By Jessica Hancock
Even if you don’t believe in “bad luck” and “superstitions”, Fridays the 13th is a great excuse to have a little (creepy) fun. When I think of Friday the 13th I think of dark, cold skies, thunder and lightning, and scary movies. So I made a list of some of my favorite thriller/horror films both old and new. Close those curtains, grab a blanket (because there’s always need for one), and pop in one of these movies to send a chill up your spine. What better excuse for a night in with a scary movie than Friday the 13th?
- Urban Legend (1998; Directed by Jamie Blanks) – “What you don’t believe can kill you.”
It starts off with a good-looking college guy talking about an urban legend. While he’s explaining to his equally good-looking buddies, the scene shifts back and forth between him and another scene where Natasha (also good-looking) is killed by an ax murderer hiding in her backseat – the exact urban legend he was talking about. Cue the pretty people as you follow Natalie and her friends from a “Folklore” course at fictional Pendleton University through a series of bizarre deaths on campus. This leads them to believe there’s a killer on campus and that any one of them could be next.
- Nightmare on Elm Street (1984; Directed by Wes Craven) – “Whatever you do, don’t fall asleep.”
Nancy Thompson begins to have awful nightmares about a man with a disfigured face and a glove with straight razors as fingers. After talking to her friends, she realizes that they are all having the same dreams with the same monster. Before any of them can figure out what the connection is, they begin to die one by one. Nancy uncovers the story of the “Springwood Slasher” – a psychotic murderer named Freddy Krueger who once killed on Elm street – her street. Nancy makes a plan to drag his spirit out of her dreams and into reality before it’s too late.
- The Birds (1963; Directed by Alfred Hitchcock) – “…And remember, the next scream you hear could be your own!”
Wealthy San Franciscan Melanie Daniels runs into the charming (single) Lawyer Mitch Brenner in a pet shop. He pretends to not know who she is, although they’d already met before. Once she tries to sell him a pair of lovebirds, Mitch gives up that he knew it was her all along. Notorious for her practical jokes, Melanie decides she is going to buy a pair of lovebirds and bring them to Mitch for his daughter’s birthday. She drives the lovebirds all the way up to Bodega Bay and when she gets there something is not quite right. The birds are attacking anyone who steps foot outside. First it’s just a few, and then it becomes thousands.
- Se7en (1995; Directed by David Fincher) – “Let he who is without sin try to survive.”
Two homicide detectives, Somerset and Mills, are on the hunt for a psychopathic serial killer. He chooses his victims based on the seven deadly sins; Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Pride, Envy, Wrath, and Lust. They trace his steps, desperate to figure out how to get ahead of his plans and figure out who will be his next victim, but neither will see the end coming.
- The Amityville Horror (1979; Directed by Stuart Rosenburg or 2005; Directed by Andrew Douglas) – “ Katch em’, Kill em’”
Set in 1975, George and Kathy Lutz move into a beautiful Long Island home with their three children. After finding out that their new home was the scene of a horrific mass murder, they decide to stay, determined to bring some good to the home. What happens in 28 days is both horrifying as well as true – you are brought to a house of demonic presence and enraged spirits. The Amityville Horror is based on the true story by George and Kathy Lutz.
- Scream (1996; Directed by Wes Craven) – “Don’t Answer The Door, Don’t Leave The House, Don’t Answer The Phone, But Most Of All, Don’t SCREAM.”
Just a year after her mother was murdered, Sydney Prescott and her friends begin to receive strange phone calls from an unknown number. Filled with strange questions in each call; his/her favorite is “what’s your favorite scary movie?” Tabloid reporter Gail Weathers and local Deputy Riley step up to the case, but warn Sydney that this may be the same person who murdered her mother. As the murder count rises, including her friends, they only have one clue to link them all – a white ghost mask.
- The Shining (1980; Directed by Stanley Kubrick) – “The Horror is driving him Crazy”
Jack Torrance becomes the caretaker for The Overlook Hotel while it is shut down for the winter. The Manager tries to warn Jack of the hotel’s sinister past, since the previous caretaker not only took his life there but also murdered his wife and two children. Jack writes off the warning and agrees to the job. In a massive hotel set in the isolated Colorado mountains; Jack, his wife, and young son try to settle in for the long winter ahead with just the three of them in the whole hotel – or so they thought. Strange visions, telepathy, and sheer madness ensue.
