Happy (almost) Halloween! It’ll be different this year for many of us, but I’m seeing lots of people talking about lining up scary movies to watch. There’s even going to be a full moon this Halloween, a relatively rare event.
In honor of Halloween 2020, I’ve come up with five classic scary movies for our viewing, um, pleasure. I’ve personally watched all of them start-to-finish, if not always with both eyes open. In chronological order, we have:
2. The Exorcist.
Blatty, who died in 2017 at the age of 89, had been making his living writing comedy before he holed up in a cabin in Lake Tahoe and tackled The Exorcist. As he explained on its fortieth anniversary, “the season for ‘funny’ had abruptly turned dry and no studio would hire me for anything non-comedic.”
Nothing like good ol’ demonic possession to revive one’s fortunes, and in a big way.
The story is based on Peter Benchley’s 1974 novel of the same name. I read the book after seeing the movie. The Washingon Post describes the book as “a tightly written, tautly paced study of terror that makes us tingle.”
The making of Jaws sounds like a bit of a nailbiting adventure itself. Richard Drewfuss famously said, “We started the movie without a script, without a cast and without a shark.”
It all worked out.
4. The Omen.
David Seltzer wrote the screenplay as well as a movie tie-in book. The movie is directed by Richard Donner, who also has produced and directed many other popular films, including Superman with Christopher Reeves and the Lethal Weapon series. Plus. now 90, he’s an accomplished comic-book writer.
O’Bannon describes his nugget of inspiration, a process many of us writers would recognize: “I knew I wanted to do a scary movie on a spaceship with a small number of astronauts.”
I have to say. I love Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley.
These five classics would make for a heart-pounding scary movie weekend, but there are countless alternatives I haven’t seen, classic and recent. Rosemary’s Baby and anything involving chainsaws come to mind.
Why no Dracula movie on my list? Well, I read the book as a teenager, babysitting two delightful little boys on a dark and stormy night (literally) at their house in the woods. Thought twice about seeing a movie after that!
Written by Irish author Bram Stoker and published in 1897, Dracula has spawned countless vampire books, movies and spinoffs. I wonder if anyone has a count. Not all of them are scary.
Now it’s your turn.