It’s Friday the 13th. The weather is NASTY here on the north coast. No better night to pop in a scary movie. Here’s my 13 favorite …
- The Shining – Classic Jack Nicholson here as he plays the caretaker of a hotel abandoned for the winter. An evil and spiritual presence consumes Nicholson, and his son begins to see terrifying visions of the hotel’s brutal past. All hell breaks loose about an hour or so in, and the film takes you on a terrifying ride towards a great ending. An all-time classic.
- Alien – The standard for sci-fi horror movies, and one of the greatest films ever made. A mining ship investigates a SOS call on a distant planet. An alien life form makes its way back on to the ship before they depart, and insanity ensues. An amazing performance by Sigourney Weaver in her coming out party as an actress. The film was light years ahead of its time. The alien and set design were fantastic … the ship’s design is so believable that you feel you’re inside the actual spacecraft with the terrified crew. The film has you on the edge of your seat throughout – as you never know where the danger will strike next. Great tag line too. “In space, no one can hear you scream.”
- The 2008 Cleveland Browns season – The year Phil Savage imploded, Romeo Crennel missed on his first 14 coaches’ challenges of the year and was mercifully fired, and Derek Anderson was exposed as one of the most awful excuses for a NFL quarterback in the league’s history. The Browns finished 4-12 and failed to score an offensive touchdown in their last SIX games, all losses. And this was coming off the heels of a 10-6 season. Browns fans were taken on a terrifying journey that still inspires nightmares that cause me to wake up some nights in a cold sweat.
- Silence of the Lambs – Anthony Hopkins’ role as “Hannibal Lechter” is one of the greatest performances ever. This is the terrifying tale of a young FBI agent (played brilliantly by Jodie Foster) tracking a psychopathic killer, and needing the help of an even more psychopathic Lechter to do it. Some of the dialogue scenes between Hopkins and Foster are the scariest parts of this film.
- Saw – Two men wake up in the secure lair of a serial killer who’s been nicknamed “Jigsaw”. The men must follow various rules and objectives if they wish to survive and win the deadly game set for them. I don’t think the original “Saw” gets the credit it deserves because they continued making sequels that got progressively worse.
- Poltergeist – I will never forget watching this movie as a kid. It was spine-chilling then and it has withstood the test of time. The little girl. The voice of the poltergeist expert lady (They’re heeeeeere). The scenes where all the stuff starts moving around the little girls’ room. And when they lose her inside the TV. Good stuff. Trivia – Steven Spielberg directed both this film and “E.T.” in 1982, just a couple weeks apart. Both became all-time classics.
- Audition – A little off the radar here. A Japanese psychological horror film with subtitles. A lonely Japanese widower whose son is planning to move out of the house soon expresses his sadness to a friend and fellow film producer, who becomes inspired to hold an audition for a non-existent film so that the widower can select a new potential bride from the resulting audition pool. The widower ultimately becomes enamored with and fascinated by one particular young woman. The wrong woman.
- Se7en – A film about two homicide detectives’ desperate hunt for a serial killer who justifies his crimes as absolution for the world’s ignorance of the Seven Deadly Sins. Outstanding performances from Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman as the detectives, and Kevin Spacey as the deranged serial killer. And the ending!
- The Exorcist – Another all-time classic that has withstood the test of time, and a movie that still tops many “scariest movie of all-time” lists. When a child is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two priests to save her daughter. The pea soup, the spinning head, the demon’s voice … all legendary scenes.
- High Tension – A French horror film in subtitles, if not for the seriously controversial (and detested by many) ending, it would get a lot more acclaim. In terms of just sheer terror, the first hour of this movie is unparalleled in my mind. It’s about two college friends who encounter loads of trouble while on vacation at the one gal’s parents’ country home when a mysterious killer invades their quiet getaway. Caution – not for the weak of heart.
- Cujo – Another film I saw when I was younger that seriously scarred me as a youth, and one of the more underrated scary movies of all time in my mind. Unlike most Stephen King adaptations of books, this one was well casted, acted, directed, and produced … telling the tale of a once-friendly St. Bernard named “Cujo” who contracts rabies and conducts a reign of terror on a small American town. The ending, with the mom and the boy trapped in the car – epic.
- Funny Games – Long time Dish readers know I am a huge Naomi Watts fan. She’s the wife in this one, and as her middle-class family settles in for a respite in their vacation home, a pair of young, articulate, white-gloved serial killers (played by Tim Roth and Michael Pitt who I also like) invade the home and submit the family to a series of physical and mental torture.
- The Hills Have Eyes – A Wes Craven remake of the 1977 classic by the same name. About an American family travelling through the southwest. But their trip takes a detour into an area closed off from the public, but more importantly from society. An area originally used by the U.S. Government for nuclear testing that was intended to be empty. And then their car breaks down. You can guess what happens next.
Quote of the Day …
“Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.” ~ Al Pacino as Michael Corleone in ‘The Godfather, Part II’
As we discussed yesterday, weaker than expected retail sales and first time jobless claims #’s fueled the markets yesterday. After dropping 70 points right off that news, the Dow actually fought back to finish the session slightly positive, as investors held out hopes that Europe would muddle through its debt troubles. A lot of Europe fear is priced into the markets, so any potential positive developments over there help US stocks. That said, stocks are getting to the point where they can only go so much higher until we see sustained and legitimate improvement to the US economy, which can not occur until someone figures out a way to fix the US housing market.
Mortgage bonds rallied off the poor economic news. Mortgage rates are insanely low. 30 year fixed rates are in the 3.70% to 3.85% range for the most creditworthy borrowers. I’ve been saying for several months that I feel they are going lower yet, and I’m holding to that prediction. I see 3.50% 30 year fixed rates and 15 year fixed rates with a handle in the 2’s sometime before the last snowfall of the year. The Fed continues to be a huge buyer of MBS, which is helping keep mortgage rates low and drive them even lower.
This morning we got two pieces of economic data at 8:30 AM EST. After declining for four straight months, the US trade deficit widened in November, bringing the trade gap up to its highest level since June. The international trade balance measures the difference between imports and exports of both tangible goods and services. Imports may slow domestic growth. Exports boost domestic production. Thus, a low deficit between imports (always higher) and exports is good. If we’re importing a lot more than we’re exporting, that is bad for the US economy. Just ask Art Vandelay.
In the other piece of data, which is somewhat related, import prices fell 0.1% in December, the fourth fall in five months. Economists had anticipated a 0.2% gain. November prices were revised to show a 0.8% gain from an initially reported 0.7% advance. Excluding fuel and food, prices rose 0.1% in December. For all of 2011, import prices rose 5.3%, the third year in a row they have increased.
~ Fed to Weight Further Easing Amid Doubts of Recovery
~ Snow Returns to Northeast Ohio
~ November Trade Gap Widens, Biggest Since June
~ Key Buys HSBC Branches in NY in First Major Deal Since Crisis
~ JP Morgan Chase Misses on Revenues; Shares Fall
~ Report: B of A Mulls Retreat if Financial Problems Worsen
~ Import Prices Slip 0.1% in December
~ Facebook Weighs Risks of Unconventional IPO
~ iPhone Sales Halted as Irate Chinese Shoppers Pelt Apple Store With Eggs