40 thoughts on “Reader Friday: Scary

  1. Easy answer: Darby O’Gill & the Little People, starring a young Sean Connery. The scenes with The Banshee.

  2. Psycho – not so much the movie but the story when I first heard it.

    It was a cold, dark, and stormy November night. My best friend and I were spending the weekend at my aunt’s lake house in The Middle of Nowhere, Mississippi. The power went out. She had a fireplace. Her neighbor (a TV producer from California) did not so she invited him over. Turns out he worked on Psycho when he was first starting out. He told us the story by firelight in the middle of the storm. He was a fantastic storyteller with all the voices.

    Years later when I saw the movie all I could think of was “This is scary, but not nearly as scary as hearing Ty tell it.”

  3. The march of the toy soldiers in Babes In Toyland had me so worked up Mom took me home from the theater…There was just something about them looming up on the screen coming right at me… and that’s really all I can remember of that movie…

    Now my brother used to hide behind the couch when the Wicked Witch of the West showed up with her flying monkeys in the Wizard of Oz…

    But I have to say the scariest movie was Alien – I was in my 20’s and both my date and I sat with our feet up off the floor for the better part of that whole movie – and laughed about it all the way home afterwards… with lights on in the car…

    • I asked a girl out in high school and she agreed to go to Alien. Scared her and she didn’t think much of my movie choices. After college I asked her out again. We went ‘Fiddler on the Roof.’ We have been going to the movies together now for 32 years. She still doesn’t care for Alien and our children think I am weird.

  4. I was maybe six and had a very high fever. My older brothers were watching FRANKENSTEIN in the next room, and I hallucinated to the voices and music. The least frightening of it involved floating furniture.

  5. GODZILLA. I was seven years old and saw it at a matinee with my best friend, Garrett Lee Westfall. We spent most of the flick on the floor with kernels of popcorn and sticky JuJu’s, peeking out when Raymond Burr was talking — our assurance of safety.

    There’s another story here, too. Garrett and his older brother, named V-Lee, were abducted by their father in a custody dispute. I never saw him again. We named our youngest son Garrett Lee in his memory.

  6. We didn’t go to the movies a lot when we were kids, so most of my scares came from television:

    The opening of “The Outer Limits” (“We are taking over control of your television set . . .”) terrified me. To this day, I’ve never watched an episode. That said, I was a devotee of “The Twilight Zone”.

    The billboard for “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane” freaked me out. It was the image of a doll with a broken head.

    The monkeys in “The Wizard of Oz” gave me nightmares.

    But hands down, the SCARIEST thing I ever watched on television was “Three Tales of Horror”. That pygmy doll was over-the-top terrifying.

  7. I wasn’t allowed to watch horror movies when I was a kid, except for The Bad Seed. There may have been some kind of message there…& then when I was older I saw Psycho. In the years between the two my friend’s dad killed her and her mom the night I was to have a sleepover with her. For months I didn’t sleep much, fearing my dad would do the same thing.

  8. The tv miniseries Salem’s Lot with David Soul. When that boy sat up in his casket I about…well you can imagine. And the vampire…creeped out just think about it.

  9. Jaws. I was around 7 when I watched it with my parents on TV. I couldn’t get in the bathtub for a month.

    Later in life when I read the novel it disappointed me in the story. It was hard to link the two together. This would be a rare circumstance where I enjoyed the movie more than the book.

  10. The trees coming to life and attacking the little boy in The Poltergeist scared the death out of me. Also, I remember a movie version of Salem’s Lot where the dead friend levitates outside a bedroom window at night and that really stuck with me. Finally, my mom threatening to call my dad at work when I was acting up!

  11. The Exorcist. I didn’t see it when it was first in theaters. Tubular Bells scared me.

    I saw The Exorcist in high school. It was a “field trip” back in the day when you could do such things. Part of the class met at a local college for a showing of The Exorcist. They were only an art/theater school then (Webster University today). Theater students were in all kinds of costumes as ushers. The theater was originally a chapel, pipes from the organ behind the screen.

    The next day in history class we learned the real story of the Exorcist. It wasn’t a girl in Washington, DC. It was a boy in St. Louis.

    • My mother worked at a hospital in Cleveland that had an adolescent girl who was “possessed.” Scary stuff happened. They called in an exorcist named Fr. Wilberding.

  12. “The Crawling Eye” (1958). Scared the daylights out of me. I think I first saw it at my local YMCA on Movie Day.

    Who can resist this tagline: “The nightmare terror of the slithering eye that unleashed agonizing horror on a screaming world!”

    And be amazed by the writing/narration in this 1:28 trailer:

  13. Never went to scary movies. In junior high, they playing movies in the auditorium on the rare rainy days in Los Angeles. They were showing Day of the Triffids, but I didn’t watch. So, haven’t seen any of the movies anyone has listed in the comments above this, except Wizard of Oz, and that didn’t scare me. They showed it at my kids’ elementary school all the time (It was the only videotape they had) and it was a standing joke that they couldn’t graduate unless the could recite the entire movie.

