Tonight is Cabbage Night, as we affectionately call it out here on the East Coast. I love Halloween, but I am probably the least qualified on staff to recommend typical scary material. I go more for the dress-up-like-a-ballerina aspect of the holiday. Some of the staff are horror fans, and you may have read the blogs on Stephen King, zombies and the like… but this blog is for the squeamish, like me! To each her own, but I have filled my quota of gore & horror in my life and never wish to endure watching it again.
Now that I am older & wiser I spare myself the torture. But several years ago I was strong-armed into watching one of the Scream films on “Mischief Night” as they call it west of the Mississippi. It was a grueling experience for me. Luckily I went home and slept nightmare-free throughout the night. However, early the next morning I was driving to work on a long stretch of Arizona highway, when I glanced in my rearview mirror and saw the masked murderer from the Scream movies driving behind me! (Well, someone dressed up for Halloween, but still!!) I had a terrible fright!
I do, however, like suspense movies that play more on the imagination than the eyes. These films are at the top of my threshold for suspense–make sure you have someone you love & trust with you to snuggle up with! Eeeeek!
There are a few M. Night Shyamalan films that I really like and they are truly terrifying! But as I was describing earlier, his films have very little blood & gore. Still, the unknown keeps you at the edge of your seat. Also, I love the characters in his movies. I have to admit I was not brave enough to watch Sixth Sense, although I have heard it was good. My favorite Shyamalan movies are:
Signs 2002: A family finds mysterious crop circles in their corn fields. The danger comes closer and closer. Mel Gibson & Joaquin Phoenix’s characters have interesting story lines. Also I totally relate to the little girl played by Abigail Breslin and share her distaste of old water.
The Village 2004: This is the #1 scariest movie I have ever seen and I do not want to ever see it again. However, I would recommend watching it at least once because it is brilliantly done. It is about some strange occurrences in a secluded commune. This one is also starring Joaquin Phoenix and a wonderful performance of a blind girl by Ivy Walker.
It seems a strange coincidence that my favorite Alfred Hitchcock movies are starring Jimmy Stewart—a subject for another blog someday!
Rear Window 1954: The entire story takes place in the courtyard of a photographer who has a broken leg and is bored and begins watching his neighbors through their windows opposite his. He witnesses some strange behavior and begins to believe that he is the only witness to a murder.
Vertigo 1958: This is a very creepy film about a detective, Scottie, who suffers from vertigo. A man hires Scottie to follow his wife who he suspects is going insane. A lot of mysterious twists and turns happen in this strange film.
Rope 1948: Two men in manhattan murder their “friend” and hide him in a large trunk. They invite a group of people over for a dinner party, serving dinner on the trunk to test fate. They invite their former professor, who they believed would agree with their arrogant beliefs about social castes (their reasoning for committing murder).
Duel 1971: Have you ever seen a scarier looking truck? This is a 1955 Peterbilt 351. You may not guess this is Steven Spielberg’s first movie because it is not directed in his usual style. There is hardly any dialogue in this film, it is just road rage taken too far. This is one of my favorite movies of all time!
Primer 2004: Directed by Shane Carruth. (Spoiler alert!) Two friends invent a time machine in their garage but as they keep going into the past they create more and more of themselves and don’t know what to do with all of their clones. It sounds like a funny premise but it’s actually quite disturbing.
p.s. Go easy on the scary costumes while driving—for those of us with “delicate sensibilities”…
Jesse Lee Harmon is the bookkeeper/library assistant at the Oliver Wolcott Library and is currently humming “nee noo nee noo” (from the Twilight Zone, another good collection of low-gore scary films) …eeek!