October 29, 2002
8:08 AM   Subscribe

With all due respect to the Classic Scary Movies discussed below, nothing says "Halloween" like Cheese! From the marketing schtick of William Castle to the liberal use of gore by George Romero, horror movie directors have done their best to give us their worst. As a child I was scarred for life so that to this day I cannot look at mist-covered snow-capped mountains without thinking of The Crawling Eye. Anybody else want to confess to having the poop scared out of them by movie crap?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy (84 comments total)
"Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" a 70's made for TV movie scared the crap out of me as a kid.

Anyone seen Cannibal Holocaust?
posted by bunktone at 8:13 AM on October 29, 2002

Mausoleum, AKA One Dark Night. Totally schlocky 80s cheese, but it was a sleepover staple for my friends and I.

I'm a huge William Castle fan. If you can find a copy of his autobiography used, grab it!
posted by JoanArkham at 8:19 AM on October 29, 2002

"I ate a hot dog
It tasted real good
Then I watched a movie
From Hollywood"

--Frank Zappa's song Cheepnis, which is about, well, this thread.

all of the Dr. Phibes movies scared the crap out of me as a wee lad.
posted by modge at 8:20 AM on October 29, 2002

It was Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things that managed to get me terrorized as a kid. The plot involves folks going to an island cemetery and raising the dead. Horrorlarity ensues. Once all the living folks have been converted to dead folks, the film ends with a scene that kept my five year old self afraid and awake for nights to come. The zombies confiscate the motorboat used to reach the island so they can forge ahead and kill all the rest of humanity (presumably). INCLUDING ME!
posted by ursus_comiter at 8:46 AM on October 29, 2002

The day after my youngest sister was born my dad, not knowing what else to do I guess, took my sister and I (5 and 9) to a drive in movie. Playing was The Fly I can't say that it scared the poop out of me but it did start a string of late 50's and early 60's Saturday afternoon movie events, most of which were the horror movie of the week. The Tingler was another great one because of the special special effects. Of course they were set up in the back row of the theater where all the necking took place. (OK it was the early 60's. you had to be there) Who can forget Glen, The Amazing Colossal Man
posted by mss at 8:50 AM on October 29, 2002

Old films, sometimes Italian and dubbed, sometimes by Dario Argento (although I didn't see Suspiria till I was an adult). I remember one about a decapitated knight who wouldn't die, and I remember the Terror of seeing a young Jack Nicholson opposite Boris. Black Sabbath was a scary time, but the Crawling Hand was just plain weird.

And, of course, The Man:
Vincent Price
posted by Shane at 8:56 AM on October 29, 2002

Why do all these confessions make me chuckle sadistically? (heh heh)

Yes, Joan, I do have a copy of his autobiography--absolutely priceless.

And speaking of William Castle, there was another movie that terrified me as a kid (my dad was a big aficionado so I saw lots of stuff) and for years I asked everyone I met if they knew what movie it was. I could only remember two scenes:
1) The bathtub faucet when turned on gushes blood and
2) A scientist operates on a woman and removes a living creature which he places in a cage. Only get this-- it escapes! Aaaah!

The movie was of course, "The Tingler", another Castle special. I am too young to have seen this in the movie theater, but as one of his gimmicks, some of the movie seats were wired with electricity to shock you in all the right places.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:59 AM on October 29, 2002

Jaws. I still scan the water for sharks before I go in.

Also saw some horrible film on TV when I was about 6 about a woman who lived in a house on the plains somewhere and every day the wind blew sand into her house and she would struggle all day every day to sweep it out. She went crazy from the never-ending battle and butchered her children with a knife. Whenever the wind howled I would, terrified, hide the kitchen knives and watch my mother for any sign of impending insanity. The sound of wind howling past wood still gives me the creeps.

But I'm a well-adjusted person, really.
posted by widdershins at 9:05 AM on October 29, 2002

This isn't a horror movie, but...

E.T. scared the bejeezus out of my 6 year old self to the point where I can't watch that movie and can't even bear to see a picture of E.T. I had nightmares for months. <shudders>
posted by eilatan at 9:09 AM on October 29, 2002

Any movie that has a doll coming to life and playing with sharp implements should be outlawed. I still feel shivers up my spine when I see the title in the TV listings... And they even made a sequel. Ugh.

For me, nine out of ten horror movies are cheesy, ridiculous and tedious. One out of ten scares the living daylights out of me and gives me horrible nightmares. So I stopped watching horror movies :)
posted by Triplanetary at 9:10 AM on October 29, 2002

When I was a teenager, my father took my brother and I to see Alien. The three of us had been expecting standard Sci-Fi space fare, being in the era of the original Star Wars, and all.

