What’s Your Favorite Scary Movie(s): Michael Kennedy Edition

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Michael Kennedy is a filmmaker, podcaster, and one of the humans who belong to two adorable dogs named Lady Scooby and Sister Bandit Boo Strode. Unfortunately for him, he’s also one of the people I’m way too comfortable bothering on the internet. This is why no one is surprised  I’m making this column his problem this month. After all, he brought it on himself by making fun movies like Freaky and It’s a Wonderful Knife. Outside of giving us slashers who understand the importance of the fun kill, you might also know him from one of my favorite podcasts. He’s one of the voices you’ve heard on Attack of the Queerwolf, alongside my other favorite, Nay Bever.

I asked Michael,What’s your favorite scary movie(s)?”, and suspected there would be some slashers. I even knew that the movie that inspired the name of this column would be on his list. However, everything else was a complete surprise, and I lived, laughed, and loved. I called on the right favorite to keep this streak of scary movie bangers going. Read his selections below and join me in celebrating by watching something bloody and violent.

Scream (1996) /Scream 2  (1997) 

Where You Can Watch: Max

A teen is terrorized by a masked killer on the anniversary of her mother’s murder. If Scream hadn’t been on Michael Kennedy’s list, I would’ve assumed I got catfished and moved on to my next filmmaker. This was the one franchise I expected to see even before I asked him for his favorite horror movies. As a fellow Scream stan account, I practically levitate out of my seat whenever he nods to the series in his work. However, what I didn’t know is that word is out that I’ll let people have more than five movies if they’re from this franchise. He explained that Scream and Scream 2 arethe perfect duology.I’ll allow it. 

Halloween (1978)

Where You Can Watch: AMC+, Crackle, Plex, and Shudder

Michael Myers returns home fifteen years after killing his older sister to find his younger sister. This is the most iconic film from the John Carpenter and Debra Hill collaborations, and not for lack of trying on their part. Halloween reset the slasher genre in a way that wouldn’t be done again until Scream premiered in 1996. It’s an essential viewing for this subgenre, and I’m happy it’s on Michael’s list. It’s almost mandatory for every horror fan to have a favorite Halloween movie, but this is my favorite. I know way too much trivia about this movie and am here to tell you it’s an exercise in how to take lemons and terrify the shit out of people. Also, no one will ever go as hard with a Casio as Carpenter did for this score. She’s cinema, y’all

The Exorcist (1973)

Where You Can Watch: The Criterion Channel

A woman calls two priests to save her kid from the demonic entity inhabiting her body. The Exorcist has been terrifying people for over fifty years. It’s the gold standard for possession movies, and it’s the reason most of us judge other supernatural movies way too harshly. Usually, by now, I’ve picked up on a theme connecting these movies. However, this list is mainly movies that scarred people in their youth. I think Michael Kennedy just likes to be scared and has seen some shit in his day. That’s a mood I understand and respect the hell out of. After all, aren’t scary movies more fun when there is a chance one of your friends might piss themselves? 

Bride of Frankenstein (1935) /Dracula’s Daughter (1936)

Where You Can Watch: VOD

Mary Shelly’s characters lived and found a scientist to build the monster a wife! Leave it to Michael to give us what I think is the first Boris Karloff title for this column. Also, leave it to him to squeeze in one more movie with it! Dracula’s Daughter sees a woman living her best life in London get accused of being a vampire. The rumors are true, but it’s still rude to accuse a lady of biting people! Michael couldn’t separate the two titles because theyare queer soul sister sequels.I love seeing them here because I expected some of my favorite slashers to be on his list. However, these two movies make so much sense if you’ve seen Freaky and It’s a Wonderful Knife. Both take well-known titles Freaky Friday and It’s a Wonderful Life, and expand the idea to be queerer and less dude-centered.

The Thing (1982)

Where You Can Watch: VOD

A research team is trapped in Antarctica with a deadly shape-shifting alien. I go back and forth on whether Halloween or The Thing is my favorite John Carpenter movie. So, glad Michael Kennedy might have also shared this same struggle. I love this film because it validates me and all of my trust issues. Also, the practical effects are still some of the best I have ever seen. The tension is so thick that you almost need a flamethrower to get through it. The Thing also plucks at our fears of the unknown and being stranded in the middle of nowhere. I get so mad when I hear boomers let this gem flop.  

I see a thread of loneliness and isolation in these choices now that we’re at the end of the list. Grief (Sidney Prescott) feels like being stranded in the cold unknown while being attacked by something you don’t fully understand (MacReady). The Bride of Frankenstein was built to be a mate to a monster created by man. Regan and Chris MacNeil probably didn’t share their story at the PTA meetings. The shit Laurie Strode has had to face alone could apparently fill four (or five) different timelines.

Michael Kennedy’s list is pretty damn iconic. So, my streak of picking favorites that understand the assignment continues one more column. You can find Michael on Instagram to keep up with him and his work. However, brace yourself for how cute his dogs are before you click that link. While we’re waiting for Time Cut to come out, you can watch (or rewatch) It’s A Wonderful Knife and Freaky. Both are currently streaming and also available to own if you are about that physical media life.