Last night, I went to see the remake of Evil Dead with my friend. I’m not sure why I was so keen on going to see this movie. I don’t remember the last time I’ve seen a horror movie — and certainly not at the theatre. Maybe it was the nostalgia factor: I have sketchy, yet chilling, memories of watching the original when I was young and now I was hearing that they had modernized it, while being respectful of the classic. Maybe it was because my bootcamp instructor was going nuts at class over how terrifying it was. Maybe — probably — it’s because I’ve been dying to go to the movies and it’s slim pickins out there.
I grew up loving the horror genre. My sisters and I devoured Stephen King and John Saul novels and spent countless nights in our dark basement, peeking from under the covers during scary-movie marathons. Among our faves were Poltergeist, Nightmare on Elm Street, The Shining, The Omen and the entire Friday the 13th series. Later, we discovered Jaws and Scream and every new Stephen King film adaptation. They got our adrenaline pumping. We couldn’t get enough.
I’m not sure when I let go of the fear factor. I think the movies started to evolve into dumb slasher flicks about blood and guts instead of spooky stories, and stopped being worth the ever-rising cost of going to the movies. (After all, there’s nothing worse than a disappointing horror movie!) Or maybe I became a scaredy-cat as I got older. I’m not sure. All I know is that since having kids, I rarely head to the theatre for anything other than a well-reviewed drama — or some big-budget action movie, if Sean has his way.
Clearly, this week I was determined to dive back in. Evil Dead wasn’t the scariest movie I’ve ever seen (though it was up there for my friend, whose screaming and jumping were just as entertaining as the film), but it reminded me of how exhilarating the experience of watching a horror film can be. How much fun. But it was so gory (so much… chopping!) that it also reminded me that what makes a great horror for me isn’t the jump-out-of-your-seat tactics, but ghost stories. Creepy supernatural tales, but not with zombies or aliens. Suspense thrillers. I loved The Silence of the Lambs and The Sixth Sense and The Others. A movie previewed before Evil Dead called The Conjuring looks awesome, and I’ve been told I’d like Paranormal Activity. I like those creepy haunted-house movies that could possibly happen (or really have, like The Amityville Horror). They completely freak me out. They’re the ones that make me pause before I go grab the laundry in the dark basement.
I’ve learned that there are people who really love to get scared and people who don’t. What freaks you out? What are some of the best scary movies you’ve seen?