“Let’s play a game” are the four words every 13-year-old wants to hear. Except not in the context of waking up chained to a pipe with only a hacksaw to keep you company.
My first horror movie was a triple threat: suspense, gore and psychological terror. This, combined with my friend’s Hitchcock house built in the 1800s, created a pants-wetting experience. Jessie once told us she heard whispers from a little girl and that the upstairs shower once shattered randomly.
I nestled in the clump of middle school girls, all of whom were more content watching bodies drop on screen than painting nails and talking boys. A pig-masked figure lurked on the TV. We then heard an odd scraping noise in the room. Heads bobbled around, and our eyes widened in the darkness. Something crawled over my foot, and I screamed. Jigsaw slashed an agent’s throat.
The sinister presence in the room turned out to be Butters, Jessie’s hamster.
Game over: I was never going to watch another slasher flick again.
If you like having existential crises and guessing predictable endings (the dead guy isn’t dead), I recommend “Saw”. I also recommend the six sequels it spawned, despite being a low-budget film shot in 18 days.
I swore off horror films after enduring The Sixth Sense (1999) as a shrieking nuisance in the seventh grade. But when you have a crush on the brother of your scary-movie enthusiast friend three years later, you’re willing to change your perspective.
Insidious was the horror movie of the year. The film either deprived you of sleep for weeks on end, or, if you were a hyper-masculine male, “caused you to fall asleep.” I belonged to the former group, and shrunk into the couch with my hands over my ears before my friend even popped the DVD into the TV set.
At the first sighting of a ghost/demon, I jumped and screamed, despite my friend warning me that her parents were asleep upstairs and worked early the following morning. Everyone else ooh’d and awe’d over the soundtrack of clashing cymbals and violins during the paranormal activity. For me, the soundtrack was the scariest bit. Looking back, I bet half of them were faking their excitement.
I realized sitting through the hour and forty five minutes of horrifying images wasn’t worth impressing a boy, so I turned in for the night. Except I couldn’t sleep. What if the demon that lived on the ceiling also lived in this house? My friend always said her home was haunted, and she often had conversations with her deceased grandparents.
All the color drained from my face and I jumped up and decided the company of others was better than squaring off with a potential demon by myself.
No amount of happy movies we watched after Insidious helped my restlessness. I made deals with God through the night that I would never watch another scary movie if he protected me from whatever was lurking in the dark. I felt like a survivor when I woke the next morning.
I despise you, James Wan, horror genius and director of Insidious.
If you hate yourself, watch this movie.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
My first encounter with a scary movie happened in elementary school while sleeping over at a friends house without parental guidance. I laid next to my friend on her living room floor watching Michael Bay’s version of “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” My hands hovered over my eyes as if just covering my eyelids wasn’t enough to look away.
Clearly, neither of us should have been allowed to watch this movie but that’s what made it such a thrill. The night sparked my interest in scary movies. I loved feeling scared enough that I couldn’t watch, but had to.
Unfortunately, as I’ve grown older, I’ve learned scary movies are pretty predictable. But this doesn’t stop me from watching. “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, along with many other movies, have been remade quite a few times. The more filmmakers remake and modify these films, the worse the movie gets.
So, if you’re looking for a movie with buckets of blood, mystery and horror then the 2003 version of “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” will surely be one for you.