In honor of Halloween, Miss Pop Rocks the Horror Film Fan needs to rant and then give a quick shout out to the best horror films of all time.
First, the rant. Call me old-fashioned, but I just cannot get into these modern splattercore torture porn films they call horror movies these days. I’m talking about crap like Hostel, Hostel 2, Saw 1, 2, 3, and 4 (God already!), and The Devil’s Rejects. Fine with me if you think Eli Roth and his pals are making statements about American consumerism and pushing the boundaries of “art” or whatever. I’m not opposed to these films being made or anyone going to watch them.
It’s just that I think they suck.
To me, real horror films make you sweaty with anticipation and then milk that anticipation for all it’s worth. They’re scary not because some girl’s eyeball is dangling out of its socket, but because they imply that at some point a girl’s eyeball may or may not fall out of its socket. Or that maybe something even worse might happen to her.
Bottom line is: What’s scarier? The madman scratching at the front door or the madman who has already broken into your apartment and is having his way with you? For me, it’s the former every time.
So with that in mind, here’s a shoutout to my personal Top Five most scary, most memorable, most incredible horror films ever. Feel free to add your own.
Halloween: The haunting score, the moment Laurie Strode looks out the window of her high school classroom and sees Michael Meyers standing in broad daylight staring at her, Donald Pleasence’s weird little accent, the scene in the closet between Laurie and Michael. This is a perfect scary movie from start to finish.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Suspiria: When little Suzy Banyon arrives at a prestigious dancing school, she has no idea what’s in store for her. Italian director Dario Argento has created a masterpiece of horror with bizarre camera and lighting effects and an obsession with the color red. You’ll never walk your dog alone again after this one.
Rosemary’s Baby: Mia Farrow plays the paranoid pregnant mother of Satan’s spawn with such a mix of fear and despair it made me want to get my tubes tied. Artsy effects mixed with a weird theme song (sung by Farrow herself) and Sidney Blackmer and Ruth Gordon as the nosiest neighbors ever add up to a total frightfest. This is not a dream, this is really happening!
Scream: Scary and ironic at the same time, which is a hard one to pull off. Wes Craven filled the movie with so many inside jokes that horror movie fans needed to watch it at least three times to catch all the references. Yummy!
Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The original, of course. It’s got odd moments of humor, and Houston’s own Marilyn Burns as the sole survivor kicks total ass! The blood on her face and body was really hers as she was filmed being chased through the woods by Leatherface. She earns every letter of the title Scream Queen. My heart races just thinking about it. -- Jennifer Mathieu