Scares in the Stacks

Unlike Christopher Walken in The Dead Zone or Sissy Spacek in Carrie, we here at the library don’t have extra-sensory perception, we can’t see into the future, and we can’t make stuff move with our brainwaves.  So when we want to find out information about our students—such as what their favorite creepy books and movies are—we don’t have otherworldly cognitive abilities to rely on. We have to straight up ask them what movies creep them out. The flip-board on the 3rd floor of the library by the staircase seemed like a pretty good way to encourage students to ‘fess up about what titles frighten them the most. Even better, the library actually carries some of the books and movies students cite as their top scares. Among them:
The Babadook will get you if you don’t watch out.

     The Babadook (2014) is a fantastic Australian import about an over-stimulated, hyperactive kid, his stressed-out and overworked single mother, and the terrifying storybook character who springs to life and threatens the lives, safety and sanity of both mother and child.  The visual effects in The Babadook are low tech and out of this world, and this inventive film leaves a memorable imprint upon the canon of modern horror.              

       The fantastic thing about horror is that the genre epitomizes cinema as high concept, populist entertainment. Drag me to Hell (2009) is a good example of this, with its pulpy, accessible plot: A young bank examiner (underrated actress Alison Lohman) messes with the wrong Roma when the bank she works for forecloses on a geriatric gypsy’s estate. A retaliatory hex, damnation, and chaos ensue.                    

 Evil dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987) is essentially a remake of 1981’s low budget classic Evil Dead, with a peppier pace, spiffier special effects, endlessly quotable dialogue and a huge helping of (intentional) slapstick. The entire Evil Dead trilogy (which includes 1990’s sublime Army of Darkness)–directed by Sam Raimi—is worth a binge-watch (Raimi also directed the above-mentioned Drag Me to Hell.)                    

Langsdale patrons also give props to Frankenstein, both the book by Mary Shelley and the classic 1931 film directed by James Whale; Shutter Island (2010) directed by Martin Scorsese; and an early effort by Lord of the Ringsdirector Peter Jackson, Dead Alive (1992).  You can check out students’ other spooky picks below (in case you can’t read the writing on the board.)
Students making themselves heard

  • American Mary (2012)
  • Candyman (1992)
  • Casper (1995)
  • The Changeling (1980)
  • Child’s Play(1988)
  •  Day After Tomorrow (2004)
  •  Don’t Look Under the Bed (1999)
  •  Freddy vs. Jason (2003)
  •  Friday the 13th (1980)
  • Goosebumps (book series)
  • Halloween (1978)
  •  Halloweentown (1998)
  •  Hocus Pocus (1993)
  •  Human Centipede (2009)
  •  Nightmare on Elm Street (1987)
  • Orphan (2009)
  • Pumpkin Head (1988)
  •  Scary Movie (2000)
  • The Stand (book by Stephen King)
  • The Strangers (2008)

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