It’s October, that spooky, scary time of year. (Although at this point, can Halloween really scare us any more than real life? No, but it might offer us a fun escape.) And I’m a writer with blog space who also happens to love the hell out of horror. So I thought I’d do a little series on my favorite horror movies of all time. And I’m breaking it into three parts because it was going to be one long-ass blog post by itself.
Favorite vs “Best”
Years ago, my brother and I had a friendly argument over whether disliking something necessarily means that “it sucks.” The topic arose because he said Linda Ronstadt “sucked.” I countered that while he might not enjoy her music, saying she “sucks” implies that she can’t sing, which is a ludicrous statement. I mean, have you even listened to White Rhythm & Blues? I can recognize that Bob Dylan is a songwriting genius even if I don’t particularly enjoy his music.
Likewise, a movie that may be one of the “best” may not be my favorite. Two obvious examples are The Exorcist and The Shining. I genuinely think The Exorcist might be the scariest movie ever made. I also have great appreciation for The Shining. But are they my favorites? No. Not even close.
So what is a “favorite”?
To me, a favorite is a movie I’ll watch again and again. It’s a movie where I know each line and jump-scare but I enjoy every minute anyway. So even though I think The Exorcist may be one of the scariest and therefore “best” horror films, it’s not one of my favorites because I don’t have fun while I’m watching it.
I’m going to break this list down into three sections:
- Favorites, but are they really horror? (Part 2)
- Honorable Mentions (also Part 2)
- My absolute go-to list (part 3)
But lest I leave you in too much suspense, let me tell you about a couple of movies you won’t find on my list.
Movies That Don’t Make the Cut
Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Yes, I know. I can already hear all those horror purists dying to tell me I’m wrong. Here’s the thing: sometimes, it’s all about timing. If I had first seen Les Misérables as a teen, around the time I first discovered Phantom of the Opera, maybe I would have enjoyed it. But I was in my forties before I saw it for the first time, and good lord, what a load of drivel. Likewise, if I had first seen Chainsaw back in the day, when I was first developing an appreciation for the genre, I might have thought it was great. But for some reason, I never did. I didn’t watch it until a couple of years ago, and I was mightily unimpressed. All Sally does is scream, and holy crap, did that get old. Still, this movie gave us the Final Girl trope, and thank goodness for that.
Nightmare on Elm Street
I used to love these movies. I mean, these were the films that first made me a fan of horror movies. Dream Warriors? At the time, I thought it was one of the greatest horror films every made.
The thing is, the Elm Street movies just haven’t aged well (much like Goonies, much to my dismay). What was campy then is just plain ridiculous now. And that girl who played Nancy couldn’t act her way out of a paper bag. So although I appreciate these movies for being part of my intro to horror, I no longer consider them “favorites.”
Once again, I know people will freak out. For some reason, every horror fan is supposed to LOOOOVE Evil Dead.
Well, I don’t. I don’t like the original or the reboot. The one and only thing I even remember about either of them is a girl being raped by a tree.
Friday the 13th
How can anybody take this franchise seriously? I’ll watch the first one if it’s on, mostly so I can marvel at how young Kevin Bacon was.
But beyond that? No thanks. Even if you can get through movies 2 through 7, the next three films (Jason Takes Manhattan, Jason Goes to Hell, and Jason X, which takes place in space, for fuck sake!) take ridiculous to a whole new level. Although I have a real fondness for ‘80s slasher horror, I’m just not a fan of this series. If you ask me, the 2009 remake with Jared Padalecki is easily the best movie in the franchise. (Yeah, I said it. Don’t @ me.)
So that gives you some idea what to expect (or what not to expect, at any rate). I’ll publish parts two and three in the next few days. In the meantime, go ahead and tell me how wrong you think I am. 😉