5 Movies You Shouldn’t Watch Before Going To Bed
We all do it – we’re home alone and suddenly get the bright idea that we’re brave enough to watch a scary movie alone. I’m not even talking about straight horror movies; there are plenty of films out there that aren’t horror movies that will still scare audiences (A Clockwork Orange, anyone?)!
Let’s pretend that you decide that you’re brave enough and grab that movie off of the shelf (or out of your Netflix queue). You’re halfway through it when you realize that it probably wasn’t the brightest idea you’ve ever had… and now you’re stuck in the dark, by yourself and it’s bed time.
Sucks to be you.
To avoid this type of terror inducing situation, here are a list of movies you should NEVER watch alone (or even with another person!) before trying to sleep.
[Warning: There might be spoilers for the movies mentioned.]
The Ring was really the first mainstream film to use the Japanese horror techniques that have been around for years. Samara’s movements and overall look caused some of my toughest friends to scream like little girls and throw their hands up to shield themselves from the movie.
It was awesome.
But totally not one to watch before you want to get a good night sleep. The premise of The Ring is simple – there’s this video tape that you really shouldn’t watch. If you ARE unfortunate enough to watch it you’ve pretty much sealed your death sentence.
In seven days, you’ll be deader than a doornail and, well, it’s not pretty. The effects alone in The Ring are enough to keep you awake for days – there’s a scene about 15 minutes into the film that I still find myself getting creeped out at if I let myself think about it. After watching the video it’s not even safe for you to pick up the phone anymore; you’ll just be greeted with a creepy whispering voice that tells you how many days you have left to live.
The other thing I should mention about The Ring? Yeah, they show you the tape that you should be avoiding. So not only do you know that the CHARACTERS shouldn’t watch the tape, as an audience member (where you’re supposed to be safe!!) director Gore Verbinski plays the blasted thing for you in all its creepy glory.
My advice? Turn off your cell phone, unplug the landline, and pull the covers over your head. It’s only a movie after all…
Both the remake (2005) and the original (1979) are great movies – and I don’t say that about a lot of horror “reboots”. But The Amityville Horror story is scary enough to hold its own even when it was given a glossy Hollywood makeover.
Based on true events (or what are SAID to be based on true events) The Amityville Horror is the story of the Lutz family who moves into a home that was the scene of a horrible murder spree the year before. Since the house is perfect, and the price is right (and why wouldn’t it be? A massacre had happened within the walls – I’d put it up for sale for cheap too!) the Lutz’s decide to ignore the house’s horrible past.
Dear readers, let me offer you just a little piece of advice – if someone was murdered in a home you’re thinking of buying please don’t. Movies have shown us that it will always end badly.
Strange things start to happen in the house when the Lutz’s move in. George starts behaving in ways that start to frighten Kathy and their children, and eventually the house begins to change him to the point of violence towards his family. Strange thing is (and this is stated more in the original film than the remake) when he leaves the house he starts to feel like himself again… so why didn’t they just jump ship? One questions that I’ve always wondered.
We learn that in addition to the Defeo murders, the house was used for torture on Native Americans (rule number 2 – never buy a house on, adjacent to, or near burial grounds)… and the evil has just seared itself into the land.
The Amityville Horror is scary because it’s the HOUSE that turns on its occupants. The one place where you’re supposed to be safe, and the walls themselves don’t really want you to be happy within them. The imagery and the way that Ryan Reynolds (or James Brolin) show their changing personalities is really disturbing… especially towards the children.
Did I mention that the house itself is just as creepy as the events that unfold during the movie? The signature windows (which have since been replaced on the actual house – too many tourists randomly appearing!) make the house appear to have eyes; and that it’s watching the moves of everyone that comes through the front door.
Throw in the fact that it’s based on true events, watching The Amityville Horror before bed would require a nightlight.
Staying with the “house” theme, I’d like to really recommend not watching The Strangers if you have plans to sleep anytime in the near future. While not overly gory (there are a few parts but not the kind of gore that is generally in horror movies), The Strangers is disturbing on a level that will make your skin crawl… and will also make you afraid to open your bedroom door in the middle of the night.
