Lazy Sunday: Scary Summer Movie

By Kay Gardiner
Air Conditioning + Easy Knitting + Screaming Your Head Off = Summer Fun

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55 Comments
  • “When A Stranger Calls” is pretty scary. I remember seeing Jaws at the drive-in when it first came out.

  • I have no recommendations because NOTHING IS BETTER than JAWS!!!! Best movie ever 🙂 What a great idea, I think I’ll watch it today while I knit Granito.

  • Jaws has been playing this summer at our neighborhood $3 movie theatre to good crowds. Better yet, they are known for their good popcorn with real butter.

  • Play Misty for Me: I remember watching it on a 12″ B&W television in my dorm room in 1980. Scared the bejeebers out of me and my roommate.

  • Jaws is a masterpiece! The cast is perfect and Spielberg is a genius of the long uninterrupted camera shot (I’ve watched it so many times I may have done some analysis.)

  • Night of the Hunter and Eye of the Needle. The later is best served on a fall or winter day, fireplace going and rain lashing the windows.

    • Oh, yes, I overlooked the former. “Leaning, leaning; leaning on the everlasting arms,” Mitchum made a great villain here and in Cape Fear. Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt is another good one.

    • Oh yes, Eye of the Needle! Donald Sutherland and Kate Nellligan!

  • Speaking of the Devil, if you still can’t watch The Exorcist, which you really should try sometime, then go for Rosemary’s Baby, a much more psychological horror movie. It’s really a brilliant, twisty suspense story. Also, seek out Dead of Night, an old British film that’s like a compilation of Twilight Zone episodes–with a remarkable twist. Periodically shown on TCM.

    Finally, there’s always the genius of Hitchcock. Psycho and The Birds. That is all.

    • To this day The Birds scares the bejeezus out of me. My 12 year old brother made me watch it with him when I was 8, and I have not recovered!

    • Second that emotion to Night of the Hunter and Dead of Night. Black and White classic scary movies. Also, The Uninvited (Ray Milland – Cornelia Otis Skinner!)

    • Psycho! My high school English teacher had written his master’s thesis on Psycho, and would watch it with his classes every once in awhile. He’d make sure that by the shower scene he was strategically placed behind the jumpiest girl, then scream just add the curtain is pulled. It was awesome. He also explained all the bird symbolism and cinematography, which was super fun.

  • I am right there with you about horror movies. Last one I saw was the original *Carrie* (that’s how long ago it was and how old I am!) The summer *Jaws* came out, everyone at the beach went to see it except me and next day, I was the only one to go swimming! I would recommend *The Sixth Sense*.

  • Yes, Carrie is great and really not that scary until the very end.

    I would recommend Hitchcock’s Rear Window, which is more of a thriller than a scary movie. Set in the summer in the city, you get that sticky hot feeling of city heat pre-AC, and then of course Grace Kelly’s amazing Edith Head summer dresses.

  • And speaking of sneaky cousins, let’s talk about my first exposure to the scary movie genre. When I was about nine (in the Pleistocene era), my sixteen-year-old cousin took me and her little sister (ten) to see a McHale’s Navy movie. (Yes, there was a spin-off of the TV show with Ernest Borgnine.) What she didn’t tell us (or our mothers) was that the second feature was something called Black Sabbath, a cheesy horror flick featuring a doddering Boris Karloff, vampires, and some bloody heads on poles. We screamed our heads off and still talk about it to this day.

  • “Wait Until Dark”. The right kind of scary, plus Audrey Hepburn.

    • Yes!! As I was reading the comments, I was trying to remember this title. It is terrifying. I am not a big fan of horror movies and often watch from around the corner of the doorway. Easier to escape at home than Ina theatre!

    • I was going to recommend that one too! Alan Arkin is SO scary, and Audrey is amazing.

    • YES! I have chills just thinking about it!!

