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Stanley Kubrick Tag

Horror movies derive most of their power and enjoyment (you sicko) from a combination of novelty and surprise.The novelty: how the filmmakers will have this particular bad guy stalk and kill the good guys. The surprise: OHMYGODLOOKOUTBEHINDYOUDREWBARRYMORE! Nevertheless, because horror movies are eternally popular, Hollywood remakes

I’ve always been a know-it-all. I was the kid who actually did read the encyclopedia for fun, and I carried my reputation as a fount of useless knowledge into adulthood and into the workplace. Break-room conversations would wind into arcane corners, until someone would

In pop culture, lists are everything. They lend a sense of order to an otherwise orderless world. From film and literature to music, critics and readers alike love to put things in tidy rows. It is with this in mind that Popdose presents Listmania, a weekly series counting down the staff’s favorite things.

Be it zombies, vampires, ghosts, goblins or ghouls, everyone has specific fear triggers. For some of us it’s murderous dolls; others prefer the supernatural, either way most of us love a good scare. It was with this in mind that we asked the staff to list the twenty films that scared the living daylights out of them. We chopped, sliced and diced the results and came up with the twenty most terrifying moments in cinematic history, at least according to frightened masses at Popdose.

And if that isn’t scary enough, the good folks at Warner Bros. have a treat for one lucky reader: a free iTunes download of the Director’s Cut of The Exorcist, featuring never seen before behind the scenes footage and interviews with director William Friedkin, actress Linda Blair and author/screenwriter/producer William Peter Blatt. All you have to do to enter is send an e-mail to Jason with the subject “My Best Recipe for Pea Soup!” All entries must be received before midnight, October 29. The winner will be selected randomly and notified by e-mail.

If you missed the first half of the list, you can catch up here:
Popdose Listmania: Top 20 Scariest Films (20-11)

So go ahead, pop the no-doze, and whatever you do: don’t fall asleep…

“Some places are like people — some shine and some don’t.” Dick Hallorann (Scatman Crothers) in The Shining (1980)

I first saw The Shining when I was 10 or 11 years old. It was a cold Saturday afternoon in the winter, and it was just me and my dad at home. I think he was in his basement office watching sports or something and I was in the living room doing what I normally did on a cold Saturday afternoon — watching television.

I had been flipping around the channels and stopped on one of the cable channels, probably Cinemax. The scene that caught my attention was that of a little boy standing on a stool in front of a bathroom sink, talking to himself in the mirror — well, talking to his finger, actually. I was intrigued, so I kept watching.

For the next couple of hours my mind was blown. The Shining was unlike any film I’d seen before. Everything about the movie scared the shit out of me, yet when it was over I wanted to watch it again. After that first viewing I looked for it on cable, wanting to see it from the beginning. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. (This is where I tell you that I’ve never gotten around to reading the book and I’m ashamed of that.)

When I was older — probably late high school or early college — I bought the movie on VHS and watched it every night for a week. I was obsessed with it. With every viewing, I saw something I hadn’t seen previously. And since I wanted to be a writer, watching what happened to Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) as he descened into madness fascinated me. And every time I sat down to write something after that, I thought of him.


I was living in Hong Kong when Cosmic Thing was released on these shores, June 27, 1989, to be exact. I bought a lot of CDs there (and laserdiscs, if anyone still remembers those), but lacked guidance. Britpop was the local flavor of the former Crown Colony’s few critics, and reviews weren’t easy to access from abroad back then, as U.S. magazines like Rolling Stone took two months to cross the Pacific and cost a pretty penny to obtain. I had an undisciplined collection. Thanks to my friends I caught the XTC bug, hard; that was the foundation of my taste for my expat years. Left to my own devices, though, I floundered. Did I really buy Aretha Franklin’s Through the Storm? Yes.

So I was untutored in Cosmic Thing. The B-52’s I knew from “Rock Lobster,” which, if you were of a certain age, you drank warm beer to, then maybe broke out with feebly spasmodic, avant-garde-ish “dance” moves at college as it went on. I didn’t hear the rapture that greeted their fifth album’s release, as I sifted through unsold piles of Millie Jackson’s Back to the Shit and Pia Zadora’s Pia Z. at the maze-like CD and knockoff computer emporium near my office. (Nor, for that matter, did I hear the noise surrounding that month’s Hollywood blockbuster, Batman. It didn’t open in Hong Kong till Chinese New Year, eight months later. But of course I bought the Prince songtrack right away—you know, the one the guys in Shaun of the Dead throw at a zombie to pierce its skull, after rejecting other, better Prince albums as projectiles.)