Are you scared yet?
I've always loved scary movies, and there is no better time of year to watch them than the month of October. Halloween is approaching, the leaves are changing and the weather is getting cooler, which generates a perfect storm to get spooked by a good, scary movie.
Here are some of my favorite movies to watch in the days and weeks leading up to All Hallow's Eve:
"The Crow"—I first saw this shortly after it came out in 1994, and while it's not a horror movie, it's probably my favorite Halloween movie. I love the movie's atmosphere and its great soundtrack. My scare factor rating (out of 10): 2.
"Sleepy Hollow"—Who better than Tim Burton to do a movie based on the Washington Irving classic? Add in Johnny Depp as Ichabod Crane and a fantastically scary Christopher Walken as the headless horseman and you've got a new classic. Scare factor: 5.
"28 Days Later"—I always love a good zombie movie, but this one changed that genre for me. When zombies can sprint instead of shuffling around, it adds another level of suspense. Scare factor: 6.
"Halloween"—For sheer Halloweeniness, nothing beats John Carpenter's scare fest from 1978. I think Michael Myers is one of the best horror movie characters ever and the super creepy music makes it unforgettable. Scare factor: 7.
"Poltergeist"—Steven Spielberg does horror movies better than just about anybody! It scared me about off-air television channels for years. Scare factor: 8.
"Drag Me to Hell"—Everybody knew Sam Raimi could do tongue-in-cheek horror (see the "Evil Dead" trilogy) but he really amped it up in this 2009 flick. It makes you not want to anger any old gypsy ladies. Scare factor: 8 1/2.
"The Exorcist"—There isn't much to say about this 1973 classic that hasn't already been said. Spiderwalk, pea soup and the 360-degree head turn. That is all. Scare factor: 9.
"Blair Witch Project"—This 1999 film has often been imitated, but never duplicated. The closing scene in the basement of the abandoned house is still one of the scariest movie endings ever. Scare factor: 9 1/2.
"Texas Chainsaw Massacre"—It's been a long time since I've seen the 1974 original, but I will say the 2003 remake wasn't too bad. However, the original's low budget helped it get filmed in such a way that it actually looks real. Scare factor: 10.
"The Ring"—Scary. Just plain scary. The cursed videotape in the movie kind of reminds me of a Nine Inch Nails video, but then a creepy-looking girl comes out of the screen to scare you to death. Not a good ending to your day. Scare factor: 11.
There are some classic horror movies that I am planning on watching for the first time this fall, including "Night of the Living Dead" (George Romero's original from 1968), "Salem's Lot" (1979), "Dawn of the Dead" (1978), and "The Thing" (1982). I'm sticking with the originals, as the remakes are generally never as good. I am really looking forward to checking them out for the first time.
There are also a lot of newer horror movies I want to see, though many of them seem to put more of an emphasis on blood and gore than on sheer creepiness. In any case, I think "Insidious," "The Cabin in the Woods," "The Woman in Black," "Sinister" and "V/H/S" all look pretty promising.
There is also "Paranormal Activity 4," which will be released Oct. 19. However, I watched the first "Paranormal Activity" a while back and it scared the crap out of me. I probably won't be checking out its sequels anytime soon, but it's certainly going to be a great month for scary movies.
What are some of your favorite horror movies? Are there some that you watch every Halloween season? Are there any that you've seen that you don't think you could watch again due to a high fright factor?