#271 – 274. Scary Movie Bonanza 2.0

Spoiler alert: these movies weren't that scary. The Shining on the other hand...
Spoiler alert: these movies weren’t that scary. The Shining on the other hand…

I used to think I didn’t like scary movies.

Last year, I forced myself to watch a few. Oddly enough, I kind of enjoyed them… though I still fight myself from thinking about ghost hands clapping in my closet at least once a week (thanks, The Conjuring!).

I asked my Facebook and Twitter pals for their best scary movie recommendations. I selected a few of the most mentioned. Aside from one dud, I sussed out some legitimately creepy flicks.

Dare you to watch them.

At work.

Or home alone.

P.S. Is it just me, or are the trailers almost always creepier than the actual movie?

* * *

The Others

The synopsis (per IMDB): A woman who lives in a darkened old house with her two photosensitive children becomes convinced that her family home is haunted.

I remember seeing a preview for this movie right before it hit theaters. It gave me the willies. No way I’ll ever watch that! 

Thirteen years later and I’m watching it.

Of all of this year’s scary movies, I was the most nervous about this one. I can handle serial killer flicks, gore porn and monster movies.

But paranormal stuff? Nightmare city!

Though there were a few jumpy moments, this was just a well-executed film. Stunningly shot, a great (albeit predictable) plot twist– it channeled classic Hitchcock, which is my absolute favorite. Check out this pic of Nicole Kidman— she could’ve been cast in The Man Who Knew Too Much. I loved it!

Conclusion: Even ‘fraidy cats can handle this one. Watch it!

* * *

The Hills Have Eyes

The synopsis: A suburban American family is being stalked by a group of psychotic people who live in the desert, far away from civilization.

The Aaron Paul look-alike next to me at Half Price Books kept peering over my shoulder, commenting on every scary movie I checked out. He vehemently told me The Hills Have Eyes is one of the scariest movies ever, mainly because “it’s based on a true story.”

If this guy was anything like Jesse Pinkman, I figured he knew a thing or two about scary movies.

Fifteen minutes into this flick and I was like NO WAY is this based on a true story. Googled it. Pure fiction.

You know when movies are so bad they’re good?

This was not the case.

Terrible acting (but not bad enough). Ridiculous plot (but not ridiculous enough). Dumb decisions galore (I did roll my eyes a lot… c’mon, why are you going back into the house?!!). There was a lot of gore, which was just gross.

Conclusion: Creepy, but mainly this movie made me wish the hills had an eye for detail or irony or camp.

* * *

American Horror Story: Freak Show

The synopsis: An anthology series that centers on different characters and locations, including a haunted house, an insane asylum, a witch coven and a freak show.

I’m a sucker for a binge-worthy series, but was always too afraid to watch American Horror Story. However, if I could get my husband onboard, I wouldn’t have to watch it alone. ‘Cause that would be too scary!

I convinced him, stating I had to do it for Hey Eleanor! What a sucker. (Just kidding! I love you, Josh!)

We hopped into the fourth season, Freak Show. First of all, great acting. I mean, both Kathy Bates & Jessica Lange?! Amazing music, too– Ryan Murphy is the guy behind AHS, so I am not surprised.

We’re currently three episodes in and the plot line is s-l-o-w-l-y building, in a good way. I’m sensing this season’s two-headed woman is just an episode or two away from doing something very disturbing. I can’t wait!

And Twisty the Clown?

I can’t stop thinking about him.

I can barely bring myself to do laundry in our basement because OBVIOUSLY he’s down there!

Conclusion: It’s quite a feat to find a good plot & great acting in the horror genre (it’s sort of like porn in that way!). AHS nails it. Watch it… and then watch out for Twisty.

* * *

The Shining

The synopsis: A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil and spiritual presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future.

I don’t think I’ve seen this movie for 15 years, but since it’s the scariest movie of all time, I figured it was worth a revisit.

The Shining incorporates so many fears into one cohesive package: isolation, paranormal activity, gore, a maniacal killer, creepy children and so much suspense.

And yet the movie relies on no cheap scares!

There’s no boo! moments or gratuitous blood and guts. It’s a subtle build to an explosive ending.

When you think of the current state of horror flicks, they’re usually bottom of the barrel actors (sorry, but we all know it’s true!) performing in cheaply produced, badly written films.

