Screenwriting : Movies that haunted you? by Phil Parker

Phil Parker

Movies that haunted you?

The first time I went swimming in a pool after watching JAWS, it was at night.

I swam one lap super fast, then scrambled out like my pants were on fire. :)

Kiril Maksimoski

Sharks are scary, but people unfortunately take the cake here...

- Idi i smortri

- Henry: Portrait of a serial killer

- Angst

- House that Jack built (not so, I've guess I've already numbed by here)

- Cannibal (Marian Dora's)


Anthony Moore

I saw "Jaws" when I was a pre-teen. At the time, I lived in Chicago right on the lake front. Although I knew in my mind that sharks can't live in fresh water (I was a science geek), I would still look at Lake Michigan and a shiver would go down my spine. LOL.

Tony Ray

When I was a kid: Arachnophobia, Troll

Later on in life: Devil, Insidious

Bill Costantini

Hi Paul,

When I was very little, Dracula with Bela Lugosi scared me so much that I couldn't go into my basement alone for a long time. And our basement was completely modern and finished, and not one of those danky basements. And all my toys were down there!

But nothing was quite as haunting as The Exorcist, and especially considering the times (early 1970's). I saw it on the big screen when I was 12. The image of Megan's possessed face filling a 40' x 20' screen stayed with me for years. I had read the novel the previous year, and would only read it when my grandfather was in the same room with me. That is some truly terrifying stuff - and it really is based on a true story. But that film...OMG....there was never anything on a screen prior to that with so much horrifying modern technical effects. People were screaming, fainting, and running out before it ended. That was amazing, and it was meant to be shocking like the Italian Giallo horror films were.

There are some really haunting films from those great Italian filmmakers - among them Mario Bava, Dario Argento, and Lucio Fulci - and Black Sunday; The House by the Cemetery; and The House with Laughing Windows haunt me the most. But nothing comes close to The Exorcist.

Great topic, Paul.

Best fortunes in your creative endeavors, Paul, and stay safe - and may The Power of Christ Compel You! Heh-heh.

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

Deer Hunter has some memorable and disturbing images that stayed with me. The Exorcist was also a milestone in uncomfortable scenes.

Michael Ellis

The scene in The Walking Dead when Shane shoots Otis in the leg when they're running away from a herd, upset me, what a thing to do!

Paul Grammatico

When I saw The Towering Inferno when I was a kid, I was scared that if our house caught on fire, I would have no way of getting out.

Diego Cantu

Wait until you guys take a look at Brandon Cronemberg's "Possessor." It'll take control of your mind, literally.

Doug Nelson

So Phil - You were wearing your pants while swimming?

Jerry Robbins

I saw a movie called THE LEGEND OF BOGGY CREEK in 1972 when I was 11. It scared the HELL out of me... some big Sasquatch monster trolling on porches, sticking it's arm through windows... I remember looking out my bedroom window in the middle of the night for weeks afterwards, to make sure there wasn't a Sasquatch out there! Thirty five years later, I bought the DVD, convinced I was going to be terrified again - and laughed all the way through it. I mean, it was super low budget, and just... not scary. I totally forgot the musical numbers with a man singing "Perhaps he dimly wonders why, there is no other such as I...." oh, man. The things that scare us as kids.

Paul Grammatico

That reminds me of when I bought Kolchak: The Night Stalker TV series on VHS and DVD. Not as scary as I remember as a kid.

Bill Costantini

Paul: I loved Kolchak - the TV series and the films. I think the vampire movie before the TV series was the scariest one. You had to love the way Kolchak would stumble every time he was about to get offed by the villains. Get up, Carl, get up! Heh-heh.

You must remember Karen Black and that little voodoo doll from Trilogy of Terror, then, if you remember Kolchak. That little doll was terrifying back then!

Best fortunes in your creative endeavors, Paul, and stay safe!

Paul Grammatico

Bill Constantini The Zuni Fetish Doll. Oh yes....

Nick Assunto - Stage32 Script Services Coordinator

This scene from FIRE IN THE SKY messed me up when I was a kid:

John Sanderson

The matrix... the world we live in is not "real". Jk I grew up watching horror films and loved them but for me is pet sematary, that damn scene where the old man looks under the bed had me get rid of my bed frame and move the mattress to the floor.

