Do you remember what your first scary movie was? Mine was Cujo, and I was far too young to watch it. A conversation in an online Gen X group discusses the first horror films they watched when they were way too young to watch them. Here are their top ten.
1. Poltergeist (1982)
“They’re heeeerrrrrrrre!” Yup. That phrase right there was the stuff that fueled Gen X’s nightmares. And that clown? And the Closet? TV? THE POOL? Forget it. Poltergeist made way too many real-life things scary! Knowing the bones in the pool were actual human remains to save a few bucks makes it even creepier to think about today.
2. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
A Nightmare on Elm Street introduced the world to a horrifying Freddy Kreuger (Robert Englund), who kills you in your dreams, and you die in real life. While numerous Gen X kids admit to watching the film far too young, one forum member argues she watched it in college and was “still too young!” The tongue through the phone thing? YUCK!
3. Gremlins (1984)
If you put on Gremlins thinking you’re going to watch a happy Christmas movie with cute little Gizmos, think again. Not only did Gremlins have creepy monsters, but the story about how her dad wanted to surprise them as Santa coming down the chimney was horrifying. Also, the lady on the staircase lift thing? Terrified!
4. Trilogy of Terror (1975)
Do you remember the 1975 made-for-television anthology horror film Trilogy of Terror? I don’t. But several others in the conversation do. “Trilogy of Terror with that little voodoo doll man chasing Karen Black around with the big knife. I had nightmares from that. That, for me, was the classic scary movie on TV.”
5. Burnt Offerings (1976)
Speaking of Karen Black, throw in Bette Davis and get another nightmare-inducing film, Burnt Offerings. It frightened numerous forum members. One elaborates: “Burnt Offerings was the first horror movie that scared the heck out of me as a kid. The creepy smiling chauffeur haunted my dreams.”
6. Halloween (1978)
Nothing says “Thanks, Mom, for a lifetime of nightmares,” like putting the film Halloween on for your eight-year-old self. Good grief! But that is the story for many Gen Xers in the thread. Halloween has to have one of the top three creepiest film themes of all time.
7. Jaws (1975)
Speaking of the top three scary movie themes, Jaws permanently traumatized a generation of kids from entering the ocean. That opening scene with her horrifying screams is haunting. I remember kids would put their praying hands together to make a shark fin on top of their head while taunting you with the Jaws theme and chasing after you in the lake.
8. Children of the Corn (1984)
To this day, Gen Xers admit they won’t go anywhere near a cornfield thanks to Children of the Corn. Malachai and Isaac are, to this day, two of the creepiest kids in horror movie history.
9. The Amityville Horror (1979)
The Amityville Horror documented the paranormal experiences of the Lutz family after moving into the Amityville, New York home, where convicted killer Ronald DeFeo Jr. committed the mass murder of his family in 1974. “The ghost telling them to get out haunted my imagination for weeks.”
10. Dressed to Kill (1980)
Dressed to Kill scared the bejesus out of several commenters. One moviegoer notes: “Dressed to Kill is such a sleazy, thrilling noir. I absolutely love it. The design and cinematography are incredible, and NOBODY can do Angie Dickinson better than Angie Dickinson. DePalma is at his best.” — The film contains several direct references to Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 film Psycho.
I’ve never seen this one, but I love Nancy Allen in Carrie. So, I will definitely have to check it out.
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Elizabeth Ervin is the owner of Sober Healing. She is a freelance writer passionate about opioid recovery and has celebrated breaking free since 09-27-2013. She advocates for mental health awareness and encourages others to embrace healing, recovery, and spirituality.