Now, I know what you're thinking: "He's going to mention the bursting-from-the-stomach scene." While that was certainly an impressive sequence, it paled in comparison to the scene that seemingly changed my moviegoing experience.

At one point, after the Alien has been sneaking around the ship for a while, one of the characters goes down into the darkness with a flashlight. He looks around, tells Ripley on his radio that there's nothing down there, and then swings it back behind him for a final look.

At that moment, the light illuminates the Alien, who's twice his size, and right on top of him. The sequence is perhaps 2 or 3 frames only, but you get the impression that he died swiftly and horribly.

Everyone in the audience let out a scream, my normally subdued father included. He even grabbed my arm in that instant. I'm glad he did, or I may have been halfway to the exit by that point.

My brother watched the rest of the movie with his hands over his eyes, occasionally peeking out for a moment or two.
posted by thanotopsis at 9:12 AM on October 29, 2002

Also saw some horrible film on TV when I was about 6...

I have found that some of the gory frightfests I saw as a child and barely remember now are Italian, maybe Mario Bava. But I still can't remember the title of the one about the man who stays in an inn in a small town, and eventually discovers a trap door in the floor that leads down to a cavern where a coven of witches practice ritual human sacrifice. It ends with a scene of a knife stabbing into a person/stabbing into a birthday cake. Anyone know it?
posted by Shane at 9:13 AM on October 29, 2002

Bunktone... I thought I was the only one who remembered that evil movie! Those little bastards scared the bejeezus out of me!

posted by Kafkaesque at 9:13 AM on October 29, 2002

I once had a horrifying experience with Mozzarella

Oh, wrong cheese... sorry
posted by jazon at 9:20 AM on October 29, 2002

Aw, this reminds me...I should set a TiVo Wishlist to capture any future showing of "The Frozen Dead." Frozen Nazis! Freaky scientists! Living heads! And, best of all, a whole laboratory pegboard of severed arms moving on their own! (Scroll down in the link to see photo.) At the end, the head croaks "bury...me..." which is familiar to all MST3K fans as similar to Jan in the Pan's "kill...me..."

Damn, my parents just weren't paying attention to what I was watching on TV, were they?
posted by GaelFC at 9:23 AM on October 29, 2002

John McNaughton's Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer; Tobe Hooper's Texas Chainsaw Massacre; Michael Powell's Peeping Tom; Hitchcock's Psycho, The Birds and Frenzy; Kubrick's The Shining; Polanski's The Tenant and Repulsion; Peckinpah's Straw Dogs; John Carpenter's The Thing; David Cronenberg's The Brood and Whatisname's recent ??????, a very scary film about construction workers demolishing an old mental asylum, with eerie tape recordings of patients' rants and frightening architectural shots - does anyone know which movie I'm talking about. It frightened me so much (on video!) I seem to have entirely forgotten its name...Help!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:24 AM on October 29, 2002

Argh... it seems they made a third and a fourth Chucky movie as well! Until now I had been blissfully unaware. Oh well, from reviews it seems parts three and four fall into the cheesy rather than the scary category. I may get some sleep tonight after all...
posted by Triplanetary at 9:27 AM on October 29, 2002

I saw Cannibal Holocaust during the 'video nasty' period here in the UK, it's pretty revolting. You can buy it on DVD now.

One film that scared the living fnorjk out of me when I was a kid, was "Quatermass and the Pit". It's not quite so scary these days.
posted by chrid at 9:30 AM on October 29, 2002

The first time I dropped acid, we watched "Dawn of the Dead." I do not recommend doing this if you care to sleep for the next couple months.

I liked Blair Witch a lot - up to the point I found out it was fake. But when it was "real"... holy moly. Primal, instinctual fears all around: fear of the woods and what they contain, fear of being lost, fear of not knowing what that noise is, fear of unstoppable impending doom of a horribly nasty kind.

What Miguel said in re: the Shining. What is man's greatest fear? "Loss of control." says John Carpenter. I'd tend to agree.
posted by UncleFes at 9:32 AM on October 29, 2002

It wasn't until recently that my boyfriend and I rented Rosemary's Baby. Though it's not an underground classic like the ones mentioned already, we both thought it was ripe with creepiness.
Absolutely very little gore, but watching a waifish, bug-eyed, and pregnant Mia trying to convince everyone she lives next to witches who are trying to kill her unborn child is good stuff.
Um, creepy good.

