Here it is. Halloween season. My favorite time of year.
I love it more than Christmas, Thanksgiving and any other notable holiday. Maybe that's weird, but whatever. Those holidays are great, too, don't get me wrong. There's just something about Halloween that I love. It's 50 percent because of my love of candy, and the ability to justify mass consumption of it at this time of year, and the ready availability of horror movies, haunted houses and such.
I love that have-to-sleep-with-the-lights-on kind of scared I get because of a good horror movie. Note: I wrote good horror movie.
In the spirit of this, the best and spookiest of all seasons, here is my countdown of the 10 scariest movies of all time:
10. Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) – This came out two years after I was born, but I still remember watching quite a bit of this series throughout my childhood. Freddy Krueger's ability to reach people in their dreams was borderline traumatizing for me. It saddens me to see how this haunting original was butchered in a recent remake.
9. Carrie (1976) – This is one of my favorite of Stephen King's works. It's the ultimate tale of vengeance, with a sci-fi twist, of course. Sissy Spacek delivers a wonderful performance of an outcast teen who gets even with her tormentors.
8. The Shining (1980) – Do you remember that episode of Friends when Joey hid The Shining book in the freezer so it couldn't terrify him? I've never resorted to that extreme, but of all Stephen King's written works, this is my fave because it's the most chilling. The movie is great, too. This is easily a contender for one of Jack Nicholson's top performances ever.
7. The Sixth Sense (1999) – I regard this as the one horror movie writer-director M. Night Shyamalan got right. "I see dead people" is the line uttered by Haley Joel Osment's character, which basically sums up the plot. It's got one of those endings that makes you gasp. It also includes terrific performances by Osment and Bruce Willis.
6. Poltergeist (1982) – An angelic-faced little girl is kidnapped by a malevolent spirit and can only communicate with her family through TV static. Creepy, right? Although this was a spine-chilling movie, it's the "Poltergeist curse" lore that intrigues me. You can read more about it at Snopes.com. I must warn you, though: the original is great. If you haven't yet seen the sequel and subsequent follows, lucky you. They're not worth your time. Trust me.
5. The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005) – Don't hate me for putting this on the list. I know it's not a popular Top 10 list pick. Still, it's the kind of movie that gave me nightmares for days.
4. It (1990) – The face of Pennywise the Clown is one of the most ominous I can conjure in my mind. In this flick, he terrorizes a group of children and returns when they're adults to wreak more havoc. There's another reason I loved this movie. I was just a big fan of Jonathan Brandis. Any other former Tiger Beat readers out there? No, just me?
3. Psycho (1960) – Norman Bates is one of the best-written villains in a horror movie, in my opinion. This thriller is perfect for a Halloween movie night.
2. Halloween (1978) – It always surprised me that John Carpender's Halloween was a low-budget film. I guess it proves you don't need fancy Hollywood special effects to create an effectively terrifying horror flick. (I mean you, The Possession. Ugh.) The scores in this movie are notably brilliant.
1. The Exorcist (1973) – Heads spinning. Pea Soup. Disgustingly vile scenes. Love it. However, I must warn you that if you choose to watch this one, be prepared to be shocked. Linda Blair is excellent as a demonic possessed preteen in this flick, which is said to be based on a true story.
This column was written by Patch local editor Nancy Kelsey and appeared in recent days on Northville Patch, which covers Northville, Mich.