There is still time left in the month to get your fill of horror movies before Halloween, hopefully saving a favorite for the big day. Here are my top classic horror movie picks guaranteed to make you sleep with one eye open.
The Exorcist (1973)
Let’s be honest. I will only watch this during the middle of the day with all of the lights on. I first saw this film on television, complements of video rental. I was in charge of picking it up, and taking it to a friend’s house for a sort-of watch party. Driving home with the video in my car I very nearly threw it out the window. I was so frightened by the movie, I didn’t even want the cassette. Demonic possession is the theme of many horror films, and in my opinion this one sets a high standard for sheer terror. Spinning heads anyone?
The Shining (1980)
Redrum. Need I say more? Count on Stanley Kubrick to made the mere sight of a pair of young twins frightening. As an adult, the idea of a paid getaway at a lovely resort hotel where I would be able to write might have seemed ideal at one time. Now, thanks to Stephen King having the same idea, and The Shining (and let’s admit, the lessons of the pandemic) I’ll say no thanks to this much isolation. It might end with an axe through the door. If you’re craving a trip down the path of insanity, this is the Halloween film for you.
Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Masterful performances by Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster plus a whole lot of tension add up to two hours of nail biting. I’ve always considered this a thriller, but it is scary in a good old fashioned horror sense, and if you’re looking for a fright for the holiday, Hannibal Lector won’t disappoint. As a side note, this is the film I chose as entertainment the evening I introduced my father to my future husband. I was already nervous and wow, what a way to really relax.
If you want an alternative to The Exorcist, try The Omen (1976). Or even Rosemary’s Baby (1968). Allcould be categorized as terrifying child tgerrozign a family movies.
Authors who are having a bad day, try Misery (1990) another Stephen King classic.
For true nostalgia, I might look up some of the films from the 1970s, the ones where giant rabbits take over the planet. (I have a baby sitter who let me watch the Saturday night movies with her. Lots of strange memories from these, none too scary and all fairly vague.
If I dare, I might finally watch The Blair Witch Project (1999). When it first came out I was too chicken to see it (plus my husband gets motion sick and that was an apparent side effect of the new filming style).