Horror movies are as intrinsic to Halloween as candy and costumes are.
And just as we have a favorite piece of candy, or will forget that one costume we loved as a kid; there are horror movies that still scare the living bejesus out of us. Yes, there are movies that, no matter how many years have passed since we saw them, nor how much older we’ve got or more seasoned we’ve got in the horror genre — these films haunt us.
The following are just some of the horror films that have haunted us for years…
Bill Bodkin – JAWS
Truth be told I didn’t see Jaws until I was in my mid-20s. And you know what? I loved it. It’s an awesome movie. I don’t scare how mechanical that shark looked, I was legitimately awash with fear and tension as he chomped down on Quint’s boat.
However, the reason it took me so long to watch the film was literally because of the theme music, and the mere thought of a shark attack.
Seriously, I didn’t ever want to go into the ocean when I was a kid because I was certain Jaws was going to eat me. This is a man-eating shark, I was a pasty, somewhat chunky kid … in essence I was shark bait.
Do I still fear that Jaws will come up and eat me…well…YEAH. I mean I live in the area the book took its inspiration from so you bet your sweet shark bait ass that any time I come near the water that theme song is softly playing in my mind.
Ann Hale – Arachnophobia
I have seen hundreds of horror movies over the years. Honestly, it could even be in the thousands. I love them. I can’t get enough of them. I live for them. It has gotten to the point, however, that it has become difficult for me to be scared by horror movies anymore. Even the films that scared me as a child seem so cheesy and fun now. That being said, there is one, just one, horror movie that still haunts me to this day.
Anyone who knows me knows that there is one thing that scares me more than anything else in the world: Spiders. I cant even think about them without tearing up. If I see one in my house, I will sob uncontrollably and stare at it until my spouse gets home to kill it. If I take my eyes away from it, I may lose it and then I will NEVER get to sleep knowing that it could crawl on me at any time. Nothing turns me into a shivering child like a spider, no matter the size.
All of this is the fault of Arachnophobia, the scariest damn movie ever made. I HATE that movie. I cant even look at a picture of the front cover without getting a chill up my spine. Those spiders were everywhere. In shoes, cereal boxes, lamps, showers, toilets….My poor father spent a good chunk of my childhood checking various places for spiders for me. I cant even count the number of times I had to make him get out of bed to kill one. The fact that I live in the south with Black Widows and Brown Recluses does not help in any way. Every spider is a black widow, even if it isn’t. Because of that movie, I expect that every spider wants me dead and will hide in my shoes just to trick me into giving them a toe to snack on. In short, the film destroyed my nerves for life.
I saw the movie once and will never watch it again. In fact, I hope every copy finds its way into a giant bonfire. I will bring the marshmallows and watch the flames rise.
Alisha Weinberger – Hellraiser aka Lament Configurations and Italian Deliver
I was raised by two men and wolves. Growing up with a father and brother meant I was privy to a lot of “boy” things. Comic books. Action figures. Video games. Most importantly was any form entertainment with either an “R” or “M” rating. Watching my older brother, as Sub-Zero, rip out Scorpion’s head (spinal cord in suit) desensitized me to mostly everything. To this day, in the face of gore, I laugh. So even when a certain beloved character as of late, from a certain equally beloved zombie franchise, was hit over the head with a bat so hard his eye popped out on cable TV, I laughed. In short, very little makes me squeamish.
As expected horror movies and Halloween hold a special place in my shrunken, buried black heart. But there is one little shard of Kryptonite, one tiny film that will never fail to make me (for lack of a better term) piss myself. A little something called Hellraiser. For many it was Cronenberg, but for me, Clive Barker’s Cenobites were my introduction to body horror. Because here’s the thing, you can run from werewolves, you can stake a vampire, blast the undead away, but you can’t run away from your own body.
