By Christy Riggs
“Trick-o-Treat, smell my feet, gimme something good to eat” (or watch). Halloween is filled with costumes, candy, jack-o’-lanterns, and belly aches after consuming too much candy. But it’s also the time of year for watching scary / creepy movies. Who’s a fan? I am and have been since I was a kid. Of course, this is the reason I [still] SPRINT up stairs in the dark and tense up and walk on my top toes while on my deck at night. You know, the fear of hands grabbing me or people chasing me!
Psychologically speaking, just why do people watch and enjoy horror movies? For one, it’s the thrill of a Hollywood jump-scare that could serve as a practice run for the real thing. Watching this particular genre of movies also releases adrenaline, dopamine and provides an endorphin rush.
In case you’re looking for a good Halloween or horror movie (for anytime of year), let’s review some of the top classics:
“Hocus Pocus” - This is one of the most classic Halloween movies of all time. It’s family friendly (for the most part) and is rated PG. It’s a Disney fantasy involving a little boy who frees the executed evil Sanderson sister witch trio (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy) for their dark witchcraft after he recently moves to Salem with his family. It has something for everyone: witches, spells, humor, zombies. For HP fans? Hocus Pocus 2 has come out on Disney+ just in time for this Halloween. "Why was I cursed with such idiot sisters?" —Winifred Sanderson.
Stephen King’s “IT” - This is a creepy, psychological drama. Ever since this movie made its debut in 1990 and the sequel in 2017, clowns now have a bad rap. “Pennywise” is a fanged monster clown who terrorizes youngsters based on their personal fears. Some face their doom while others fight back. This evil follows them throughout their life. “Do you want a balloon too, Georgie?”
“Halloween” - there are 13 in this particular movie franchise. The first came out in ‘78 and this year marks the “end”. This focuses primarily on Michael Myers - a child committed for murdering his sister on Halloween in Haddonfield, IL who escapes. Michael Myers is the ultimate creepy dude. The white mask, the dark jumpsuit, the stare, the theme song recognized anywhere. “Happy Halloween, Michael” - Lori Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis). An interesting tid bit? My daughter reminds me every Halloween, the few keys of the theme song to this movie was the first thing I taught her on the piano. Not sure that’s a Mom award moment. Or is it?
“The Conjuring - Annabelle” - Just a beautiful doll in a white dress right? WRONG! Turns out, it’s a conduit for ultimate evil and she terrorizes her owners. One night my mom took the girls (ages 13, 14) to see this movie and have a sleepover. While the girls were playing downstairs, my mom threw a doll down the staircase and screamed “Annabelle!!” and scared the girls to death!! That is a core memory to say the least. “Will you help me?” ~ Annabelle.
“Silence of the Lambs” - it is said this is one of the all time greatest horror movies. FBI trainee Clarice Starling (Jodi Foster) interviews Dr. Hannibal Lector (Anthony Hopkins), an incarcerated psychopathic serial killer, in hopes of catching another serial killer. Two of the most famous movie quotes come from this Academy Award winning movie: “It rubs the lotion on it’s skin or else it gets the hose again”. And: “ I ate his liver with some fava beans and some nice Chianti.”
Halloween is a fun holiday filled with costumes and candy! Here’s hoping we all had an uneventful day with ZERO similarity to the movies mentioned. However, for the remainder of my life, I will indeed run up stairs and turn on hallway lights until I am safely and securely in my bed. Thanks horror genre!