Halloween horror

I know how it goes. You’re hanging out with friends on a crisp October night, presumably gathered around the warmth of a bonfire, and one of your buddies comes up with the brilliant idea of watching a scary movie. As you rummage through your friend’s movies, you discover that his or her’s collection is very thin, more than likely made up of titles beginning with “Halloween” or “Friday the 13th” and ending with a number. With such a limited selection, you become the most hated person in the room and the bearer of bad news as you inform everyone that the night’s feature presentation would be “Jason X” for the upteenth time.

These types of situations occur all too often, and instead of greeting the torture that is Jason Voorhees in outer-space with open arms, I’ve decided to take a stand and combat this growing epidemic. Next time you are face to face with this predicament, just remember the following 13 (what an appropriate number) horror movies, approved by yours truly. You can thank me later.

1. “The Exorcist” (1973) – The precursor to blunders the likes of “The Last Exorcism,” “The Exorcism of Emily Rose,” and pretty much any disastrous possession movie in between, William Friedkin’s masterpiece will make you sleepless for days. My mother made sure I was exposed to a petrifying such as this one as a young age, which I am both thankful and angry for. Hey, at least it has deterred me from participating in Ouija board sessions, right?

Scariest scene: The entire movie is scary enough, but no scene irks me more than Father Merrin’s attempt to exorcise the demon from Regan’s body. If Regan’s demonic voice or the destruction of the house isn’t enough, the 360 head turn will send you crying to your mommy.

2. “The Thing” (1982) – The stereotypical appearance of an alien is akin to that seen in “Paul:” a little grey guy with an oddly shaped head and large, round eyes. Well, John Carpenter exchanges this version with the parasitic, host-imitating creature that appears in his remake of “The Thing from Another World.” This movie is an hour and 49 minutes of an unseen extraterrestrial lifeform picking off members of a research facility in Antarctica. It may not be supernatural, but threats from out of this world are just as terrifying.

Scariest scene: Try the scene where MacReady is testing the blood samples and blood jumps out of a petri dish when it’s exposed to heat, igniting Palmer’s gruesome transformation into an ugly monster. The tension that leads up to this moment and the ensuing chaos will send chills down your spine.

3. “The Shining” (1980) – Leave it to Stanley Kubrick to make a film that is so mind-bending and terrifying as this one. You won’t find the typically scary movie scene that’ll make you jump in this one. Instead, you’ll witness a bunch of moments that leave you speechless and unable to comprehend what you just saw.

Scariest scene: Nothing beats the iconic scene featuring Jack Torrance, played by Jack Nicholson, smashing his ax into the door that separates Wendy Torrance from her deranged spouse. When Jack finally penetrates the door following some great ax-work, he sticks his head through the hole and maniacally says, “Here’s Johnny!”

4. “Scream” (1996) – A list like this isn’t complete without the horror movie of our generation, “Scream.” In spite of how many times I’ve watched this flick, it still makes me cringe in fear. Still, if you forget about all the nightmares it caused you as a young child, it did popularize the ghostface mask, which we’ve all worn once or twice on Halloween night.

Scariest scene: It seems like right off the bat “Scream” was absolutely terrifying. The opening scene features Drew Barrymore’s character receiving suspicious phone calls with the caller asking her what her favorite scary movie is. Apparently her answer was incorrect and we all know what happened after that. It’s just unfortunate that the little girl from “E.T.” had to go in the first scene of the movie.

5. “It” (1990) – Television movies are generally shunned by many, but this isn’t your run-of-the-mill SyFy original. Oh no, the agony seven kids/adults went through because of an amusing but evil clown’s shenanigans is horrifying in and of itself. Luckily, I was spared of coulrophobia (fear of clowns) that was inflicted on so many kids who saw this movie. Unfortunately, I still fear indoor plumbing.

Scariest scene: Georgie was just playing with a paper boat on a rainy day when suddenly it takes a wrong turn into a sewer. Here he meets Pennywise, who kindly offers him a balloon. Long story short, Georgie doesn’t get a balloon. The fact that a kid was killed because of a rogue clown posted in a sewer made me think: that could’ve been me.

