JAMES Kendrick is a guy who knows a scary movie when he sees one.
To that end, it behooves all who have eyes that see and who like the living daylights scared out of them to heed his counsel. JK is an associate professor of film and digital media in the College of Arts & Sciences at Baylor University.
“We all know what it means to be frightened, to feel dread, to want to look away,” he says. “On some level we all fear death and are aware of our human mortality, and the best horror films engage that fear in complex and challenging ways.”
One that engages this writer is Roman Polanski's "Rosemary's Baby (1968). Mia Farrow is a young mother with a very strange baby living with her husband (John Cassavetes) in a practically haunted apartment building among weird neighbors.
And the 10 films JK believes will do the trick:
1. CAT PEOPLE,1942
WHEN your wife tells you that high passion will bring out her feline tendencies, you should take her at her word. Director: Jacques Tourneur. Stars: Simone Simon, Kent Smith, Jane Randolph.
2. HALLOWEEN, 1978
FIFTEEN years later on Halloween, Michael Myers, now an escaped convict, will continue his murderous ways in his small Illinois town. Director: John Carpenter. Stars: Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence, Tony Moran, Nick Castle.
3. NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD,
PERHAPS the moral of the story is to not take refuge in an abandoned house when the dead and buried leave their graves in search of fresh human meat. Director: George A. Romero. Stars: Judith O'Dea, Duane Jones, Karl Hardman, Marilyn Eastman.
4. NOSFERATU, 1922
THOMAS Hutter's employer sends him to meet new client, Count Orlok. At dinner, the Count tries to feast on Hutter's cut finger. Sound familiar? "Nosferatu" is an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stroker's "Dracula," much to the displeasure of BS's successfully litigious heirs. A few copies of the film survived a court order calling for their destruction. Director: F.W. Murnau. Stars: Gustav von Wangenheim, Max Schreck, Greta Schröder.
5. PSYCHO, 1960
OUT of the frying pan and into the fire when a thieving beauty eludes the clutches of the law but not the ministrations of the psycho at the hotel where she stops to rest her weary bones. Director: Alfred Hitchcock. Stars: Janet Leigh, John Gavin, Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, Martin Balsam, John McIntire.
6. SUSPIRIA, 1977A scene from "Suspiria." Archive photo.
SUZY should have run away from that German ballet school, too, especially after a classmate was murdered. Director: Dario Argento. Stars: Jessica Harper, Eva Axen, Stefania Casino, Joan Bennett.
7. The BABADOOK, 2014
A mother learns that her son's children's book is expelling horrors. Director: Jennifer Kent. Stars: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Daniel Henshall.
8. THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, 1935
WHAT comes to pass when Dr. Frankenstein is beholden to Dr. Pretorius. Director: John Whale. Stars: Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Ernest Thesiger, Elsa Lanchester.
9. THE EXORCIST, 1973
ALL hell breaks loose when Regan starts behaving oddly, including speaking in tongues. And making incredible turns with her head. Director: William Friedkin. Stars: Linda Blair, Ellen Burstyn, Jason Miller, Max von Sydow, Lee J. Cobb.
10. THE SHINING, 1980
AT an isolated Colorado hotel in the back of beyond, Jack Torrance morphs from blocked writer into madman bent on killing his loved ones. Director: Stanley Kubrick. Stars: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Scrothers.