Sunday, October 8, 2017

Horrors! Will you be seeing IT?


Some of you early risers saw this post on Monday... then Las Vegas happened, its own kind of horror and we pulled it. 




HALLIE EPHRON: The big movie this fall is "IT," an adaptation of Stephen King's 1986 novel with a terrifying clown with red balloons as the bogeyman. The reviews are raves, with comparisons to one of my all-time favorite, "Stand by Me." But the trailer (which is all that I have the courage to watch) is terrifying. 

It ends with the question: What are you afraid of? 

Which got me thinking about the scary movies I've seen and the fears they embedded in me. 

"Repulsion" (1965) I'll never forget the scene in this Roman Polanski film with Catherine Deneuve in her nightgown, terrorized by arms breaking through the walls and trying to molest her. Hold the dark hallways with no exit and disembodied limbs. 

"Rosemary's Baby" (1967) I lived on the Upper West Side of Manhattan when I saw Rosemary's Baby, filmed at the nearby Dakota. I still remember poor pregnant Mia Farrow eating raw meat, growing more and more hollow-eyed, and falling into the demented hands of Ruth Gordon. Yes, babies can be scary



"Les Diaboliques" (1955) I probably saw it at the Thalia in New York where they ran classic films. Directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot, it's the story of a man's wife and mistress who drown him in the bathtub and dump the body in a murky swimming pool. Then the corpse disappears and strange things start happening. Best surprise ending ever and it stars the sublime Simon Signoret. Good for decades of murky water and bathtub nightmares.
What are the horror films that are, for better or for worse, embedded in your memory, and will you be seeing "IT"? 


JENN McKINLAY: Not only did I see "IT," but IT has turned into an epic prank war in my house. 

After my people dragged me to IT, I thought it would be hilarious to hide red balloons all over the house. I did not expect the joke to turn on me and now life-size cutouts of Pennywise (Stephen King's terrifying clown in IT) are randomly hidden all over my house by the Hub, the Hooligans and me. There are a lot of jump scares and profanity happening here! 

Truthfully, we're all having a grand time scaring ourselves and while IT the movie was terrifying, it was also funny, and the young actors were all brilliant. I highly recommend IT! 

As for what scares me, the scariest movie I've seen by far was Disturbia (2007) with Shia LaBeouf, playing a teen under house arrest who starts spying on his neighbors and thinks one of them is a serial killer. It was brilliant and almost excruciating (the suspense!) to watch.


HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I adore Stephen King, but there's no way on the planet I'm going to see IT.  Adore "Rosemary's Baby," one of my all-time favorite movies.

Three horror things. I did see "Scream," which was silly of me and I hardly remember it. BUT the guy who played the crazed psycho killer (Matt Lillard) is one of my stepson's best friends and was the best man at his wedding. That was disturbing.

Also. Years ago, Jonathan and I saw "The Game." It's one of those nothing-is-what-it-seems-some-things-are-tricks-but-what-if-they-aren't movies. We came home, and thought we were alone--when the living room curtains began to twitch. From inside, BEHIND the curtains.  I almost fainted, seriously. (A squirrel had gotten in, and it turned out to be hilarious.)

But my most un-favorite horror movie, so unfavorite that I truly wish I could un-see it, is "The Vanishing." (Not the Keifer Sutherland version, the real one, it's Dutch). You all, it is awful. AWFUL. SO disturbing that it haunts me to this day, and when one of us can't find each other in the grocery for instance, when we see each other we say--oh, I thought you had vanished. And then we shake our heads and shiver. 

Have you seen it? Do  NOT see it.

INGRID THOFT:  Chief Fraidy Cat reporting for duty!  I have no capacity for watching scary movies.  None.  I was recently subjected to the “IT” preview in the movie theater, and it scared the daylights out of me.  

I think it all begin during a fifth-grade sleepover during which, “Poltergeist” was shown.  Between the creepy little girl, maggots in the face, the creepy older lady, and tombstones bobbing in the swimming pool, I didn’t stand a chance.  I remember sleeping on the floor of my parent’s bedroom that night.


