Evolving from Slasher Thrills to Sublime Thrillers ~ Part 1

By | Begun 03/11/2009
Posted in Cross Cuts


My friend K. contacted me recently, recounting the plight of her friend, whose 16-yr-old granddaughter loves to watch “scary movies” with her granddad. This is terrific, of course ~ except her definition of scary movie is Friday the 13th, et al.

Granddad would like to wean her off such fare and replace it with some truly elegant material. He knows of The Sixth Sense, Jagged Edge, and Cape Fear, but is in need of some additional titles.

A worthy goal, indeed. Let’s help him out, shall we? Below are mine, feel free to add yours to the mix via the comments.

Proviso: The girl scout in me remains dismayed that minors nowadays seem to see such R-Rated films as a matter of course ~ but that’s me, and it’s a different world than when I was 16. Nevertheless, I implore any guardian to see any film before granting access. With the exception of the last item on today’s list, these titles are not for any level of delicate, kapish?

Having said that, let’s look at some excellent films that bridge the delicious, spine-tingling gap between Friday the 13th and Rear Window!

Bound ~ Super suspenseful, edge of your seat Jagged Edge kind of scary. It involves gangsters, so you can expect the requisite horrific scene where they force a guy to talk. It’s really pretty bad, but you see it coming so it’s easy to mute, and they don’t really show anything (oh yeah, we’re talking to slasher-flick-folks here ~ no prob!). Extra fun because it was the Wachowskis’ audition for getting funding to do The Matrix. Heads up: The requisite sexual angle is lesbian. Nothing we haven’t all seen before with regard to exposure or activity, but if that’s a problem for a viewer, it’ll be a whoppin’ big one in this case.

Frailty ~ Bill Paxton’s directorial debut. Will blow you away in a Sixth Sense kind of way. Some parts are quite difficult to deal with psychologically even though nothing is shown (kids are involved) ~ but the story resolves in a way that puts this issue to rest.

Fire in the Sky ~ Oh. Mygosh. Alien abduction story, based on actual accounts. Buckle your seat belts. Nothing more graphic than slasher-flick-folks have already seen and no sex, by My Word is it alarming.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose ~ Oh. Mygosh. Again. True story, ’nuff said. Beautifully told. No sex or gore, just the Super Scary content (which may actually be far more disturbing than a homicidal maniac in a hockey mask, a decision for the responsible party…).

The Shining ~ NOT THE KUBRICK VERSION!!! Omigosh, what a miscarriage… After the success of The Stand, ABC asked Stephen King which of his books he wanted to do next ~ his choice. Without hesitation he said The Shining, since “he wanted it done right.” !! Get the miniseries version starring Steven Weber and Rebecca DeMornay; King wrote the screenplay and executive produced. Made for network TV, proving that talent transcends sex, gore, and profanity. Hey, what a concept!

Runaway Train ~ Two convicts stuck on a train. Runs virtually unedited on basic cable. Big deal, right? That’s what everyone says, until they finally watch it and then shake their heads, wide eyed, every time it’s mentioned forevermore.

This’ll get your weekend queue started, and we’ll take a look at the rest in Part 2!

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