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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

October 29, 2012 at 10:36 AM

Scary Movie Week: What movies are too scary to watch?

Happy Scary Movie Week! It’s a tradition here at P&P to spend some time Halloween week, as the shadows lengthen and the leaves dance in the chill wind, talking about movies that scare us. Two years ago, a poll told us that your all-time favorite scary movies are, in order, “The Shining,” “The Exorcist,” “Psycho,” “The Haunting” (1963 version), and “The Changeling”; a year ago, a poll focusing on scary movies of the last decade had “The Ring” and “Paranormal Activity” as your favorites.
Let’s try a slightly different topic this year: What movies do you find too scary to watch? I’ll ‘fess right up and say that I’ve never been able to make it through either “The Exorcist” or “Rosemary’s Baby” — have tried to watch both, on TV and/or DVD (not old enough to have seen either in theaters), and can’t do it. Both movies just, to use a highly technical term, freak me out, and when I watch them I just have a sense that, if I keep watching, I won’t be able to sleep, or I’ll see something that’ll haunt me for a long time. (It’s like that sign leading to the witch’s castle in “The Wizard of Oz”: I’d Turn Back If I Were You.) But that’s what’s different about watching movies at home, I think — you feel less commitment. I suspect if I’d originally seen “The Shining” on home video, I might have stopped watching. But in a theater, as an undergraduate, I saw the whole thing and was deliciously frightened. Then terrified at the dark bus stop going home, despite the presence of my equally terrified friends.
So, let’s name names: What scary movie did you turn off midway through? Or have you never done that?
TZR_Film_Five_Most.JPG.jpg
Linda Blair in “The Exorcist,” a movie I have never watched all the way through. And probably never will. Brrr. (AP photo/Warner Bros. Entertainment)

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