that?! Plus, for all you Johnny Depp fans, you can see him die a pretty spectacular death towards the end of the movie. The second Nightmare movie is probably the worst, but after then they get campier and Freddy gets creepier and cheekier, which just adds to the allure of the movies. If you go with the remake, you'll have a totally different sort of Freddy who is without a doubt a sexual deviant as well as a murderer. At least with the original Freddy there's a little bit of mystery about whether or not his name was on the sex offender registry.
"It" - This will not be the first movie-based-on-a-Stephen-King-novel that you see on this list, but it might be the scariest one, since most people I know aren't overly fond of clowns and this one has the freakiest killer clown in the whole wide world. It was a made-for-television movie, so there's not the typical super cursing and gratuitous nudity one typically deals with in horror movies. But the fact that it came on television in 1990 (which means even less was allowed on TV than is now) didn't mean that movie wasn't scary as all get out. And it still is. Killer clowns living in sewers and killing children? Using balloons to get your hand close before he rips it off with his razor sharp teeth? Made-for-TV or not, that junk right there is one the scariest movies ever made, so of course I own it. But even I'm not watching it in the dark.
"The Exorcist" - Although anyone who's ever spent any time with middle-schooler's might tell you they oftentimes act like they don't have good sense, the idea of a 12-year-old girl being possessed by the devil takes it several steps away from fighting about boys and sneaking their mom's makeup (or whatever middle school girls do when they aren't tormenting one another). The whole premise of the movie is that. Girl gets possessed, help is brought in and the priests try to fight the devil and get him out of the girl before he kills her. For anyone even the tiniest bit religious will probably take offense to a lot in this movie, but I guarantee they won't complain that it didn't scare them. When a devil girl crab-walks backwards down a flight of stairs you know things just got real.
"Pet Cemetery" - There's nothing quite as scary as horror movie kids, and anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is a dirty, filthy liar. My parents actually thought it was a good idea to take me to see this in the theater when it came out. I was 10. I didn't sleep that night, and when I went to cut through my backyard on the way to the bus stop the next morning, and a cat jumped out of the camellia bush on the side of the garage, I quite literally wet my pants out of fear. The toddler in the film, Gage, is the top scariest kid from a horror movie ever in the world, and the fact that Herman Monster is in it causing all sorts of trouble just adds to the allure. Don't watch this if you have kids at home. Anytime they say "Mommy" in the next week it will send a shiver down your spine.
"The Shining" - This movie has scary kids all over the place. The main kid is scary, the ghost kids are scary, there's some creepy twins hanging out in the corridors that are mega scary. But while there's some blood and gore in it, the movie is really more freaky spooky than gory scary, and that actually makes it all worse somehow. This is another one I am never watching when it's dark outside because forget that nonsense. Do I look like a hero to you? But if you get yourself a partner in crime to brave the psychological scary with and pop this one in to watch. It's not really Halloween until Jack Nicholson comes after his family with an ax.
"Friday the 13th" - Much like "A Nightmare on Elm Street," this is one of those classics that have a hundred sequels - including one where the bad guy, Jason Voorhees, is in space! For the record, that's not the one I would suggest watching first. There is an awesome movie called "Freddy vs. Jason" that pairs the two together, but it's just for fun. The premise of this one is if you're on Jason's turf and engage in carnal knowledge of someone else, you're going to die. Horribly. It's the horrible death parts that make it so worth it and oh so very 80s. Watch Nightmare, then this, then do "Freddy vs. Jason." Say thank you with presents.
If you've got a suggestion for me, throw it my way - I love horror movies and am always looking for another fun one to make me sleep with the lights on.