"What did you do to his eyes?"
posted by mayalucia at 9:37 AM on October 29, 2002

He has his father's eyes :)
posted by UncleFes at 9:38 AM on October 29, 2002

Secret Life of Gravy: If you go to here from the Tingler link above there is a listing of the other Castle movies.
posted by mss at 9:40 AM on October 29, 2002

a very scary film about construction workers demolishing an old mental asylum

Miguel, that was Session 9.

Didn't do much for me.

Another good freaky flick (though not cheesy) is Jodorowsky's Santa Sangre.
posted by Kafkaesque at 9:41 AM on October 29, 2002

Scariest movie i've ever seen: Fire in the Sky. Story of a dude was abducted by aliens and they did all kinds of weird experiments on him. Freaky part is the movie is based on a true story of this guy's abduction, and even if you don't believe in aliens, the director does a helluva job making it seem like this could happen to you at any time. Had nightmares for weeks that aliens were going to come down and take me away.
posted by jmd82 at 9:42 AM on October 29, 2002

Session 9! That was it! Thanks, Kafkaesque. No, it didn't do much for my friends, either - but I was terrified. It must have touched some hidden nerve. Movies which leave a lot to the imagination are the worst. Whenever the killer/monster appears, it's almost a relief...
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:44 AM on October 29, 2002

Don't forget the cheezy classics that go overlooked sometimes.... (ie, not Plan 9 and other well-known ones)

Attack of the The Eye Creatures, complete with two The's!
CHUD, later immortalized when Homer went to NYC
Night of the Lepus, complete with KILLER BUNNIES!!!! (sans pancakes) attacking toy-train setups...
They Live, with Rowdy Roddy Piper. Marry and reproduce!

There. Now people can scream obscenities at me for listing ones they think *are* obvious.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:45 AM on October 29, 2002

There's a scene in An American Werewolf in London that scared the shit out of me as a kid. The main character is having this dream where he's at home with his family, all is well and rosy, then the doorbell rings and after the father answers the door, all these monster-headed guys with guns come in and slaughter everyone.

On a more embarrassing note, the most scarring image a television show or movie has ever imprinted on my brain was from Little House on the Prairie. One of the kids is sitting by the window of their house, looking out into the blackness of the night when lightning flashes, revealing a cowled figure in black on a nearby hill. Lightning flashes again and it is gone. This terrified me and caused a very vivid, recurring nightmare, that was even scarier.
posted by picea at 9:46 AM on October 29, 2002

At the end of "Carrie" when it debuted in theatres, the movie seemed over, light music playing, audience preparing to leave, and THEN the hand comes up from the house's "grave", the whole audience screamed.

I returned just to sit in front and watch the audience jump.
posted by DBAPaul at 9:58 AM on October 29, 2002

Communion and Poltergeist both scared the crap out of me. The Exorcist scared me even before I saw it -- the TV spots alone gave me nightmares.
posted by drinkcoffee at 10:01 AM on October 29, 2002

I have to add a second for John Carpenter's The Thing. Not only is the thing pretty creepy in it's normal form, it can mimic. So that guy/gal sitting next to you at work could just be.....

And when Kurt Russell has them all chained together in in chairs, testing their blood. And One guy turns out to be the thing and starts coming apart. And the guy sitting next to him is chained to his chair...

posted by Windopaene at 10:01 AM on October 29, 2002

E.T. scared the bejeezus out of my 6 year old self to the point where I can't watch that movie and can't even bear to see a picture of E.T. I had nightmares for months.

You mean I'm not the only one E.T. scared the hell out of? After that first time when I was little, I've never seen it again. I can't even remember what was so scary about it...
posted by emmling at 10:04 AM on October 29, 2002

I was scared to death by Ernest's Halloween, believe it or not. Those trolls were way too creepy. I was 9.

The only movie that truly scares me, however, is Manos: The Hands of Fate (scary in its total lack of quality).
posted by insomnyuk at 10:08 AM on October 29, 2002

Tom Savini is mainly responsible for the "liberal use of gore" in Romero's films. After-all, he did the FX. (Except for the original* Night of the Living Dead, as Savini had been drafted into Vietnam and was unable to work on that project. He did do Dawn and Day of the Dead's FX, however. Both were much, much gorier than the first film.)

The "...Dead" series is probably one of the most solid horror franchises in history. Barring the 30th anniversary remake / travesty of NOTLD, the series has only gotten better.

To this day, few zombie movies can match up to Dawn of the Dead.

* Savini later created his own version of Night of the Living Dead, featuring some changes in the original story and the addition of copious amounts of gore. It also managed to keep the spirit and integrity of the original film, and proved what a true remake should be.
posted by Dark Messiah at 10:08 AM on October 29, 2002

Dawn of the Dead freaked me out, and Night of the Living Dead (the 1968 original) too. For some reason, zombies always scare me silly (except maybe the ones in Michael Jackson's Thriller).

