LaReeca Rucker has been a journalist for more than 20 years, and her work has appeared in newspapers across the nation. She spent a decade as a features writer and multimedia journalist with The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi, where she was also a USA TODAY contributor. She is a freelance journalist and support journalism instructor in the University of Mississippi's Meek School of Journalism and New Media in Oxford, Mississippi.

The scary movie list

LaReeca Rucker
The Clarion-Ledger

When I was a little girl, creepy music scared me. I wasn’t too fond of things without heads either. A trip to Wal-Mart frequently had me hiding behind my mother. I just knew those headless dummies were going to get me. It didn’t occur to me at the time that they couldn’t see me without a head.

At some point, I must have outgrown that, because later, our Saturday trips to the grocery store became my reading time. I’d sit by the magazines while Mother bought groceries and read.

One of the publications that always caught my attention was “Fangoria,” a magazine about the horror film industry that chronicled the work of make-up artist Rick Baker and his colleagues.

Baker has likely been responsible for the physical creation of every scary booger you’ve ever seen on film. Back in the early ’80s, when I was reading about him, his primary work was on horror films, but since then, I believe he’s teamed up with Spielberg on the “Star Wars” films and other non-horror movies requiring special effects work.

I’ve always loved horror movies. Even though I would run and hide when I heard the creepy music, the thrill of being scared always drew me back to the screen.

The last two scary movies I’ve seen were the Sharon Stone/Dennis Quaid film “Cold Creek Manor,” which didn’t make a whole lot of sense, and “28 Days Later,” which is by far, one of the best and creepiest horror movies I’ve seen in quite some time.

My older horror classics list includes “The Amityville Horror,” “The Shining,” “Carrie,” “The Omen,” “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” “The Exorcist,” “Halloween,” “The Birds” and “Rosemary’s Baby.”

But there are some movies that were made in recent years that have achieved the status of classics or will in years to come.

They include:

The Poltergeist - You can’t get much more creepy than little kids who see ghosts. Haley Joel Osment saw dead people in “The Sixth Sense,” but so does Carol Ann in this Spielberg production about a family who unknowingly lives atop of a cemetery. The ghosts aren’t too happy about that. They kidnap Carol Ann through the television and eventually force Craig T. Nelson and Jo Beth Williams out of their haunted house.

Children of the Corn - You’ll find more creepy kids in this one, with names like Zachariah and Amos. This Stephen King story is about weird kids who form a cornfield cult.

A Nightmare on Elm Street — Heather Langenkamp stars in this Wes Craven film about teenagers whose dreams are inhabited by a child murderer killed by a community who took vengeance into their own hands.
One-two Freddy’s coming for you, three-four better lock the door. . . you get the picture. You won’t fall asleep while watching it, and if you do, Freddy might get you.

The Blair Witch Project - I thought this movie was creepy, but it was more interesting to watch when there was a lot of hype about whether or not the documentary shot by the students was real or not. Now that you know it was a film student’s attempt to pay the rent, I don’t know if it would have the same frightening effect.

Scream — This movie revived the tradition of horror and the teen horror film, which had been dead for a while. Filmmakers managed to keep the murder(s) identity a secret until the end. mdash;

The Others - This Nicole Kidman movie, I think, has one of the best chances of becoming a classic horror movie.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula - I’m not really into vampires, but when their behavior is used symbolically, I think it works. This Winona Ryder film is very well done.

Interview With a Vampire — Brad Pitt isn’t the greatest actor in the world, but he plays a vampire pretty well, and this is Kirsten Dunst’s first role. She plays a vampire woman trapped in a child’s body.

Silence of the Lambs — Hannibal Lecter needs no introduction. A few others that I would recommend to horror fans are:

Kalifornia — This movie stars David Duchovny, who decides to travel with his photographer girlfriend cross-country to document the sites where serial killers murdered their victims. Along for the ride are Brad Pitt and Juliette Lewis. Little does Duchovny and his girlfriend know, they may be the next victims.

The Bad Seed — Another creepy kid movie. McCauley Culkin starred a few years ago in a similar movie called “The Good Son,” but the original, which was black and white, was probably the most scary.

Cujo - This Stephen King film about a dog with rabies is really quite frightening. Dee Wallace Stone is the lead actress, and her young co-star, Danny Pintauro, who later became a “Who’s the Boss” cast member, steals the show.

Session 9 - David Caruso stars in this film, which hasn’t been out on video too long. When a work crew enters an old mental hospital to do repairs, strange things start to happen.


The Journalism Portfolio of LaReeca Rucker