The Reel: ‘Sinister’ Beginnings: How Halloween helped get my start

Ben Conniff

To me, taking a shower in October is like a spooky shot of adrenaline.

For the past few years, Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” has been a Halloween favorite of mine.

I always found the shower to be a place where I could feel safe, even though the curtain masks the possibility of intruders violating that safety.

Poor Marion Crane learned this the hard way in “Psycho.”

After my first viewing of that infamous shower scene, I thought twice about feeling safe in the shower because I had no idea who or what might come after me.

This terror of the unknown and the unexplainable thrives in the media during Halloween season, and the ensuing fright always lends a sweet adrenaline rush.

That, combined with the fact that I’m still able to take a shower, is why I think I love this time of year so much.

It was at home in Cincinnati where I got bitten, so to speak, after my first visit to Fear Fest at Paramount’s Kings Island in seventh grade.

In my college years, I’m usually away from home too long to enjoy the same local customs that I was once used to.

So last year prompted me to begin a new tradition for myself.

I started a personal “31 Nights of Halloween” movie marathon, in which I attempted to watch at least one scary movie a day for the entire month of October leading up to Halloween.

It was nearing the middle of the month and the halfway point of my Netflix queue when I had the idea while I was in the shower to start writing.

I had watched so many different films, and friends always asked me for my opinions on things I had seen.

After drying off and getting dressed, I asked my roommate what he thought about the idea of me writing movie reviews for the newspaper.

“Do it,” he said. “People constantly ask your thoughts about movies anyway. Might as well get them out for everyone to see.”

My first review was for the movie “Sinister,” a horror film about a writer who puts his family in the path of a dangerous, demonic entity while conducting research for his latest book.

With its creepy musical score, unsettling atmosphere and a stellar performance from Ethan Hawke, “Sinister” still ranks as one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen, along with “The Conjuring,” “The Exorcist” and “Paranormal Activity 3.”

After a year of writing critiques for the Herald, I can finally lend credence to the cliché of doing my best thinking in the bathroom.

If not for that mid-October shower, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

So thank you for listening to my weekly musings over the past year.

I look forward to continuing on as your movie resource for Halloweens to come.