The Halloween holiday brings with it trick-or-treating, spooky decorations and, of course, horror movies.


The Halloween holiday brings with it trick-or-treating, spooky decorations and, of course, horror movies.

I polled the Kansan staff last week to find out what their favorite horror flicks are, having each person who participated write down their Top 10 favorites. Movies then were given points, depending on their ranking. A No. 1 was given 10 points and on down to one point for No. 10. Points then were tabulated.

Not all people listed 10 movies, because, at least in one case, one of my co-workers had only ever seen two horror movies, which were “The Ring” and “Army of Darkness,” movies I really like.

I told co-workers they also could include horror comedies, such as “Bride of Chuckie.”

I’m only going to list the top six horror movie favorites because there were some ties, and this will incorporate 10 movies. This is the Kansan’s pick of our faves:

1. “The Shining.”

2. “A Nightmare on Elm Street.”

3. Tie with “Army of Darkness” and “The Exorcist.”

4. “Psycho.”

5. Tie with four movies — “The Sixth Sense,” “Texas Chain Saw Massacre,” “Children of the Corn” and “Halloween.”

6. “The Ring.”

No. 1: ‘The Shining’

The Kansan’s top horror movie of all time is Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” (1980), starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall. The movie is based on the book of the same name by Stephen King.

Somewhere I heard Stephen King didn’t like this version as well as the made-for-TV version, which came out this century, I believe, and he even has a cameo appearance by King as the orchestra conductor.

I remember reading the book when I was a teen.

It’s about a family of three that moves to a large hotel in Colorado during the winter, where they serve as caretakers of the empty hotel. An evil presence influences Jack, the father, into becoming violent while the psychic son, Danny, sees the past and future. Think “Redrum.”

The hotel used in the film is the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colo., which apparently is haunted and where the TV show “Ghost Hunters” has filmed at least twice.

For some strange reason Duvall was nominated as worst actress in the Razzie Awards, and Kubrick was nominated for worst director in the same awards for this movie. I must say I thought Nicholson’s acting was excellent, as usual.

No. 2: ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’

If I’m not mistaken, “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984) was Johnny Depp’s film debut.

This is the story about a child murderer who kills the offspring of the lynch mob that killed him in their dreams.

This has never been one of my favorite horror flicks. I just find Freddy to be irritating because he talks too much. When I saw “Freddy vs. Jason,” I was cheering for Jason.

This flick was not in my Top 10 list.

No. 3: ‘Army of Darkness’

and ‘The Exorcist’

“Army of Darkness” (1992) is a cult classic, loved by many, at least loved by the Kansan and others I know.

It’s the last film in the “Evil Dead” trilogy, a Sam Raimi of the Spider-Man films and Bruce Campbell collaboration. On the imdb.com Web site, it says the movie is written by Sam Raimi and Ivan Raimi; I’m guessing they’re brothers. One of the actors is listed as Ted Raimi, so that must be another relation. He plays cowardly warrior, second supportive villager and S-Mart clerk.

This movie is a horror comedy, and has quite of few corny, but effective lines. Remember when Campbell as Ash says, “Give me some sugar, baby?”

It’s about a man, Ash, who travels back to 1300 A.D., where he is forced to battle an army of the dead and get the Necronomicon in order to return home. He sports a chain saw in place of his hand, which he chopped off in “Evil Dead 2” because the hand was trying to kill him.

I just noticed on the Internet there’s an “Army of Darkness II” in the works for 2010, directed by Sam Raimi. If it’s true, I’m excited. I hope Bruce Campbell is in it.

“The Exorcist” is a classic, made in 1973 and stars Linda Blair as Regan and Ellen Burstyn as her mother, Chris MacNeill. This movie is always good for a scare. It’s about a teen who is possessed by a demon and a couple of priests’ attempts to cast that demon out.

No. 4: ‘Psycho’

How can you beat a crazy man, Norman Bates, killing women he’s attracted to at the Bates’ Motel (spoiler warning) dressed as his mother in “Psycho” (1960)?

It’s another classic Alfred Hitchcock tale; I love that it’s filmed in black and white.

It’s about a young woman who steals $40,000 from her employer’s client and ends up encountering the proprietor of a motel.

There’s many classic things from this movie, including the shower scene and the killer music.

No. 5: ‘The Sixth Sense,’ ‘Texas Chain Saw Massacre,’ ‘Children of the Corn’ and ‘Halloween’

I remember actually screaming during one scene in “The Sixth Sense” (1999). It was when a ghost lady walked by the camera in the kid’s apartment. It stars Bruce Willis as Dr. Malcolm Crowe, Haley Joel Osment as Cole Sear, Toni Collette as Lynn Sear and Olivia Williams as Anna Crowe.

It’s about a boy, Cole, who as he says, “I see dead people,” gets help from a child psychologist. It has a twist at the end, so I won’t spoil it if you haven’t seen it already.

“Texas Chain Saw Massacre” (1974) was chosen as a No. 5 by my co-workers. I’ve never seen it, but I did see the remake. The original, I hope, is better than the remake.

The imdb.com site describes it, “Five friends visiting their grandpa's old house are hunted down and terrorized by a chain saw-wielding killer and his family of grave-robbing cannibals.” Sounds gory — not what I like in a horror flick. I like a scary mood with not a lot of gore.

“Children of the Corn” (1984) is another movie I’ve not seen. I hear it’s really scary. It’s about children who kill all adults in the town of Gatlin, Neb. I think I’ve seen parts of “Children of the Corn Part Five” or something on SyFy, but that’s about it.

I just learned “Children of the Corn” stars Linda Hamilton of “Terminator” fame and is based on a Stephen King short story.

“Halloween” (1978) probably is my favorite horror flick. It has creepy moodiness; a serial killer/mass murderer on the loose, Michael Myers; jack-o-lanterns; my favorite holiday, Halloween; and a quiet killer, unlike Freddy Krueger. As I’ve said before, I didn’t like the Rob Zombie remake. I also thought that movie had too much — too much blood, too much nudity and too much explaining.

There is a lot of killin’ in the original but hardly any blood.

No. 6: ‘The Ring’

When my youngest son and I saw this movie, we got kinda freaked out. I really like “The Ring” (2002) and own it on DVD. I liked when the ghost girl (spoiler alert) crawled through the TV to kill a guy. The whole movie was good at incorporating technology with a ghost and other paranormal activity.

It involves a single mom, played by Naomi Watts, who comes upon a VCR tape and realizes anyone who sees it dies.

I’ve heard it’s an American remake of a Japanese ghost movie called “Za Ringu,” which I haven’t seen. The Japanese really are good at making spooky ghost movies, and we’re good at copying them, it seems.

Wendy Nugent is the Accent page and Play editor and is the lead photographer at the Kansan.