Are we there yet?

October 31 - November 6, 2016

Happy Halloween. As we remember the faithful departed today, with some of the scary movies those souls may have enjoyed at one time or another.

This is the top ten, from the list of Entertainment Weekly’s 31 that I began last week. From here on, I’ve seen them all.

10. Rosemary’s Baby (1968) – I was 11 in 1968 so I would not have been in the theater when a freaked Mia asked, ‘’What have you done to its eyes?!’’

9. Night of the Living Dead (1968) – Another from ’68, and the original zombie-fest that spawned my favorite show with Rick and Daryl and the gang. (When you read this we’ll all know who Negan killed)

8. The Thing (1982) – Good remake from a solid original. Saw Kurt Russell recently in Deepwater Horizon. He’s held up pretty well over the years.

7. Halloween (1978) – When I was 22 I lived with some folks in Ft. Smith for a couple of weeks. They had a beautiful old gothic refurbished home in the historical district. One night after they had gone to bed I stayed up with the TV, and Halloween came on. It still is the standard for me of all those boogeyman films. The influence of Psycho is everywhere—from the tiniest details (Donald Pleasence’s Dr. Sam Loomis is named after Janet Leigh’s boyfriend in Psycho) to the casting of Leigh’s daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis, as Halloween’s shrieking heroine.

6. Jaws (1975) – sentimental, salt water journey for me. This is the first movie I saw with KM. We were at the theater at McCain Mall with a bunch of others. Great film. And from then on we all knew we would need a bigger boat.

5. Psycho (1960) – My eighth grade girlfriend’s mom told me once that she only took baths after seeing Hitchcock’s scariest work. Norman!

I don’t remember when I first saw it, probably wasn’t at the premier when I was three. It still holds up, in my opinion, as one of the scariest films ever made. Seeing “mother” through the shower curtain as she blurrily charged towards the showering Janet Leigh, is always a chilling thrill. And the black blood swirling around the  white tub’s drain has never looked so real.

4. The Silence of the Lambs (1991) – The only horror best picture winner (I think). Such a great film that it didn’t take too long for me to forget about Jodie Foster’s Appalachian drawl. Definitely deserves this top five ranking. And no serial killer, save perhaps Dexter, is as beloved as Hannibal the Cannibal.

3. The Shining (1980) – This was the first King novel I read and there were 25 or 30 after it. I agree with many who have gone from hating Kubrick’s take, to loving it. REDRUM, “Heeeere’s Johnny” and Shelly Duvall running scared with her butcher knife through the Overlook are imbedded in the horror archives of my mind forever I’m afraid. And creepy twins always go a long way.

2. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) – The great drive-in classic of the 70’s. Tobe Hooper scared the bejesus out of us with the persistent pursuit from Leatherface and his loud chainsaw. A copy of Chainsaw now resides in the Museum of Modern Art.

1. The Exorcist (1973) – For me the standard from which all are judged. In 1974, we’d seen nothing close to this. And every time I go back to it still seems as brilliant.

As the writer said in Entertainment Weekly, “The Exorcist isn’t scary. A cat unexpectedly jumping from off camera is scary. The Exorcist is so unsettling it will mess you up for weeks. Months. Years.

Jay Edwards is editor-in-chief of the Daily Record. Contact him at jedwards@dailydata.com.