Montgomery Blair High School's Online Student Newspaper
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Oct. 30, 2006

"Scary" movies for the squeamish

by Johanna Gretschel, Online Managing Editor
Scary slasher flicks are the essence of Halloween. Blood, guts and gore always are the perfect ingredients for a movie, right? But for those who get nightmares from "Scooby-Doo" and keep on the 100-watt nightlight by their bed, there is still hope for surviving a Halloween movie. Turn all the lights on, curl up into a little ball and enjoy the five best SCO-approved scream-free films!

Number Five

"Ghostbusters" (1984, 105 minutes, rated PG for some creepy ghosts)
This blockbuster comedy, written by comedy legend Dan Aykroyd, stars Aykroyd and Bill Murray as they lead a group of friends dedicated to eradicating New York City of its ghosts. Once citizens realize that ghosts do exist, the Ghostbusters' business is booming. That is, until the ghost of all ghosts enters the picture, causing chaos and possessing people (including Murray's love interest, played by Sigourney Weaver). Who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters! The movie featuring that classic song is a must-see for fans hungering for both Aykroyd's and Murray's humor.

Number Four

"Hocus Pocus" (1993, 96 minutes, rated PG for some creepy elements)
Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy star as a trio of witches executed during the Salem witch trials. When teenage Max (Omri Katz) lights a black candle in their present-time deserted mansion to scare his sister and crush, the witches are conjured from the dead just in time for Halloween. Although a little creepy as the witches attempt to steal children's souls to gain eternal life, "Hocus Pocus" is mostly just full of laughs.

Number Three

"Edward Scissorhands" (1990, 105 minutes, rated PG-13 for some creepy elements)
Director Tim Burton's twisted take on "Frankenstein" stars Johnny Depp as Edward Scissorhands, a man-made man. Edward's creator died before he could finish constructing Edward, so in place of hands, Edward has scissors protruding from his arms. Drawn from his isolation, one day, Edward begins life in a cookie-cutter neighborhood. Far deeper than a typical Halloween movie, "Edward Scissorhands" is a darkly comic social commentary on the necessity of acceptance and still is appropriate as a Halloween must-see.

The Runner-Up

"Arsenic and Old Lace" (1944, 118 minutes, Not Rated)
This oldie but goodie, directed by Frank Capra, is based on a Broadway musical by the same name, but abandons the songs for clever dialogue. Cary Grant (from Alfred Hitchcock classics like "North by Northwest" and "Notorious") stars as Mortimer Brewster, a newlywed who, while visiting his elderly aunts, discovers their shocking new hobby. In order to put sickly old gentlemen "out of their misery," the aunts murder and bury them in the cellar. Hilarity ensues as Brewster scrambles to keep his aunts' eerie practice hidden from the police. Appearances by Brewster's eccentric brothers, one who believes himself to be Teddy Roosevelt, and the other, a creepy murderer with a hunchbacked assistant in tow, add to the mayhem.


"Shaun of the Dead" (2004, 99 minutes, rated R for violence and profanity)
A parody of movies like "Dawn of the Dead" and "Night of the Living Dead," "Shaun of the Dead" brings the zombie movie genre to new heights. When their neighborhood becomes overrun with the undead, it is up to Shaun (Simon Pegg) and his slacker buddy Ed (Nick Frost) to save the day. Though a bit bloody, the film is full of quirky British humor that mostly translates well to Americans and even makes a social statement by comparing modern society to zombies.

While the rest of the world soaks in the bloodbath films such as "Scream" and "Saw," scaredy-cats can rest in peace with the knowledge that they will be able to fall asleep on the thirty-first without having to search through their closet or under their bed for hiding monsters.

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  • love it! on October 30, 2006 at 11:42 PM
    this article feels like it was written just for me :) i wouldn't want to watch shaun of the dead, though, i know it's a parody, but it's still too gory for my tastes! anyway, good job SCO <33
  • cool! on November 1, 2006 at 1:32 PM
    very nice article. ghostbusters and edward scissorhands are two of my favorite movies. i also used to watch hocus pocus regularly when i was a kid.
  • Jo on November 8, 2006 at 9:14 PM
    Hey! Where's "The Blob"? Technically, it is a "scary movie."

    Ok, well, it isn't scary at all. But it's good for Halloween still, just 'cuz it was meant to be scary.

    Anyways, great article! I can't stand gory horror movies at all -- and I was an avid Hocus Pocus fan as a (younger) kid.
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