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Being stranded in the middle of nowhere is just one of the many horror clichés that make the genre so great. So without further ado, here are the 5 best horror movies in isolated places.
The Shining: Truly Stephen King at his best, a struggling family takes a job as the winter caretakers for an isolated hotel in the mountains. But as Danny (the son) begins to see violent flashbacks from the hotel’s past and his father continues to become more and more deranged from forces inside its walls, Danny’s “shining” may be the only thing that can save him and his mother. The Shining (movie)
Misery: More Stephen King, I know, but both movies (and books!) completely deserve a place on the list. Paul Sheldon, a famous author, crashes his car near a deserted town. He is “rescued” by his #1 fan, Annie Wilkes (a former nurse), and brought back to her isolated home in the mountains. When he wakes, seriously injured and missing to the rest of the world, he finds that his rescuer has turned into his kidnapper, and that she is completely unstable. He is completely at her mercy, and when she finds out that Paul has killed off the heroine of his stories (Annie’s favorite), she forces him to write a new novel, and if it isn’t exactly how she wants it, who knows what she’ll do…Misery (movie)
Evil Dead: Both the original and the current remake deserve a spot on this list, and since they have pretty much the same plot, they’ll count as one. The plot: five friends travel up to an isolated cabin in the woods on a vacation. There they find the Book of the Dead and accidentally unleash an evil force upon themselves, determined to kill every last one of them. Original: An extremely low-budget movie made by first time director Sam Raimi that was by far one of the best “cabin in the woods” movies ever made. For those of you who don’t appreciate cheap effects and old cinematography, don’t worry, there’s a remake. Remake: While the original was extremely low-budget for effects and whatnot, the remake was most definitely not. The effects are incredible, but very gory. The violence often overshadows the plot line, and it’s another remake that doesn’t live up to the original.
Blair Witch Project: This movie is a lot scarier if you watch it in a tent in the middle of the night as I did (big mistake), but no matter where or when you watch it, it’s still a great movie. Three film students go into a forest alone while making a documentary about the urban legend of the “Blair Witch”. They were never seen again. Only their footage remains to show what really happened.
Alien: Everyone has heard the quote: In space, no one can hear you scream. And it just adds to the whole isolation thing. I mean, what’s more remote than outer space? Anyway, the crew of a commercial spaceship awakened by an SOS from a distant planet. A crew member goes to investigate, and finds thousands of alien eggs. One of the parasites inside attacks him as he inspects it. They take back off for earth and the parasite dies, but what they don’t realize is that an alien is growing in the host, and when it’s ready to come out, no one on board is safe.
–Corinna, Greenwood, Teen Blogger
Like scary stuff? Or maybe you think you want to try it out? Here’s a few books to get you started!
The Hangman’s Daughter by Oliver Potzsch is the first I will recommend. It’s scary, but not too scary. Originally written in German, this book takes place in a small Bavarian town in the mid-1600s. A boy, near death, is pulled from a river by local hangman Jakob Kuisl and is found to have the symbol of Venus on his back. The panicked people of the town are convinced that the murderer must be practicing witchcraft and that the town’s midwife is obviously to blame. Kuisl is forced to arrest the midwife, whom he his sure is innocent, and only has a short amount of time before he will have to be the one to execute her unless proof of a different killer is found. As Kuisl, his daughter, and the local physician’s son race against the clock to solve a murder mystery, they find that the true killers may be bewitched by a different type of dark magic: greed.
Next is Mistress of the Art of Death by Diana Norman (pen name Ariana Franklin). This story is very similar to The Hangman’s Daughter but is much more suspenseful and violent (mature readers only, please!). Adelia Aguilar, an Italian educated doctor who specializes in autopsies, is hired by the King of England to join a Jewish knight and a Muslim assistant to prove that a series of child murders in Medieval-era Cambridge are not the acts of the Jewish residents of the town. Adelia faces challenge after challenge as a female doctor who must keep her tasks and theories under wraps. As Adelia and her companions investigate the killings, they find that the King has a deeper connection to the deaths than just a threatened economy and that the murderer is highly aware of the investigation against him.
Finally, American Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett. This is completely and totally different from the other two books I have recommended as it is a thriller, but also definitely science fiction, and set in modern times. In the small town of Wink, New Mexico, something strange is happening. Having always been the perfect, suburban town just a little too far off the map, Wink does not draw much attention. But now that Texas native Mona Bright has inherited her mother’s home (who committed suicide when Mona was a child) she finds that not everything is as it seems in Wink. Using her detective skills, Mona starts to uncover the town’s secrets and realizes that something big is happening. Soon. And she is in the middle of it. Very well written and wonderfully suspenseful, American Elsewhere is a good read for any sci-fi fan who wants something just a little spookier.
Bonus title: If you’d like to take it a step further, another great sci-fi/thriller novel is The Taking by Dean Koontz.
—Brooke, 17, Magnolia
It’s that time of year, once more, to celebrate the weird, macabre, creepy, horrific, and just plain spooky. There’s certainly no shortage of freaky-deaky stories in teen lit…our challenge is choosing just four. Please, be warned, the following books may keep you up at night, recommence the need for a nightlight, or generally complicate your sleeping arrangements (srsly, late-night visits to the parentals is so not our business, lol). Or, they just might be the slice (or bite) of what’s missing in your life. Enjoy…and beware!