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October 28, 2006

Movies to Scare the Pants Off You

By Sarah

Scary_movies_1  Here at The Lipstick Chronicles we'll use any excuse to get our pants off and what better way than through a thoroughly haunting movie. We're not talking slasher flicks. (Have you noticed how poorly the Chainsaw Massacre "prequel" has done at the box office?) No, we're talking spooky, chilling, creepy, disconcerting films. The kind of movies that make you jump, that haunt you as you walk up the stairs and go to bed, that fill your dreams with ghosts and whatever, that maybe wake you with a start at 3 a.m. (Everything creepy happens at 3 a.m.)

With these paranormal parameters in mind, may I present The Second Annual Halloween Flick List with some suggestions from a few Tarts to start you off. We hope you'll add your own. Enjoy. If you dare...risk the late fees.

Michele Martinez

THE OTHERS (2001) Chilling horror film set around WW II with Nicole Kidman (okay, that's scary enough. Have you seen her ankles? Pure bone.) as a mother whose children must live in the dark. (Photosensitive, you know.) She begins to believe the house is haunted, natch. No special effects, just good, creepy film making.

Harley Jane Kozak

THE SHINING (1980) Stanley Kubrick's film based on Stephen King's book about an inn keeper and his family who are hired to maintain a deserted mountain hotel during a winter's isolation. So classic, bits of Jack Nicholson's dialog are now part of the common lexicon: "Have you ever thought about my RESPONSIBILITIES?" And, of course, "Here's JOHNNY!" Shudder.

THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (1999) Three Florida State film students hit it big with this low-budget (I LOVE low budget) faux documentary about, uh, three film students who go into the deep woods (state Blair_witch park) of Maryland to track down a myth about the legendary and murderous Blair Witch. Another that eschews special effects, this movie manages to creep despite the cheery sun-dappled forest floor and your constant temptation to scream, "Follow the stream, you stupid kids!" In the end, you almost wish their fate upon them. Bring Kleenex. Your nose may be running.

THE HAUNTING (1963) No, no, no. Not the new one. Yuck! Special effects do not creepiness make. Tone and directing do. But creepy tone and directing are harder to achieve. (Ah ha!) Harley and I both agree that this is one of the oddly spookiest movies, largely because it stuck to creepy Shirley Jackson's novella The Haunting of Hill House. Several adults, some good looking, summoned to a haunted house as part of a psychological experiment. Naturally, things and walls go awry. Weird Julie Harris and suggestive lesbian liaisons are enough to keep you under the covers for reasons best known only to yourself.


GHOSTBUSTERS (1984) Honestly, Nancy's just hopeless.

SARAH STROHMEYER (Whoo, hoo! Finally, it's my turn.)

THE SIXTH SENSE (1999) Not only is this movie creepy, it is brilliant and touching, even if it stars Bruce Willis. (Oh, go buy yourself a toupee already.) If you haven't seen this movie....Wait, you haven't seen this movie? Prepare to want to watch it again, right away. Famous quote: "I see dead people." Yeah, me too. They're called co-workers.

The_haunting THE HAUNTING (1963) Shoot. Harley called that one already.

SLEEPY HOLLOW (1999) Tim Burton pauses from using oddly drawn characters to feature his oddly drawn pet Johnny Depp in this atmospheric remake of the Upper New York State legend. This ain't your mother's Legend of Sleepy Hollow and it's one movie where special effects (could there be any more mist?) really do add to the feel. Witches. Big trees. Sex. And Christina Ricci as a blond.

DRACULA (1931) Slow moving with strange unexplained pauses, odd villagers and vampire vixens in slinky dresses, this movie never fails to chill. Bela Lugosi got the part at the last minute after Lon Cheney died of cancer. Black and white, of course. Dwight Frye steals the show. "Rats, master. Rats!" This is the one I'll be watching on Halloween.

Okay...We know there are plenty more out there.  Also, DON'T FORGET TO TURN BACK YOUR CLOCKS. We get an extra hour tonight, so why not watch two?



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The scariest movie I ever saw was Rosemary's Baby. To this day, I cannot even look at Mia Farrow.


All time creepiest was the first original HALLOWEEN. Watched carefully in the light of day, it's amazing how *LITTLE* blood and gore is actually shown. Watching it in a darkened theatre, the mind plays tricks, and one's own imagination makes things FAR worse than it really is....

Plus, the fact that Michael just will not stay down.....

Carrie (1976). Prom day was never the same.

Y'all have taken some of my favorites. I did think the TV movie version of Steven King's "It" was awfully spooky (right up until the end when they showed the actual spider -- should have left that much more to the imagination). Unfortunately for me, I guess, I can take creepy books much better than horror flicks -- give me Phil Rickman and early Steven King (I love Jack Nicholson, but the book was SO much scarier!).

The original HALLOWEEN is one of my favorites, but THE EXORCIST scared the crap out of me.

I'm with Nancy. Have watched GHOSTBUSTERS a million times, though the second movie was so bad! SOOO bad. Like it completely ignored the first movie and just was a bad bad movie.


The Exorcist
I started reading it the first night in our new house in Highland Park......complete with all the new noises. I saw the movie in the Warner Theater where Cinerama was introduced and the screen nearly wrapped around you----------it was the last movie ever shown there and everyone was smoking ganja! memorable! Could never walk down those steps in Georgetown even in brilliant sunshine!

Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte. I was too young when my brother & sister took me to see this movie (7?). All I remember was the general spookiness and the vision of the guy's hand cut off is still with me. Haven't been able to rewatch it. I too am with Nancy. I blame Bette Davis.

Oooh, The Shining! Great movie. What's stuck with me is "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy," over and over and over again on those mad manuscript pages. After a few too many long days at the computer I can relate.

Okay, so sue me. I hate scary movies. (Saw NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD at the drive-in with screaming girlfriends in high school. I'm not sure the car upholstery ever dried.) Ghostbusters is as scary as I can stand. Yeah, I'm a wimp!

BTW, for those keeping score, I came out of my 3rd mammo on Friday with flying colors. Celebrating here in Reading with Ramona!

I recently published an article about four movies that creeped me out as an adult. If you are curious; here is the URL -


The four movies that creeped me out were;
"The Wicker Man"
"Night of the Living Dead"
"The Sixth Sense"

One more story.
Inspired by Harley, we showed a movie inspired by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley for our "Literary Cinema" program.

The film featured Boris Karloff and Elsa Lanchester as "Bride of Frankenstein" and the reaction was phenomenial. People cried during the scene where the monster meets the bline hermit.

It was my proudest moment as an Information Scientist to bring that classic to a new audience.

Nancy, congratulations and big hugs on the mammo. I go every year without fail. But I will admit it can be a very tense experience -- you can feel the tension in the waiting room while you wait and wait for the results. Duke even offers mammos on Saturdays. I think it's walk-in that day or they offer free parking, something or other in incentives. The exam is so quick, but it's the anticipatory anxiety ... Congratulations, again. I usually treat myself to some chocolate or other afterwards.

Back on topic: Silence of the Lambs scared the living hey out of me the first time I saw it. It didn't help viewing it after two exams and a paper due on one day, little sleep and wine for dinner ... ~every~ dang light went on.

The witch mannequin on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights scared me to death when I was about 4 or 5. It was awful trying to get me to pass it on the way to the rides. That's why I hated Wizard of Oz: Margaret Hamilton was a double for that witch and scared me as much. Wizard of Oz as a scary movie? hmmm



A Toast of the Coffee Cup to you for that! It's always good to keep the Classics going. For real pathos, show them Lon Chaney, Jr. in THE WOLF MAN next!

Jeanne's "lights out" comment reminded me of something I had forgotten (or blocked, whichever you prefer).

TRILOGY OF TERROR, the made for TV movie with Karen Black, early to mid 70's. Yes, the segment titled "Amelia", taken from Richard Matheson's short story "Prey". Missed it the first time it aired, but at that period of time, ABC was running a "Late Night Movie" around midnight every night, usually their own 90 minute made for television things.

Several months later, TRILOGY was re-run. My parents owned a rather large home at the time, and my bedroom was all the way at the end of the hall opposite the living room where the TV was. Family was out of town for one of my brothers basketball games, I had stayed behind due to school commitments. Got the popcorn and root beer ready, watched the movie. First two stories were okay, but the Devil Doll was intense. Very well done, I thought as I turned off the TV and headed for the hallway.

I turned on the hall lights so I could see the way to my room, took two steps down the hall...and the lights went out. No, not out, OUT. As in pitch black.

I can't be certain, but I do believe that was the one occassion where I actually, truly, genuinely, honest-to-God FLEW down the hallway to my room. I don't think my feet touched carpet again until I got there and hit the light switch, flooding the room with wonderful, beautiful, terrific LIGHT.....

By the sheerest of coincidence, both hallway lights burned out at the same instant. It was really funny the next morning.... Very funny...ha ha.....

My all time creepy movie is "The Innocents" with Deborah Kerr. I believe the story was called " Turn of the Screw" by Henry James.
Then of course is "Psycho" I still cant take a shower without locking all the doors.

I talk about Trilogy of Terror often. I only remember one of them, the one with voodoo doll. But still, it's been over 30 years, and for it to still be in memory would have to be considered a victory by the producers.

Thanks for the cofeee toast William.
I will do Lon Chaney as the Wolf Man one year. But this year we had to do a John D. MacDonald crime novel...so I chose the original "Cape Fear," because Mitchum was scarier than DeNiro.

In October 2007, the October edition will feature the last pairing of Karloff and Lugosi in Robert Louis Stevenson's "The Body Snatcher."

One year...we will screen "The House on Sorority Row!"

Oh, I realize my mistake. Did I write that Lon ChEney had been a horror figure? My fault. It's ChAney. Now, how would I have made that kind of spelling error? Hmmm.

Josh, I rest my case about that friggin' doll..:) Over 30 years later, and it still creeps me out.

Dave, you're right. Mitchum was MUCH more frightening that DeNiro. DeNiro gave off a similar vibe as Nicholson did in SHINING; you know he's nuts the moment you see him. Mitchum's drawl, laid back, easy going evil was much much scarier.

If you're doing JDMcD, Dave, what about DARKER THAN AMBER with Rod Taylor? Finally got my hands on an uncut, uncensored version two years ago. Holy cow...the legends were true about that fight scene....

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