I was nineteen or twenty, laid up in bed with only strep throat induced fevers and a handy dandy vomit pale for company, I clocked in some serious Netflix hours. In the suggested queue stood a thumbnail of a curiously pale man with a bad acupuncture job, beckoning me with the most hipster Rubix cube ever. Surprisingly, I never watched Hellraiser up until this point, although familiar with its iconography. For whatever stroke of genius I had, I decided to order Italian.
Half of a heavy plate of chicken alfredo in lap, the other half bubbling in my sick starved gut, swimming in a pool of white sauce. I watched in horror as a gooey, skinless Frank bubbled out of an attic floor in a pool of fluids similar to the contents percolating in my own stomach. I lost control of my own body. I wasn’t even half way through the film before I was staring at the bottom of a plastic bag, neck craned over companion trash pale.
Heaving up a monstrosity of my own, I stood and still stand corrected. There are two things that frighten me to ad nauseam: Hellraiserand chicken alfredo.
Taylor Bowne – The Evil Dead
I was 16 years old when I saw The Evil Dead for the first time. Child’s Play had scared me at a young age so I avoided scary movies like the plague. The only reason I learned of the existence of The Evil Dead was because it was directed by the same director that made Spider-man. “How bad could it be?” I thought as I stood reluctantly in front of the DVD (or was it a VHS?) at my local Blockbuster Video. I instantly recognized the box art from times I had walked down the horror movie isles in the past. It showed a woman buried up to her chest, reaching up for help as she was being dragged into the dirt to her death. It’s an image that is hard to forget. I rented the movie and watched it that same night. I had no idea what I was in for. I’m still feeling the effects of watching that movie to this day.
I had never seen a movie like The Evil Dead before. In fact, I didn’t know movie like it existed or even COULD exist. Films like CLERKS had exposed me to a more low budget approach to filmmaking but couldn’t prepare me for the onslaught that was that first viewing of The Evil Dead. What really stayed with me after that first time i saw the movie was its incredible level of violence and gore. I had seen some violent films in the past but this was different. There was a purposeful intensity to what they were doing. It was as if the filmmakers were going out of their way to make this disturbing and enjoyed doing just that. While the makeup and special effects were obviously made on the cheap, they still had this real palpable impact to them. It wasn’t great because of the how it looked but because of how they used what they had.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that I felt a little different after the film ended and the credits started rolling. I remember sitting there in shock. I was so flabbergasted by what I had seen I really couldn’t process it. That night we had a brief blackout in my neighborhood. It was summer time and must have been due to all the AC’s running at once. I woke up in a daze and made my way to the bathroom down the hall from my room. I reached for the lightswitch but it wouldn’t turn on. I looked into the darkness of the hallway and bathroom and some part of me didn’t want to walk into the dark for fear of what was in there. My Grandmother found me in the hallway and asked me why I was standing there in the dark. I told her I couldn’t go into the bathroom because I was afraid of what might be in there. I turned to my left and walked through my living room and out the front door to our front lawn and peed there instead. Still half asleep, I walked back into the house and went back to sleep. I tell that anecdote to anyone I’m showing the movie to for the first time Most just give me a weird look because of it.
My first viewing of The Evil Dead was a watershed moment for me. It changed the way I look at how movies could be made and converted me into a horror fan all at the same time. The Evil Dead opened the floodgates and turned me onto a genre that I never thought I’d love. Every horror movie i see now is compared to it on a certain level and most don’t even come close. I haven’t looked at a cabin in the woods the same way since.
M.J. Rawls – The Ring
In 2002, myself and some friends went to a local Regal Cinema and watched a little movie called The Ring.
Ok, I use watch a little sparingly.
Before the movie, the lights in the movie theater went completely pitch black. I’m talking even the outside of the theater where it looked like some horror movie setting getting back to the car. 15 minutes later, the movie started.
Now, I had watched a lot of horror movies up to that point where I was kind of desensitized. A totally unexpected remake, but Gore Verbinski did it justice. When I got home, I turned on the TV and there was just static.
Thankfully, Samara didn’t come and pay me a visit.