I was talking the other day with Bob Hoffmaster the host of KFIZ's "The Morning Show with Bob Hoffmaster" about our favorite scary movies. I told him I always enjoyed John Carpenter's "The Fog." It wasn't so much the scares as the story I liked. The remake wasn't too bad, but the director of the film had his own vision and I don't share it.
Anyway I told Bob when I was a kid a couple movies I saw on television that scarred me were "The Screaming Skull" and another about the hand of a dead man that was driving another man insane. The later was done a long time ago, but it was effective for scaring a little kid.
Most of the movies I saw were served up by cheezy late Saturday night horror film hosts. When I lived outside of Memphis, Tennessee it was this guy who was part Frankenstein and part Dracula. As a teen I was living in the U.P. and we could watch "The Ghoul" (pictured) on Channel 50 out of Detroit. He was perfect for his time and actually was out of a station in Cleveland owned by the same broadcasting company as Channel 50.
By the time I was in college we were watching some guy out of Traverse City, Michigan who dressed up as a bald vampire and hung out in a casket in between movie segments. In truth he hosted a movie show for them during the week, but in regular garb. You may have seen him. Once in a while you can spot him in a bloopers clip where the casket he's in collapses beneath him destroying his whole set.
In this area I've caught "Ned the Dead" from time to time, but have kind of grown out of the need to tune in to see if the host is going to be more interesting than the movie they are showing.
Today's scary movies have better effects, but sometimes leave the imagination out of it. Once in a while there's something different like "The Grudge" or "The Ring," but there's too much slash and dash in most. Still it's good training ground for up and coming actors. Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Bacon, Jennifer Aniston all had roles in horror films when they began.
If you're not sure how good a horror film is, here's a test. Look for the moment in a scary movie when there's a fake scare. Almost every horror film has one. If it isn't handled well or is done better than the first real scare in the film then you've been tricked. Happy Halloween.