The Shining is based on a book by Steven King (one of the best storytellers!), directed by Stanley Kubrick (the opening vista shots with the ominous music sets a pitch-perfect tone), starring Jack Nicholson (he plays nuts like no other!).

That’s a trifecta of greatness you just don’t see in this genre.

Can we try convincing legit writers, directors and actors to start doing movies like this again? Are there any new horror films that we’ll still be watching & freaked out by in 35 years? I want to know!

Conclusion: You could watch this movie every Halloween and it would still scare the pants off ya. A nearly perfect film.

* * *

Share the scare!

I don’t anticipate watching The Others or The Hills Have Eyes anytime soon. Tell me about the scary movie you watched as a kid that still haunts you.

(For me, that would be The Company of Wolves, which I never even watched! I only saw the art on the VHS tape and was scared for years!)

I’ll pick my two fave comments by 11:59 pm on Friday, November 7. The lucky (?) winners will get my copy of one of these movies.

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Comments (12)

  • Lizzie 6 years ago Reply

    Oh man, even reading a blog post about scary movies drives my pulse up a little. My husband revels in our annual Scary Movie Week leading up to Halloween, though I mostly "watch" them with my eyes closed (trying to be a good sport here but I’m a total sissy). Watching Arachnophobia as a kid scarred me for life so that one’s off the table forever. It didn’t help that I grew up in the woods with tons of spiders everywhere omg get it off me.

    molly mogren katt 6 years ago Reply

    YESSSS!!! Arachnophobia was terrifying! That definitely scarred me as a child.

    Also, remember Tremors?!

    molly mogren katt 6 years ago Reply

    Lizzie– I am sending you a movie. Email me with your address & I will ship one off to you. heyeleanorproject@gmail.com

  • Lindsey 6 years ago Reply

    I watched some interviews with some of the actors who play the "freaks" on Youtube (like this one with Mat Fraser: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EF_IsA8NC8k) recently and was really intrigued, so I decided to check out AHS for the first time. I really really want to keep watching it because the writing and the acting are so so great, but Twisty is SO SCARY. I’m about to move into a house for the first time after living in dorms or apartments for almost a decade, and I think for my own sanity I might have to stop watching AHS for now. Or at the very least, fast forward through the Twisty parts and read the re-caps later =)

    molly mogren katt 6 years ago Reply

    Yeah, I don’t know if it’s really possible to watch AHS without enduring the Twisty portions. If I were in your shoes, I would probably give it a rest, too!

  • Kathryn 6 years ago Reply

    The Princess Bride for me! When I was about six, I was at at a friend’s house and walked through the living room as the scene with the quicksand and the rodent of unusual size was on. I was terrified and wondered for years what movie it was. Fast forward to watching the movie at a slumber party when I was twelve, and as soon as that scene came on again, I was completely freaked out and couldn’t sleep all night. I still refuse to watch that movie, which is a shame since it’s practically everyone’s favorite.

    You shouldn’t pick my comment to win, though. I’m willing to do lots of scary things, but scary movies totally freak me out! I fast forward through all the suspenseful parts of my favorite TV shows because they freak me out even when I know how it’s going to end 🙂

    molly mogren katt 6 years ago Reply

    I can definitely see how the rodents of unusual size could be problematic to a kid. Maybe watching the entire movie could be your Hey Eleanor moment. 🙂

  • EverChangingScenery 6 years ago Reply

    For me it has to be the Saw series. I went through a phase of loving scary movies and watched all the Saw films in close succession. For weeks afterwards I was jumping out of skin at every sound – it certainly put an end to my affair with horror films!

    molly mogren katt 6 years ago Reply

    I haven’t watched one of those yet & am not sure I even want to! Do you have to watch them in order for them to make sense? 😉

  • April H 6 years ago Reply

    This is an oldy (1971) but goodie (or goody?), anyway…

    The Abominable Dr. Phibes

    molly mogren katt 6 years ago Reply

    That was a fabulous trailer! I think I am going to rent it at Blockbuster…wait…

    Have you actually seen the movie? Seems perfectly cheesy and twisted. My ideal!

    molly mogren katt 6 years ago Reply

    April– I am sending you a movie. Email me with your address & I will ship one off to you. heyeleanorproject@gmail.com

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