I generally dislike horror (sorry, horror editors and writers).

I’ve written a handful of horror stories myself—“Felicitas” published first in Desire Burn: Women Writing from the Dark Side of Passion (Carrol & Graf), republished in Strange Ladies: 7 Stories (Bast Books); “Guardian,” published first in Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, republished in Strange Ladies: 7 Stories (Bast Books); “Riddle” published first in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, republished in ODDITIES: 22 Stories; “Aurelia” published first in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, republished in ODDITIES: 22 Stories; and “Mysteries of Ohio” republished in ODDITIES: 22 Stories.

So just a handful.

And not gruesome horror stories. I’ve read some horror stories—and seen some movies—that, after it was all over, I wish I hadn’t put that vision in my consciousness.

Some horror movies I’ve liked: “Alien” you could call a horror story mixed with science fiction—the horrific image of the Alien is still borrowed today. “The Others” was a good, subtle horror movie with Nicole Kidman. I disliked “Under the Skin” but liked “Ex Machina,” which is another horror film melded with science fiction.

So a neighbor moved out of our expensive California neighborhood to Colorado and left us a big box of DVDs. Most were silly, fluffy rom-coms, a lot of them starring Brittany Murphy. We saw some of them, donated the rest to our lovely local library.

But there were three horror movies. Tom wanted to see them and talked me into it.

Okay. (Did I say I generally dislike horror?)

First, “Dreamcatcher.” I have a Dreamcatcher, a little circular wind chime with spokes and spires. It’s beautiful, a work of art of Native American design.

I wanted to see the movie because it’s directed by Lawrence Kasdan—who’s a respectable director producing several respectable movies—and based on a novel by Stephen King, which I hadn’t read.

Afterward, I was surprised that Kasdan consented to have his name on this inexcusable Dreck.

The horrific Alien in “Dreamcatcher” is modeled after “Alien” but it doesn’t pop out of a character’s chest. You’ll never guess where it pops out of. No plot spoilers here, but bloody toilets figure prominently.

All this is mixed in confusingly with childhood memories of bullying.

The film was so confusing and dreadful, I asked Tom several times to just turn it off. It was that bad. But we stuck it out till the end till the unsurprising climax with two huge monsters battling each other.

Not recommended for anyone.

Next up, “Silent Hill.” This involves a mother searching for her lost daughter in a fog-shrouded town up in the mysterious mountains. There were so many horrific images in this film, I watched peeking through my fingers.

The plot culminates with a fanatical religious cult that does terrible things.

But the plot concludes with a surprise twist.

Surprise twists are surprisingly difficult to pull off.

Tom was so intrigued by this movie that he wanted to discuss it with me (as we often do after seeing a movie). Nope, I never wanted to think of this movie again and all its dark imagery and all its twists and turns.

Recommended only for fans of dark horror films.

Next up, and last, “The Dead Girl.”

This film was written and directed by Karen Moncrieff and financed by a couple of big producers. The film was nominated for several 2007 Independent Spirit Awards, including Best Feature and Best Director, but it didn’t earn big BO because of the horrific nature of the tale.

The film has two brief horrific scenes—and that’s it. The rest of the action is just extremely anxiety-producing.

The tale is of a serial killer told by five women, Christopher Nolanesque, backward in time: The Stranger, The Sister, The Wife, The Mother, and The Dead Girl, who is played by Brittany Murphy in a role she could sink her teeth into (after the silly, fluffy rom-coms). She’s fantastic. (She’s also now dead from a drug overdose some years ago.)

The big surprise is Kerry Washington, who plays the Dead Girl’s roommate. She just POPS off the screen. Tom and I looked at each other and said, “Wow.” I’m not surprised she’s since made a great career for herself.

Some characters do inexplicable actions. I was haunted by the film, and the characters’ actions, for days.

I suppose that makes a good horror film. Haunting.

Recommended for horror fans. This is the best of the three movies.

So there you have it, my friends. Enjoy your Movie Night!

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