Imani Miller

The Halloween films. My friend and i watched them together as kids, and she ALWAYS fell asleep. I knew Michael Myers freaked me out, yet AMC's fright fest was pretty dope. I was checking every closet in the house, looking over my shoulder every second. Even stared at my closet while in bed every night. Glad to say... Michael Myers is alright with me now!

Craig D Griffiths

The Bad Seed

Debbie Croysdale

The chain saw massacre, all versions quite disturbed me, shivers down spine cos its based on real story. Some grotesque scenes that stick out is where some oath hung next meals on hooks and folk were left dangling.

Bill Costantini


If you've never been there, at some point you have to go to the West Hollywood Halloween Carnival. Santa Monica Blvd. is closed for a mile, and thousands and thousands of L.A.'s finest celebrate Halloween. It's easily the biggest party night in L.A. and goes on all night. Every scary character that you have ever seen in film, television, novels or comic books is well-represented, and one time I saw an entire family dressed as "Leatherface". It's easily the most fun night to be in L.A.

Best continued fortunes in your creative endeavors, Debbie, and stay safe!

Ellis Barrowman

When I was five or six I went to this summer day camp that showed horror movies to the kids. I still get the creeps thinking about The Blob, or if any goo like substance touches me. Love horror movies, that is one of the handful I refuse to watch.

Debbie Croysdale

@Bill Thanks for the info about Monica Blvd party for Horror fans. A definite must for me, I was supposed to be coming USA next year for the very first time but this has been put forward a year due to pandemic. Did not know the "oaths" face in Chain Saw Massacre was called Leather face. I'm gonna do LA that night 2022 as Harley Quinn, not with tights and mini shorts but the original version of court jester suit and see through eye mask. Best wishes with your continued successes in the arts and stay safe! Hope Julius the cat enjoyed you been home more during lockdown. @All Another series that gave me nightmares was Hostel by Tarrantino. When it first came on I was not aware about the gruesome close ups which haunted me for months. Pre covid if friends were at mine and wanted to watch, I had to leave the room. Still makes my gut churn thinking about it now. Stay safe.

Jerry Robbins

Philip - The Exorcist truly, IMHO, remains the scariest movie ever made.

CJ Walley

Under the Skin, specifically the scenes on the beach.

Bill Costantini

Hi Debbie,

Well, if you were planning on going to the West Hollywood Halloween Carnival this year, I have bad news for you. It, too, was cancelled because of Covid-19. My favorite events of the year - San Diego's ComicCon; the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas; and the Halloween Carnival in WEHO - were all cancelled this year. As have every other major event.

I'm just going to go back to sleep now, and am setting my alarm for noon on Sunday - April 4, 2021. Hopefully next Easter won't be cancelled.

Best fortunes in your creative endeavors, Debbie, and stay safe!

Tasha Lewis

The movie's title had the desired effect. It told the story and struck a nerve.

Ann Mahoney

I have an irrational fear of sharks and everyone asks me if I saw JAWS and that’s why. I’ve never seen JAWS - because DUH - but I did watch a lot of Jacques Cousteau on PBS. THAT DID IT.

Debbie Croysdale

Thanks for update @ Bill Heh heh Maybe we should just set the alarm clock for when vaccine produced. Best wishes and stay safe!

Sarah Gabrielle Baron


Chuck Cox

Poltergeist is why I hate clowns to this day.

Sarah Gabrielle Baron

Jesus. Chuck Cox I just youtubed it. I'd forgotten that scene. SILENCE! When was the last time you watched a movie and there was complete silence for a full two minutes?

Stephen Thompson

It Lives Again, the 1978 Larry Cohen sequel to the low budget horror movie It’s Alive.

William 'JPop' Schumpert

Various movies and production when I was a kid. Even as the particle effects creeped me out I always loved to watch it. Even some kids programming like a ‘Count Chocula’ commercial would freak me out.

Phil Clarke

Jaws (for obvious reasons)

American Werewolf In London (the hospital bed in the woods jump scene)

The Mirror Crack'd (Liz Taylor's white eyes)

Dressed To Kill (the elevator scene freaked me out!)

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