My History with Halloween
As a kid, Halloween was easily my second favorite holiday next to Christmas. Each year, I made it a goal to stock up on as much candy as I possibly could and then hoard all of it before any of my brothers could steal it. I couldn’t wait to dress up as my favorite scary movie character and go trick-or-treating so I could get my pillowcase full of candy. Haunted houses, scary movies, you name it, if it was scary, I was all about it. These days, I don’t get to celebrate like I used to, but it’s still one of my favorites. I still love all the decorations, atmosphere, and the spirit of the holiday.
Why Do We Love Scary Stuff So Much?
One of my favorite aspects of Halloween is watching scary movies. I grew up adoring horror movies and it was by far my favorite genre. I literally rented every single scary movie my local video store carried. I even started a “40-year old virgin”-style horror figure collection that I still have today.
I’m not as much of a movie buff these days, but still love the horror genre, which is funny because my wife is the total opposite. She does not like horror movies and doesn’t watch them, and can’t understand why anyone would want to put such scary or evil things in their eyes. I’ve tried to explain it to her, but it’s difficult to put into words, which got me thinking, why do we love horror movies so much? It’s a great question, so I did some searching and found this answer in an article from ScienceNordic.com:
“When we watch a horror film, we respond to the dangerous and horrifying situations that are being depicted. We identify with the fictional characters who confront terrifying threats. We feel revulsion and terror. We go through a range of emotions as we’re watching, and through that experience we learn something about our own responses. Horror provides us with insights into ourselves and into the dark corners of the world, and it lets us develop and refine coping skills that may be critical later in life.”
I think that does a good job of describing it. In a way, horror is almost a survival mechanism. By paying close attention to tragedy, we help maximize our own chance for survival. It’s the same reason we can’t help but stare when we see a car wreck on the side of the road. We’re nosy and want to know what happened. We sympathize with the victims but at the same time feel thankful we’re not in their place. But the difference with horror movies is, no one actually has to get hurt.
At the end of the day, humans are curious, nosy, and we want to be entertained. We want to feel something, an emotion, whether it’s happiness, fear, or sympathy, because it energizes us. We laugh at inappropriate jokes, we cheer for our hero, and we demand justice for the villain. We find pleasure in experiencing a variety of emotions in a safe atmosphere. In that aspect, horror is just another way to experience a thrill and have a good time, but it can also train us handle negative emotions more effectively.Horror movies challenge our psychology, question our own behaviors, and allow us to feel fear and pain without actually being threatened.
The moral of the story is, scary movies just make us better people, and with that said, I’m gonna run down my Top 10 all-time horror movies:
Wise Eats Top 10 Favorite Horror Movies
These are sort of in order, but not really, I actually love them all:
- Halloween 4 (1988) – Any Halloween movie could be my #1 on this list, but Halloween 4 is my overall favorite in the franchise.
- By the way, fun fact…it took just 21 days to film the original Halloween movie.
- Also, the original Michael Myers mask was selected from a Hollywood Blvd magic shop.
- Production designers were deciding between a clown mask and William Shatner Captain Kirk mask, and obviously ended up choosing the Shatner mask.
- They spray painted it white, cut the eye holes bigger, and the rest is history.
- Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) – Movie literally terrified me as a child and was the subject of many nightmares in my life.
- Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) – Love this whole series but this particular film had the biggest impact on me.
- Return of the Living Dead (1985) – Must’ve watched this 100 times with my cousins…BRAINS
- Evil Dead (2013) – Saw this one in the theaters and man was it disturbing! Loved it.
- Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives (1986) – Can’t have a Top 10 horror without Jason Voorhees. This has always been my favorite in the series.
- Lost Boys (1987) – Never really scared me much, just a super cool vampire movie with an amazing soundtrack.
- Creepshow 2 (1987) – I’m a sucker for short, scary stories. The Creepshows were always a favorite.
- Bodybags (1993) – Another short story horror film from master of horror John Carpenter
- Scream (1996) – Brought the horror genre back to life in 1996.
- Demons (1985) – Not sure if it holds up today but it scared the crap out of me when I was a kid
- Dead Alive (1992) – Cheesy/gory underrated zombie-type horror movie.
- Drag Me to Hell (2009) – Another over-the-top, wild, gory, scarefest that I just loved.
- Silver Bullet (1985) – Favorite werewolf movie from childhood
- Cabin in the Woods (2011) – Thought this one was really original and just a really fun time!
- Christine (1983) – Amazing book and movie from mastermind Stephen King
- The Conjuring (2013) – Just when you thought you’d seen enough exorcism-type movies, they come along with this little gem
- High Tension (2003) – Oddly reminiscent of one of my favorite Dean Koontz books. Very intense!
- Jeepers Creepers (2001) – One of the more innovative slasher icons of the 2000’s!
- Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990) – Another short story horror film that I adored growing up
- The Ring (2002) – One of the more genuinely terrifying films of the 21st century!
- Army of Darkness (1992) – One of the more iconic horror movies of all time!
- Witchboard (1986) – Never looked at Ouija boards the same after this!
- Poltergeist (1982) – Super creepy ghost/haunted house movie.
- Jaws : The Revenge (1987) – Probably doesn’t belong on any horror list but I loved this one growing up also.
Are there any obvious snubs? I think a couple might be the Dawn of the Dead and Night of the Living Dead remakes, but I haven’t seen those enough to rank them on the list. Maybe next Halloween! But let me know your thoughts! email@example.com