The Friday Five: Bad Luck on the Big Screen

by Khira Jordan (Madewell)

Here at Madewell HQ, we’ve been known to harbor a superstition or two. Nothing too fringe or far out, but some of us secretly enjoy vibing with psychics and overanalyzing the cosmic gospel of AstrologyZone. So in the spirit of warding off all evils this Friday the 13th, we’ve culled together our top five scary-good films to prepare you for facing Mr. Big Bad Luck head-on.

1. The Bad Seed (1956) — dir. Mervyn LeRoy

Your lovely little piano-playing daughter is the picture of perfection. She’s a natural at tap dancing, neatly braids her own golden pigtails and always does her schoolwork with diligence. Problem is, she just cannot play well with others. In fact, she has this truly nasty habit of brandishing blunt objects and pushing her classmates off cliffs. Talk about bad luck!

2. The Omen (1976) — dir. Richard Donner

What is it about sinister children? This masterful ’70s psychological thriller is the story of a powerful politician (played by silver fox extraordinaire Gregory Peck) whose young son begins to exhibit increasingly devilish behavior. First it’s a paralytic freakout at church, then an affinity for evil-eyed Dobermans. Be forewarned: It’ll have you questioning the souls of ill-mannered children for at least a year.

3. House of 1000 Corpses (2003) — dir. Rob Zombie

Seen this one? It’s full of fun-house-style disturbia, uncomfortably clever banter and over-the-top costume design. All horror conventions you love, none you don’t. Plus, it has one of the best slow motion, adrenaline-addled scenes I’ve ever seen. You’ll get spooked but with a big grin on your face the whole way through (we hope?).

4. The Fly (1986) — dir. David Cronenberg

Oh, man, oh, man. I was 10 months old when this icky-but-amazing flick came out, so I never had the (dis)pleasure of seeing it on the big screen. (Imagine crushing on a Jurassic Park–era Jeff Goldblum, seven-year-old style, only to discover he’d been fly larva just a few years prior.) Anyway, there’s nothing like a Kafkaesque portrait of people turning into bugs. This one’s a gross-out for sure, but we’ve got big love for it anyway.

5. The Wolf Man (1941) — dir. George Waggner

Speaking of people turning into not-people, The Wolf Man is actually just the coolest lo-fi spooky movie ever made. If you’ve seen the 2010 remake and not the original, do yourself a huge favor and see why 70 years later it remains a touchstone for the genre. You’re sure to get very uncomfortable, but don’t be surprised when you feel the urge to howl as the final credits roll.