I saw An American Werewolf In London when I was way too young to be seeing it, and it terrified me. And also, believe it or not, The Exorcist III is actually quite frightening (if you've seen it, remember: the shadowy figure in the hospital flashing by, brandishing the huge scissors doctors use to amputate limbs, and the creepy clown face on the church statue). And Seven was the only film I've seen at a theatre that had me constantly looking over my shoulder on the walk home.

And as for a classic must-see, The Haunting (the original black and white, 1963 version) is a spine-tingler.
posted by meowmix at 10:12 AM on October 29, 2002

Poltergeist, from start to finish. my parents somehow thought it would make good family viewing on the newly installed HBO, and all i remember is my sister and i eating KFC and being all excited about getting to stay up late...and then the scene with the maggoty crawling meat...followed in quick succession my the scary clown doll, creepy medium lady, red goop, demons, skeletons, the tree, you name it. YAAAGGHH! i literally would cover my ears when kids at school were talking about it...

on a related note, my #1 Pure Gross-Out Moment was in Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Kahn, with the little slug thingy that crawls in the guy's ear! more covering of my ears. finally, on the "Is My Mom Going To Turn Insane?!" tip, anyone remember that episode of Little House on the Prairie (don't laugh) where Ma gets a badly infected cut and starts freaking out? i feared for this with every mosquito bite and skinned knee. explains a lot.
posted by serafinapekkala at 10:19 AM on October 29, 2002

I'm so embarrassed! Ghost Story, among 1981's greatest atrocities of cinema, left me with the shakes.

And the movie Cat's Eye, which I watched at the tender age of 3, did not frighten me so much as inextricably fuse itself with my earliest memories.
posted by jennanemone at 10:28 AM on October 29, 2002

I've never been one to be scared at movies. I remember going to watch Poltergeist with a friend in sixth grade and I got more fun out of scaring my friend. The only thing that ever really creeped me out was the bizarro gynecological instruments in Dead Ringers. My favorite Halloween movie is Arsenic and Old Lace, one of the less corny Capras.
posted by CoFenchurch at 10:31 AM on October 29, 2002

Pee Wee's Big Adventure. I shit you not. My parents were out of town and my grandmother was watching me and my brother - we were about 7 and 6, respectively. We were watching TV downstairs and ignoring my grandmother's requests for us to come to bed, and we flipped to the movie, in progress. We got to the "Large Marge" scene, where she talks about the huge truck crash and what the body looked like, and her face does that freak-out thing... scared the hell out of us.
posted by starvingartist at 10:34 AM on October 29, 2002

Don't leave out the films of Herschel Gordon Lewis; in particular Two Thousand Maniacs, which was loosely (very loosely) inspired by Brigadoon and which inspired the name of Natalie Merchant's former group.

On another note, it seems to me that a number of films mentioned above have been sent up by Joel/Mike and the bots.
posted by TedW at 10:35 AM on October 29, 2002

The first movie to ever truly scare the piss out of me as a child was Phantasm, and I have had a deep and abiding love for it ever since. A few years back I actually got to meet Don Coscarelli (writer/director), Reggie Bannister (world's toughest ice cream man), and Angus Scrimm (The Tall Man). While I was working in the Bay area I even made a trip over to tour The Dunsmuir House where much of it was filmed.

I've seen Cannibal Holocause (the spiritual godfather of The Blair Witch Project) and thought it was an amazingly well-written story that is virtually unwatchable due to the extreme and very real violence towards animals. These are not special effects, there are scenes that feature the actual gratuitous killing and dismembering of a giant sea turtle among others.

For true italian Grand Guinol horror, it just doesn't get any better than the masters like Mario Bava and Lucio Fulci. (As long as you don't mind a bit of eyeball trauma).
posted by Lokheed at 10:44 AM on October 29, 2002

What, was I the only one scared to death by the silver sphere (not to mention latent homoeroticism) in the original Phantasm??

For years afterward, I was scared of mirrors on closets (hmmm) because I was afraid of seeing a tall, gaunt man reflected in them, growling thusly:


Dammit, Lokheed!
posted by WolfDaddy at 10:45 AM on October 29, 2002

When A Stranger Calls -- "Have you checked the children?"

and I don't know if it counts as cheese or not, but The Kingdom and its sequel by Lars von Trier give me the chills and nightmares (actually it was on last night on IFC)
posted by amberglow at 10:48 AM on October 29, 2002

starvingartist - I'll go along with that scene being a real freak out. Also, mine isn't from a movie, but there was a scene from some TV sitcom (can't remember the title, but the mother was that blonde woman that did the triscuits commercials years back...anyone?) that really got to me.

