Scary

Scary: Introduction

Posted by on Dec 16, 2011 in Scary | 0 comments

Scary: Introduction

“As a child I always wanted to sit in William Castle’s lap, not Santa’s.” – John Waters There were a lot of memorable scary flicks I remember seeing during my childhood, but none quite as enchanting as the forbidden fruit that were the titles in the rated ‘R’ horror section. Usually housed in a separate area of the rental store (I have a particularly vivid memory of a store from my childhood where they reserved and blocked off a dark corner for horror movies and put up fake castle walls and...

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Jurassic Park (1993)

Posted by on Dec 16, 2011 in Scary | 0 comments

Jurassic Park (1993)

Disclaimer: A little ripe language and the digestion of humans by several large lizards (“clever girl”) – seriously scary stuff, but not overly gory. I’ll never forget the first time I saw Jurassic Park. I was 10 years old and the experience was so raw and visceral, and certainly horrifying, that it led me to revisit it on the big screen some weeks later (only one of a few I saw twice in theaters as a child) and read the science-heavy Michael Crichton novels some years later. The highly...

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Watership Down (1978)

Posted by on Dec 16, 2011 in Scary | 0 comments

Watership Down (1978)

Disclaimer: Obvious connections to Catholicism and intense gore involving animated rabbits. It’s jarring. Seriously. I never saw Watership Down when I was young. I just discovered it a few years ago. But had I, I imagine it would have been a memorable experience, to say the least. The film is an ultimately bleak examination of all the fear and suffering of life, as seen from a group of cartoon rabbits. Based on Richard Adams’ novel, Watership Down follows a warren of rabbits as they seek a new...

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To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

Posted by on Dec 16, 2011 in Scary | 0 comments

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

Disclaimer: Some foul and racially charged language. People will always remember To Kill a Mockingbird for the same reason the Harper Lee book garnered such a reaction – because of its radically progressive and inspiring stance on racism in the Depression-era South. People remember the towering figure of Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) and his moving closing statements in the courtroom alongside Tom Robinson (Brock Peters). Meanwhile, people tend to forget that this is a story as seen from the...

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Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)

Posted by on Dec 16, 2011 in Scary | 1 comment

Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)

Disclaimer: Not a film about a happy little elf. The movie you are about to see is extremely unpleasant. If you like stories about clever, reasonably attractive orphans, suspicious fires, carnivorous leeches, Italian food, and secret organizations, then see this film. With the disclaimer and the line above, thus begins Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. And though the narrator doesn’t mention it, the film also includes a diabolical villain, hordes of snakes, and several deaths –...

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The Dark Crystal (1982)

Posted by on Dec 16, 2011 in Scary | 0 comments

The Dark Crystal (1982)

Disclaimer: Some Power Rangers-type violence and overwhelming creepiness. If I had to describe The Dark Crystal in one word, it wouldn’t be a difficult choice: creepy. Directors Jim Henson and Frank Oz, with conceptual artist Brian Froud, don’t so much make a film as create a dark land in an age overcome by evil. Oh yeah, and lots of weird puppets. One-thousand years ago, the fictional land was lush and good until The Dark Crystal cracked and lost a shard. The missing piece created a racial...

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Night of the Hunter (1955)

Posted by on Dec 16, 2011 in Scary | 0 comments

Night of the Hunter (1955)

Disclaimer: A Bible-clutching villain more sinister than – oh, I don’t know – something really evil and terrifying. Sometimes all it takes to make an incredibly frightening situation is a pair of youngsters hiding in a dark basement as the shadow of film noir icon Robert Mitchum coos down to them, “Chilllllldren?” This is essentially the tortoise-paced scare tactic first-time director Charles Laughton utilized for his now-classic villain in The Night of the Hunter. While it may not sound like...

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The Witches (1990)

Posted by on Dec 16, 2011 in Scary | 0 comments

The Witches (1990)

Disclaimer: Dozens of hideous women want to kill your children. While many protested the forced and cutesy ending to The Witches, including the story’s author Roald Dahl, sci-fi director Nicolas Roeg (Don’t Look Now, The Man Who Fell to Earth) created truly haunting and sinister images to match this excellent tale. After Luke (Jasen Fisher) loses his parents in a tragic car accident, he goes to England to live with his grandmother Helga (Mai Zetterling). When the duo goes to a seaside hotel,...

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Frankenstein (1931) and Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Posted by on Dec 15, 2011 in Scary | 0 comments

Frankenstein (1931) and Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Disclaimer: Crazed doctors play god and make edgy homoerotic references. While recent years have seen Batman and Spider-Man vie for superhero superiority at the box office, in 1931 the cat’s pajamas belonged to Dracula and Frankenstein – two rare smash hits in a long line of hit-and-miss horrors from Universal Studios. Both led to dozens of sequels (Son of Frankenstein, House of Frankenstein, etc.), remakes (Robert De Niro played the monster in 1994 and Andy Warhol even directed one), and...

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King Kong (1933)

Posted by on Dec 12, 2011 in Scary | 0 comments

King Kong (1933)

Disclaimer: A giant ape strips off a woman’s clothes like peeling a banana and swats human lives away like flies. What The Jazz Singer did for talking in films, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs did for animation, The 400 Blows did for independent auteurs, and Citizen Kane did for filmmaking in general, King Kong did for special effects and blockbusters. Though it may look ridiculous and aged to some, King Kong revolutionized filmmaking and still has the power to scare viewers. It would be hard...

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Scary: Other Recommended Titles

Posted by on Dec 12, 2011 in Scary | 0 comments

Scary: Other Recommended Titles

Alice (1988): Czech stop-motion animation master Jan Svankmajer’s adaptation of the beloved Lewis Carroll tale is like a surrealist nightmare that meets a twisted dollhouse cabaret with terrifying toys and stuffed animals. Animal Farm (1954): Britain’s first feature-length animated film is a fantastically brutal combination of Communist totalitarianism and farm animals, but don’t expect anything cute here. While it follows George Orwell’s fable closely, it sways toward a more hopeful ending....

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Scary: For Adults Only

Posted by on Dec 11, 2011 in Scary | 0 comments

Scary: For Adults Only

Let the Right One In (2008): This Swedish film (remade by Hollywood as Let Me In) two years later may very well be the greatest vampire flick ever made. It touchingly follows an outcast boy who befriends a young gal vampire.

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