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10/24/14

Chill factor: Why some horror movies still make you scream

One week from today, October 31 to be exact, is Halloween, a night that is filled with candy, kids visiting your house dressed in a variety of costumes and, if you're lucky, that one horror movie that still makes gives you chills no matter how many years have passed.
Horror movies, regardless of age, truly are relics that remain renowned and remarkable for how they're pieced together, and some would argue the older horror movies still stand tall in a terribly crowded field of movies in this genre, particularly with the newer ones that have arrived on the scene.
"Paranormal Activity" is one series of movies that has essentially captivated the horror audience recently with movies about ghosts running rampant through your home. Perhaps "Saw," the wildly popular franchise, was the kind pin of horror movies before that, but certainly not to be outdone by the legendary movies from years past, namely the commercially successful ones that "Friday the 13th," "Halloween," and "Nightmare on Elm Street."
As an adult, you might watch some of these flicks and realize just how silly and campy they are now, even though as a child or young adult they had you contemplating finding your way to your parents' room so you didn't have to sleep alone or calling out for a sibling that was smart enough to leave the room before any of the aforementioned movies hit the screen.
Not withstanding the likes of "Friday the 13th" and other horror characters that became iconic and spawned more than just a few sequels, the real bread and butter of horror movies have to be the classics from decades ago.

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The ones you simply have to pay homage to for a variety of reasons are the likes of "Bride of Frankenstein," "The Birds," "Night of the Living Dead" (the original) and, of course, the very first "Psycho."
The real lure of a horror film, or any movie really, is staying power. The horror movie genre really pays close attention to the films that can be aired 40 or 50 years after their initial run, yet still be the DVD you turn to in your collection when you really want to be scared but without the silly (see "Friday the 13th" for example).
That's not to suggest that a particular demographic didn't cringe every time they saw "Freddy" or "Jason," along with Michael Myers on the big screen, but the real draw as it relates to horror movies is being able to not only scare you no matter how many times you've watched a scene but also leave you feeling just a little creepier and frightened once the movie ends, the kind of eerie feeling that makes you think you might want to sleep with the lights on or perhaps harken back to your childhood days and seek out mom and dad for a little shelter or even a spouse who might share your fascination with fear and totally understand why the horror movie is the film you'll always fawn over this time of year.

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