I love the month of October. Leaves swirl in the wind, the days get cooler. At the end of the day there is nothing better than lighting a fire, pouring a glass of wine, and scaring the living daylights out of yourself with a scary movie!
In honor of Halloween and all things creepy, I have put together the top 3 scary stories that have terrified me both in my youth and as an adult. Feel free to comment and share some of your favorites!
Watcher in the Woods
We have none other than Disney to thank for releasing this terrifying tale that scarred me psychologically as a child.
Watcher in the Woods is the story of a family who moves into an English manor rife with supernatural activity. The family learns that the caretaker's daughter disappeared from the property 30 years prior. The two sisters living in the home now are haunted by visions, apparitions, and unexplained lights in the woods. They decide to unravel the mystery of the missing girl, which has links to other worldly phenomena and the occult. Yes, this was marketed as a kid's movie!
I saw this movie at a sleepover when I was in first or second grade. It disturbed me so much that I thought about it fearfully for the next couple of years. This movie combines so many things that are frightening to kids: ghosts, kidnapping, aliens, and demonic possession.
The part of the movie that horrified me the most was the appearance of the lost girl in the mirror, blindfolded and screaming "Help me!" Disney really knew how to tap into the stuff of nightmares on this one.
Fun fact: Bette Davis played the creepy caretaker of the home, and Kyle Richards of Real Housewives fame played the possessed little sister.
A Haunting in Connecticut
"A Haunting" was a series that documented real life ghost stories using re-enactments and interviews with people who experienced the paranormal. This particular episode was one that made me sleep with the lights on afterward.
A family decides to move into a house that used to be a funeral home. Yikes. They rent the house because it is cheap and close to where their son is receiving cancer treatment. Guess where the son has to sleep? Why, in the basement, of course, where there are all kinds of old-timey embalming tools lying around. It's not long before the family experiences strange noises and apparitions.
The son starts getting visits from the demonic spirit of the funeral director at night, which causes him to go into evil tirades during the day. Discovery doesn't go for broke with cheesy effects. They build the story slowly, enhancing the fear factor with a gravelly voiced narrator and spooky mood music. In the end, the family reaches out to paranormal investigators and even go as far as exorcising the home.
- If this guy came into your room at night, wouldn't you run screaming?
The actual family that experienced the haunting narrates the story, giving it that true-to-life feeling that makes it believable. "A Haunting in Connecticut" was made into a film a few years ago, but was criticized for being too gimmicky and gory. Discovery Channel hit just the right note with it's subtle story telling.
Unsolved Mysteries-Disappearance of Adam Hecht
This is not a horror story or a ghost story. It's not classically "scary", but it's freaky and it's true. I was an avid watcher of Unsolved Mysteries when it aired originally. A few years ago I caught some re-runs and learned of a case I hadn't heard of before: the story of Adam Hecht.
Adam Hecht was a bright, good-looking guy living in Beverly Hills. He unexpectedly befriended a homeless man named "Tony", who Adam met outside of a restaurant in L.A.
In order to expand his world view, Adam decided to explore the lives of the homeless-was it compassion? Curiosity? He winds up asking Tony to move in with him (NOT a good idea!) and frequently visits Skid Row with Tony to hand out supplies and food to the homeless.
Adam invites Tony to his mother's house for dinner. Naturally, Adam's mother was alarmed by the relationship between her son and a random homeless guy. She noticed that Adam had burns on his hands. Apparently he and Tony were taking part in "rituals" that would help in "self discovery". Oh my gravy, that part of the segment raised the hair on the back of my neck.
It gets worse. No one heard from Adam for a few days, so his mom goes to his apartment to check on him. Tony answers the door but will not let her in. He claims he doesn't know where Adam is. When she goes back again, Tony tries to kiss her and screams at her "I'm your son!"
- Adam's car was found weeks after he was last seen. Inside were his car keys and wallet containing $600 in cash.
Adam's family threw Tony out of the apartment and Adam was never seen again. Police find no evidence that Tony had anything to do with Adam's disappearance.
This whole case just gives me the willies. It has so many creep factors: the dark underbelly of Skid Row, possible occult rituals, deranged behavior. Did Adam disappear from his life of luxury voluntarily? Did he meet with foul play at the hands of Tony? No updates on this one.
Adam Hecht has not been seen or heard from since 1989.
Ok readers, weigh in! Who saw Watcher in the Woods as a kid and was scared to sleep alone afterward? Any other Unsolved Mysteries buffs out there? What's your favorite scary movie?