  • A big YES to Jaws and anything Hitchcock! One of my favorites, Alien, has often been described as “Jaws in Space.” I remember being so scared I was paralyzed and couldn’t leave my seat for at least ten minutes. I never looked at a pregnant woman the same way again.

    • Yes to Alien–the first version. Jawsf in Space is a good way to describe it. I wonder if that was the original pitch line.

  • “No Country for Old Men.” My husband was our movie guru and he conned me and my sister into this one. It’s a good movie but not what we expected.

    • It’s a great movie (I need to see it again) Javier Bardem is scaryexcellent and I love, love Tommy Lee Jones.

    • Love that movie

  • I have to vote for “Wait Until Dark”. The first time I saw this movie was in a really large theater and when ‘the’ scary moment happened, the WHOLE theater gasped! EVERYBODY! I have seen this movie a couple of times since then, and it still happens, every time, even though we all know what’s coming. Great scary movie.

    • My brother, in his 20’s, said he screamed when seeing Wait Until Dark and that I should go see it. I was also barely in my 20’s and went to see it. When the moment happened I jumped, but no scream. I thought my brother was too sensitive. Then the Real Moment came and I screamed along with everyone else. It turns out my brother was normal. Such a great movie.

    • We had a neighbor who was watching the movie with her legs crossed and her shoe dangling off her foot. When the moment happened she jumped and her shoe sailed about 3 rows in front of her. I still get a good laugh out of that story!

  • I was afraid to swim in a pool after seeing Jaws in 1975. Open Water is another suspense-nothing on the level as Jaws but another ocean/shark suspense. Also The Shallows. These will satisfy any other shark movie urges:)

    • I loved Open Water too. that could totally happen. ‘primal terror’ indeed. But true confession: ever since I started my family, I cannot muster up the courage for scary movies. I am one of those ‘imagine the worst scenario’ stressymoms. Working on it.

  • Oh-when you listed The Exoricist it reminded me of us taking a Brazil exchange student to see it in 1974. She was so afraid (and I am sure there was a language barrier) the host family had to take her to a priest afterwards. I still feel bad….

  • Last summer I had the pleasure of watching Jaws 1 &2 with my eldest boy. I was secretly happy that he was scared by it, too (you think that they’re so blase sometimes!) I love its pacing. I think Richard Dreyfuss is the cat’s pajamas. I recently saw an event advertised on FB where they were screening Jaws beside an outdoor public pool: like a swim-in? anyway I would be too much of a scaredy-cat, that’s just *too immersive for me, ha-ha. Yes I agree with Jo-Anne, ‘When a stranger calls’ had the same lasting effect on me.

  • I recommend Fried Green Tomatoes, which I watched yesterday on Showtime. I found it scary that I read ‘The Total Woman’, spent $$$$ on Mary Kay, and took assertiveness training classes just like in the movie! Even scarier, is that racism still exists in our country. Filmed in the hot, steamy South, and well worth watching again. Can be rented on Amazon Prime. https://www.amazon.com/Fried-Green-Tomatoes-Kathy-Bates/dp/B000ICZD4I/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1500214860&sr=1-1&keywords=fried+green+tomatoes

  • I haven’t seen a horror film since ‘Blair Witch’ in the theatre in Montréal. That was a proper scare. And while I was a huge fan of Stephen King’s novels in high school; can’t bring myself to see them made into films. *the absolute worst* would be the Shining. I have talked with friends whose parents took them to see this film when it came out, they were 9 (?) or 10 (?) One of them couldn’t sleep for weeks afterwards.

  • Steven King’s “Cujo”. The scariest movies to me are the things that could happen.

  • ‘Wait until Dark’ is a big Yes…Alan Arkin is truly creepy….but there is nothing like a good haunted house movie like ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ “whatever walks there walks alone” heh heh

  • My dorm friends and I went to see Wait Until Dark at least twice. And we still screamed and nearly jumped out of our seats every time (as did the entire audience).

