October Fright: Chilling Childhood Flicks

AKernelOctober

Bit of a warning before we get started. This post contains gifs from horror movies and if you aren’t a fan of scary movies or they make you uncomfortable, it’s best to turn away now. I’m not ashamed to admit that while putting this post together, I got the heebie-jeebies about a dozen times. Childhood trauma just gets stronger with age, people. I want to start off by saying that I can’t rightly recall how I was able to watch all these movies as a child, but even if my parents had known, I’m pretty sure I would have found a way to watch them anyways. Here is a little look at the horror movies I watched at far too young of an age, the movies that satisfied that weird part of myself that loved scary stories (still weird even now), the movies that terrified me so much that it’s very unlikely I’ll watch them again. Alone. By myself. At night. In the dark. On a dare? Maybe. I’m including original release dates, so you don’t get these movies confused with any terrible remakes or sequels.

1. Child’s Play (1988) – What could be creepy about a children’s doll? Everything, people, everything! I saw this movie when I still played with dolls. How do I know this? Because my cousins and I used to joke that this one doll I had kind of looked like Chucky. She had that same sinister cheek bone structure and deceivingly benign freckles. Not too long after I saw this movie, this doll was banished to the garage. I can’t remember what happened to her after that. Should I be concerned that I don’t remember? Nah, it’s just this bad memory of mine. Right? RIGHT?!?!

2. Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) – Unlike with Child’s Play, I feel pretty confident saying I saw this one while staying over at my cousins’ house. One of these cousins had a very unnerving skill. He could make himself sound like Freddie Krueger. It was creepy to me and it just about terrified my younger brother (I don’t think he’s watched a Freddie Krueger movie since). Still, this movie kind of appealed to me. I’ve always been fascinated by dreams and the idea that something can invade your dreams–where you are completely vulnerable and and the only defense is to stay awake–is enough to give me nightmares. Because I really like sleeping.

3. Hellraiser (1987) – But, Alicia, where is your gif for Hellraiser? Okay, confession time. Pinhead is the single most terrifying entity in human existence and even thinking about him makes me nervous. I remember next to nothing about this movie except Pinhead. I don’t even rightly know what it is about this villain, but he makes me extremely uncomfortable and I have this really strong aversion to him. I won’t watch the movie (not even on a dare), I won’t look at his picture while browsing movie titles, and I certainly won’t be searching for gifs for this post. Also, it’s all about the original actor, any remakes do absolutely nothing for me. I’d mention his name, but that would require me to Google it and that’s not going to happen.

4. It (1990) – Oh great, clowns. I don’t have a phobia or anything, but when I think about this movie, I start to reconsider everything I’ve ever believed about them. No, my children will never have clowns at their birthday parties. I will not be attending any birthday parties where there might be a clown. I will never enter any fun houses where clowns reside. This movie also turned me off of exploring any sewer tunnels. My cousins apparently knew of some and there was never a chance that I was going to say yes to that adventure. I still sometimes eye sewer drains warily. Little side note: these clown sightings across the country just reinforce my fear of them, hoaxes or not, it’s still terrifying. Thinking of just carrying a bat around.

5. Silence of the Lambs (1991) – I don’t consider myself a squeamish person. Blood, guts, decapitated heads. I’m all fine with those things (fictional, of course), but Silence of the Lambs really gets under my skin (no pun intended). Apparently I have a deep aversion to cannibalism. When the television show Hannibal premiered, I was sure I’d enjoy it, but it only took a few episodes in for me to realize that my stomach was not going to be able to take it.

Are there any horror movies you watched as a child that have followed you into adulthood? Are you a fan of any of these movies or do you refuse to watch any of these? Is there a particular horror villain that freaks you out? Let’s discuss in the comments!

Giveaway Alert: If you haven’t entered my giveaway (US only) for an ARC of One Was Lost by Natalie D. Richards in celebration of Halloween, you can do so here. End the 14th!

October Fright: Horror Flicks That Will Make You Scream

AKernelOctober

For a little change of pace, I wanted to highlight a few horror movies that get me excited for this time of year. Some of these are movies I had no business watching as a kid, but if I thought I could get away with it, well, I watched them. I’m not a big fan of the horror movies made these days (too much gore, not a lot of substance), but I was able to come up with a couple that I really like. And no list would be complete without a childhood favorite. I apologize if any of these gifs give you nightmares. Even I got a little creeped out making this post.

1. Halloween (1978) – Is it the mask? The fact that this villain never says a single word? How about the fact that you can run from him, but he, at a rather nonchalant gait, can still catch up to you? I don’t quite remember when it was that I watched the original Halloween, but Michael Meyers is such an iconic figure and if I ever spotted him across my street, I’d probably wet my pants.

Moral of the Story: There are some family skeletons that don’t stay buried.

2. The Shining (1980) – Jack Nicholson is phenomenal in this film, I cannot praise his acting enough. One of my favorite parts of this movie is the soundtrack, it is absolutely chilling. If you haven’t gotten a chance to click on the music video I’ve set up for October, take a look to the right. This is from the opening credits of the Shining and no matter how many times I’ve listened to it, when it gets to a minute and a half, chills run down my spine every time.

Moral of the Story: Playing caretaker for a hotel located in the middle of nowhere is never a good idea.

3. Poltergeist (1982) – Without seeing the remake, I can already tell you that it will never live up to the kind of scares I got from watching this movie for the first time. Ironically, the ghosts and the evil clown did not scare me as much as Zelda Rubinstein playing the strange medium. There’s just something about her character that I find extremely unnerving.

Moral of the Story: Respect the dead because you’ll regret it if you don’t.

4. The Ring (2002) – This was the first horror movie in the “modern” era that I actually enjoyed. A lot of horror films think blood = fright, but to me, you don’t need to have a serial killer chasing after a bunch of dimwitted teens and butchering them in order to be scary. Little girls just have a way of being really creepy all on their own.

Moral of the story: Don’t watch unmarked VHS tapes.

5. The Conjuring (2013) – I love this movie. Maybe it’s the whole idea of it being based on a true story or the fact that Ed and Lorraine Warren are real people who truly believe they’re demonologists, but I find it strangely fascinating. I love that this film is so scary, it earned a “R” rating based on sheer terror alone.

Moral of the story: Always check the history of the house you’re planning to move into.

6. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) – I’m not sure if this film is considered horror horror, or if it’s more like a twisted fairy tale, but there are some scary creatures in this film. The Faun for one, but this creepy character above really freaks me out. This film is incredibly beautiful and I’d recommend it to anyone, even if you’re not into horror.

Moral of the story: When someone tells you not to touch the food, don’t touch the food!

7. Hocus Pocus (1993) – Let’s end on a bit of a lighter note. This is my all-time favorite Halloween movie. I loved it as a kid and still love to watch it when Halloween comes around. In elementary school, my friends and I would pretend we were the Sanderson Sisters. I also had a huge crush on Thackery Binx, but who didn’t?

Moral of the story: Don’t light the Black Flame candle!

What are some of your favorite horror movies? Which do you look forward to watching in October?