There’s an ongoing joke in my house about my inability to watch “Alien,” which is one of my husband’s favorite movies.  I’ve made it five minutes in on two occasions, but as soon as I hear the theme music of the Queen, I chicken out.  Keep in mind, I’ve never made it as far as seeing the Queen (the revolting character who terrorizes Sigourney Weaver), I’ve just heard her theme music and fled from the room.



So, no.  I won’t be going to see “IT.”

RHYS BOWEN: I am Ingrid's equal when it comes to fraidy-cats. I cannot take horror movies, apart from the ones where giant ants/ tomatoes swallow New York. But anything demonic, possessed.... count me out. 

I would never allow the light to be turned off at night again. I'm still a teeny bit afraid of the dark. When I go downstairs to our bottom floor and I have to switch on the light across the hall I always sprint to do it. Silly but true. 

Too much imagination, and maybe growing up in a house that my brother and I swear was haunted. Windows opened by themselves at night. Rugs flapped on the floor and I had this recurring dream of a hooded procession coming up the stairs to my room. So I think that's a good excuse. 

I have read some Stephen King novels but no movies. A publisher once offered me a very tempting sum to write some teenage horror novels. Uh, no thank you, I said.

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: I can watch old-fashioned horror movies from the days before they were filled with gushing blood and eyeballs popping off the screen into your lap (in glorious 3-D.) Rosemary's Baby, The Omen, ("Look, Damien! It's all for you!"), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (the 1970s version with Donald Sutherland was so subtly creepy.) 

One that has always lingered is the TV miniseries "Salem's Lot," from the Stephen King novel of the same name. It was, as I recall, shown on two nights. I can remember sitting between my mother and my sister, all of us clutching each other as one after another of the residents in the small Maine town disappear...and then come back

The scene with the teenage hero's friend tapping on his bedroom window, two stories up, gives me shivers to this day. I think it still stands as one of the best adaptations of a King novel ever. 

Oh, and another wonderful one from those days: "The Fog." Again, no gore or violence; just the creeping sense of characters being closed in and trapped. Plus it has Adrienne Barbeau, who makes everything better.




LUCY BURDETTE: No, no, no on horror for me! I'm with Ingrid and Rhys--I can't bear to be scared! 

My family was trained early on to vet scary movies and TV and steer me away. I still have nightmares about a few Ray Bradbury short stories that will not leave my head. And I did see "The Exorcist" when it came out, but that's it! 
Give me a romantic comedy any day...


DEBORAH CROMBIE: Can you believe I've never seen Psycho? Never WANTED to see it--couldn't imagine why anyone would. Nor have I seen The Shining. Rosemary's Baby gave me nightmares for years. So I'd say you can count me in the "no horror" group, except that I have seen Alien (and liked it). Maybe alien monsters are not as scary as human ones? Rick and I watched parts of Invasion of the Body Snatchers not too long ago. Hysterical! But still creepy. And he's made me watch John Carptenter's The Thing, which is really really scary, but good. Still, I won't be lining up to watch IT. Maybe once it comes out on video and I can leave the room if it gets too scary!

HALLIE: What are the horrors that revisit you from the movies, and are you going to see "IT"? I confess, after hearing Jenn's comments, I'm going! But not alone...

77 comments:

  1. I remembers seeing INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS [the original 1956 version with Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter] on the television when I was a kid . . . and that was the end of me ever watching scary movies.
    I saw the original DRACULA in a college class . . . creepy and scary.

    So, horror movies and I do not mix. Period. So I will not be seeing IT. My grandchildren, however, cannot wait to go see the film. Their mom said they could see the movie if they read the book first. They’re both reading. I’ll join them in the reading, but I’m skipping the movie theater . . . .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Reading a horror story more fathomable than watching it as a film... because you can close the book, skim, hold it at arm's length?

      Delete
    2. Joan, that first version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers! It scared the living daylights out of me when I was a kid, about age 11, so badly that I could not go down to a dark basement for decades without running back upstairs like the hounds of Hell were on my tail.

