|During my forty years as a horror movie host, I've presented hundreds and hundreds of horror films. And watched thousands more. Some of them are good. Some of them are scary. A few of them are even good and scary! So it's probably to no one's surprise that I've been asked many times, "What your favorite scary movie?"
This is a tricky question. If by "favorite" you mean the one I would watch over and over and over again, gaining satisfaction with each watching, then my answer is Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein (1974). (Okay, I know it's not really a scary movie...but I love it!)
Now if you REALLY mean what genre picture scared me the most, then I would have to say it was not a horror movie at all, but a relatively low-budget science fiction film that had me on the edge of my seat with anticipation during its entire running length. I'm talking about Ridley Scott's Alien (1979).
The thought of being trapped in space with an unknown and almost unstoppable predator is just plain terrifying. The ads boldly proclaimed "In Space No One Can Hear You Scream," which was perfect marketing and set you up for a truly frightening experience. I also have to say that I was powerfully attracted to this fresh new actress with the strange name...Sigourney Weaver. I was pulling for her all the way!
I recently watched Alien again and, with the exception of the clunky old CRT computer screens, I discovered the film holds up remarkably well. I still enjoy watching it for the various adrenaline rushes.
However, I don't want to pass on the opportunity to admit, for the first time in public, that the movie that shook me to the core, gave me nightmares for months, and a movie I will NEVER watch again because of the consequences was neither horror or science fiction.
You see, for something to be truly scary, you have to first truly empathize with the characters and their situation. You must have believable knowledge of their grim situation AND you then have to realize that IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU! All these things came together for me while watching 1982's Sophie’s Choice!
Yes, there were many horrible events in the last World War -- many of them on a huge scale -- but the thought of being asked, on the spot, with no time to think, which one of your children will live and which one will probably DIE a horrible death? That was just too much for my twisted mind to take.
But I digress. For straight up chills and thrills? This October, I'll be settling in with Alien. That's what I call a good AND scary Halloween!