My 17-year-old son often teases me, telling me I should have long outgrown my attraction to horror flicks.
But, to me, there's nothing better than sitting in a dark movie theater cradling a bucket of buttered popcorn (and a diet Coke to offset the calories from the butter) and waiting for the inevitable moment when the creepy demon creeps up behind the hero.
I'm not a big fan of slasher movies, filled with gratuitous blood and gore. But give me a good ghost story and I'm completely riveted.
Such was the case recently when I was waiting for a delayed flight at the Atlanta airport. I put in my headphones and tuned into John Carpenter's "The Ward" on my iPhone.
Despite the tiny screen, I couldn't help but jump when the deadly zombie/ghost creeped up behind the heroine in the shower, prompting stares from all the passengers around me.
So, just in time for Halloween, here's my list of all-time favorite scary movies. Do you agree? List your favorites in the "Comments" section below.
- "They Live" by John Carpenter (1988) -- My son and I love this because it combines humor with a campy plot in which humanoid aliens control the human population through the media.
- "Signs" by M. Night Shyamalan (2002) -- I love the message behind this movie -- everything happens for a reason. And there's this great scene in which Joaquin Phoenix and the kids are watching a news clip on television of aliens invading the earth while wearing hats they fashioned out of aluminum foil to deter the aliens from reading their minds.
- "The Sixth Sense," also by M. Night Shyamalan (1999) -- This film in which Haley Joel Osment "sees dead people" features some great twists.
- "Zombieland" by Ruben Fleischer (2009) -- You've just got to love Woody Harrelson as the gun-toting zombie killer searching for the world's last Twinkie.
- "Insidious" by James Wan (2010) -- I love the use of Tiny Tim's song, "Tiptoe Through the Tulips," and the ending really creeped me out.
- "Prince of Darkness" by John Carpenter (1987) -- It's worth it just to see Alice Cooper play the street schizo.
- "The Omen" by Richard Donner (1976) -- "Look at me, Damien! It's all for you!" Need I say more?
- "Rosemary's Baby" by Roman Polanski (1968) -- This classic film starring Mia Farrow should be on everyone's list.
- "Psycho" by Alfred Hitchcock (1960) -- This movie is 50 years old but the iconic shower scene with Janet Leigh still gives me the willies.
- "The Shining" by Stanley Kubrick (1980) -- I never tire of the scene when Jack Nicholson breaks through the door with an ax and announces, "Heeeere's Johnny."
- "Poltergeist" by Tobe Hooper with Steven Spielberg producing (1982) -- I have a friend who can do a perfect imitation of Tangina saying, "This house is clean!"
- "House on Haunted Hill" by William Castle (1959) -- This film featuring Vincent Price is a sentimental favorite. It was the first horror movie I even saw.