      And then I saw the 70's (80's?) version, which was actually funny, it was so poorly made.

      With all the special effects movies employ these days, that movie would not hold up, I don't think, at least not as a vehicle of terror.

      Delete
    3. Hallie, unfortunately, my grandchildren aren’t voracious readers; I think their mom saw this as an opportunity to get them to read more.
      I don’t typically seek out horror books to read, but I have read some of Stephen King’s books and while being able to set it aside and walk away might be part of it, I think reading, and picturing events in the story in your mind, is quite a bit different from watching the big-screen Hollywood version . . . .

      Karen, I never even considered watching the remake . . . .

      Delete
    4. That first bodysnatcher movie? I was so terrified, it makes me scared even to think about it. Incredibly incredibly scary. My sister and I used to leap out from behind corners, and stare at people, like the pod people did.

      Delete
  2. No, no, no, no to horror movies. I did see Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist, but I cannot watch the new special effects versions of horror movies. Don't know why. I know they are not real. Magic (was that the title - I think I managed to block even that - the one with the magician's dummy) was the last one for me. I'm getting chill bumps just writing about it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was Magic. Starring the greatly ghoulish Anthony Hopkins.

      Delete
    2. The Boy with the Green Hair depressed me. And there's nothing sadder than a depressed child.

      Delete
  3. I won't be going to see "It". I am just not interested in horror films at all. The last one I saw was one of the Friday the 13th movies years back.

    I like suspenseful thrillers that can be scary, but most horror movies these days are more torture porn than horror films.

    I can't think of the last movie that scared me as a whole. I've seen some horrifically bad films where the notion that anyone greenlit the movie is a scary proposition but that's about it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Torture porn... exactly. But IT doesn't sound like that's what IT is...

      Delete
    2. Karen, I can't claim credit for the term. It has been in regular use for a while now.

      Delete
    3. IT is more of a monster film. There are some truly scary parts but no slashing, no slicing and dicing. And, there were some parts that were hilarious but also very touching - the pain of loss and the angst of being a teen, etc.

      Delete
  4. Ooo, Kait, I'd forgotten about "Magic." William Goldman wrote the book, which I read. It scared the bejeezus out of me, so I never dared see the movie. Being scared does not equal having a good time for me. My nephew insisted I see "The Cabin in the Woods," which was manageable because of the corporate scenes, but the last horror/suspense film I saw on purpose was "What Lies Beneath" because, c'mon, Harrison Ford. I blame it all on being terrorized by a tv showing of "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken" when I was about three. That was too scary for me at the time, and I have cheerfully crossed to the other side of the street while whistling past pretty much every horror movie since.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Gigi, I remember The Ghost and Mr. Chicken with Don Knotts. It was scary to me at the time, as I saw it as a child, too, but a bit older, and I suspect my viewing of it was when it first came out. Don Knotts had the perfect facial expressions!

      Delete
  5. THE GHOST AND MR. CHICKEN!?! I had to look it up. Stars Don Knotts...
    Speaking of TV ghost stories, did anyone see that Anne Jeffreys who played the ghost Marion Kirbey on the TV Show Topper died? That was sweet, not scary.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ahhh. I loved that show. George and Marian and their tipsy dog.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, I know it was sweet and funny . . . Now. When I was three I couldn't take the suspense. What can I say? I'm a wimp. I have enough thrills, chills, and adventures without going to the movies to find them.

      Delete
    3. No, Marian can't have died. She was already a ghost, duh. What a great show this was, brings back memories.

      Delete
  6. I'm with Rhys, and anyone else who avoids horror like a plague. I won't go to those haunted houses that start to open in October, either. PAY to be terrified? No, thank you.

    The irony is that Halloween is my absolute favorite "holiday", and we have had some epic parties, costumes, and decorations. I do avoid the gory stuff, though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't do haunted houses either. The strobe lights make me dizzy.

