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No single day is held in more fearful regard than Friday the 13th. It doesn't matter which month it falls in, and the superstition itself exceeds racial boundaries, religious differences and generational gaps. Quite frankly, it's the one day of any year guaranteed to freak a whole lot of people out. (And it happens three times in 2009!)

The fancy word for the fear of this particular day is paraskavedekatriaphobia. The superstition has no roots in written history prior to the 19th century, and is believed in some circles to have been concocted from two separate superstitions of the day: the belief that Friday was an unlucky day, and that the number thirteen was an unlucky number.

It is estimated that as many as 21 million people are afflicted with paraskavedekatriaphobia and that businesses lose as much as $900 million dollars on each occurrence of this day. That's a lot of people at home hiding under the bed!

It seems to never fail that as we approach a Friday the 13th on the calendar, cable and network television channels advertise horror movie marathons. Furthermore, it's not at all unusual for a new horror film to be released in the theaters on this day.  

The history of horror movies is a rich one, with the first recorded creature feature appearing as early as 1890, and the first spooky-talky showing up around 1930. Those early films, when viewed today, offer a surreal perspective on what has become a modern day cult-phenomenon.  

Horror films, by definition, seek "...to elicit responses of fear, horror and terror from viewers."  The industry makes about a zillion dollars a year (not an accurate accounting) and many of the movies (even ones that weren't that good to begin with) get remade time and time again. Fear, much like sex, is a big business.

Personally, I have no fear of Friday the 13th and my husband actually considers it to be a lucky day, based on some illustrious football victory from his childhood. We're also big fans of the horror film, in all its goriffic glory, and rarely pass up the opportunity to enjoy a good one.

So, for this weekend, we've worked together to come up with a list of (count 'em!) thirteen horror films for your consideration.  I just didn't feel like a mere five movies could accurately honor the natural fear that will be celebrated tomorrow.  

[Link Removed] Teenager Nancy Thompson and her closest friends are all having the same bad dream in which they are being hunted with murderous intent. As her friends are killed off one by one, Nancy tries to get the adults in her life to take her seriously. Then, one fateful night, Nancy's mother reveals a secret that is the stuff of nightmares. Nancy must take a stand to stop an evil that was put in motion by her parents many years ago. She must bring the monster out of the nightmare and into her world, where she has a few tricks up her sleeve.

[Link Removed] Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) is desperate for gainful employment. His track record of anger and violence has lost him jobs and almost cost him his family. Determined to make things right, Jack accepts a position as winter caretaker of a hotel with a murderous reputation. Snowbound in the mountains of Colorado with no contact to the outside world, Jack's mind breaks down and makes him easy prey for the spirits of the Overlook Hotel. His special son and his tormented wife become his playthings in an evil game that no one will win.

[Link Removed] Shaun just can't catch a break. He forgets to make a reservation for his anniversary dinner with Liz, which lands him in the doghouse. Liz, tired of hanging out at the pub with Shaun's obnoxious friend dumps him. But Sean doesn't want to lose Liz, and puts together a plan to win her back. Unfortunately, zombies have taken over London and provide a great interference to Shaun's plans.

[Link Removed]  Agnes (Ashley Judd) is a lonely woman with a tragic past. She lives in a roadside, Oklahoma motel and takes in a veteran of the Gulf War named Peter (Michael Shannon). As the pair becomes closer, Agnes shares the details of her son's disappearance and Peter reveals knowledge of a government conspiracy that has infiltrated their bodies and minds.  Consumed by their combined paranoia, they determine that they are the keys to the governments successful infection of the rest of the world and will stop at nothing short of madness to end it.  

[Link Removed]  Karen Davis (Sarah Michelle Gellar) is an American nursing-student living and working in Japan. When a coworker doesn't show up for work one morning, Karen is assigned to fill-in. She finds her patient unattended by family and living in a severe state of disarray and agitation. As she investigates the rest of the house Karen is confronted by an evil presence and a murderous curse.