I guess it must have been the halloween episode, and the overall show had something to do with eating too much candy and having nightmares. Well, the older son has a nightmare where the whole family becomes all zombified, like instantaneously, right at the kitchen table. I was real young watghing this, sitting right up at the TV set, and it scared the crap out of me when I saw it.

Ah well...done embarrassing myself...for now.
posted by JaxJaggywires at 10:50 AM on October 29, 2002

Oh yeah, I forgot this one. My family used to watch "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" on Sunday nights. One night was this episode where a young and inexperienced actor comes to his idol for help with a scene (or something, I can't really remember very well). During the scene the older actor, who is consumed with jealousy over the younger actor, gets too involved and when the stage directions call for him to violently push the young actor up against the wall, he ends up accidentally breaking his neck.

Of course, he has company coming - an ex-girlfriend or something, so he has to get rid of the body. He starts cutting up and dissolving the body in the bathtub using sulfuric acid. Wagner plays in the background and he gets quite maniacal. Naturally, the doorbell rings just before he finishes. He frantically cleans up and lets his guest in. They talk for a bit and he tries to be polite. She asks if she can have a drink, and before he can do anything she goes over to the cart and opens the ice box - and the young actor's head stares up at her from the ice box!

I was 9. It scared the hell out of me.
posted by starvingartist at 10:51 AM on October 29, 2002

Unfortunately I was cheated out of anything scary about The Thing. Remember the opening sequence when they're chasing the dog (wolf?) w/guns and helicopters and screaming to each other in some unintelligible language? Well, it's in Norwegian and they're screaming 'get the dog, the thing is in it and must be killed' (or something like that) and completely ruined the surprise/premise for the entire movie. Guess Carpenter figured that the Norwegian-speaking audience was too small to worry about plot spoilers for.
posted by widdershins at 10:55 AM on October 29, 2002

Trilogy of Terror. I know those of you of a certain age will remember this.That rowdy little african puppet scared the bejebus out of me in '75. The steak knife poking wildly under the bathroom door... Yow.
posted by ubi at 11:02 AM on October 29, 2002

Killer Klowns from Outer Space scared the crap out of me.
posted by mariko at 11:02 AM on October 29, 2002

ubi--it that the one with Karen Black! ewwwww-i remember!
posted by amberglow at 11:09 AM on October 29, 2002

this is really embarrassing, (since I'm a 26 year old man) but I got pretty scard when I saw "The Sixth Sense".

I don't really remember being scard by too many movies when I was younger though. I never really bought into all the freddy, chucky, jason, michael shenanigans.
posted by LouieLoco at 11:17 AM on October 29, 2002

I know it's not strictly a horror movie but The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T gave me nightmares that lasted for months. I saw it when I was 7 or 8 and just totally flipped out. My 2-years-younger brother was completely unaffected, however.
posted by ssmith at 11:19 AM on October 29, 2002

One bright sunny Texas afternoon, when I was the ripe old age of 15, my mother came barging into the living room.


Only problem was that the screaming was coming from me. I was curled up on the couch with my feet under me, holding onto a throw pillow for dear life, literally frozen with fright. The film?


I had popped the film into the VCR mistakenly thinking it might be a good way to force myself to confront my own arachnaphobia, sort of like making myself jump off the high dive to get over my fear of heights. Didn't work. Mom had to turn off the TV, and I had nightmares for weeks, not mention some serious qualms about taking a shower or eating popcorn.
posted by romakimmy at 11:23 AM on October 29, 2002

Cheesy but great fun. As a kid I always seemed to catch the episodes where poor Willie Loomis got a beating, which made me shudder. Of course, that's what Willie got for robbing Barnabas's grave...
posted by Shane at 11:25 AM on October 29, 2002

I hate to admit this, but I was unable to sleep after I saw "Blair Witch" -- I stayed up all night and didn't sleep until after the sun came up. :P Didn't help that my then-fiance's house had a lot of woods around it.

