As the thermometer officially hits the 100-degree mark (cue blood-curdling scream) I find myself reminiscing about summers past in Phoenix. In an asphalted and concrete-covered town where the average summer starts in March and ends in November, the only real way to survive is to hibernate in a suitably air-conditioned abode. But how to pass the time during said hibernation? My siblings and I devised a singularly brilliant plan: we created our own chills with horror movie marathons. Choosing classic films from the 70's and early 80's (they were only a dollar each at our local movie rental store), we had a welcome reprieve from the heat: a darkened room, a cold soda, and the chance to let off some steam by yelling at the screen.
Create some chills yourself with these summer-approved horror classics:
Why it's good: Stanely Kubrick, Jack Nicholson, scary twin ghosts, crazy bathtub lady, a Powerwheel--this is probably the scariest movie ever made. Especially since we were so used to seeing Shelley Duvall as the host of Fairy Tale Theater.
Why it's good: Vincent Price is a crazed, mutilated doctor who keeps the corpse of his dead wife in his basement and uses his gorgeous servant girl to kill in ways reminiscient of the Seven Plagues. Oh yeah, and he plays the organ.
Why it's good: The poster. The soundtrack. The location: Santa Cruz's boardwalk. Kiefer Sutherland is a vampire. The Coreys are vampire hunters. Diane Wiest is in it. What more could you want?
Why it's good: A prep, a party boy, a sex kitten, a virgin, and a couple of punks are lured into the Waxwork by a midget. When they step over the velvet cords, they are murdered in various, wonderful ways and become part of the permanent collection.
Why it's good: While the original Nightmare will always hold a special place in my heart (thanks to Johnny Depp), this is hands down my favorite of the franchise. A girl turns into a giant cockroach and another almost dies by sucking face.
Why it's good: An evil clown and a murderous tree, to start. Not to mention that great scene where the father's face melts off in the mirror. This movie definitely holds up well to time...it's funny as well as scary.
Why it's great: James Brolin is freaky as the progressively insane father. A soundtrack featuring a children's choir sets the perfect tone. Why is it that children's choirs are so scary?
Why it's good: Clever horror spoof that still has some scream-worthy moments. The vampire next door eats apples and lusts after the young hero's virginal girlfriend, who enlists a T.V. star to stake the bad guy.
Why it's good: Kevin Bacon. Reba McIntyre. Victor Wong (who was born in Locke, CA). Alien worms attack a small desert town from below. If my two-year-old sister loved it, you will too.
Why it's good: Gregory Peck accidentally adopts the antichrist. Oops. Damien proceeds to brainwash his nanny into killing herself during his birthday party. Peck wonders why people keep dying.