Top Twenty(ish) Horror Movies I Am Too Frightened to See (But Fully Imagine All the Damn Time): An Exorcism

by Arielle Greenberg

1. The one where the gorgeous short-haired girl is pregnant and lives in a very nice condominium in New York City and is going to have a baby with terrible glowy eyes and everyone knows it but her.

2. The one where the gorgeous lux-haired girl is paranoid and alone in her apartment after a bad break-up and maybe something reaches through the wall.

3. The other one where the walls breathe and Blondie is in it, plus other 80s technology.

4. The one with the beautiful seductress lounging in the tub and reaching for you who turns into a ghoulish, rotting hag when you come forth. (I have seen the spooky twins part, and the blood red hallway sea part, and the hedgerow labyrinth hunt part, but not this part. I have only read this part in the book.)

5. The suburban one with the menacing tree and the clown or poppet under the bed and the muddy pit for the in-ground swimming pool full of rousing corpses.

6. The one with the flute music and sunshine-dappled island of sexy, sacrifice-happy pagans, which I’ve written poems about before.

7. The one with the chicken lady and one of us one of us one of us.

8. The low-budget one where much of the terror supposedly comes because during the filming the girl really was crawling around on her hands and knees in the dirt getting completely ripped to shreds.

9. The one where the woman lies in a mental hospital bed and her creepy psychologist is Oliver Reed (who turns my stomach because he is such a delicious sadistic daddy of a beast) and she gives birth out of a tumor to little Aryan murdergarteners who enact her internal rage.

10. The one with the Aryan murdergarteners of the corn.

11. Any one with small, silken-haired, vapor-eyed children who dully do horrible things en masse.

12. The good, Swedish one about the vampire teenagers in love, which I wish I could see, because it does sound so smart and interesting, but nope, sorry, can’t see it.

13. The mod lesbian vampire one with the hot French blonde in evening wear.

14. The one about the woman who is going to be raped by an entire community and her lover or husband is utterly useless in fending them off. I’m not sure this is usually defined as a horror movie, but my father saw it, and his description made it sound so.

15. The one with the prom and the pig’s blood and the knives flying around the house and the horrible mother and the pallid girl whose arm stretches up out of the grave at the very end in a dream sequence which I have never seen but can completely picture.

16. The one by the Italian director with eyes held open by needles and maybe opera music.

17. The haunted house one about the house that looked exactly like the real-life house next door to the house that one of my high school best friends, Gabi, lived in, and which I’ve written poems about before.

18. The one where they stitch the mouths to the anuses and it makes a feeding tube infinity loop of gruesome. I don’t even know what else happens in this movie. I don’t know how this movie is more than ten minutes long.

19. Let’s face it: any movie with mouths stitched shut or blood trickling out of the eyes.

20. And any one with glowy-eyed, menace-smirked dolls who, in the final scene, are once again found sitting innocently on a shelf. Sure, that one. Any of those.


Arielle Greenberg is Bright Wall/Dark Room's Resident Poet. She is the co-author of Home/Birth: A Poemic; author of My Kafka Century and Given; and co-editor of three anthologies, including GurlesqueShe lives in Maine and teaches in the community and in Oregon State University-Cascades' MFA; she is currently teaching a course in American cinema to insightful students at the Maine State Prison enrolled through the University of College at Rockland (hi, guys!). Arielle writes a regular column on contemporary poetics for the American Poetry Review.