Aside from Halloween, the sprinkling of Friday the 13ths throughout the year are a time when many non-dedicated horror movie fans opt for a scary treat to commemorate the unlucky date.
So for the uninitiated, I often like to compile a little list of horror/sci-fi/grindhouse-type films that I think are worth watching. There are so many out there these days -- many bad -- and if you're only going to spend one night watching them, you want them to be good.
So here are a few titles to seek out -- and one to avoid.
"Child's Play": Chucky is a classic villain and I can't believe it was just last year that I finally watched this first installment of the series. I can't speak for the following films, but the 1988 original's got camp, Prince Humperdink and awesome '80s stylings.
"The Cabin in the Woods": This is the only recommendation that's not yet out on DVD, but you can still catch it at Carmike's Peachtree 8. This horror/sci-fi gem was co-written and produced by Joss "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" Whedon. As most of the reviews note, it's best not to know too much going in, but it's definitely worth a watch.
"Hellraiser": Another 1980s horror film that I only recently got around to, I was a bit disappointed at the lack of Pinhead in this first installment as his prickly face graces the cover. But there are, literally, nine sequels in which I'm sure he plays a large role. Pinhead, his cenobite minions and their evil antics are the stuff of which nightmares are made.
"From Dusk Till Dawn": South-of-the-border vampires, a nearly nude Salma Hayek, a young Juliette Lewis, George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. Mix well and you simply can't go wrong. Be warned though: these are pre-"Twilight" vamps. Don't expect them to stay too pretty for too long.
"Tucker & Dale vs. Evil": Potentially the least frightening of the bunch, this horror-comedy is one of my favorite films of 2011. The whole premise is built around stereotypes and misunderstanding: some college kids are camping and find the local hillbillies off-putting and scary. When one of their friends goes missing, they assume Tucker and Dale kidnapped her. Fatal -- yet hilarious -- mishaps ensue.
Lastly, I urge you, unless you are dedicated to the genre and curiosity coupled with guts-of-steel prompts you to check it out, do not watch "Human Centipede II: Full Sequence." I watched the first film -- which, yes, was gross, but I liked it -- and felt compelled to watch the sequel. I wish I hadn't. There is no higher purpose to this film, which doesn't automatically make it bad. But there's also no entertainment value. It's just disgusting.
Katie McCarthy, features writer, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 706-571-8515. Visit her blog at www.ledger-enquirer.com/junkfood for more commentary.