Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Scary Movies for the Squeamish

It's Halloween and time for witches and ghosts and assorted creatures from the Underworld. It's also time for scary movies. I'm not one for slasher flicks or gross-out gore. We're up to Saw V now--how in the world did THAT happened? What is wrong with you people--weren't one through four enough for you?

Apparently not.

Well, I won't be watching Saw or any the many Halloweens or Nightmare on Elm Streets, but there are some good and scary movies without the gross-out gore. In the spirit of the season of ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties, I've compiled a list of not-so-scary scary movies.

So if you're like me (and Esther!) and you're too squeamish for most horror flicks, here's a few of my favorites:

1. The Lost Boys - This Joel Schumacher flick is stylish and sexy and at times darkly humorous. You've got Jason Patric and Jamie Gertz (both of whom have never looked better!), Kiefer Sutherland, the two Coreys (Haim and Feldman), Dianne Wiest, Barnard Hughes and Edward Herrmann (In quite a different role than his stint as proper Grandpa Gilmore) in a film that gives a new twist on the teenage rebel without a cause theme and contains one of my favorite movie lines: "Death by stereo!"

2. The Sixth Sense - Creepy and atmospheric, M. Night Shyamalan may never be able to top his premiere effort, but who cares? When you've achieved perfection, what more is there to accomplish? Great performances by Bruce Willis, Toni Collette, Haley Joel Osment (who also may never top this effort) and Olivia Williams--not to mention a completely creepy Donnie Wahlberg--and the killer plot twist makes this completely enthralling viewing. Even when you already know ending, it's still engrossing.

3. The Others - A very underrated performance by Nicole Kidman is what gives this horror-thriller its kick. She was nominated for an Oscar for Moulin Rouge the same year, but she deserved it for this performance. No blood, no spatter--the spookiness is primarily in watching Kidman's character unravel.

4. Shaun of the Dead - If you're squeamish, then flesh-eating zombies are definitely not your thing. Unless they're offered up by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright in a movie that is both homage and spoof of the genre. It's really too silly to be scary most of the time--although there is one squirm inducing moment. An early scene of Shaun riding a bus without fellow passengers who wear the vacant glazed stares of the undead--or perhaps they're just zoned out rat racers--is brilliant.

5. Poltergeist - Spielberg and Tobe Hooper create escalating tension as the Freeling family goes from being initially intrigued by the psychic phenomena in their new dwelling, to being beseiged by the spectres haunting their home. Maybe it's all just a diatribe on the time-wasting and soul-sucking attributes of TV, but the film certainly brought a new term to the real estate lemon: instead of buying swampland in Florida, it's now property built over an old Indian burial ground.

Caveat emptor indeed!

6. Interview with a Vampire - The creepiest thing about this film is the final scene with Tom Cruise's LeStat driving along in a red convertible. There's something about vampires--what with their predilection for biting the exposed and vulnerable necks of their victims. I dare you to watch this movie and not be compelled to wear a scarf to bed!

7. The Devil's Backbone - Guillermo Del Toro's ghost story is as unsettlingly creepy as it is visually arresting.

8. The Orphanage - Del Toro produced this horror/mystery/thriller about a grown-up orphan and the mysteries that lie within the walls of her childhood home.

9. Rosemary's Baby - This classic is more psychological thriller than outright horror. But you will definitely be shaken up by this story of the devil's spawn.

10. Stir of Echoes - One degree of Kevin Bacon, who does his usual competent work as a man obsessed--or perhaps "possessed"--with solving the mystery behind the visions he sees of a young girl's death.

So there you have it--a list of films to make you shudder and run a shiver up your spine. Feel free to post your own recommendations for some not-so-scary scary movies!

No comments:

Post a Comment