A young couple is staying overnight in a family cabin after a friend’s wedding reception. The night doesn’t exactly go as planned and they end up not really on speaking terms when they get back to the house. Once there, there is a knock on the door. A young girl is at the door and asks for someone that they’ve never heard of.
They shut the door, but what they don’t know is that they are in for the scariest night of their lives.
I’m hesitant to even write a lot about this movie, because while it’s terrifying, it’s one that I feel needs to be seen by anyone that even sort of likes to be scared. I’ll try to explain without giving too much away.
The strangers are a group of three people that just terrorize poor Liv Tyler and James Hoyt. The couple hasn’t done anything wrong, they’re in their own home, and these three people (whose faces remain hidden behind masks the entire film) choose them “because they were home”. I’m not kidding – it’s a damn line from the movie. And it gave me goosebumps just to type it.
The Stragers uses minimal music, but instead has the strangers themselves making all of the noise. And with the lack of music, even the most seasoned horror movie watcher will have a hard time picking up on queues when things are about to happen.
It’s all psychological. The fact that the couple is alone on a deserted road (but at no fault of their own!), to the way the strangers set up their invasion of their home… if you want to sleep, be sure that you have a friend on speed dial because guaranteed you’ll need a friendly voice to talk you down from the fear.
But for real – see The Strangers. Just… not alone. Or before bed.
I was debating putting this on this list, because while The Shining is scary as hell, it wasn’t one that jumped out at me as being hard to sleep after you watch it. Then I thought of the scary, SCARY little girls that Danny meets at the end of the hallway and I immediately changed my mind.
Another haunted house story, only this time the house is actually a hotel. Jack Torrance, his wife Wendy, and his son Danny are the caretakers of the Overlook Hotel for the winter. The hotel is situated in the mountains of Colorado (I think) and once the family is up there, they can’t leave. The snowfall tends to be crazy high, and with the hotel’s fully stocked kitchen they don’t HAVE to leave for any reason.
Jack is a writer and decides that the peace and quiet is just what he needs to finish his book. Well, the peace and quiet turns out to be a little TOO much peace and quiet and Jack slowly starts to go mad. He sees things that aren’t there, has conversations with people that are long gone, and even makes out with a corpse. Ew.
Meanwhile, little Danny has problems of his own. He can see the past and the future and some of the things… okay, well MOST… of the things that he sees aren’t very nice. His gift is called “the shining” and poor Danny doesn’t quiet know what to do about it.
Directed by Stanley Kubrick and based on the novel by Stephen King, The Shining has images and a story line that make it hard to forget. There’s a giant tidal wave of blood, a murderous husband, and a couple of little girls that are scarier than the rest combined.
I can’t write a piece about movies not to watch before you sleep without talking about The Exorcist. When it was released in theaters, people fainted, threw up, and left in the middle from fear. Now, I’ve never done any of these things when watching this movie, but it is a film that will stick with you and possibly sleep with some holy water or a crucifix… just in case.
The Exorcist is the story of Regan, a young girl that gets possessed by a demon. One thing to note – it is not Satan that is possessing Regan; the demon’s name is Pazuzu, which personally, makes the film scarier for me. If THAT’S what happens when a person ISN’T possessed by Satan, what the hell happens when they ARE? I never want to find out.
Regan’s mother, Chris, notices the changes in her daughter and takes her to see every doctor under the sun, but no one can tell her what’s wrong with Regan. Eventually, she seeks the help of a priest who, based on the symptoms of Regan’s sickness, agrees to perform an exorcism.
That’s the story in a nutshell, but the way that the demon takes Regan’s body and the things that it makes her say and do are truly, TRULY some of the scariest things that I’ve ever seen on film. Forget gore, forget the masked man coming after you with an axe – this is deep stuff.
And scarier than any movie out there today. I love The Exorcist, but I will not watch it alone.
Well, that’s that! Five movies you shouldn’t watch if you plan to sleep that night. I’m sure that I missed a few obvious ones and I’d love hear what you think should have been on this list. Until next time – sweet dreams!
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