Down in the Decades: Horror Movie Ratings

When I think of going back into time and identifying something of interest to look into, my mind goes straight to movies. I love watching horror movies for fun — with a friend or alone — and deciding if they’re good enough to add to my shortlist of favorites.

I find that older classics are less effective on the horror aspect since not as many features and filters, props and special effects were available at the time — alhough they still have good plots for the most part. So, I chose three movies that I’ve seen and can critique that are from before my time.

  1. 1. "The Shining" (1980)

    The Shining was a huge blown-up movie from its time in the 1980s. Starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall and Danny Lloyd, this movie is based around a family who moves out to the Overlook Hotel to be the winter caretakers of the property in hopes that Jack Torrance will overcome his writer’s block. When Jack’s son, Danny, suffers from psychic premonitions while Jack also comes up with nothing for his writing, Jack begins to fall into the hotel’s darkness as he discovers its secrets. He unravels into a homicidal maniac who terrorizes his family.

    Though this is a classic movie that has no true demonic or other-worldly energies and relies more on Jack slowly becoming a stranger to his own family, I’d give this movie three stars out of five. It does get my approval rate because it was a decent movie constructed with a good plot, but I’m also on the fence because I wish there could have been more scary and ghostly apparitions and more jump scares.

  2. 2. "Scream" (1996)

    Scream is a series of horror movies signified by a masked murderer who keeps returning to conceal his prey in each new film. To be more specific, the first film is based around the masked maniac stalking high school students in middle-class suburbia. Identifying the fact that it can be a truly realistic situation where serial killers go after their victims and murder them in their own homes is what amplifies the energy of this movie and the rest of the series.

    While being scary, Scream also manages to be funny, dramatic, clever and witty all at the same time. I enjoy noticing a little comedy in the middle of a dramatic jump scare that’s about to happen or before someone is about to open the door to see what awaits them.

    I’d give this movie three out of five stars as well. It’s not my major cup of tea, but it does contain some things that I specifically look for in a horror movie and it was enjoyable to watch. The amount of dramatics in the actors and actresses’ roles could have been less obviously acted out from a script and instructions, but overall it's a good movie.

  3. 3. "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" (1974)

    Released ironically on Oct. 1, 1974, this movie is gruesome and very bloody, to say the least. If you’re into mass-murdering by a masked stranger named Leatherface, who wears a mask of human skin, then this movie is for you.

    At the start of the movie, you can kind of sense that there’s something off. Wanting to discover if her grandfather’s grave was vandalized, a girl named Sally, her brother and their friends venture out to the old farmhouse only to come into contact with a psychotic family next door wanting to harvest their bodies and skin. With this diabolical plot in mind, I have to give this movie four out of five stars because of the amount of detail they paid to make the true features of each murder really come alive. As unsettling as it may look to some viewers, to me, it’s a show and drama (don’t come at me for saying that).

In review, I have to say that I can give some credit to older movies from before the 20th and 21st centuries. Having a good idea in mind to produce a horror film that will give viewers chills, something to reflect about and to be afraid of is my type of movie — especially when it gives me a scare and something to (not) go to bed on.

Images: 1, 2, 3, 4