  • Jaws is a classic! For campy horror fun, I recommend ‘Grizzly’- giant grizzly bear goes after tent campers. We were just old enough (13-14 yo) to find it more funny than scary. Not necessarily summer movies, but scary- Nosferatu, the original Dracula movie, and Cronos, another vampire movie. I double-checked that the doors were locked for a week after seeing Cronos. (both vampire movies are Netflix DVD) Cronos may be subtitled; it’s also Guillermo del Toro’s directorial debut.

  • All of the old Hitchcock. More suspense than horror.

  • Rosemary’s Baby, Summer in the City. I still covet Mia Farrow’s crisp yellow maternity dress (even if she was carrying the Spawn of Satan).

  • This is great! I’m taking notes. It’s perfect for our vacation week of reading, knitting, movies, and some (cool of the day) walks on the beach. Staying away from the water line, of course!

  • Kay, you showed excellent judgement that day in the parking lot re: The Exorcist. I saw it (as an adult!) and practically needed therapy to recover. xoA

  • “Play Misty for Me” I deliciously scary.

  • There’s a brand new movie, something about a ghost, with Casey Affleck.

  • I love that line in Jaws about “needing a bigger boat”. As for scary (but not horror) movies, I ‘d suggest Cape Fear (both older and newer versions), or for some Cold War dread, On the Beach (the older movie, not the modern remake). The book is also very good.

    • Yes, I saw the original Cape Fear with Robert Mitchum as a TV rerun. It scared me then, and would scare me now if I would be stupid enough to watch it again. I also can’t watch Cujo, Wait Until Dark anymore, and remember When A Stranger Calls (with Carol Kane) to be very chilling. I have never seen Jaws, The Birds, The Ecorsist, or The Omen.

  • I saw The Omen in the theater without knowing the plot. The thought of it still scares me, and I was the one who wanted to go! Gregory Peck and Lee Remick, I thought, what a great pairing. My husband still reminds me of that date 41 years later. I saw The Exorcist at the drive-in, which I think diluted some of the scary. Plus I was with friends which helped. That’s pretty much the end of my scary movie experience. I discovered they really do scare me and don’t watch them on purpose. I haven’t even seen Jaws.

  • I recommend Charade. (But I always recommend Charade.) I second the Hitchcock suggestions. A good creepy movie (that I saw in the theatre) is Shallow Grave. Disturbed me for weeks. I saw the beginning of House of Sand and Fog at the drive in, but it was too creepy and we went home early.

  • Jurassic Park, the original, on the Big Screen if you can find it. Let the Right One in (the Swedish version, not the inferior American remake. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. OK, those last two are vampire movies but they’re fantastic. Subtitled, though, so maybe not so great for knitting.

  • How about the original Poltergeist? Not bloody, but definately atmospheric and creepy.

  • A bit late but Remember Me on PBS is very spooky!!!!
    Premiered last night.

  • Maybe not the scariest, but worth watching nonetheless, is Rosemary’s Baby.

  • Midnight Lace, Dial M for Murder and Rear Window

  • OK. So you know Amy and I love Scary movies right? I like thrillers as I’ve gotten older. When I watch them with Mom it always irritates me because she reads so many damn books she ALWAYS figures out the plot twists. I recommend Derailed with Jennifer Aniston. You may not think much of her acting chops, but she is seriously good in this movie. Next Favorite not so-scary, but yes kinda scary is Poltergeist. Last but not least Rosemary’s baby, which you will never watch, but seriously has some excellent cinematography and shots of Dakota in it.

  • The Others, with Nicole Kidman! Creepy, but not gory. Also, one of my most favorite movies of all time, M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village, which is more period/ suspense. Save that for a day when you’re longing for fall.

  • I highly recommend “Bubba Hotep”. It is a wonderful blend of suspenseful and funny. “Lake Placid” is supposed to be scary in the “Jaws” vein, but being from an Aroostook county Maine family myself, I mostly found it hilarious.