Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Top Ten: Movies that scared me as a child

Because why not?  It's Halloween and I have the day off from school because of Hurricane Sandy.  Now this is not a list of the scariest movies of all time; this is an entirely personal list of ten movies/shows that freaked me out or gave me nightmares as a young boy growing up on the tough streets of southern New Hampshire.

10. Casper (1995)

*my general reaction to the film

Give me a break, I must have been about 3 or 4.  But from what my dad tells me, my hands were covering my eyes for most of the movie.  I grew to love it, and I think it's a pretty underrated family film at this point, but back in the day this was more terrifying to me than finding razor blades in your Halloween candy.

9. Children of the Corn (1984)

Now here is a movie you should not watch in kindergarten.  I did, and that haunting tune of chanting children, seeing children hanging on crosses, and witnessing what was supposedly the devil coming up from under the ground -- this was a tough one on me for a while.

8. Nightmare on Elm Street 4 (1988)

This was once playing during Halloween on the PAX channel, back when that existed.  I was up a little later for some reason, and all I could remember was this one girl helplessly trapped in a box, slowly turning into a cockroach (WARNING: this is a tad graphic).

7. Batman Returns (1992)

If you think about it, this is a pretty dark movie.  The film opens with two parents throwing their infant into a river, and the character designs are all pretty weird and spooky.  But the part of the film I just could not handle as a kid (it made me leave the room every time) was the scene where Selina Kyle takes a nutty and starts shredding all her stuffed animals in the garbage disposal.

6.  Goosebumps ('95-'98)

*My favorite episode of the show -- best scene @ 15:36

I'm kind of cheating here, but Goosebumps was my life as a kid.  The books were top notch, the show was at times pretty scary, and there was a criminally undiscovered awesome video game for the PC that I still have from years ago.  It's a live-action point-and-click game called Escape from Horrorland and if you find a way to play it do so, I think it ranks up there in creepiness.  At one point Goosebumps ruled the world, so I couldn't leave it off this list.

5. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

The movie alone didn't scare me, but one image from this film seriously kept me awake at night.  It's the visual of the evil queen randomly appearing in Snow White's window.  I'd terrify myself in bed, imagining that if I opened my eyes I would see the witch, right there in front of me, looking through the window.  Honestly I don't even know if I've told this to anyone - I guess blogging can be therapeutic.

4. Real Scary Stories ('00-'01)

I distinctly remember needing my mom or dad to be present while this show was on.  I don't know why I kept watching it because I was so genuinely frightened of this program.  I genuinely thought ghosts were real and the way they presented the stories, with the creepy narrator and weird video effects really messed with my head.  I was kind of surprised to find out on IMDB this only lasted a year, but its effects lasted on me for much longer than that.

3. Stephen King's IT (1990)

I think this was among the first true horror movies I owned and watched at a young age.  The character of Pennywise the Clown is, in my opinion, one of the best horror villains ever put to screen, played gloriously sinister by Tim Curry.

2. Blair Witch Project (1999)

When I first saw this, I believed it was real.  Nowadays with a simple internet search you can find out everything, but I truly thought what I was watching was an actual uncovered documentary, and I don't think any other movie will ever be able to accomplish what Blair Witch did.  An amazing one-of-a-kind film with an ending that will forever be imprinted onto my mind, truly nightmarish.

1. The Exorcist (1973)

*audience reactions start around 1:45

The granddaddy of all mentally scarred children.  I watched this late at night - like from midnight to 2am - sometime around second grade, and I had trouble sleeping for months.  The idea that the devil could possess you, any time, any where, including your OWN BED, was fucking scary.  I've since grown up and become jaded to a point where I don't think a fictional film can ever affect me like that one did, but every time I watch it I still get some residual feelings of disturbance.

Hope this wasn't a waste of everyone's time -- Happy Halloween!

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