erik lundegaard

Ooo, Kids, Scary Stuff!

We've got the pumpkins out (thanks to Patricia), the trick-or-treaters are hanging on the steps (below), and the scary movie posters are up (to the left, to the left). Looks like Halloween!

The posters are a mix of classic horror (Dracula, Frankenstein, Wolf Man) and movies that actually scared me over the years: The Haunting, The Changeling, The Shining, The Others, The Orphanage. The key to scaring me, apparently, is a restrained take on the sad, supernatural dead. A horror that echoes past death and troubles the living, who are more or less confined to a specific place, and who can't get away from the horrified dead. Apparently I'm also a fan of blunt titles: definite article + noun.

I've included, as well, Tarantula, a 1950s atomic-explosion b-picture about a giant tarantula that scared the bejesus out of me when I saw it as a kid on some weekend afternoon in the '70s, and which led, or at least contributed, to a lifetime of arachnophobia. I'm sure if I revisited the film it would be hokey as hell but it still might scare the bejesus out of me. Which might not be bad. I have too much bejesus as it is. (Etymology of “bejesus”? Anyone?)

Other treats:

  • As a kid, this lead-in to the late-night “Horror Incorporated” show on KSTP in Minneapolis was generally scarier than the movies—often b-pics—that followed. The hand coming out of the coffin and that final scream in particular. Sometimes I purposefully avoided the intro so I wouldn't be too scared to watch the movie.
  • These local “Horror Incorporated”-type shows were parodied brilliantly by SCTV in their Monster Chiller Horror Theater with Count Floyd (the incredibly funny Joe Flaherty), to whom we owe our blog-post headline. Couldn't find my favorite bit online, when the programmers, who always screwed up, booked “The Odd Couple,” and poor Count Floyd had to make it sound scary, kids. “It's about a neat guy and a messy guy who...drinks blood! Awooooooooooooooooo!” But this one does in a pinch. R.I.P., John Candy.
  • Of course Brenda would kill me if I didn't include Jerry Seinfeld's Halloween monologue, which has the funniest line ever about good vs. bad Halloween candy: “Hold it, lady, wait a second, what is this, the orange marshmallow shaped like a big peanut? Do me a favor, you keep that one. Yeah, we have all the doorstops we need already, thank you.”
  • Finally, here's an article I wrote over 15 years ago on trick-or-treating and the hierarchy of Halloween candy.

What about you? What films scared you? What trick-or-treat memories do you have?

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Posted at 07:53 AM on Thu. Oct 01, 2009 in category Movies  

COMMENTS

Uncle Vinny wrote:

The Shining is the only one from your "actually scary" list that I've seen, guess I need to get crackin'. My short list of good scary movies includes the Exorcist and Let the Right One In.
Comment posted on Thu. Oct 01, 2009 at 12:29 PM

Kyla C wrote:

I thought The Shining was pretty darn scary, but our pal Stu really freaked me out one night saying REDRUM, REDRUM in that creepy-croaky kid voice and crooking his finger up and down. Aaaaaaaaaaah!
Comment posted on Thu. Oct 01, 2009 at 03:14 PM
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