Are you dying to watch a horror flick but know that your spouse just can’t stomach it? Consider that problem solved. Here is a short list of top-notch horror films and spooky movies that will satisfy your need for a thrill without making your spouse keep a bucket nearby. In order of spookiness:
5) The Birds (1963) – This Alfred Hitchcock classic seems innocent enough. The movie begins with all the elements of a romantic pursuit. Then a bird arrives, and another, and another. Suddenly, the movie isn’t so sweet anymore. The events throughout the movie rise to a climax in the attic that seems to never end. This is an incredible movie for those who love to be spooked, but not terrified.
4) The Orphanage (2007) – When Laura moves back into the orphanage that was her home, you’d think it would be a peaceful experience. The secrets that she finds (or find her) bring her to a single, harrowing truth. This movie is a wonderful work of suspense that relies more on sound and atmosphere to bring the scares than gore and special effects. There’s only one brief image of gore in this flick, which is telegraphed enough in advance for you to ask your spouse to cover her eyes.
In addition, this movie is a perfect pick if what your spouse wants is somewhere between a drama and a cry movie. The Orphanage has elements of both, wrapping them in a ghost story that is more sad than scary. Just a warning: husbands may want to wear a helmet and some body armor during the movie. My wife punched me after she saw the ending to this one. Just remember, this is a CRY movie.
3) Paranormal Activity (2007) – Paranormal Activity is “The Exorcist” without the split pea soup and the crude references to a priest’s dead mother. This first-person shooter (the camera, not a gun) is actually set in the director’s home. The young couple start having ghost problems that turn into something more sinister, all with the help of the caring, but incredibly foolish boyfriend. The movie’s big scare isn’t any singular moment, but the slow transition from demonic oppression to demonic possession made by one of the characters… and people staring at you while you sleep.
2) The Ring (2002) – J-Horror fans should be extremely familiar with this title. While the American or the Japanese versions are good picks, the American version has a bit more punch when it comes to the scares. The premise is simple: if you watch the fabled, cursed video tape, you die in seven days. The kicker isn’t how you die, but what you look like when your body is found. The video tape aftermath is part of the reason why this movie was iffy for this list. Luckily, the corpse cameos are short-lived.
1) Psycho (1960) – This movie truly needs no introduction. It is a masterpiece of horror. This movie is the sole reason why I keep a close eye to what is moving behind the curtain while I’m in the shower. Trust me. You will never go wrong with this movie, unless your spouse needs to pop a few Klonopin after watching Scooby Doo cartoons. Then, you might have a problem.