My Haunted Writing Clinic post is here.

Today is the second week of the Express Yourself Meme, as well as the second week of the October Memoir and Backstory Blog Challenge. This week’s topic for the former bloghop is:

List 5 movies/books that causes the hair to stand up on your neck.

1.  Cocoon (1985). That is one of the movies I refuse to ever watch again, and if I should flit by it while channel-surfing, I won’t stick around. I’m still not sure why my parents thought it was cool to take a kid my age to see that in the theatre. One of the scariest movie moments of my life was when that woman steps out of her skin by the pool and reveals herself to be an alien.

Some years later, when I was 12, I was watching TV with the teen babysitter at my dad’s then-boss’s annual holiday party while the adults were out at a restaurant or something. The boss’s kids were probably asleep, so we went downstairs to entertain ourselves while the grownups were gone. That movie just had to come on, and I had to pretend not to be completely freaked out all over again as the babysitter was gushing about how neat it was that that woman stepped out of her skin!

2.  Just about anything with Lon Chaney, Sr., one of my favoritest male actors and perhaps the greatest male star of the silent era. He was the master of horror and the macabre, and at the same time brought such a human dimension to the villains and underdogs he played. It’s such a tragedy how he died just weeks after his first and only sound film was released. (He had a fantastic voice!) He’d been slated to play Dracula, and probably would’ve been in Frankenstein and Freaks as well.

Just a sampling of Lon’s hair-raising films: The Phantom of the Opera (1925), The Unknown (1927, and co-starring a young Joan Crawford), The Penalty (1920), He Who Gets Slapped (1924).

3.  Though it’s not a horror film at all, Harold Lloyd’s best-known film, Safety Last! (1923), makes my hair stand on end. The first time I watched the famous building-climbing scene, I gasped several times. Even if you’re not familiar with the third great silent comedy genius, you’ve probably seen the picture of a bespectacled man hanging from the hands of a large clock over traffic. I obviously knew what the outcome would be, but I got so caught up in the story that I wondered if he’d make it.

It’s even more hair-raising knowing he was missing two fingers. Following a near-fatal accident in 1919, Harold had to have two fingers on his right hand amputated, and wore a prosthetic glove onscreen for the rest of his career. Harold is one of my favorite famous lefties, even though he (probably) wasn’t born that way.

4.  There’s one particularly hair-raising scene in The Conquering Power (1921), one of my favorite Rudy Valentino films. The bad guy, Père Grandet, gets locked in his precious gold vault, and he begins having horrific hallucinations which include a creepy golden figure advancing towards him and declaring: “All your life you have sought me. Now you are mine!”

5.  The dramatic, creepy penultimate scene of the 1932 classic Freaks is one of the all-time most hair-raising film moments, as all the “freaks” crawl through the mud during a night thunderstorm on their way to exact revenge on two of the few non-freaks in the film.

I started kindergarten in 1985. Due to some childhood issues I’d prefer not to publicly elaborate on, here are some 1985 songs from my vinyl collection:

Under a Raging Moon is one of Roger’s best solo albums. If you’re interested in exploring his solo career, this is one of the quintessential albums to get.

Because Pete is Pete, White City is billed as a novel. It’s definitely one of his top studio solo albums. It’s the story of Jimmy from Quadrophenia, all grown up.

Why did I not know about this beautiful album till last year? And yes, this is where I got the new name for the protagonist of my hiatused sci-fi Bildungsroman. Nothing wrong with the name Casey, but I like MC names that are more than just “there.” Arcadia is so much more memorable!

11 thoughts on “Hair-Raising Movies and 1985

  1. Those sound like some amazing classic horror stories. I’ve only seen Cocoon and I don’t remember being scared, but maybe I just need to see it again after all these years.

    Great list and thanks for sharing. I’m #4 on the linky if you want to check out what gives me the creeps. =)


  2. I know I’ve watched Cocoon before, but I couldn’t remember any of it, not even the fact that it was about aliens until I read what you wrote. :/

    Those are some cool facts about Harold Lloyd, especially his two fingers being amputated.

    Thanks for participating in the Express Yourself meme!


  3. I didn’t worry too much about Cocoon, but those silent movies are great. Harold Lloyd hanging off a clock face is one of the enduring images of the silver screen. I really enjoyed reading your list and look forward too more.




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