I have a confession to make.
I was not always the stalwart horror icon that you see before you today. No, little Lou was a downright scaredy-cat. Hard to believe, I know, but I was an iconically neurotic and easily-terrified child – having conniptions over Bear in the Big Blue House for weeks after I accidentally saw three seconds of it after The Tweenies (which, in retrospect, was actually a lot more unsettling), refusing to sleep with a Joker t-shirt in my room after I saw The Dark Knight, and unfathomably freaked-out by a cartoon ghost in a Monkey Island game.
I’m still not entirely sure what changed that for me – I mean, I’m pretty sure it was watching The Mummy for the first time and realizing how much fun all of this could be when it was done right, but that shift from cowering ball of girl-shaped terror to avid horror fan is still not a jump that I have been fully able to trace. But hey – looking back on that freaky-deaky shit seemed fun for Kevin, and I want in on the action, too, so let’s take a look at the scariest chills of my childhood – and the horror movies I’ll never forget.
The Cover of Halloween H20
Okay, so this one isn’t even actually a movie, technically. Halloween H20 is the best of all the Halloween sequels, for reference, but it was one that I avoided for literally years as an adult because of just spotting the very neutral and not-that-spooky cover of a VHS tape one of my neighbours had when I was growing up. The glint of the knife, the dark of that mask – I was fascinated just as much as I was terrified. And God, was I terrified. It was more that I knew what it meant than what it actually was – here, there be monsters.
That’s a dead kid. That’s a dead kid. That’s a dead kid. I’m pretty sure that Casper introduced me to the concept that children could be dead and that I, as a child, could very much not be alive at any given moment. You know how many OCD rituals I had to introduce just to survive after seeing this film? I’m still moderately distressed by the very notion of this existing.
The House on Haunted Hill
You’d think, really, that it would be safe to go with a campy Vincent Price horror classic that barely inched above a PG rating, right? That no person over the age of foetus could be scared by that. Well, you’d be wrong. This film is about the jankiest, silliest haunted house movie that you could ask for, with Halloween party skeletons on strings as the main villains, and I can still remember the cold grip of terror that consumed me when I saw that thing clacking plastically towards the camera. Not even my burgeoning crush on Vincent Price could get me through it unscathed.
By Louise MacGregor
Header Image: Consequence of Sound