2nd annual obligatory scary movie post

I luuuurve Halloween. I’ve been devouring horror movies for weeks now in preparation. But if you’re planning on doing that this weekend, chances are it will be slim pickins at the rental place. Just as I was last year, I’m here to provide a list of what to rent when the go-to faves are already gone from the store.

You wanted: Friday the 13th or Halloween. Instead, get: Black Christmas or The Night of the Hunter.

Okay, your choice here is going to be based on your motivation behind wanting a classic slasher. Was it the actual slashing, the watching of pretty young people get deaded? Then go with Black Christmas (1974, not 2006), which is easily one of the best in the genre. On the other side, if you were more drawn to the idea of the iconic stalker bad guy, The Night of the Hunter showcases one the scariest. It’s not a traditional horror film, but it is chilling, and has some of the creepiest cinematography I’ve ever seen.

You wanted: Psycho. Instead, get: Peeping Tom.

Given that Peeping Tom is often referred to as a sort of “British Psycho”, I’m not making a revelatory connection here. If Norman Bates had been a queen-lover with daddy issues instead of a damn yankee with mommy issues, you’d get something along the lines of the main character here. For the most part the similarities end there, though. Peeping Tom is a great, original movie, with a tense plot that riffs on the idea of murder as entertainment.

You wanted: The Amityville Horror. Instead, get: Inferno.

First: if you ever really do have the urge to rent The Amityville Horror, just don’t. It’s the only movie I’m mentioning in this post that I can’t recommend. (I speak of the original 1979 movie…the remake, which I haven’t seen, is surely terrible but at least stars Ryan Reynolds, who is extremely attractive.) But, it is the face of the “possessed house” genre, and thus may seem like a good idea. The actual good idea is to get any movie by Dario Argento, and Inferno is a solid choice because it gives you a whole damn apartment building full of craziness.

You wanted: The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Instead, get: Picnic at Hanging Rock.

Here again I’m recommending a movie that doesn’t fit into the traditional horror category. However, there’s no better way to describe Picnic at Hanging Rock than “creepy as all hell”. It’s Valentine’s Day in 1900, at a girls boarding school in Australia. Some of the girls and their teachers decide to go on a celebratory nature outing. Four of them disappear into thin air. Then things get interesting. If you enjoy movies like The Exorcism of Emily Rose, that provide eerie imagery and a building sense of dread rather than scare-scare-scare, Picnic at Hanging Rock will stick with you. It’s truly haunting.

You wanted: The Ring. Instead, get: The Orphanage.

You know what the best, scariest moment is in The Ring? It’s when Rachel first figures out that the border between the real world and the images in the tape is not solid: she puts her fingers up to the screen and picks at the fly in the movie, pulling it until it flies away, out of the recording and into the solid world. A moment like that is a triumph because though nothing horrible has happened yet, suddenly all the rules have been dropped, and we know that the horrible something is waiting. The bulk of The Orphanage lingers in that space, where the anticipation of what might be able to happen is a serious fright in and of itself.

Happy watching and happy hauntings.


3 Responses to “2nd annual obligatory scary movie post”

  1. 1 Chelsea October 31, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    Oh boy, the Orphanage scared the crap out of me. I watched it on the plane back from London and I’m pretty sure the older English gentleman next to me thought I was nuts when I kept gasping and putting my hands over my eyes.

  2. 2 Carly October 31, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    as much as i really really love to be creeped out and frightened by well-done suspense, or outright horror, on film, i am officially no longer allowed to see scary movies, because they do actually still keep me up at night. embarrassing, but true.

  3. 3 patty November 8, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    oooh, brandi, you didn’t write your dear zachary review. you’re cut off from press kits!

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