A Publication of the Public Library Association Public Libraries Online

The Season for Scary Movies

by on October 16, 2013

In my youth I really didn’t like horror movies. However, my BFF adored them. We watched a lot.Later, as a graduate student, I watched over 350 for my dissertation. You name it, I’ve probably seen it. This Halloween season, I’d like to share some of my favorites….

  • Best scary, yet funny horror movie: American Werewolf in London (1981) Directed by John Landis. With David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, Joe Belcher, Griffin Dunne.Two American college students on a walking tour of Britain stray from the path and find themselves furry.
  • Scariest kid flick: The Witches (1990) Directed by Nicolas Roeg. With Anjelica Huston, Mai Zetterling, Jasen Fisher, Rowan Atkinson.  Adapted from the Roald Dahl novel, a young boy stumbles into a witches convention.
  • Best cult film: Army of Darkness (1992) Directed by Sam Raimi. With Bruce Campbell, Embeth Davidtz, Marcus Gilbert, Ian Abercrombie. A man is accidentally transported to 1300 A.D., where he saves the world with anachronism.  
  • The dumbest characters in horror films: Poltergeist (1982) Directed by Tobe Hooper. With JoBeth Williams, Heather O’Rourke, Craig T. Nelson, Beatrice Straight. Classic haunted house, but even the warning ‘they’re here’ doesn’t seem to cause anyone to consider leaving.
  • Best horror film not intended to be:  Flatliners (1990) Directed by Joel Schumacher. With Kiefer Sutherland, Kevin Bacon, Julia Roberts, William Baldwin. Medical students bring themselves to death…why? Because they want to know.
  • Most heartbreaking: 6th Sense (1999) Directed by M. Night Shyamalan. With Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette, Olivia Williams. A young boy sees dead people.
  • Best zombies: 28 Days Later (2002) Directed by Danny Boyle. With Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Christopher Eccleston, Alex Palmer.  This is what happened before World War Z.
  • Most feminist: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992) Directed by Fran Rubel Kuzui, with Kristy Swanson, Donald Sutherland, Paul Reubens. Former cheerleader turns reluctant vampire slayer.
  • Best oldie but goodie:  Them (1954) Directed by Gordon Douglas. With James Whitmore, Edmund Gwenn, Joan Weldon, James Arness.  Atomic testing is not good for ants.
  • Scariest movie I’ve ever seen:  Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986) Directed by John McNaughton. With Michael Rooker, Tracy Arnold, Tom Towles, Mary Demas. Based on the real life story of serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, this is a shocking, unsettling, unvarnished look at a mass-murderer.
  • Best slasher film: April Fool’s Day (1986) Directed by Fred Walton. With Deborah Foreman, Griffin O’Neal, Clayton Rohner, Jay Baker. Nine college friends on a remote island…what could happen?
  • Most haunting:  Soylent Green (1973) Directed by Richard Fleischer. With Charlton Heston, Edward G. Robinson, Leigh Taylor-Young, Chuck Connors. On over- populated earth, life is a mixed bag, but don’t eat the crackers.
  • Best comedy:  Shaun of the Dead (2004)  Directed by Edgar Wright. With Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kate Ashfield, Lucy Davis. Sometimes a zombie invasion can positively change your life.
  • The film all teens should see: The Hitcher (1986) Directed by Robert Harmon.With Rutger Hauer, C. Thomas Howell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jeffrey DeMunn.  Every reason why you should not pick up hitchhikers or  hitchhike yourself.
  • Perfect family Halloween movie night:  Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983) Directed by Jack Clayton. With Jason Robards, Jonathan Pryce, Diane Ladd, Royal Dano.  The Bradbury tale of what happens when a diabolical circus comes to town
  • Best musical: Nightmare before Christmas (1993) Directed by Henry Selick. With Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara, William Hickey. The pumpkin King needs a little Christmas.
  • Best never ending sequels: Halloween (1978-)  Murderous Michael Myers just keeps getting up, and up, and up.

What are your favorites scary movies? I’d love to hear some recommendations. Share them in the comments below!

Tags: ,