Petrifying Pictures

As in moving pictures, also known as films.

Rey had done a great job of posting the gals’ favorite fright-night films on Saturday.  And, seeing as I’d promised to provide mine, here  you go . . . my preferred spine-tingling pics.

As a childThe Haunting (the 1963 version, directed by Robert Wise and starting Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, and Richard Johnson).

While it seems so tame now, when I was six, the B&W film possessed the perfect amount of disquieting suspense and eerie occurrences to prompt more than a few goosebumps.  The basic premise: a paranormal investigator invites people to supposedly haunted Hill House.  The female lead, Eleanor, becomes thoroughly (distressingly) obsessed with the old house.  Can you spell s-i-n-i-s-t-e-r? 

As a teenThe Ghost and Mr. Chicken (directed by Alan Rafkin, starring Don Knotts and Joan Staley).  Okay, not a true horror film, but fun with nutty antics transpiring in a reputedly haunted house. WP1GhostAmazonDOTcom

It was/is an entertaining watch, no matter what time of year.  Simple and silly.  “Luther” (lovable Don Knotts) works as a typesetter in a small town.  An aspiration to become a reporter prompts him to agree to spend a night in the town’s creepy mansion, where a murder-suicide had once taken place.  Does anyone believe him when he claims to have witnessed weird happenings, like the organ playing on its own?

As an adult:  The Woman in Black (directed by James Watkins, staring Daniel Radcliffe, Janet McTeer, and Ciarán Hinds).

A recently widowed man travels to a remote village where he soon believes the villagers are hiding some deep, dark secret.  Soon, he encounters a female ghost who is scaring local residents—and him.  The setting is perfect: distant and dark and untamed.  The film, which contains some wonderful make-you-jump moments, is the perfect Halloween-night picture.

I’ve fulfilled my promise to Rey and am now going to start chomping on the beckoning bowl of Candy Corn.  After that, I’ll suck a few Molasses Kisses.  Later, I’ll pull out a DVD, put the ol’ feet up, and munch a buttered finger, er, Butterfinger.

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Spoo-ooky Stuff

Wa-ha-ha-ha . . . hey, it’s Rey!  The Boss has decided to crawl under the fuzzy covers and close her eyes to the world this weekend, so I’m taking over.  Actually, she’d asked Linda to, but she’s in training for some triathlon thingy.  Whatever.

With Halloween five headstone paces away, I thought it’d be cool to provide our take on favorite horror movies—ones we think are the scariest ever.  I tried to get The Boss to provide hers—no easy feat, let me tell ya—but she grumbled something about posting hers on Wednesday as she’s chomping Candy Corn and sucking Molasses Kisses.

To make it more interesting, I thought I’d have us, the Triple Threat Investigation Agency gumshoes, share the scariest in childhood, teenhood, and adulthood—huh?  Oh, Cousin Jilly says “teenhood” isn’t a real word.  Whatever.

Let’s start with the three that scared—still do—my BFF.

Linda:

As a childThe Shining (directed by Stanley Kubrick, starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, and Danny Lloyd).

How ghostly, ghastly can it get but to have a family of three reside in an immense, isolated hotel for a long frosty winter, where startling things happen and ominous people start appearing?  What if a little boy “sees” things that make you want to clamp shut your eyes . . . but not too much?

As a teenAlien (directed by Ridley Scott, starring Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt and John Hurt).

The first of the franchise, for me, was the most unnerving, but I rather enjoyed them all.  I recall sitting low in my seat with a pillow pushed against my face, peering over the tassels, unable to turn away.  I was riveted and scared <bleepless>.  Basic premise: a spacecraft receives a distress call and the rest . . . is thoroughly, wonderfully, on-the-edge distressing.

As an adult: The Fog (directed by John Carpenter, starring Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Janet Leigh). WPhallIMDbDOTcomTheFog

I only saw this 1980 film about five years ago; we were having a retro film night, yes, on Halloween.  You know, I found it marvelously creepy.  Mysterious, spine-tingling events transpire one night in a small town, 100 years to the day a ship mysteriously sank in nearby waters.  A spooky, dense fog sweeps into town before something chilling happens, sending icy shivers up your tense spine.

JJ:

As a childPhantasm  (directed by Don Coscarelli, starring Michael Baldwin, Angus Scrimm, Reggie Bannister, and Bill Thornbury). WPhallIMDbDOTcomPhantasm

I saw it as a child with some cousins one summer at Uncle Charly’s cottage.  It was late.  The adults were sitting outside by a campfire, and we kids were seated in front of an old TV, watching the VHS (we opted for Phantasm over Roller Boogie).  I recall the mortician character vividly; his name should have been Sinister.  The basic plot line: folks of a small town (of course) start dying under odd circumstances.  Mike, the main character, gets help from his older brother and a local ice-cream guy; they attempt to kill the Tall Man while staying clear of his “helpers” and these wicked silver balls.  It definitely set a few hairs on end, let me tell you.

As a teenJu-on: The Grudge (Japanese version directed by Takashi Shimizu, starring Megumi Okina, Misaki Ito, and Takashi Matsuyama); the American version with Sarah Michelle Gellar was pretty decent.

The latest owners of a house are consumed by a curse, which was created when a man murdered his wife and pet cat a few years previous.  Weird—as in spine-chilling frightening—things happen with horror-able outcomes.

As an adultShaun of the Dead (directed by Edgar Wright, starring Simon Pegg, Kate Ashfield, and Lucy Davis). 

I recall seeing this one years after it was released in theaters.  It’s actually a British horror comedy and it works well as both.  This absurdly, wickedly funny film made me laugh—a lot.  Yes, a zombie apocalypse can be hysterical.

Mine—as in Rey:

As a childChildren of the Corn (directed by Fritz Kiersch, starring Peter Horton and Linda Hamilton).

Based on a Stephen King story, it’s set in a rural part of Nebraska where there are, yup, a lot of cornfields.  The story: a couple enter a small town—surprise, surprise—where only children seem to live.  Before you know it, they’re running for their lives, attempting to escape . . .  these children of the corn.  Corny sounding?  Yeah, but worth the watch!

As a teenSuspiria (directed by Dario Argento, starring Jessica Harper).  WPHallIMDbDOTcomSuspiria

This was actually a 70s flick, but I didn’t see it until I was 14 and <bleep> did it totally creep me out!  This gal travels to Germany to attend ballet school.  Sounds pretty awesome, right?  No-o.  She ends up getting there late, a stormy night, no less.  She finally gets into the school, but bizarre—as in nasty-scary—things start happening.  This is one dark “witching” horror movie.  Put it on your can’t-wait-to-be-scared list!

As an adult:  I think the B movies I acted in are pretty scary and worth being on a Halloween movie list, but JJ and Linda pooh-poohed that, so-o—because I like campy, fun, freaky films—I’m going to go with The Evil Dead (directed by Fede Alvarez, starring Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, and Jessica Lucas).

Gotta love the story—five folks head up to a remote rundown cabin where they come across something called the Book of the Dead, which results in them accidentally summoning demons who live in the nearby woods.  It’s got the right amount of fear-filled, shriek-dense fright.

Ba-ha-ha . . . Happy Halloween from the gals at the Triple Threat Investigation Agency!  May you have lots of fiendishly frightening fun!

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