Speaking Volumes: Check out these horror films

Special to the HeraldOctober 20, 2013 

With Halloween just over a week away, it's only fitting to discuss one of the most popular ways to celebrate -- horror films. These terrifying, edge-of-your-seat thrillers took in an impressive $413 million at the box office in 2012 (almost $100 million more than romantic comedies). If you want to bypass all the trick-or-treating and you're in the mood for a frightening night on the couch, bring home a scary movie from the Manatee County Library/

The library system has a nice collection of horror films to help you get your fright on. We offer many of the classics as well as some newer thrills. Check out Jamie Lee Curtis's first feature film, "Halloween." Did you know that she made a mere $8,000 for her starring role in that classic 1978 chiller?

Following his Oscar-winning performance as Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter in the 1991 movie "The Silence of the Lambs," Anthony Hopkins described his character's voice as "a combination of Truman Capote and Katherine Hepburn." Whatever his inspiration -- Lecter's cold, calm and calculating voice is one that will remain in your head long after the final credits roll.

The 1999 hit mockumentary "The Blair Witch Project" sold audiences on the idea that the actors were real people, actually investigating the Blair Witch legend. It wasn't until after the film's release that the filmmakers acknowledged that it was just a scripted movie ... but it's a testament to the actors performances that so many people were convinced of the films authenticity.

We have plenty of other titles from which to choose. Among them are Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho;" the Vincent Price classic, "House on Haunted Hill" (which actually inspired Hitchcock to make "Psycho"); the award-winning (and head-turning!) "The Exorcist;" and if you simply want a good dose of (non-traditional) zombies, try "28 Days Later."

Looking ahead, the library will soon have "The Conjuring" available for checkout. It's a recent chiller starring Patrick Wilson, (who happens to be the son of local news anchor John Wilson). So gather your family and friends for a marathon of horror and enjoy a happy and safe (if not a little bit terrifying) Halloween!

The library offers monthly e-mail newsletters, called NextReads, with a selection of genres to choose from; each lists several books, new and classics, as well as library events. Sign up from the library website.

Speaking Volumes, written by Manatee County Public Library System staff members, is published each Sunday. Access the library online at www.mymanatee.org/library.html. Undine Shorey is a staff member at the Manatee County Central Library.

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