A Few Of My Favorite Things: Movies That Actually Scared Me

This Gawker article got me thinking… Thinking enough to bring back “A Few Of My Favorite Things”!

A Few Of My Favorite Things is a series that sometimes appears on weekends on Driven By Boredom. Each week I talk about three of my favorite things from a specific genre of film, music, or something else all together. Each favorite thing is accompanied by a video and a description of why it is one of my favorite things. Click here for more favorites.

I have never really been scared of movies in my life. I like a lot of horror films, but usually the ones I like are just really creepy or gory, I am never really scared by them. I remember when I realized this. I had just watched The Blair Witch Project on it’s first run. I am not sure if you remember, but before it became a big hit, it played only in a few cities. I think it was only playing in one theater in the DC area and I had to drive quite a ways to see it. At that time people were saying that it was real. Of course by the end, it was pretty clear that it was fake, but going in I thought I was watching some sort of documentary or something. By the end of the movie all my friends I went with were freaked out, and I wasn’t. I just kept thinking, “The worst thing that is going to happen is that they are going to die.” I sort of realized then I don’t fear death. This of course is bullshit, I just don’t fear theatrical death. I am sure that put in an actual life or death situation I would pee myself. So anyway I started thinking back to the movies in my life that did scare me and I came up with three. Keep reading to find out which.

1. Texas Chainsaw Massacre – 1974
The first time I saw this movie I love it, but I don’t actually remember being that scared by it. I think the second one was actually more scary, probably due to the visceral horror of watching Bill Mosley (Chop Top) set a wire hanger on fire, burn his scalp with it, and then eat his still burning flesh over and over again. The second time I watched the movie was in a college course on Cult Cinema. I am not exactly sure why I took it considering I had seen every film on the syllabus and I seemed to have a better handle on the material than our teacher did (although, he was a fantastic teacher and knew as much about film as anyone I have ever met… just not cult film). Anyway, maybe it was watching it on the big screen, but that night when I went to sleep I had several night mares about the film, but they all had Dennis Hopper in them (who was only in the second one). So maybe, I should put TCM2 on this list instead, but it was watching the first one that gave me nightmares. (The clip below is from 2)

The Silence Of The Lambs – 1991
The only other time a movie has ever given me nightmares was when I was 12 years old. I wasn’t allowed to watch R rated movies, but I was over at my friend Tom’s house and he had HBO. He was okay’d to watch it by his mom, but she called my dad to see if it was okay if I could watch it. He said yes, which after my nightmares became a point of contention in my household. I dreamed that both my parents were skinned alive and people were wearing their skin as a mask. I couldn’t tell that they weren’t my parents, but when I found out, I was not pleased one bit. I think it is funny that the two movies that have given me nightmares were both based on the serial killer Ed Gein who only actually killed two women… but he did make a nipple belt out of corpses which is pretty exciting. Psycho was based on him as well and that is one of my favorite scary movies too. My senior year in high school I could pretty much recite it word for word.


Gremlins – 1984
When Gremlins came out I was in pre-school. For some reason, the movie, which is actually pretty scary even now, was marketed to little kids. I had a toy Gizmo doll and a Gremlins book on record. It would read you the book and tell you to turn the page. The idea was to teach little kids how to read using Gremlins. I am sure my parents knew better than to let me watch to watch it, but my grandmother let me rent it when I was probably 5 or 6 years old. I remember hiding behind the couch I was so scared. During the scene posted below was when I realized it was time to turn the movie off. I have not done that since. I am just not scared anymore. It is really a shame.


Quick honorable mentions: Critters, Tremors, Nightmare On Elm St and when I watched the Ringu I was pretty much just bored the whole time but when I walked home from my friends house NO ONE was around. I didn’t see one person, and that was pretty creepy.  Oh, also I never actually saw it, but the trailer for Arachnophobia gave me a life long fear of spiders.

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Comments (2)


  1. July 28th, 2008 | 7:47 pm

    We’ve got to watch Arachnophobia, tough guy.

  2. niko
    August 10th, 2008 | 1:11 am

    i still have nightmares about gremlins. no joke. when i was young, one of the only time ive ever “sleep walked” was when i went to sleep at my cousins house and i woke up in her room, under her desk, and her chair was against the door. apparently i had run upstairs from my room in the basement and ended up in her bedroom screaming in my sleep that they were after me. i still get nervous on subway cars with no lights at night when im the only one riding in them.

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