- Pet Sematary (1989; Directed by Mary Lambert) – “Sometimes Dead is Better”
The Creed family has just moved into a sweet little neighborhood in the countryside. Besides all of the 18-wheelers that roar past their house on a two-lane road, it’s almost perfect – except for the strange cemetery in the woods beyond their house. No one wants to talk about it, and after their family cat is killed on the road, they are instructed to bury him way past the small cemetery. It’s not until their cat comes back that they know why everyone stays away from the woods.
- The Exorcist (1973; Directed by William Friedkin) – “Somewhere between science and superstition, there is another world. The world of darkness.”
While filming a movie, Chris McNeil relocates her daughter Regan and herself to Washington D.C. Not long after they arrive, Regan begins to change. Her features become warped and her behavior becomes violent and dangerous. There are no medical explanations for this sudden and terrifying transformation. Desperate for answers, Chris finds Father Karras, a Catholic Priest and Psychiatrist, to see if her daughter may be controlled by a demon. The church is wary but calls in Father Merrin, who has seen this kind of evil before, and prepares for a showdown with the devil.
- Halloween (1978; Directed by John Carpenter) – “The Night HE Came Home!”
In 1963, the police are called to a murder scene on Halloween night. 15-year-old Judith Myers has been stabbed to death by her 6-year-old brother Michael. Michael is institutionalized and the town of Haddonfield tries to forget the tragedy. But 15 years later, on the night before Halloween 1978, Michael escapes the institution. He’s headed home. Michael’s psychiatrist, Dr. Loomis, warns the authorities that Michael is headed home and that he is the “personification of evil”. The town of Haddonfield becomes a blood bath while Loomis and other authorities try to find and stop Myers before he kills even more. Meanwhile, college student Laurie Strode volunteers to babysit a neighbor’s child and has no idea what danger she has put herself in.
- The Sixth Sense (1999; Directed by M. Night Shyamalan) – “Not Every Gift is a Blessing”
Malcolm Crowe is an award-winning child psychologist. After a violent encounter with a severely unhappy patient one night, Crowe decides he is going to help another young boy who suffers from the same illness. He meets 9-year-old Cole, who claims he can see dead people. After spending extensive time with Cole, which has taken a toll on Crowe’s marriage, he begins to believe that this little boy may be seeing dead people after all – but the end is exactly what you wouldn’t expect.
- The Bone Collector (1999; Directed by Phillip Noyce) – “Two cops on the trail of a brutal killer. They must see as one, they must act as one, they must think as one, before the next victim falls.”
After an accident in a tunnel leaves forensic expert Lincoln Rhyme a quadriplegic and his heart monitor is becoming faulty, his future is looking to be very short. Rhyme decides to take the offer of getting an assisted suicide when a new case pops up on his screen. There’s a new murderer on the loose in New York City, abducting victims in his cab and leaving them for dead in very sadistic fashion. Rhyme enlists the help of a young cop, Amelia Donaghy, who saved the evidence from the first crime scene. Amelia becomes his eyes and ears on each crime scene as he guides her through searching for evidence via walkie-talkie. With Rhyme’s health in the balance, the team works to beat the clock and track down the killer before he strikes again.
- Friday the 13th (1980; Directed by Sean S. Cunningham) – “They were warned…They are doomed…And on Friday the 13th, nothing will save them.”
Jason Voorhees attends Camp Crystal Lake in 1957, but is quickly made the outcast. He drowns at the end of the dock in the lake as the other campers look on. In 1958, two camp counselors are murdered and Camp Crystal Lake is closed. 21 years later, in 1979, a group of counselors reopens the camp, despite warnings from a strange old man that they are “all doomed”. And once the camp is running the murders start up again. The target – the new camp counselors. There’s a man stalking the camp and the question remains, who will survive and live to tell the tale?