Thursday, August 19, 2021

Tornado Alert Prompts Scary Movie List

Early Thursday morning, just before 4:40 am, as I was working The New York Times daily Spelling Bee puzzle—yes, I often do that after waking up in the middle of the night—my iPhone rang out with a tornado alert, waking Gilda and advising us that for the next 30 minutes we should take “PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... TAKE COVER NOW! Move to a basement or an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building. Avoid windows. If you are outdoors, in a mobile home, or in a vehicle, move to the closest substantial shelter and protect yourself from flying debris.”

Surprisingly, Gilda’s phone did not ring with the alert. But better safe than sorry, we grabbed our phones, flashlights and some water before retreating to our basement. We’ve seen enough news reports of tornado devastation to take the warning seriously.

When I was young, “The Wizard of Oz” was an annual television event on CBS. I can remember watching most of the movie, but around the time the Wicked Witch of the West ordered her winged monkeys to capture Dorothy I would become too scared to keep my eyes glued to the TV screen. I would return to viewing after water thrown on the witch reduced her to a puddle.

I am not a devotee of scary movies, though I generally do like thrillers, mysteries. What continues to unsettle me are psychological thrillers I reasonably presume could be played out in real life.

I never saw “The Shining” for that reason. Even the promo of Jack Nicholson carving through the doorway chuckling, “Here’s Johnny,” sends me aflutter.

Over the years I have seen some stomach churners. Here’s my short list of movies that scared me, movies I care not to see again:

Play Misty for Me


Fatal Attraction


Silence of the Lambs

Cape Fear

Reservoir Dogs