      Delete
    2. My neighbor across the street has an epic Halloween party each year on the Saturday before. She takes a week off her job as a nurse in the cardiac cath lab and decorates. The party is awesome and the decor is over the top, love it.

      Delete
    3. I confess I love haunted houses - love, love, love them :)

      Delete
  7. Hank: OMG, the squirrel had the best timing ever! What an image. I can't stop chuckling about it.

    Lucy: Which Ray Bradbury stories? He is my all-time favorite author. It if makes you feel any better, Stephen King was terrified at age 4 when he snuck out of bed and listened to a radio play of Bradbury's "Mar is Heaven." And now we know why Stephen writes such scary stuff!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Mars is Heaven" is still one of the scariest short stories out there. It's the slow burn as the POV character slowly figures out why Mars is a small American town filled with his dead loved ones...

      Delete
  8. After Psycho, I couldn't take a shower without a family member on the second floor. Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist finished me off for life. I found The Day of the Triffids hilarious and deliciously scary. There's a difference.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Day of the Triffids is more like an episode of TWILIGHT ZONE.

      Delete
  9. I am so not a horror fan! As a kid I had nightmares about the cyclops after seeing The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad. But one scary movie that hasn't been mentioned and which I consider a classic is the original black and white The Haunting, based on Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House. Not a bit of blood or gore shown. It's all in the viewer's imagination. Scariest scene is in total darkness when one character says to the other "If you're over there, who's holding my hand?"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOVE THAT LINE! (Right up there with We're not in Kansas any more... and We're going to need a bigger boat...)

      Delete
    2. I saw that Sinbad movie! The dancing girl (Bing Crosby's future wife) with the bottom half of a snake freaked me out when the snake part started strangling her. Nightmares.

      Delete
    3. Just reading that line scared me! Ugh!!

      Delete
  10. Did anyone ever see Children of the Corn? Please please please do not see it. I am only trying to protect you from emotional trauma here, :-).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hank here: and aren't you sorry you did??

      Delete
    2. Oh Hank! Yes, I remember Children of the Corn. It was one that you never forget once you've seen it, and I'd like to forget it!

      Delete
    3. I'm glad I saw it on TV and didn't waste money at a theater.

      Delete
  11. Count me in the "no horror" camp. In college, a bunch of classmates gathered to watch "The Exorcist"; I bailed in less than 20 minutes. I don't read Stephen King - not because I think he's a bad writer, but his stuff usually scares me silly (except for THE STAND).

    I've seen a lot of Hitchcock, but those don't strike me as "horror" as much as "suspenseful scary." The first time I saw "Silence of the Lambs" it scared me, but still - not horror.

    My kids have both seen "IT" - they liked it, but neither was terrified and both got the humor. The Girl recently went to see the remake of "Flatliners." I remember the first one being suspenseful, but she said the remake was awful and not scary at all.

    Mary/Liz

    ReplyDelete
  12. How could we have left out MISERY? "“I’m your number one fan.” Kathy Bates was fantastic (she won an academy award) - Stephen King strikes again... the book is brilliant. Really.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hank here: I have never seen Misery. Absolutely too scary.

      Delete
    2. Hank - I agree, Misery is terrifying - especially for a writer! Yikes!

      Delete
  13. Yes. Invasion of the Bodysnatchers (original) did me in when I was a kid. Ditto The Birds. So, no I won't be seeing IT. And, reading The Haunting of Hill House was scary enough in the daylight--see a movie version? Noooooo!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I forgot another memorable scary movie for me: I went to see SILENCE OF THE LAMBS with Ross and his dad. I was so terrified, when we got back to our (dark) house I stayed in the car with the doors locked until both men had turned on all the lights and checked each room to ensure no serial killers were lurking there!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Silence of the Lambs was quite a disturbing movie for me, too, Julia. I didn't sleep well for a long while after seeing it.