What frightened me the most about that movie was that you never *did* see the witch, so your imagination was free to make it whatever you wanted. Add in the fact that I have nightmares about running through the woods/running through old houses on a regular basis, and basically -- hey presto! -- there was some of my subconscious on screen, in Super 8. :P

I made my husband promise never to stand in a corner... :D
posted by metrocake at 11:28 AM on October 29, 2002

Tourist Trap --weirdly unnerving.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:52 AM on October 29, 2002

Dr. Butcher (if you are in Chicago, and want to see it, free - click here )- is pretty nightmarish. Actually, most Psychotronic
are unwatchable, to me. But the scariest movie I have seen in ages was Ringu - the japanese version of the hollywood movie The Ring.
posted by kristin at 11:53 AM on October 29, 2002

The Hammer Studios "Dracula" movies with Christopher Lee scared the crap out of me when I was a kid. I used to watch them on saturday afternoons and then hate myself at night when the fear set in.
posted by Ty Webb at 11:59 AM on October 29, 2002

I'm terrified of toy clowns thanks to Poltergeist. I'm of ubi;s "certain age" that was spooked by Trilogy of Terror (did you know there's a sequel?).

LouieLoco: this is really embarrassing, (since I'm a 26 year old man) but I got pretty scard when I saw "The Sixth Sense".

Shoot, I'm 37 and it scared me, too. The night I saw it I was scared to pee because of the scene in the movie where the kid was so scared and vulnerable.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:14 PM on October 29, 2002

Saturday the 14th.
posted by bunktone at 12:34 PM on October 29, 2002

_The Ring_ just gave me the heebie jeebies last night. I mean, damn, baby.

Vintage, though: _Nightmare on Elm Street 3_. I was visiting my bio-dad in San Fran, I was like 10 or 12 at the time, so I was at a day-camp thing when he was at work. It was movie time, and the vote was between ol' Freddy and _Crocodile Dundee II_. Landslide for horror. I was sort of joking around with another kid through the movie and didn't really get too spooked at the time. Later that night, though, I had to take a shower, and my bio-dad's apartment had the exact same faucet fixtures as the ones in the movie. The ones that grew claws and tried to kill the girl at the beginning. Motherfucking YOW.

Also, oddly: _Dead Again_ spooked me. Not really in a horror way, though. Another vote for _Blair Witch_, too, and _The Others_.

Did I mention that _The Ring_ was scary? Like, wow? Like, uh, yeah. I had a hard time turning on the TV last night to watch Letterman.
posted by cortex at 12:35 PM on October 29, 2002

The story "Bobby" in the second Trilogy of Terror creeped me out. I still see that awful kid's face in my nightmares.
posted by Wulfgar! at 12:37 PM on October 29, 2002

All the good scary cheese (and all the trying-to-be-scary cheese) seems to have been covered already (thanks for mentioning C.H.U.D., ROU_Xenophobe) so I'll go the other way and mention my favorite cheesy "horror" movie played strictly for laughs - Pandemonium. With Tommy Smothers and pre-PeeWee Paul Reuben, it's sad how this gem has been so completely forgotten. To this day, it's the movie my mother and I can quote scenes back and forth to.

"You are frightened of the dark?"
"You are frightened of baloney?"

"And don't play the radio!" (Rueben, to Smothers' horse).
"You can play the radio if you want, Bob."
posted by yhbc at 12:39 PM on October 29, 2002

2001: A Space Odyssey, where the man turns into the baby. And the original Planet of the Apes, when Charlton Heston finds the Statue of Liberty and realizes New York City is buried underneath the beach. The idea that our civilization could be buried miles underneath the ground in the future scared the bejesus out of me. It was never slimy wiggly stuff that scared me...it was more the big questions of existence and stuff. Guess I was a deep-thinking 5-year-old. ; )
posted by poopus at 12:41 PM on October 29, 2002

When I saw Blair Witch, I was living at a summer camp as a counselor. Returning up Boy's Hill at 1am without a flashlight, alone... :::shudder:::
posted by The Michael The at 12:43 PM on October 29, 2002

ooh! ooh! and Flatliners. (Don't laugh.) When Kiefer Sutherland's childhood punching-bag, Billy Mahoney, comes back to haunt him, and he's this weird little kid in a hoodie with a baseball bat and he pounds the crap out of Kiefer... that kid scared the hell out of me.
posted by poopus at 12:45 PM on October 29, 2002

Exorcist III freaked me out, too, meowmix.

And the night my (then) girlfriend and I saw it, didn't help - I returned home and went to bed, only to be awakened by the most god-awful sound coming from outside the front door. I slowly crept up, and then quickly peeked out while turning on the porch light. There was a HUGE black cat, sitting on the edge of the porch, staring at me. It seemed like it had been waiting for me. Totally freaked me out - even now as I type this I have chills down my back.

posted by jazon at 1:03 PM on October 29, 2002

It took me something like 20 years to get over the fear of the ocean that Jaws gave me.

