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Five for Fright

The Amityville Horror movie image

Anybody who makes a list like this has to ask themselves one question (no, not ‘Do you feel lucky punk?’).  The question is this:

“What really scares me?”

The opportunity to analyze this question, given to me by hundreds of terror-filled sleepless nights, has yielded this insight:

(Along with realizing an apparent insomnia) I fear the things that go on in a room that I can’t see.  In other words, I don’t really care if something’s happening in my room; I never feared the boogie man or needed to look under the bed.  Really, I didn’t. But what’s going on in my sister’s room?  My parent’s room?  What was that weird sound from down the hall I just heard?

Is it coming to get me when it’s “finished with them?”

This fear is my criterion, and by its very definition, it eliminates any SciFi movie, like, for example, the otherwise outstanding “Aliens.”  Because it has to be able to happen to YOU, alone and in an unfamiliar house, just out of sight, out of reach.  This, of course, eliminates spaceships and such.

So here we go, five movies in no particular order that you may have already seen on various lists.  But to me, they all have to have the same theme:  they have to be movies that because of unseen activity stoke the fires of your worst imaginings and leave you cringing.

For the top five list and the remainder of this post please go to my sister’s site at:


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The Hollyweird Enforcer

The Big Weenie Hollywood California from Memories of Hollywood

“Welcome to Hollyweird.”  I heard it first as an 11 year old (fresh faced and fresh-lunged) from my Mom when my sis and I arrived from Oklahoma.  My first impressions were: a lot of buildings, hills and palm trees.  I felt there was “more civilization” than what I was used to in Tulsa.  But things seemed a little dirtier too, but you had to look carefully, like the cleaning didn’t get all the way into the crevasses.  The weather was really nice all the time; I noticed that as well, while throwing our Nerf football around in our apartment’s parking lot.

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Who Killed Victor?

The actor Victor Kilian was bludgeoned to death at the Lido Apartments in Hollywood in 1979, a few weeks before I moved in.  Around that time and in that area, though I certainly wasn’t aware of it, there was apparently a lot of dying going on.  A few miles west of my place, and just a couple of years before, Sal Mineo had been stabbed to death. At the time of Victor’s death, a guy named Lionel Williams was on trial for the Mineo killing, he would shortly thereafter be convicted.

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The Villa Elaine

Sometimes the outside appearance of a building gives no clue to what the inside looks like.  The Villa Elaine on Vine Street was not only an example of this but also a serious case of false advertising.  From the outside it looked (and still does look) like a sleazy set for some old film noir movie.  It stubbornly stood on Vine Street, right in between Fountain and La Mirada Avenues, an apartment building of dubious repute for many decades. I was nothing short of astounded when I’d heard it survived the Northridge quake back in ’94.

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