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Front Page - Friday, October 31, 2014

Are We There Yet?

Jay Edwards

There was a show on TCM last week about scary movies hosted by Stephen King. He confirmed what I wrote in my last column about “The Changeling,” saying it scared the heck out of him. I Googled a list of King’s top ten favorite horror movies (in alphabetical order):

“Alien” – It first played in Little Rock at the Cinema 150, where your biggest decision was to line up on the left or the right, back in 1979. So I talked KM into going. This was the year before we got hitched. She still trusted me back then, but much of that was lost when that baby alien with the titanium teeth blasted out of John Hurt’s chest. KM said she was leaving and would pick me up after the show. I said OK, unable to take my eyes from the screen. It was a groundbreaker.

“Burnt Offerings” – I’ve never seen it but probably will now. Stars an evil house. The movie poster says – “The perfect summer rental for the last vacation you’ll ever take.” And Bette Davis is in it, so there’s that.

“The Changeling” – Yes, I obviously concur (see last week’s column). KM was not too happy with me again when years later I showed it to 10-year old Alexis and her Kinkerdoo pals.

“Curse of the Demon” – Missed this, too. It came out the year I was born, and stars Dana Andrews as a devil-worshiper investigator. Rotten Tomatoes gives it 100 percent.

“Dawn of the Dead” – You gotta love zombies! Promo on poster says the dead need someplace to go, so they choose suburbia U.S. KM isn’t a big fan of zombies, either.

“Dementia 13” – A vicious axe-murderer (as opposed to the un-vicious kind) is killing a big Irish family, which made me think of that line in “Blazing Saddles”: “We’re not taking the Irish!”  Directed by Francis Ford Coppola; 65 percent from RT.

“The Evil Dead” – Well, I’m beginning to see the trend on what scares SK. I missed this, too. Five college students vacation in an isolated cabin in a remote wooded area. Ingenious! From Sam Raimi of “Spiderman” fame; 96 percent on RT.

“Pet Semetary” – From SK’s novel, and the film is pretty high on the fright meter. Of his books, of which I’ve read most, it might be the scariest. A lukewarm 43 percent on RT. (I think I know why the critics bashed it, but it’s one of those movies that’s so bad in parts, it becomes good, if that makes any sense at all. Kind of like Shelly Duvall’s acting in “The Shining.” After the third or fourth time I saw it, I couldn’t imagine anyone else in the role. And I digress more, but King’s “Shining” sequel, “Dr. Sleep,” is great. Sure hope they get the film right when that comes around.)

“Psycho” – Before I ever saw or heard of it, my Junior High girlfriend’s mom told me how much it freaked her out. Probably solely responsible for the technology of the shower door. RT says 96 percent.

 “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” – I think I first saw this with some guys at the old Razorback Drive-In on Cantrell in 1974, the same year as “Young Frankenstein,” so maybe it was a double feature. RT says 90 percent.

1974 was also the year of “The Exorcist.” It’s not on this list, which makes me question the credibility, because in the program I watched last week, King said when he and his wife first saw it, they realized pretty quick they were watching a masterpiece.

Jay Edwards is editor-in-chief of the Hamilton County Herald and an award-winning columnist. 

Contact him at jedwards@dailydata.com