[Link Removed]  Against the advice of friends, Guy and Rosemary Woodhouse move into a creepy old apartment building. Initially Rosemary (Mia Farrow) is charmed by their eccentric neighbors. When she becomes pregnant, however, she becomes haunted by dark dreams and begins to suspect that the neighbors mean to harm her unborn child. Guy (John Cassavetes) assures Rosemary that she's just being silly, but as time goes on Rosemary begins to suspect her husband, as well.

[Link Removed]  Twelve-year old Regan (Linda Blair) McNeil's body has been taken over by an ancient soul. As her health and mental state deteriorate, the demon inside of her just gets a stronger hold. In desperation, Regan's mother (Ellen Burstyn) calls in a priest, who attempts to drive the evil spirit from the young girl's body.

[Link Removed]  The morning after a lightning storm, an eerie mist descends upon a small Maine town. David Drayton and his young son travel to town and soon find themselves and their neighbors trapped within the grocery store. Alien creatures emerge from the mist and annihilate everything in their paths. Attempts to escape are met with bloodshed and the tension mounts both within the market and without. Then, as night descends, the real horror begins.  

[Link Removed] Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) is the FBI rookie assigned to interview renowned cannibal Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins).  Lecter's understanding of the criminal mind may hold valuable secret to uncovering the identity of a killer who is currently on the loose. But to get the information from him that she needs, Clarice may have to sacrifice a little more of herself than she can comfortably afford.  

[Link Removed] Portland's Man of the Year is successful, good-looking and well-respected. He's also a husband and father who regularly attends AA meetings in an attempt to control his destructive impulses. Earl Brooks (Kevin Costner) is not an alcoholic, however; he is a psychopathic serial killer whose tenuous control has finally faltered. When Earl gives in to his dark desires and murders a young couple, his crime is witnessed and recorded on film. Earl braces himself to deal with his would-be revealer, only to discover that the man with the camera (Dane Cook) has other plans.

[Link Removed] Louis (Brad Pitt) has a tale to tell, and chooses a young reporter (Christian Slater) as his audience. In Louis' story we learn of his life and death, his loves and losses, and his ultimate acceptance of his role as an immortal. We hear of Lestat (Tom Cruise), the vampire who made Louis, and we meet Claudia (Kirsten Dunst), the monster child that bound them. Based on The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice

[Link Removed]   Even though a year has passed since her mother's murder, Syndey (Neve Campbell) still isn't the same. She seeks comfort in the arms of her boyfriend and the company of her friends, but then two young lovers are slaughtered and it's revealed that the town has not quite recovered from the previous year's events either. Sydney begins to suspect that the new murders are related to her mother's death and fears she may be the ultimate target.

[Link Removed]  Naomi Watts plays Rachel Keller, a journalist who launches an undercover investigation into the mysterious deaths of several teenagers, including her own niece.  She learns that each of the kids was found in very similar states and had died at exactly the same time. Furthermore, they were al l inexplicably linked to an odd video tape that Rachel herself watches during the investigation. As she gets closer to the truth, she discovers that she is racing the clock to break the curse before she becomes its next victim.


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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lisa Middlesworth wrote Feb 13, 2009
    • These are all really good scary movies. My most recent favorite would have to be Mr. Brooks. It was really good.
      I really enjoy the phycological thrillers.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lisa Middlesworth wrote Feb 13, 2009
    • BTW Feather, you just gave me a fabulous idea. I was trying to think of a form of entertainment for my son and his girlfriend tonight. I think we will have a movie night...she hates scary movies and he loves them.
      Maybe she will feel better being here with us instead of in a movie theater.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Feathermaye wrote Feb 13, 2009
    • I have to admit that I’m a big fan of Mr. Brooks too. I’m normally pretty harsh on Kevin Costner films, because I believe he is the same person in each one. He really steps outside the lines in this one, though.

      Maybe you can find out what it is about horror films your son’s girlfriend doesn’t like? If she’s wary of blood and guts, then Bug and The Mist would be a good double feature. Bug is completely a psychological mind-trip, and The Mist is as dystopian as it gets. Although the tension is high, neither gets all that bloody.