  14. Seeing Hitchcock’s “The Birds,” on TV when I was 8 or 9 was absolutely terrifying. My brothers and I spent a couple of days afterwards being wary of feathered creatures when we went outdoors. Such is the power of suspense when well written and superbly directed.

  15. “The Ghost and Mister Chicken” with Don Knotts and Tim Conway. I was about 5 and those moving eyes in the framed portrait hung in the haunted house scared the ever-living crap outa me. I remember getting outa my seat and standing in the aisle ready to book it outa there.

    Then, a bit older, Hitchcock’s “Birds”. I’m with you fellers. To this day, I have no idea why Sue Coletta likes crows.

  16. Night of the Grizzly with Clint Walker. Being an overly brave and naïve 12 year-old, I went alone to the matinee. The idea of an animal stalking you and killing you terrified me, especially considering I spent every summer camped out in the deep woods where my dad was logging. Black Bears were a common sight, but thankfully no grizzlies. Even so, I felt uncomfortable knowing they were around, and I did tons of research on the animals: how to recognize one, how to escape, how to defend yourself, and on and on.

    My fear didn’t stop me from exploring for miles around our camp, alone, but I kept a watchful eye at all times, prepared to flee or fight. I couldn’t look at a picture of a grizzly without heart palpitations and sweating. All my nightmares included bears.

    My family always teased me, but I ignored them. After all, my phobia had real roots. Look at all the reports of hikers and campers being mauled and killed by bears. Can’t argue with the truth.

  17. Oh, that’s easy: “Trilogy of Terror,” 1975. Three stories all starring Karen Black, and the last one with that damn voodoo doll chasing her around her apartment scared the hell out of me as a 10-year-old (I watched it alone at night). I watched it a few years ago and it’s still just as scary.

    (Amy Sedaris did a really funny take-off on it in one of the episodes of “At Home with Amy Sedaris.”

  18. Okay, so I wasn’t allowed to watch much TV or go to scary movies as a kid.

    The only thing that scared me as a kid were those jack-in-the-boxes with the garishly painted faces. I got one for Christmas one time, which then mysteriously disappeared. 🙂

    I don’t recall anything on TV or at the movies really scaring me until 1989 when the movie It came out. Actually, I saw it later when it was on TV.

    The scene at the storm drain absolutely scared the you-know-what out of me.

    • You reminded me of the famous Twilight Zone episode about the little boy who didn’t like people thinking bad thoughts, and if they did he could turn them into a Jack In The Box. Indelible image in that one!

  19. When we were kids our parents dropped us off at the Civic Theatre for the Saturday matinee (It didn’t occur to me until decades later they probably had uninterrupted sex during that time). I was probably seven or eight when we saw The Creature from the Black Lagoon.

    Granted, it didn’t stand the test of time, but man, that Saturday, it scared me plenty!

  20. Nothing.

    Seriously. When I was a kid one of the local tv stations had a weekend late night feature called Nightmare Theatre, introduced by the cheesy vampire Count himself. These were every horror movie the station had access to. I loved them. I developed a horror movie fetish. Not only did I watch every horror movie on tv, whenever a horror movie was released I begged my mother to take me until she caved. The more blood and guts, the better. I never found them all that scary. More like funny.

    Nowadays I look at most current horror movies at blatantly manipulative.

  21. Hahaha!

    “Don’t be Afraid of the Dark.” A TV movie, no less. Haunting. Dreadful. Delicious. Unforgettable.

    Some things are better left alone.

  22. “Terror Is a Man” – saw it in the theater at the age of 8. That bandaged arm with the claw, scratching at the door on a monsoon night scared the bejesus out of me.

  23. Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte with Bette Davis. I watched that while babysitting my nephews when I was in my early teens. The scene where the man who was supposed to be dead and dumped in the swamp came back. He was going down the stairs and his fake head rolled down the stairs. At this precise point the dog came to visit and put his nose on my hand. Popcorn and Coke went everywhere.

  24. Nightmare on Elm Street.
    I was terrified of falling asleep, in case Freddie was waiting for me. I would check under my bed, in my wardrobes and cupboards, before climbing into bed and try to stare into the shadows intently, determined to not close my eyes. And even though I never saw Freddie, I remained terrified for about six months.

  25. Scary movies weren’t part of growing up as it was before the VCR age. We did have the local late Saturday night Horror shows on TV but I did not watch. But as far a being scared: Tension, edge of you seat, not knowing what will happen in a movie . It has to be ‘Wait til Dark’ with Audrey Hepburn and Richard Crenna. Saw it as a teenager in school no less.

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