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Scene Selects

Scene Staff Report | Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Paranormal Activity (2007)

The original installment in this horror series brought a fresh look at fright – using the found-footage method of camerawork. This movie was shot on a $15,000 budget and ended up making almost $200 million at the box office, speaking to the movie’s true creepiness.
Katie believes the house is possessed by a demon but Micah thinks she’s full of it, and begins setting up cameras around the house to see what’s up, to which the demon doesn’t take to kindly.

Insidious (2011)

This truly creepy film follows a family after their young son falls into an unexplainable coma. It soon becomes apparent that something is wrong with the boy and the house, and the boy’s mother and father (Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne) bring in a team that specializes in paranormal activity to find out what’s going on. It turns out the boy has the ability to “astroproject” into “The Further,” and the film turns down a creepy, freaky path before concluding in horror.

Psycho (1960)

This Hitchcock classic was initially rejected by some critics, some even calling it a black spot on Hitchcock’s career, but the general public loved it from its opening and it has proven a lasting classic. The story of Norman Bates, motel owner and crazed killer, is probably well-known to most at this point in history, as is the infamous shower scene, but the film still proves eerie and disturbing, even if you know what’s coming.

Carrie (1976)

This adapted Stephen King novel follows Carrie White, a friendless and shy teenage girl who suffers at the hand of her religious fanatic mother. Carrie also grapples with the fact that she possesses unexplained, supernatural powers. So yeah, Carrie’s got some issues. In classic high-school movie fashion, the plot comes to its climax at the prom, which is one of the most memorable scenes in scary-movie history. Carrie is the story of high-school angst gone murderously astray, and it is not to be missed this Halloween season.

Halloween (1978)

“Halloween” is a low-budget horror flick that spawned a host of scary movie plot clichés and ten sequels (and counting). When a psychotic murderer escapes from the mental hospital, no one in the sleepy town of Haddonfield, Ill., is safe. The film is Jamie Lee Curtis’ breakout role, as she stars as the bookish babysitter who comes face-to-ski-mask with Michael Myers. The movie lacks the over-the-top gore of modern horror films, and is campy fun perfect for a seasonal viewing. 

The Shining (1980)

Another adapted Stephen King novel, “The Shining” is a lesson in how to create creepy suspense. Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) is the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel, a super-secluded hotel in the mountains, during its offseason. The family is alone, that is, except for the eerie apparitions and supernatural beings that reside in the hotel. As the seclusion sets in, Jack gradually becomes mentally unhinged. After experiencing this film, the phrase “here’s Johnny!” will never be the same again. 

The Exorcist (1973)

This movie represents one of the first, and creepiest, of the woman-possessed-by-a-demon horror movie genre. When 12-year-old Regan (Linda Blair) exhibits strange symptoms, her mother (Ellen Burstyn) has doctors perform a litany of tests to diagnose her illness. When nothing works, and paranormal occurrences persist, doctors recommend an exorcism. The rest is scary-movie legend. The child verbally assaults priests, projectile-vomits a vile green substance and speaks in demonic tones. “The Exorcist” is a necessary addition to your Halloween movie shortlist.