Do you like scary movies?
Personally, horror films are not among my favorites. I mean, sure, if that’s your thing, then you certainly have plenty of classics to watch. And there is no shortage of different kinds of horror movies, from intense psychological thrillers to films that shower you with buckets of blood. As for myself, I prefer movies that tell a good story, over those whose only purpose is to try and scare me, but if that’s what you like, knock yourself out.
There are some movies, though, that I think do a good job of combining a well-told story as well as being scary or creepy. There are lots of famous horror movies – Frankenstein, Psycho, The Exorcist, Jaws, Carrie, just to name a few – but there are plenty of other films that are often just as scary, but perhaps not as well-known as other, more familiar horror films. So, in case you’re looking for a different classic movie to watch as we approach Halloween, here are some lesser known, but scary movies that I have enjoyed over the years. SERIOUS CAUTION: many of these movies are definitely NOT for the whole family – watch at your own discretion. But, if you want to expand your experience of movies that go bump in the night, here are a few for your consideration, in order of their release date.
The Most Dangerous Game (1932) – Joel McCrae, Fay Wray. Joel McCrae and Fay Wray are passengers on a luxury yacht who are shipwrecked – deliberately, it turns out – by a wealthy psychotic killer, who enjoys “hunting” people for sport. It’s not a very long movie – only 78 minutes – but it has been recognized as one of the most “heart-pounding” of films. Movie trivia – King Kong was being filmed at the same time, and many of the jungle sets – and co-star Fay Wray – appeared in both movies. I remember reading the excellent, original short story by Richard Connell as a freshman at Orangefield High School, so thank you, Mr. Wernig.
Gaslight (1944) – Charles Boyer, Ingrid Bergman. Ten years after her aunt’s murder, Ingrid Bergman returns to the London home where it happened with her newlywed husband, Charles Boyer. But then she begins to notice strange goings-on as her silky-smooth husband tries to convince her that she’s only imagining it. Or is she?
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) – Kevin McCarthy, Dana Wynter. Dr. Miles Bennell (Kevin McCarthy) returns to his small-town practice to find several of his patients complaining that loved ones are being somehow replaced. Initially, he is very skeptical, but begins to suspect that his patients are not imagining things. This is a really excellent movie that has been remade several times, most notably in 1978 with Donald Sutherland and Veronica Cartwright.
Don’t Look Now (1973) –Julie Christie, Donald Sutherland. STRONG CAUTION. A loving couple is grieving the accidental drowning of their young daughter, who was wearing a red raincoat when she died. They go to Venice, Italy, to throw themselves into their work and try and move past the tragedy. Along the way they meet two very strange sisters who claim to “hear” messages from the dead little girl in the spirit world. And who is this little one they keep seeing in a red raincoat?
Something Wicked This Way Comes (1982) – Jason Robards, Jonathan Pryce. Jason Robards plays a small-town librarian. Life is good until a mysterious carnival, led by Jonathan Pryce, arrives and people start disappearing. Based on a tale by Ray Bradbury, this story is all about how the devil destroys people by granting their fondest wish.
Bonus: Duel (1973) – Dennis Weaver. Here’s a little bonus: This is an excellent, made-for-TV picture, directed by a then-unknown young fellow named Stephen Spielberg. Dennis Weaver plays a traveling salesman who accidentally crosses paths with an anonymous truck driver, who spends the rest of the movie chasing him down and trying to kill him. An incredibly suspenseful movie.
Do you have a favorite horror movie? Drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and let’s talk about it. And until then, save me some popcorn.