Here’s a list of frightful films that would make for a fabulous scare-a-thon
With Halloween coming up, it’s time to compile a list of my favorite scary movies. I’m an old school fan who prefers suspense to shock, and the bravery of ordinary people in supernatural situations. And, as you’ll notice from the list, I can’t hide the fact that I love a good haunted house tale.
Now, I haven’t ignored slasher movies entirely. I like the good ones. I’ve updated the list over the years, although the movies that terrified me as a child are still listed, since they helped shape my film critic soul. Here is my list of movies that would make for a terrific fright night marathon, in alphabetical order.
Carrie (1976) Even when you know the big scare is coming, it still gets you doesn’t it? Brian DePalma’s classic stars Sissy Spacek as the teenager whose powers are unleashed at the school prom. With Piper Laurie, Amy Irving, William Katt, and in a small role, John Travolta.
The Changling (1980) George C. Scott stars in this under-the-radar haunted house flick. Directed by Peter Medak, George C. Scott stars as a man recovering from the death of his wife and child, who discovers the angry ghost of another dead child in the mansion where he’s staying.
Ghost Story (1981) Four elderly men have a secret they’ve kept buried that is about to be unleashed. With Fred Astaire, Melvin Douglas, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., John Houseman and Alice Krige before she became the Borg Queen.
Halloween (1978) John Carpenter’s revival of the slasher horror film still makes me jump. Carpenter also created and performed the creepy music. The film that made Jamie Lee Curtis a star also features Donald Pleasance and P.J. Soles. Writer Debra Hill named the town after her hometown, Haddonfield, N.J.; in the film it’s Haddonfield, Ill.
The Haunting (1963) This film terrified me as a child and still gives me the shivers if I watch it alone in the dark. One of the best — and best acted — haunted house movies of all time, starring Claire Bloom and Julie Harris. Directed by Robert Wise.
The Innocents (1961) Deborah Kerr is a nanny who suspects her wards (Martin Stephens Pamela Franklin) are being stalked by ghosts, but perhaps she is just demented. Directed by Jack Clayton and adapted from the novel by Henry James.
The Legend of Hell House (1973) The Innocents’ child star, Pamela Franklin, still has ghost problems a decade later in this terrifying haunted house tale that also stars Roddy McDowall, Clive Revill and Gayle Hunnicutt.
The Omen (1976) This movie scared me much more that The Exorcist with its tale of a young boy who is the spawn of the devil. Stars Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner, Billie Whitelaw (so creepy as the nanny/protector) and Harvey Stephens as Damien. Directed by Richard Donner (Superman, Lethal Weapon).
The Others (2001) Nicole Kidman stars in this period piece that successfully plays tribute to The Innocents while providing its own delightful twist.
Poltergeist (1982) Ordinary parents (JoBeth Williams, Craig T. Nelson) face extraordinary and terrifying circumstances when it turns out they live in a haunted house that steals their little girl. Everybody into the pool! Directed by Tobe Hooper and written and produced by Steven Spielberg.
According to a local legend, a young girl inhabits the top floor of the inn, and guests have reported hearing the sounds of a ball bouncing in the upper floor.
"I was so bitter and full of angst back then. It’s not so easy to go back there that much but we’ve done it. But I’m almost 30 now. I’m a different person."
If you want to hear some authentic monster mash music, Here Come the Mummies is the band for you. The ghoulish guardians of funk will perform Saturday, Oct. 29, 9pm in the Tropicana’s Grand Exhibition Center.
Ocean City Ghost Tours has been a popular attraction in the city for more than a decade, running walking tours of “haunted” and historical spots in Ocean City from spring to fall. But the tours really take off in popularity in the height of the summer season, and, as you might guess, in October. “The summer is very popular,” says Eileen Reeser, tour manager. “But when it gets close to Halloween, the crowds go way up again. The tours aren’t so much about the paranormal as they are about the folklore and history of the island. There are some great stories on the island.” Some notable haunted stops are City Hall and The Flanders Hotel. The ghost story...
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