One of the great mysteries of all time is why normal, otherwise sane people voluntarily choose to seat themselves in a movie theater for about 120 minutes of mind-numbing fright. Why, oh, why would you WANT to jump in your seat? Scream every 5 seconds? Listen to creepy background music that will forever haunt your dreams?
Clearly I am not one of those that enjoys scary movies. But I admit there are a few (and no, NOT any of the Saw films. ew.) that I will not only watch, but will even re-watch. Here is the admittedly short list of scary movies for my fellow peeps who normally want to send directors like Wes Craven to a mental institution:
Creepy children, Nicole Kidman ladying around the house in swishy dresses, and the potential for ghosts: that sums up this suspenseful tale. The best part: the entire movie feels like what Edgar Allan Poe would've written if he was a) not dead today and b) a screenwriter.
The Hound of The Baskervilles
It's not classic horror, but it makes you jump without gore or a hokey masked serial killer plot line. There's a demon dog on the loose, another old, crumbling house, and the possibility of madness. Plus Sherlock Holmes runs around in a swishy cape (I like swishy things). There are many iterations of this Conan Doyle story, but for the classic, go with the Basil Rathbone 1939 version. If you want a more modern take, the recent PBS/BBC adaptation of Sherlock starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman also does the story justice.
Mary Shelley's tale is basically My Fair Lady with scary sauce, no singing, and walking corpses. It has such themes as God v. Man and Good v. Evil that it's like taking Philosophy 101, but far more entertaining. Watch the Boris Karloff 1931 version. That film gave us the iconic image of Frankenstein (square head and pegged neck) and it's a horror movie classic.
Shaun of the Dead
Want a comic take on the zombie genre? Watch Shaun of the Dead, starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. This movie proves that not even dismemberment, the walking dead, annoying girlfriends, and a potential apocalypse can break up a bromance. There's gore, suspense, tons of laughs, and a twist at the end involving video games and zombie evolution.
Some Hitchcock films, like Vertigo and Rear Window, hold up in the present day. This movie is not one of them. Birds suddenly start attacking people! Who knows why! They're violent! When my best friend and I caught this on TV once, we could not. stop. laughing. The way those birds went for those 60s bouffants was both spectacular and laudable (why would you ever want to use that much hairspray?).
A Hitchcock pic that does hold up to the lens of time is this movie. There are 3 reasons you should watch it: 1) it (SPOILER) kills off it's main star before even half the movie was over 2) it's a classic and 3) it proves a point I've always been making: showers are deathtraps.
You think your relationship with your mother is bad? Hah. Just watch this movie and you'll see how good you have it. Oh Carrie, you made pigs blood look so...well, like you'd expect it to look on a person. Bad. Based on a Stephen King story, this tale should basically be required watching for all bullies. When a girl has psychokinetic powers, you prooobably shouldn't make fun of her because that may just be the tipping point for turning her from a Prof. Xavier into a really pissed off , hormonal Magneto.
What's your favorite scary movie?