      Delete
  15. My big brother and I loved the horror movies of the 50s and 60s. Hammer Studios dreck; giant mutated insects, usually in the American southwest for some reason. Little brother would see the same movies on TV in later years. Remember Them with the giant ants? Family lore dictates that movie is now called Them Ants, per my little brother. I do not like blood and gore. Suspense is what does me in. We turned the mini-series Salem's Lot into a family reunion years ago. It happened to be airing on TV during a holiday week. We all happened to be visiting my parents and all plopped ourselves down in front of the TV to watch. Such fun! Nowadays we enjoy what we call bad movies-sci-fi or horror movies that are so bad they're good, or just funny. Black Sheep from New Zealand is one example. Cockneys V Zombies is another. As for It, I saw the TV version years ago. I don't plan to go to the movies for this one. Maybe I'll watch it when it lands on TV. Anyway, I HATE clowns. They're creepy.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I loved Silence of the Lambs. Though it ruined fava beans.... who knew they're so delicious?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are you okay with a nice Chianti tho?

      Delete
    2. The Silence of the Lambs is my favorite movie ever. But I don't drink or eat fava beans, so I had no trouble there.

      Delete
    3. Now see, THAT movie scared me so badly I didn't sleep for THREE days. THREE!

      Delete
    4. Do I mean badly? Or much? Or good grief, I can't even think about that movie. I'm with you, Julia!

      Delete
  17. I will not go to see IT!

    I don't go to see horror movies, or movies that seem to me from the descriptions that they will be too scary for me. I guess I'm just a scaredy-cat, because lots of movies that terrify me are movies that a lot of people I know thought were great. Let them go and see those movies, as long as they don't ask me to see them too.

    The original Invasion of the Bodysnatchers scared the heck out of me! I had no idea that there was a remake, and I plan to never see it.

    Movies that were too scary for me include Rear Window, the Wizard of Oz, and the Boy with Green Hair. Concerning the latter, when I was a child, after I saw the movie I was afraid to wake up and look in the mirror because I thought I was going to find myself with a head full of green hair! I was almost too scared to be able to sleep at all!

    DebRo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had to be carried, screaming, out of the Wuzard of Oz. those flying monkeys!

      Delete
    2. I was six years old when I saw the Wizard of OZ for the first time, and spent much of the movie with my head buried in my thirteen year old cousin Claire's shoulder! I still have nightmares about it from time to time. The flying monkeys, the witch, and the tornado all terrified me so much that I think I didn't see the whole movie from start to finish until I was about 26 years old. And I still, as I said, have nightmares about that movie!

      Deb

      Delete
  18. Well I can relate... I ran out of BAMBI screaming. Pinocchio can be pretty terrifying, too. The Lion King... All the Disney classic movies (except the wimpy Alice in Wonderland) have terrifying moments.

    Oh, I forgot about The Boy with Green Hair. So creepy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was because he used some sort of green soap for shampoo, right? Dean Stockwell.

      Delete
    2. All I remember is that he was a war orphan and that the green hair was supposed to be some sort of sign to the people. I think it was supposed to be making a statement about war, but I'm not really sure.

      Deb

      Delete
  19. I will see "It", most likely at home in the comfort of my living room. I've always loved being scared, and the first ever horror film I remember was "The Beast With Five Fingers," starring Peter Lorre. I was far too young to be seeing it, but I did.

    The one that frightened me the most was "The Exorcist." I came home that night, heard squirrels scrabbling around in the attic, and nearly wet myself. I was thirty something at the time, not a six year old. Sheesh. "Psycho" comes a near second. I still do not have shower curtains in my house. Glass doors only, so I can see what's coming. Third is "Jaws." They definitely needed a bigger boat.

    In reading some articles on why we like to be scared, I conclude it is mostly the adrenaline rush, same thing as experienced on a roller coaster. Or watching the evening news these days. Except the news is more terrifying. I'll take Stephen King any day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love "Jaws," which seems really perverse given how much I love to swim in the ocean. I will admit that if I'm swimming not long after a viewing, I don't tend to dangle my feet into the depths as much as I might normally!