Love it now but it took a lot of discipline to break the fear I got as a child from that film.
posted by filchyboy at 1:15 PM on October 29, 2002

It's not a horror movie, but I have to admit to being scared out of my mind when I saw Escape from New York in the theater when I was five years old.
posted by dipolemoment at 1:57 PM on October 29, 2002

When I was a eight I begged my Grandfather to let me watch Humanoids From The Deep. He let me and within the first ten minutes I begged him to change the channel, but he wouldn't. He made me watch the whole thing. I was terrified of the slimy Mutant Salmon Men and at the same time fascinated with the curvy naked women that appeared throughout the film. Thanks Grandpa. (sarcastically and sincerely)
posted by bunktone at 2:19 PM on October 29, 2002

Shane --

But I still can't remember the title of the one about the man who stays in an inn in a small town, and eventually discovers a trap door in the floor that leads down to a cavern where a coven of witches practice ritual human sacrifice. It ends with a scene of a knife stabbing into a person/stabbing into a birthday cake.

I believe you're talking about City of the Dead (aka Horror Hotel)... in this one, though, it was a woman who went to the small town inn and found the trap door with the witches and sacrificing going on underneath. A very underrated horror film (available now with a great DVD transfer from Image).
posted by laze at 2:39 PM on October 29, 2002

Oh, forgot a great one! For anyone in the UK, have you seen My Little Eye? It screened in Toronto at this year's Film Festival and it is extremely creepy and very dark. It hasn't come out in North America yet, but hopefully it will be promoted properly because it deserves a wide audience.

The premise is based on the oh-so-overdone reality tv concept, but amazingly, it's fabulous. Five young cuties have to spend six months totally isolated from the rest of the world in a huge, rambling house in the middle of nowhere, in order to win a million bucks. The house is wired with hundreds of cameras that record their every move. After five months or so, things start to get strange, then increasingly sinister (and bloody). I don't want to give anything away, but think The Shining crossed with The Blair Witch Project crossed with The Amityville Horror.

It's shot really well, particularly because the director (Marc Evans) uses all the different camera perspectives (a wide shot from the ceiling, a telephoto from outside, a mirror-cam, a camera hidden in a pen, etc.) to great effect. Anyone else seen it? I've heard that it was a surprise hit in the UK, but is it still in theatres there?
posted by meowmix at 2:39 PM on October 29, 2002

i think its still hanging on somewhere meowmix,
(which is a fine idea for a bar by the way)
i remember being terrified of an advert in the uk in
the seventies for like some brand of 'horror' themed
crisps 'theyre ghoulishly tasty' or whatever,
i used to scream every time it came on.....it was a man
with a top hat...with like a mwuuuhahah type laugh...
i guess the yanks wont know it .....btw am i becoming the
thread assassin ? nobody writes after i post these days...
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:01 PM on October 29, 2002

I am such a sad creature, for what scared me as a child and still does... Orca. Killer whale, on the ice, death and mayhem. I think it was because right after I saw it on TV, we went to Sea World and I sat right up front, and I got to see Shamu come up from the bottom of his tank right towards me...

*shudder* I still freak out on occasion when I'm a large body of water (even swimming pools).

Recently, it was Ringu. Oh sure, I'm all gung-ho for it, I'm calm and groovy, everything's nice, but the minute Sadako's out, I spend the rest of the night staring at my tv and shivering.
posted by Katemonkey at 3:06 PM on October 29, 2002

Ooh, thanks, meowmix, for the tip on 'My Little Eye.' I must try and see if it is possible to get it Stateside!

Also, hooray for this thread! One more reason to love Halloween is that finally, TV and the movies start to approximate what I think they should be like all the time, with horror listings everywhere you look.

People have mentioned some great, great stuff, but...did I miss something or am I really the first to mention Friday the 13th? Is that just too obvious? These were a preteen slumber party staple in my circle, anyway. The combination of sleazy sex and even sleazier death was irresistible, we all tittered and laughed and went on to play "Truth or Dare," but the next night, when I was alone again ... you bet your ass I was looking over my shoulder. Anyway, it was always the slashers that scared/fascinated me more than the monster movies for some reason. I guess I like my killers to be somewhat human.

Another movie I'm really embarrased to have been scared by is Pet Sematary. Cheesy as hell, but...Zelda? Yeesh. Shudder.

There was this movie I saw on TV as a kid that completely freaked me out, about a woman who spends the night in a friend's house with the dead body of a little old lady (I don't remember the rationale for this) and it starts moving around the house. There's a scene where she sees the corpse rocking in a rocking chair, and something about getting lost in an indoor maze at the end. My recollection is that it was probably late '60s/early '70s, based on costumes and decor. No, this movie is neither "The Shining" nor "Black Sabbath," and it's bugged me for years that I can't remember what it is. I bet it's real cheesy, though.

