In October of 1998, twenty years ago now, I went with a friend to the theater. Bride of Chucky was our film for the day. While seeing all the original Child’s Play films in the comfort of my own home, the desire to see Chucky on the big screen was too great to pass up. Plus this time they included a girl doll. Tiffany. While most people wondered why I would want to see such a film in the theater, this did make my desire any less to do so.
When I first started watching horror films, The Exorcist (1973) is the one film that everyone told me to avoid. This built-up hype surrounding it that made me fearful. What if I did not like this film that everyone else adored? What if the film really scared me so bad that I was not able to sleep? All these little nagging fears and thoughts in my head. One day I finally bit the bullet and decided that these fears would not win. As I walked into the video store that afternoon, straight to the horror section I went. With such a classic piece of cinema locating the feature was not difficult at all. Soon getting in line was the only thing standing between me and the movie.
Sleepaway Camp (1983) is part of a series of films that I mostly watched entirely backwards thanks to my father. Why? Because one night my dad stumbled across the Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland (1989) on a movie channel and he knew these films would become some of my favorites. He was right. They are so insanely cheesy and why I love them. A good cheesy horror film is just as good as one sometimes that can scare the hell out of me. Many eighties horror could probably fall into the cheese category instead of the frightening category. Granted, I have horror films I will talk about later that fall into the latter category for sure, but for now a discussion Sleepaway Camp is a must!
Back in 2001, a friend and I made our way out to watch Frailty on the big screen. Immediately after viewing the film, Frailty has been one of my favorite films and one I recommend to anyone who has not seen it. The film is more of a psychological thriller rather than a true horror film, but aspects of the film are quite horrific. Frailty manages to add an extra layer into the psychological reasoning for committing these murders making it an unique and underrated film. Besides, films that make me think are always going to be my cup of tea over films that do not. After all, every now and then one’s mind needs a good challenge.
On Halloween in 1999, my father and I headed to our old Regal Cinemas that was transformed into a church. This was the first year of viewing a new horror film on Halloween every year. This was a couple of weeks after we viewed the remake of The Haunting (1963). Both films were good film choices, but ultimately House on Haunted Hill won for our Halloween viewing. This is not to say the remake of The Haunting is awful, but House on Haunted Hill has always been my favorite of the two films.
During my Freshman year in high school, I viewed The Birds (1963) through my English/literature class. This was after reading various excerpts from Daphne du Maurier’s novel of the same name. This was one of my favorite parts of the entire semester. Most people were more excited that semester by the Romeo and Juliet assignment which allowed to watch Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet. While I love Baz Luhrmann’s work, I was more excited about The Birds.
When one of my college professors told our class that we were going to be watching Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), I found my nose crinkling. Of course when I realized he planned on showing the 1956 version I was a happy camper. For some reason or another, I have never truly enjoyed the 1978 remake of the film. The only remake I have enjoyed of this film is 2007’s The Invasion with Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig.
Not too long after Haute Tension (2003) came out, the film’s name was translated to High Tension for its American festival circuit run. Some even know the film as Switchblade Romance, but it is most commonly known as High Tension. I believe that the DVD did not make it to video stores until around 2005 in the USA. I remember finding the film one weekend and renting the feature. Around this time a good friend of mine, who also loved horror films, encouraged me to watch it the evening I rented it. Not many films that he was extremely passionate about one watching, but after viewing High Tension this writer knew why this was one of those films.
When I started exploring the horror film genre, a family friend introduced to me to Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988). By the title alone, the film automatically gives away the cheesiness that lies within the film. Despite the cheesiness Killer Klowns from Outer Space is still one of my absolute favorite films and I always want to show the feature to my friends. Upon finding this on DVD for cheap the day after Christmas one year at Best Buy, I was beyond overjoyed! This was a film until then I had only known to be on VHS. I even remember running up to my father and bouncing up and down about my friend from pure excitement I had coursing through my veins at the time.