6. “Signs” (2002) – M. Night Shyamalan’s movies are either a hit or miss, with the majority being misses. But when it comes to “Signs,” Shyamalan hit a big home run. What’s scarier than chasing an alien through a cornfield and an extraterrestrial invasion? Lets just be thankful that Shyamalan didn’t take a huge twist with this one.

Scariest scene: In what is probably the biggest party pooper in history, an alien decides to make an appearance at a child’s birthday party in Brazil. Just the image of that alien walking just a few feet away from those kids makes me cower in fear. Talk about an awful birthday present.

7. “The Amityville Horror” (1979) – Before there was “Paranormal Activity” there was “The Amityville Horror.” If you think your family is dysfunctional, think again. Your dad could be out to murder your entire family. But don’t worry, you’re safe. That is as long as you don’t live on 112 Ocean Avenue.

Scariest scene: Father Delaney has the privilege of blessing this house that was built on a Native American burial ground. As he does his thing, the house seemingly turns against him. It may appear the the building has fly problem and Delaney ate a beefy five-layer burrito, but in actuality, the house is possessed.

8. “The Omen” (1976) – Another 1970’s movie? This is what you get when your parents are the ones introducing you to scary movies. With the supposed end of the world fastly approaching, the anti-christ could very well be walking amongst us. Well, why not get in the Halloween mood and prepare for the apocalypse this by watching “The Omen.”

Scariest scene: I don’t remember my exact age when I first saw “The Omen,” but I can assure you I was too young. Because of this, the scene where Damien’s estranged nanny hangs herself at his birthday party (another party pooper) left me in shock with my jaw dropped to the ground. I know being a nanny is tough, but come on.

9. “The Others” (2001) – Every so often I come across someone else who’s had the pleasure of watching “The Others,” and our thoughts are usually similar: total mindbender. If you’re looking for a movie that will leave you in a vegetative state or rocking back and forth in the fetal position, this one is for you.

Scariest scene: There’s not one moment that jumps out as the scariest in “The Others.” The entire movie as a whole is really enough to make you sleep with the light on. Though I will add that the kids in this are ridiculously terrifying.

10. “Dreamcatcher” (2003) – There’s always that one film that you like and everybody hates, and this is it. This movie only gets a bad vibe because of the worm-like alien that has a knack for rear ends, but it is genuinely gripping. It also has Morgan Freeman as an alien hunter. What’s better than that?

Scariest scene: After being excreted into a toilet, Beaver (Jason Lee) attempts to trap the alien in the toilet, but to no avail. Beaver is violently killed by the alien and its razor sharp teeth. As ridiculous as it sounds, this scene is actually quite horrifying.

11. “The Descent” (2005) – A caving expedition goes horribly wrong. It’s difficult not to feel sorry for these helpless friends who thought they were venturing into their friendly neighborhood Meramec Caverns. Instead they find themselves lost in an uncharted cave and surrounded by Gollum’s on steroids.

Scariest scene: The group’s first encounter with these odd creatures is full of intensity and cringe-worthy gore. The six women are just overwhelmed by these things and the only thing you can do is sit on the edge of your seat and hope for the best.

12. “Psycho” (1960) – Whether you like it or hate it, Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” is the quintessential horror movie that elevated the genre to new heights. Based on a novel that is inspired by the Wisconsin murderer Ed Gein, this movie has a sense of realism that makes it awfully terrifying.

Scariest scene: Much like “The Shining,” this flick also features an iconic moment: the shower scene. The shadowy figure, the stereotypical horror music, and the shrill scream of Janet Leigh all come together in this work of art.

13. “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984) – Of the 1980’s slasher flicks, “A Nightmare on Elm Street” is the one that has always stood out to me. From the creepily deformed body of Freddy Krueger to the thought of someone killing you in your dreams, this movie made me fight to stay awake as a child.

Scariest scene: As Tina flails in her bed, screaming for help, her boyfriend looks on scared stiff. Things quickly escalate and Tina turns into Peter Pan, floating around the room. Of course we all know what was really happening: Freddy was just doing what he does.

And with that, I give you the opportunity to share these movies with your friends and prevent the spread of this deadly epidemic. But now it’s your turn to share! If you have any horror movies you’d like to recommend to me, shoot me an email at [email protected] or tweet at me: @The_Blake_Beck. Happy Halloween!