Oh, and word on Ringu, which is the scariest modern horror I've seen in, like, forever. I still check the damn shower at night for that damn ghost girl (no, I don't know why the shower. Why are you looking at me like that?
posted by hilatron at 3:35 PM on October 29, 2002

The Blob with Steve McQueen as a teenager--even at my tender age then, I couldn't buy that... It was the scene where the Blob starts oozing out of the projectionist booth onto the theater below that got me. (And of course the screen went dark right after that, so everyone would look over their shouders...) My older brother and sister used to sing the chirpy Burt Bacharach Theme from the Blob--by the Five Blobs, no less--every so often to torment me. Later, Trilogy of Terror did it, too--that little puppet chasing Karen Black around the apartment. E-e-e-e
posted by y2karl at 4:04 PM on October 29, 2002

When I was a eight I begged my Grandfather to let me watch Humanoids From The Deep.

This is one of the best. lines. ever. I mean you just know nothing good is coming after that.

(can't remember the title, but the mother was that blonde woman that did the triscuits commercials

Her name is Sandy Duncan, and while she starred in several TV shows, I'm guessing the show you saw was The Hogan Family.

And how are you all getting to see Ringu? I would love to see it (we just saw the American version yesterday and loved it) but thought it didn't have an American distributor yet.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:19 PM on October 29, 2002

what scared me as a child and still does... Orca.

It was the big bloodshot GIANT ANGRY EYE!!!!!!!!, wasn't it?

(ROU_Xenophobe, who always remembers to pack his angry eyes)
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:43 PM on October 29, 2002

YES! Cool! Thanks, laze. But there was a fellow found the trapdoor, too (I just looked it up): "Nan's brother Richard (Dennis Lotis) goes to Whitewood in search of his missing sister only to discover a town of strange, elusive people..."

Atmosphere, you know. That's what makes the first Alien seem more like a classic horror flick, too.

This thread has prompted me to hit the video store. Man, I want my childhood classics...
posted by Shane at 5:03 PM on October 29, 2002

You know, there has been some talk on MeFi about the dubious merits of "lotsa comments posts." But, to me, this is a classic example of a thread that becomes not only fun to participate in, but also a resource in itself. Look at all the horror film lore and links we have collected here! (Of course, we're only scratching the surface of horror, but still...) This thread has added links to my favorites, added movies to my must-see list, and sent me packing to the local vidstore. More comments may not = better post all the time, but here it's a good thing. IMHO.
posted by Shane at 5:09 PM on October 29, 2002

Cannibal Holocaust was the worst ever. I want to go hug my mommy after watching that. I'm shuddering right now. Ugh.
posted by Hall at 6:43 PM on October 29, 2002

Man, I couldn't even look my mommy in the EYE after watching Cannibal Holocaust. I feel dirty just thinking about it! But you have to admit, it's one of the better made animal torture, make you feel dirty, can't get out of bed the day after, kinda movies...
posted by hilatron at 8:02 PM on October 29, 2002

When I was about 13, my father took my and my 3 other siblings to a double feature of Andy Warhol's "Frankenstein" and "Dracula" (?!). I think there was a bit more sex than horror, although someone did get their head lopped off with oversized garden shears. But horror? I remember a Star Trek (the original Star Trek) episode which concerned monsters which would hynotize their subjects (into perceiving them as, for example, a beautifull woman - to the horny young William Shatner) they would then use large fleshy pads on their huge hands to extract the salt from the bodies of their victims - causing an excrutiatingly painfull death in the process.........This gave me (and my sister too) nightmares for years.
posted by troutfishing at 8:09 PM on October 29, 2002

I had a very low tolerance for scary films as a nipper, Something Evil This Way Comes (a PG rated Disney film, fer cryin' out loud), featured a scene in which some guy ages 100 years on an evil merry-go-round at a fair (or something) that caused jittery insomnia for days

As for Doctor Who (alright, not a movie)...just the theme music had me hiding behind the couch
posted by backOfYourMind at 5:29 AM on October 31, 2002

Just did a google on 'Cannibal Holocaust'...jumpin' Jehosephat! I think I need a lie down, what on earth kind of fillum is that?
posted by backOfYourMind at 6:02 AM on October 31, 2002

I am still looking for a truly scary movie.
posted by rushmc at 9:08 AM on October 31, 2002

« Older What is Bagotronics?   |   Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments