Oh, the horror

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

For most people, October means carving pumpkins, wearing sweaters and going trick or treating. I like all these things as much as the next person, but my favorite part of the month isn't popular with everyone. For me, it's all about Halloween.

I also like Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Sleepaway Camp, Scream and Black Christmas. Horror movies have been a staple for me since I was young. I vividly remember the first time I watched Halloween. It was a mid-October Saturday afternoon, and AMC was running a marathon of the Halloween series. Luckily, I caught it in time to see the first film. Sitting on my bed, legs criss-crossed, I couldn't peel myself away from the TV. I watched the entire marathon and immediately wanted more.

My mom has never really liked horror movies. She didn't show them to me when I was growing up, opting for romantic comedies and historical dramas instead. If I hadn't been flipping through the channels that Saturday, there's a good chance I never would have realized how much I love horror movies. To my mom's credit, she was pretty supportive when I told her about this new movie I found. She even pretended that Halloween wasn't made in 1978.

After watching the marathon, I started seeking out horror movies. It was October, so of course there were plenty of scary movies to watch on TV. There seemed to be a horror movie marathon every weekend. I loved every minute of it. October eventually turned to November, and my beloved horror films were replaced with holiday movies.

That was when I began asking Mom to rent horror movies for me. I was barely 10 years old, so I couldn't have rented these films even if I were independently wealthy. For some reason, she coalesced. We'd go to Blockbuster, I'd pick out a scary movie and she'd rent it for me. She never watched it with me, but that wasn't surprising or upsetting. I thought it was so cool that my mom let me watch the things I liked, even though some people frown on children viewing gory or explicit films. I'm guessing Mom knew I would end up watching them somehow. She could see how excited I was. She knew that excitement wouldn't go away just because she told me I couldn't explore it.

Over the years, I've expanded my horror movie collection to new releases as well as the classics. My favorite classic horror series is Scream, especially the first film. That film combines some of the best writing and directing in the horror industry. It changed the way slasher films are written. Slashers have sort of faded out since the early 2000s, but all new slasher flicks have hyper-aware characters that frankly didn't exist before Scream was written.

Horror movies are now being adapted to the small screen, with Scream Queens and Scream: The TV Series airing over the past two years. American Horror Story has dominated this market since it started in 2011. I rather like all these shows, but part of me misses being able to go see a new, original horror movie in October. This year, there's not really any horror movie worth seeing in the theater.

If you're looking for a quality horror movie to watch this month, I'd recommend all the classics. Scream and Halloween are both incredibly well done. The score in Halloween has not been matched by any other horror film and probably never will be. I'm not too fond of any modern horror movies, but I would recommend It Follows to anybody who likes a good scare. Much to Gideon's chagrin, I talked about It Follows for weeks after we saw it. You're Next is another high-quality horror. It's even kind of funny, and the plot will surprise you.

Like my mom, some of you probably don't like horror movies all that much. That's OK. They aren't for everybody. But for those of us who enjoy them, they sure are a lot of fun.

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Samantha Jones is associate editor for Carroll County Newspapers. Her email address is Citizen.Editor.Eureka@gmail.com