Once more with feeling, it’s the last Seattle Cinema for Horror Month, as I am a Halloween nerd.
So far, I’ve asked our collection of movie critics and bloggers about the best horror pic of the century, scariest moments outside of the genre and underrated sequels. To round things out for the month, we are discussing; the first horror film you fell in love with.
I’ve discussed mine in the past, but a refresher. I’ve never been a gore person. Even Python’s Holy Grail freaked me out as a kid when the Black Knight, that stupid bastard, received a barrage of “fleshwounds.” Eventually I could stomach that, but was more than a little hesitant to view a movie my older brother kept raving about: Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn. He’d mention the picture being funny, but all my brain could focus on was the idea of a person severing their own hand via rusty chainsaw.
Somehow, he convinced me to watch it with him. Dread consumed my body, as possessions occurred, heads were chopped off and yes, a hand was removed with blood. Lots of blood. I was still creeped out, until the single hand began spewing a firehose level of crimson, which then began to change color and relentlessly cover our hero Ash.
I was hooked for life.
Erik Samdahl of Film Jabber @Filmjabber
The first horror movie I remember watching, and the first one I remember having lasting psychological impact, was Candyman. Seriously, I wouldn’t go into the bathroom with the lights off for like two years.
But to answer your question, I have to say Scream. I was in junior high and hadn’t watched many horror movies up until that point, and I didn’t even understand many of the references the film makes, but boy did I have fun. I love every aspect of that movie, and still do.
Also, I went and saw the movie with my mom—surrounded by older kids and dates—so that wasn’t awkward at all.
Matt Oakes of Silver Screen Riot @SSRdotcom
Nothing can top my experience watching The Shining for what must have been the third time. I was in high school, had not historically been a horror fan, and sat down with two friends to what would become one of my most memorable movie watching experiences. What makes The Shining so terrifying is not the supernatural elements swirling throughout but the very real, very urgent dangers of domestic violence and alcoholism. Jack Torrence’s swift transition from questionable patriarch to dead-eyed nutter remains the gold standard for mind-melting metamorphoses and something clicked in me that time watching. The visual nuance rushed from the screen. The dread was amplified beyond belief, my speakers cranked as my mom’s not-so-hot box TV would allow. My eyes were wide and tear-stained from dread. There is a visceral quality to The Shining that leaves a hush over a room and it was in that fear that I discovered my love for the genre.
Tim Hall of The People’s Critic @peoplescrtic
The first scary movie I fell in love with is Halloween.
The entire story is fascinating. A young Michael Myers kills some family members and goes to a mental institution and is planning a murder (and learning how to drive) the whole time. He gets out and goes after his sister who has no idea he’s coming.
Dr Loomis is a madman and completely out of control. He’s also the only person who knows what Michael is capable of.
Michael Myers actions in the first Halloween is eerily close to a real killer. That’s what makes the movie so chilling.
Great scares, creepy plot, and an amazing score. It’s worth a watch every Halloween.
Brent McKnight of Cinema Blend/The Last Thing I See @BrentMMcKnight
More than any individual movie, I fell in love with horror as a whole at early age. When I was little, probably inappropriately young, my family used to go to this video store/ice cream shop. I’d wander around the horror aisle, check out all of the VHS covers, and scare the living shit out of myself. And I loved it. I gave myself wonderful nightmares just imagining the monsters and slashers and blood covered serial killers on those boxes.
My parents let me watch pretty much whatever I wanted. So, starting as early as I can remember, I consumed a steady diet of Universal monster movies, old Hammer joints, gothic horror yarns, ghost stories, Edgar Allen Poe adaptations and all of the classics.
I was seven when Nightmare on Elm Street came out, and watched it shortly thereafter. That kicked off a whole new endeavor that led to the likes of Friday the 13th, C.H.U.D., Texas Chain Saw Massacre and more hardcore, gory titles. By the time junior high rolled around, I was the kid expounding on Nightbreed (which led me down a deep, dark, Cronenberg hole—he didn’t direct it, but I don’t know that any human being has ever been creepier on film) and extolling the virtues of Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci, and George Romero.
Now I’m rambling and I should actually answer the question. It’ll likely change tomorrow, but for now my answer is The Blob. The 1958 Steve McQueen movie, though the 1988 version also rules.
Sara Michelle Fetters of MovieFreak/The SGN @moviefreaksara
The first horror movie I ever remember watching was James Whale’s 1935 classic The Bride of Frankenstein. I was with my grandparent’s farm for a couple weeks during the summer, and one early afternoon, after competing against my grandmother in more games of cards than is likely humanly possible, this glorious gothic masterpiece randomly came on television. “We must watch this,” she said matter-of-factly. “You will love it.”
She wasn’t wrong. I was amazed by the film, so much so I made it a point to try and seek out other early B&W classics as soon as I returned to Spokane, including Dracula with Bela Lugosi and, of course, the original Frankenstein. I was particularly taken with The Wolf Man, this tragic, deeply romantic tale of loss and sacrifice captivating me body and soul. In fact, it’s doubtful I’d have marveled at the wonders and delights of John Landis’ An American Werewolf in London had I not been so rapturously found of that 1941 sensation, same going for its fellow 1981 lycanthrope counterparts The Howling and Wolfen.
But the movie I think I fell completely head over heels for had to have been 1954’s Creature from the Black Lagoon. First time I watched it was during a summer series for kids at Spokane’s local art house theatre, The Magic Lantern. Not only was it the only one of that year’s series that my parents attended right alongside with me, it was also screened in its original 3-D presentation. From the moment that first boney hand came thrusting at me from the center of the screen, to the eerie scenes of a smitten Creature swimming underneath a clueless Julie Adams, to the final moments in a cave where hero and monster battled to the death, this Jack Arnold directed classic had me in such utter rapture that feeling of clutching my mother’s arm while my dad gently chuckled one seat over has stuck with me to this very day, and it’s likely why I adore the genre as I do as well as another significant reason as to what lead me to become a working film critic.