Oct 16, 201209:29 AM
The Lighter Side

Exploring the humor and peculiarities of the Big Easy

Annie's Top Five Scary Movies

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Yay it's October! My favorite month. In New Orleans, autumn is bittersweet for me. I love the slightly cooler weather and good football games, but I miss the vibrant colors of the leaves and the seriously chilly hoodie-weather from back home. But something that I unequivocally love about fall is Halloween and all the camp that comes with it. I love decorating my house with ceramic witches and plastic spiders. I love cooking all of my favorite foods with the seasonal additions of pumpkin and cinnamon. I've also figured out a way to make my own pumpkin spice lattes so I don't have to break the bank everyday at Starbucks.

 

On Sunday night I thought I'd get into the spirit of things by making chili in my crockpot and settling into a nice "Walking Dead" marathon on AMC ... and it was a lot of fun for awhile. Until the power went out for a few minutes smack-dab in the middle of a zombie attack. Freaked. Me. The. Hell. Out.

 

I knew it wasn't real, but the shock of having no power all of a sudden sent chills down my spine. And not in a fun way. After shouting various obscenities in Entergy's general direction, I started thinking about other instances and shows that had made me feel like that in the past.

 

While I do enjoy spooky documentaries on the History or Discovery Channel, I don't enjoy your typical Halloween-esque scary movie. It's a bit strange. I love everything else about the holiday, just not the gory, bloody torture-porn. I hate it actually. I go to the movies to laugh or to be inspired or to just be entertained. I don't go to the movies to feel horrible. I don't like my "fight or flight" instincts being messed with and I don't think I ever will. I know it's weird ... tales of real ghost hunters and haunted vacation destinations I will watch all day, but the fake bloody sadistic slasher films? No way José.

 

So in honor of Halloween, here are my top five "scary movies". These are the ones that slipped past my scary radar somehow. They might not even be that frightening by scary movie standards these days, but they've definitely left their mark on me for one reason or another.

 

5. Dawn of the Dead (Original Recipe)

I watched this movie when I was about eight years old. It was during a slumber party at a friend's house and her older brother and his friends were watching zombie films. The sight of a zombie getting his head chopped off by helicopter blades haunted my dreams for weeks and weeks. Actually more like months. I always had an active imagination as a kid (I still do really) and I constantly thought about what would happen if dead people rose again. It really messed with me, I have to say. I'd sleep with the lights on and pray every night that the skeletons under my bed (I had somehow convinced myself that there were skeletons under my bed) wouldn't get me. But then the praying wouldn't help because I'd always start thinking about Revelations in the Bible. God was no help because he wroteRevelations. He was the one raising the dead! I was such a confused mess. Poor kid.

 

4. Signs

I know this movie isn't all that scary when it goes up against stuff like "Paranormal Activity" or "Night of the Living Dead," but what made this movie scary for me was that I was one of three people in the movie theater when I first watched it. When I was in college, sometimes if I got out of class early, I'd just go see a movie instead of driving back home ... Back when my student I.D. got me in for $5. I went to a lot of movies by myself back then and didn't think anything of it. Until I went to see "Signs" by myself. The first appearance of the aliens freaked me the hell out. And at the end when the aliens were hunting Mel Gibson and family in their own house, it actually felt like I was being hunted as well. Being alone in a movie theater during a scary movie is pretty freaky y'all, even with a relatively tame movie like "Signs." I'm not planning on doing it again.

 

 

3. 28 Days Later

I used to absolutely hate zombie movies. I used to avoid them like the zombie plague. It probably has something to do with the No. 5 movie in this category. Lately I've been able to tolerate zombies more because I've been watching "The Walking Dead" and it's softened me towards the genre, but for a while I was absolutely terrified of zombies. I happened upon "28 Days Later" while I was spending some time in London and was hanging out with some new English pals. They wanted to go see this new scary film and I didn't want to tell them about my crippling fear of zombies because I had just met them, so I sat through it. The new faster-moving, red-eyed "Danny Boyle" zombies freaked me out even more than the "George Romero" zombies. I can honestly say that it was a good movie, but I've never watched it again. And needless to say I haven't watched "28 Weeks Later" either.

 

2. The Mist

This was one of those movies that my husband tricked me with. He likes to play this game where he puts on a movie while I'm not paying that much attention and lo and behold, it is a scary movie. Or it is a just plain disturbing movie. Of all the other movies, I can honestly say that while they scared the living hell out of me, they were actually pretty good films. This movie was not. I only put it in the No. 2 spot because it disturbed me so much, that I still think about it ... and I'm sure that for some people, that's one of the reasons that they like the movie. Not me. There is nothing good about this movie, no good feelings, no hope. There is no comedic relief. There is only the showcasing of the worst of humanity during a panic. Maybe some people like that kind of thing; my husband sure does. I don't like it. The end of "The Mist" still messes with me. I love other Frank Darabont movies, but not this one.

 

1. Poltergeist

This is probably what started it all. My fear of scary movies. My poor dad let me watch the original "Poltergeist" when I was five years old. He probably thought he was being funny, or teasing me, but needless to say, I didn't have a good reaction to it. Whenever he brings it up, to this day, my mom still gets mad at him; she'll shake her head and roll her eyes. And whenever I see a clip of the movie or hear that famous line, "They're heeeeere" ... the hair stands up on the back of my neck.

 

 

Bonus: The Cabin in the Woods

I went to see "Cabin in the Woods" because I love all things Joss Whedon and I wasn't about to let the fact that it was a gory film stand in my way. And while it is pretty gory and bloody, it's not really that scary. It's just a really good movie. It's also actually quite funny and very interesting how they played with the common "scary movie tropes" from the genre. I highly recommend renting it for the Halloween season.

So what are your top scary movies? Please share your stories in the comments!

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The Lighter Side

Exploring the humor and peculiarities of the Big Easy

about

Annie Drummond is a graphic designer and artist from Columbus, Ohio. She has a degree from the Columbus College of Art & Design. Two years ago she made the move from the Midwest to New Orleans' Bywater neighborhood and fell deeply in love as she discovered the rhythms and traditions of her new city. In addition to The Lighter Side, she writes about food, art and design (and other stuff) at www.AnniedelaDolce.com.

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