spooky rentals

By The Columbia Chronicle

Gina Leyba

Guest Columnist

The new wave of horror has come to a theater near you.

How many times have you gone to see a horror movie and heard the incessant cries of someone in the audience, demanding “Run, stupid!” or “Get up!!”? How many of you refuse to pay $8 for a horror movie because of the fear of wasting time and hard-earned money on a cheesy slasher flick too predictable to enjoy? (Remember the “Leprechaun” movies?)

It is cheaper and may be wiser to stay home, turn off the lights and cuddle with your favorite person to watch a film guaranteed to scare. Here are ten of my favorites to aid in your quest for the best at the video store. The Scare-O-Meter and Gore-O-Meter rate each movie on a scale of 1-10.

1. “Night of the Living Dead” (1968) This horror classic about the dead rising from their graves gave me nightmares. Even though it was a low-budget effort, George A. Romero’s direction found a way to make this my pick for the scariest, not to mention goriest, movie in history.

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2. “The Exorcist” (1973) This movie made Linda Blair a star — and what a way to become famous, being the butt of parodies about projectile vomit and spinning heads. A truly frightening and repulsive flick that scares most people out of their wits.

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3. “The Shining” (1980) Stanley Kubrick’s direction is fabulous and frightening all at once. Nobody could have performed the lead role better than Jack Nicholson. His “Here’s Johnny!” grimace remains one of the greatest images in horror movie history. The line was ad-libbed — just one more reason to admire Nicholson’s work. I saw this movie at an impressionable age and was traumatized for life.

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4. “Halloween” (1978) Perfect for the season. This movie branded Jamie Lee Curtis as the “Scream Queen” and skyrocketed her career. Michael Myers has been the scariest of all serial killers, beating Freddy and Jason by far. Rent Part II at the same time for a double dose of fright.

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5. “Hellraiser” (1987) The gore in this is tip top! A must see! There are some scary scenes in this tale about the puzzle box and Pinhead. I would recommend this for a night of hanging out and drinking with friends.

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6. “The Amityville Horror” (1979) A teenager murders his entire family and claims the house told him to do it. Another family moves in and flees about a month later because they believe the house is haunted. This story is supposedly true and that’s what scared me the most.

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7. “Psycho” (1960) In the 1960s, this movie terrified people so much that they refused to shower. This is one of Hitchcock’s best. The remake should never have been allowed. You just can’t screw with a classic!

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8. “My Bloody Valentine” (1981) This slasher revenge movie, full of dark, scary images, didn’t receive the attention it deserved. An insane miner wreaks havoc on a small town at a Valentine’s Day dance. The best part is trying to figure out who is really responsible for the bloodbath. This is the perfect choice when you have no date for Valentine’s Day.

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9. “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (1974) The legacy of Leatherface began in this cult classic. The narrator claims this is based on a true story, but when it comes to a human barbecue, I have my doubts. There is some gore and plenty of madness. When one girl started screaming and wouldn’t stop I found myself rooting for Leatherface: “Kill her!”

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10. “Freaks” (1932) This had to be the weirdest movie I have ever seen. Director Tod Browning also directed the 1931 version of “Dracula.” I am sure this movie, starring genuine side-show freaks — the likes of which you just don’t see these days except for their occasional Jerry Springer appearances — was horrifying in its day. The movie tells the tale of a trapeze artist who tries to steal a midget’s money and pays for it deeply.

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Recent movies like “H20,” “Urban Legend,” “Bride of Chucky” and “Strangeland” have put horror fans into a frenzy. They might be worth seeing, but it can be more gratifying to watch a video at home (not to mention the added bonus of being able to yell at the characters in the privacy of your own living room without embarrassment).