      Delete
  20. Ann, I was on a roller coaster only once, on my eighth grade class trip to Playland in Rye NY. Friends coaxed me into doing it. I was sure I'd fall out, have never been on one since then, and still have nightmares about it!

    DebRo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think I rode one until I was an adult, probably with my kids. They are all roler coaster and scary movie fans too.

      Delete
  21. So now I know why I like scary movies... because I like roller coasters, too.
    And I'll take a scary clown any day over some of our our current political world leaders.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I've never particularly enjoyed being scared, and there's so much scary stuff in what passes for real life these days that I definitely won't be going to see IT.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I don't plan on going to the movie theater to see IT, but I might watch it when it comes to Netflix eventually. I did just watch another new Stephen King movie, which made its debut on Netflix, Gerald's Game. I had read the book years and years ago, and it was a truly good, if bizarre, scare, but I wasn't sure about watching the movie. I'm known to turn the sound off or look away at certain points in scary movies. However, I did watch Gerald's Game this past week, and it was very well done, true to the book and the acting was excellent. Keeping with King novels and movie adaptations, Cujo was an intense one for me, and Pet Cemetery was just so creepy. The Shining is one of my favorite movies, the original with Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall and Scatman Crothers. I will be watching it again this Halloween season. Oh, and I guess Misery and Delores Claiborne would be considered in the scary category. Both of those are favorites of mine. I'm not a big fan of Carrie. I think the bullying by both the kids and her mother were worse to see than the pig blood.

    One the sillier, not meant to be, side, does anyone else remember Night of the Lepus? It was released the year I graduated from high school, 1972, and those giant rabbits were pretty disturbing, but pretty comical, too. Years later, I watched it with my kids, and it was way more funny than scary. The overdone acting was part of the laughs.

    So, I do like scary movies, but I retain the right to look away, and I don't go see them in the movie theater, probably so I have more control over my viewing. My eight-year-old granddaughter loves scary reading and movies (monitored of course for age appropriateness by her mother), and she also loves the amusement park rides that scare me to even look at. She is our fearless one for sure. My teenage granddaughter is like me about scary rides, preferring to remain on the ground, and enjoys scary movies, but only to an extent. I think some people just have a built-in high tolerance for scary and others don't.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kathy, I just watched the "Night of the Lepus" trailer. It was hilarious, but bloody! They didn't even show the rabbits, just their eyes glowing in the dark!

      Delete
    2. Giant bunny rabbits! That's a good one for Rhys!!

      Delete
    3. Ingrid, sorry about that. I'd forgotten it is on the bloody side.

      Hallie, we have a joke in my family that whenever we see a really large rabbit, we reference that movie somehow.

      Delete
  24. So I guess this is time for a confession. I, Mr. Cozy reader, have an obsession with slasher movies. Maybe it's because I grew up in their heyday, the 80's. Not that I was allowed to watch them, and I won't pay to rent them or see them in the theater (usually). But if they are on TV, I will watch.

    I am obsessed with the Scream series, both the movies and the TV series. They are exceptions since I have paid to watch them in the theater and own them. I got nightmares after the first couple of times I watched the original. And the sequel was rather unnerving since it opens with two people being killed at a movie theater, and the audience I was watching it with was constantly getting up and walking around.

    I am not planning to go see IT. However, I am planning to go see Happy Death Day this Friday, opening night.

    I've seen Jaws, and I found it dull. Likewise, Psycho, which I feel is overrated, especially for Hitchcock. Between that and The Birds, I almost gave up on his films, but then I saw the light, and I'm glad. The Man Who Knew too Much and Rope are two exceptional films.

    And here's where I am really going to step on some toes. I maintain that Agatha Christie wrote the first slasher film. Watch an adaptation of And Then There Were None and then tell me that it isn't the grandmother of the modern day slasher. We've got creative murder methods, in the movies, we've got the killer's point of view, we've got a final girl who has to face down the monster. It has all the trademarks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ten Little Indians is a slasher story?!? Zoot alors! I shall have to reconsider.

      Delete
    2. There's a new version on Acorn, Hallie.

      Delete