Yesterday was Friday the 13th which meant a night of scary movies and serial killer documentaries. Here is a list of my favorite movies that can send a chill down your spine and put a lump in your throat.
H.H. Holmes: America’s First Serial Killer
I don’t think that most people have a “favorite” serial killer, but I do. H.H. Holmes was a man who killed people during the Chicago World’s Fair and has been suspected of being Jack the Ripper (as discussed on the show American Ripper). He built a mansion with secret rooms, dungeons, gas chambers, and crematoriums that no one knew about. This Netflix documentary covers his life, crimes and how he got caught. True crime is always more chilling than fiction, after a movie you can tell yourself it was just actors and it wasn’t real but when it is real it reminds you that these people do exist and there is always a chance that you could be a victim.
Silence of the Lambs
This particular movie is very special to me, when my parents were dating they went to see it in theaters but as usual my dad was late to pick mom up and the only seats left were in the very front row. My mom is not a fan of anything graphic or even remotely scary so seeing this movie scarred her so badly that I was never allowed to watch it. Early in my teen years when I was home alone I found it in our large DVD collection and watched it. It immediately became my favorite movie and I hid it in my bedroom so that I could watch it on my laptop whenever I wanted. My mom still refuses to watch it and Hannibal Lecter is still my favorite movie character of all time and I have watched every movie and TV show portrayal of him.
Another long time favorite that I used to watch with my dad and sometimes my mom would sit in her chair with a pillow blocking her view while trying to read a magazine and complaining about the movies we liked. From the vomit inducing Gluttony scenes or the tear jerking “what’s in the box!” ending there is not a single dull moment. I know that religiously motivated killers are real but I hope no one ever does anything like this.
I have a soft spot for Stephen King novels and films inspired by them, he has a way of making you think about what humans are capable of by putting them in impossible (IT) or very realistic (The Body/ Stand By Me) situations that test the characters. The Shining is one of the more realistic situations where isolation can cause someone to hallucinate and go insane so the idea of a very normal person killing their family after being trapped in a house with them all winter could actually happen. Also, Jack Nicholson is an amazing actor.
Demonic possession is a strange concept to me but it has inspired some great movies, of which The Rite is my favorite. It helps that Anthony Hopkins is the one of the main actors, basically if you see his name it has to be good. I also like the idea of someone becoming a priest that is struggling with doubt being tested by encounters with the possessed. He says all of the things that I would if it were me in that situation like, they must be crazy or they don’t need god, just a hospital. The fact that his opinion changed through the movie makes it much more convincing in my mind rather than every character just immediately believing what they are told.
These are just a few of my favorites. I have always been interested in the minds of serial killers and learning why they are the way that they are but these movies are the closest I ever want to get to one of them. What is the movie that terrifies you but you watch over and over?
Thank you so much for reading.
See you Tuesday