For some reason fear is something some people crave.Horror movies have quenched that thirst for 119 years,ever since Georges Méliès released “Le Manoir du Diable,” a three-minute film where ghosts, devils, bats, witches and trolls appear and disappear in puffs of smoke.
Since then, hundreds of horror films have been made and some people can’t get enough of them.
“There’s actually good reason for these movies to exist,” said T.J. Tranchell, 35, an adjunct professor of journalism at the University of Idaho who is one of these people.
Horror movies often address social issues and anxieties that lie beneath our calm exteriors like the grasping hands of the undead.
“Roller coasters don’t get R ratings; with a movie you can have that same kind of intensity for 90 minutes or two hours,” said Tranchell, who was born to be a horror expert with a birthday on Oct. 31.
Here’s Tranchell’s list of horror movies for whatever life situation possesses you.
Living a Horror Life
by T.J. Tranchell
I’m trying to get a promotion.
So was Christine Brown in Sam Raimi’s 2009 PG-13 shocker “Drag Me to Hell.” Raimi spent a few years playing with Spider-Man before coming back to horror. Here, he takes a rising star bank clerk and puts a curse on her for not extending the home loan of an elderly woman. She doesn’t get the promotion but that’s not the worst thing that happens to her.
I have annoying neighbors.
Say hello to Wes Craven’s “The People Under the Stairs” (1991). Recently given a special edition Blu-ray release, Craven’s R-rated tale of urban terror avoids the supernatural trappings viewers are used to from him. Instead, he shows how a trio of burglars — including a juvenile — react when they discover other children locked away in the home of a creepy brother and sister.
We’re having a baby!
The truth is that having a child is one of the worst things that can happen to a horror movie fan. I have a toddler, so I can swear to this. Watch the scary movies before there are little children running around. If you have a toddler, don’t watch “The Omen” (1976, R). Instead, watch “Rosemary’s Baby” (1968, R) or “Alien” (1979, R). You’ve survived pregnancy, so these shouldn’t hit you in unwanted emotional places but they will still give you a good scare.
I’m so in love. I want romance, not horror.
What’s the most romantic gesture you could ever think of? How about coming back from the dead to avenge your lover’s murder. “The Crow” (1994, R) is set on Halloween and horrible things happen in the film. Ultimately, however, this Brandon Lee movie is about the lengths we will go to protect and fight for our loved ones.
The kids are still awake.
Deciding what to let the children watch and at what ages is a tough call. For clean Halloween fun, you can’t go wrong with “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” (1966, NR). But if you want to raise a monster-loving kid, this is the best time to introduce the classic Universal Monsters. Bela Lugosi in “Dracula” (1931, NR) and Boris Karloff in “Frankenstein” (1931, NR) won’t have the same impact on older, jaded teens. Show these to your 9- and 10-year-old crowds and you’ll hook them on horror movies for life.
It’s October and I’m dreading winter.
Buck up, chum. Things could be worse. You could be in the early weeks of a winter in the Antarctic and have your compound invaded by an alien life form bent on taking over the world by first taking over your body. John Carpenter’s “The Thing” (1982, R) should make you feel better about how your winter will play out. Unlike the crew in the movie, you’ll probably survive until Christmas.