      Or maybe start her out with the comedy Shaun of the Dead and ease her into Interview With the Vampire. I mean, it is Brad Pitt, after all!

      Be sure and let me know how it goes! And thanks for your comments!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Feathermaye wrote Feb 13, 2009
    • On second thought (the more I think about what I just wrote), the Mist probably isn’t a good alternative to blood and guts. The creature effects are pretty intense, and there is some gore that initially escaped my sleepy mind. ohhhh

      Rosemary’s Baby is a classic, fewer dazzling effects but preys upon the mind a bit. Try that instead.

      Whew—crisis averted!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Feathermaye wrote Feb 13, 2009
    • relocated comment to bottom



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote Feb 13, 2009
    • You would think I would be a writer ar an actress since I have such an overactive imagination.

      I cannot watch the ring ever again..... I lived in a newer house in MI that had a sump pump in the basement (up to this point in my life I never lived with a sump pump). Basements on good days creep me out but after seeing the ring I would NEVER go in my basement alone. The sump pump reminded me so much of that stupid well.......shivers!

      Anyways good list, I have seen them all except Bug and the Grudge....might be fun for Valentines night.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lisa Middlesworth wrote Feb 13, 2009
    • I’m not real big on the gore, but my husband and son love it. The saw movies!!! OMG they have seen every one of them. I saw maybe the first few minutes of the first one and I knew it wasn’t for me.
      Maybe Rosemary’s baby would be a good one to start her out with.
      Thanks Feather, you are my movie shero!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mztracy wrote Feb 13, 2009
    • Being a horror movie ho....lol these were all pretty good.

      I saw two other ones yesterday, one which made me get real edgy. love those kind.

      Just wish all the ‘remakes’ would stop.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Feathermaye wrote Feb 13, 2009
    • Which were they, Tracy? I haven’t seen good new horror in a long time.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cindylouwho1966 wrote Feb 13, 2009
    • Ho‘rror chick! ha

      The Shining, what a great movie, I mean, a classic. I like the supernatural thrillers, I am not at all a fan of gore.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Denise Richardson wrote Feb 13, 2009
    • Yes, Mr Brooks is a goodie I have that one in my collection.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mary Clark wrote Feb 13, 2009
    • Can’t watch the horror movies....just can’t...call me a wimp...I don’t care ....



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Daphne wrote Feb 13, 2009
    • I won’t watch horror movies, either!  If my shoulders go up, the movie goes OFF!  LOL



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Feathermaye wrote Feb 14, 2009
    • I truly love a good horror movie. I love psychological suspense/horror in particular, but enjoy a well-done creature feature (Signs from M. Knight Shyamalan is a great example), too.

      I’ve seen a lot of cheesy horror in my day too, but don’t really need the gratuitous blood and guts.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mztracy wrote Feb 19, 2009
    • one of my favs is a real unknown, Fear of the Dark . No gore, just scary images and 'jumps' One small blood when a finger gets cut. small cut. lol  

      I was totally into 100 feet  until the end when a really stupid fight occured. It killed it for me.

      The one i saw the other day was called, Funny Games  with naomi watts and tim roth. Total psychological thriller.

      I’m big into the horror genre. When i was younger my sister got me hooked on the bela lugosi movies. I’m not a fan of gore fests though.

      I am getting kind of tired of all the remakes of the classics. Now they turn them into blood fests. Guess there are no good horror writers anymore.

      Hey feather, we should write of new horror flick for the big screen!!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Angelcart wrote Feb 25, 2009
    • So many awesome horror movies.  The one that has stuck with me the most was “The Exorcist“.  I saw that at the drive in with my PARENTS when I was probably 12???  I’m not superstitous...but weejee (sp?) boards freak me out!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Jenni0811 wrote Mar 4, 2009
    • All great classics.....but my fav current run is the SAW series..... We had an outdoor movie party featuring the original SAW film...



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