Looking for the ultimate Halloween entertainment experience? Six scary celebs tell all about the movies and books that kept them awake — or at least out of the shower.
Icon of screen spookiness
The scariest film I’ve ever seen is Der Golum (1920). It was a very famous movie, before Frankenstein — a sort of Jewish fairy tale-horror film. There’s this monster creation that sort of backfires. The monster’s made of clay. It’s a mud person, with a Star of David on its chest, which is the secret of its life. A child plucks the Star of David from its chest, and the monster dies. Very sad and very scary. I guess the moral is, don’t fool around with God’s word. I went to see the film as a little kid, and it just scared the hell out of me. I think I wet my pants.
Psychological thrillers like The Silence of the Lambs (1991) are just horrifying to me. The scariest thing of all is a character who can really get into people’s heads, like Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lecter. By the end of the movie, I felt as if Lecter had gotten into my mind. And you know, these dysfunctional geniuses really do exist in the world, especially in the film business.
Metaphysical mom in Rambling Rose, lipstick-smeared mom in Wild at Heart
When Bruce Dern and I were courting, he took me to see Psycho (1960). I was terrified, and when Marty Balsam got stabbed on the stairs, there was no help for me. When it was over, Bruce dropped me off, and his friend, actor Charlie Dierkop, was waiting behind the front door and jumped out with a knife. He knew we’d gone to see the movie. I screamed — almost had a fit. Bruce’s reaction was to go toward the enemy, and he attacked. He scared the hell out of Charlie, who was trying to laugh, but you could tell he was really scared.
One-man fright industry
The scariest movies I ever saw were Night of the Living Dead (1968), directed by George Romero, and Dimentia 13 (1963), Francis Coppola’s first picture. The scariest book experience I ever had would still be Lord of the Flies (1954), because it’s relentless, and William Golding convinces you that it’s very possible that nobody is going to walk away. I read that in 1960, and it’s incredible that I didn’t go insane in my 13th year.
Killer doll in Child’s Play (via creator-screenwriter Don Mancini)
Ever see Village of the Damned (1960), with those blond, blue-eyed rug rats from outer space who take over a whole town? Talk about a nightmare. The first time I saw it and one of those brats’ eyes started glowing, I jumped right into my date’s lap. Raisinets everywhere. Of course, once I got there we didn’t pay much attention to the rest of the movie. The best part is, Madonna and I have been together ever since.
Bassist for ”ultimetal” band Megadeth
I like horror books but not the gore-stab-slash-cut-’em-up kind. I go more for books with mystifying, frightening truth in them. My scariest entertainment experience was reading a book called Night Chills by Dean Koontz (1989). These bad guys put toxins in the water system in a small town. Then they use a code called ”lock and key.” It’s a form of subliminal control. Once people drink the water, they get feverish, their bones ache, and they get the chills. What really freaked me out was that after I read the book, this started happening to me. I got the chills and felt like I had a fever and stuff. It was probably because Dean Koontz put subliminal messages in the book that I couldn’t see.
Written by: Giselle Benatar, Jess Cagle, Melina Gerosa, and Taehee Kim