Halloween, nay…October, is the time of year when horror gets to shine like the giant bloody star for 31 wondrous days.
It all leads to one of the greatest holidays ever to grace our existence; Halloween. As we were growing up this particular day, and night, meant costumes, candy, and television specials. In our 20′s it still meant candy, it still meant costumes, it still meant tv specials; but now it also meant parties and alcohol.
Regardless of age there’s one thing the vast majority of enthusiasts agree on; horror movies. If you’re anything like me, this is when you go on a 31 day horror only binge. This particular task is not for the faint-of-heart, and should not be considered lightly. By day 20 you could find yourself reconsidering your sanity, and conflicted about the amount of good and evil in the world, if you don’t balance your horror intensity levels.
This is why I present you with a list of my favorite eleven horror (or Halloween related) movies; in no particular order (well, maybe a little)
-Halloween (1978): The night HE came home. Seriously. If you don’t watch a movie called Halloween, on/near Halloween, you may as well just give up and go watch iCarly. However it should be noted that if you aren’t particularly a fan of suspense horror, or very little (to no) blood and gore, then this may not be your speed. The pioneer of all other supernatural slasher killers to follow, Michael Myers (or simply The Shape) is sort of like a ticking time bomb without a visible timer. You know it’s there. You know it’s eventually going to detonate. But you may not know exactly when.
Additionally, the movie stars the talented Donald Pleasence, and introduced Jamie Lee Curtis to the big screen.
-Trick ‘r Treat: You may as well rank this as an equal to Halloween. This anthology-themed movie goes back to the roots of what makes the holiday of Halloween the brilliant spectacle it is; the legends, rules, and rituals behind it. This particular film had some hardships when it came to distribution; eventually releasing directly to home video. Do NOT be deterred by this. Everything from production value, look, style, direction, acting, story; are top-notch and worthy of a big screen release.
You’ll be treated (hee) to four stories that are subtly linked, each with a nifty little twist to keep things fresh: 1.) A school principal, 2.) a group of party girls, 3.) a group of kids investigating a local legend, and 4.) a haunted old man.
There’s also the introduction of Sam (referencing Samhain) that looks like this little guy:
-The Lost Boys: Still one of the best vampire movies ever made. Though there is no hiding it was released in 1987 (you could seriously make a drinking game solely off of taking a shot every time you see someone with a mullet) it holds up where it really counts; freaking your shit out. Don’t believe me? Watch the ‘biker bonfire scene’. If you’re familiar with this film you’ll agree that the soundtrack makes this a good choice to have on even if it’s just playing in the background.
-Halloween II (1981): Released three years after the original, the story takes place immediately where the original left off. In fact, the last few minutes of the first comprise the first few minutes of this sequel. We follow the survivors further into Halloween night and continue to see evidence that Michael Myers is not a force that can be easily discarded. Where sequels often drop the ball completely when it comes to recapturing the general theme and tone that made the original great, Carpenter (the returning director) seems to have no trouble keeping his vision consistent for this worthy follow-up.
-Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers: After taking a break for Halloween III: Season of the Witch, Michael Myers returns to continue his Halloween eve massacre years after his terrifying first October 31st visit to Haddonfield. While lacking in obvious virtues from the first two films, the level of suspense and scares do not disappoint. What does disappoint is the change of Michael Myers’ mask; looking too clean, and ridiculous, to invoke the same amount of ghastly fright that was burned into my mind after watching the first films.
The existence of a young Danielle Harris is presented to the world in this movie; often credited for beginning the momentum for her claim to the title of present day Scream Queen, and welcome haunter of dreams of most horror fan boys. (Still a bit jealous a buddy of mine met her recently at a Horror Con.)
-Hocus Pocus: If you have cable, and access to either Disney or ABC Family, there’s no humanly possible way you are NOT familiar with this movie. In the off-chance you have not heard of this movie, let me give you the general idea:
A light-hearted, safe for the kiddies, movie about the return of three witches, The Sanderson sisters, wanting to drain the life-energy from children to regain their youth, all because a young virgin is trying to show off in front of the girl he has a crush on, and lights a magic candle, only to then be scolded by a talking immortal black cat, who is actually another young boy who was transformed by the very same witches centuries earlier when he foiled their plans to regain their youth, but not before they successfully killed his younger sister.
-The Adventures of Icabod and Mr. Toad: This a personal childhood favorite, before I was “allowed” to watch horror movies. While the story of ‘The Wind and the Willows’ is a great story; it was always the story of Icabod Crane, Sleepy Hollow, and the Headless Horseman that stuck with me. This is classic Disney, and though released in 1949, will still entertain and help put to rest those inner demon voices from watching all of these other demented horror films filled with blood, violence, and death.
Oh! Did I mention Bing Crosby? Yup…Bing.
-The Rocky Horror Picture Show: No words can really explain to you what you’re going to experience with this one. Tim Curry is enough to watch this movie. Well, that and the HUGE cult following the show has accumulated since ’75.
Just watch the teaser.
-The Exorcist: I dare you to watch this movie, and then try to honestly tell me that at least one scene didn’t make you wet yourself. (Spoilers: there is actually a scene where the lead little girl wets herself.) Only watch this alone if you are truly brave. If you have any pets, make sure you know where they are; particularly if you have a cat. We all know that one goal all cats hope to one day achieve is jumping onto the couch at precisely the wrong moment, making you wet yourself…again.
Now that I think about it, just make sure you’ve gone to the bathroom before starting this movie.
If you happen to like pea soup. Well, I’m sorry.
-Any of The Evil Dead Trilogy or the 2013 Evil Dead remake: The original is still genuinely creepy, and introduced us to Deadites. Evil Dead 2 became the foundation of what would become the career of our near-and-dear Bruce (Don’t Call Me Ash) Campbell. Army of Darkness is responsible for classic quips like; “This is my BOOMstick!”, “She-bitch”, “Shop Smart. Shop S-Mart.”, “Honey, you got reeeeal ugly.”, “Alright, who wants some?”, and “Klaatu. Barada. Nikto.”
It is also my personal recommendation to watch the original before you watch the new one that came out in 2013. Sure, you’ll definitely see some similarities, but you’ll also possibly pick up on a couple of things that indicate that this isn’t simply a remake, but could technically be called Evil Dead 4.
-The Cabin in the Woods: Take everything you know about horror movies? Every rule. Every cliché. Every little thing that usually bugs the crap out of you because typically most horror flicks consist of two things: a killer, and a group of people making stupid-ass decisions.
You think you know all things to a systematic horror movie? Watching this will prove that you really don’t know jack. Will it necessarily scare you? Most likely not. Will it entertain you? I’d bet my life on it.
Honorable Mentions: Scooby Doo and the Witches Ghost, Fright Night, Curse of Chucky, An American Werewolf in London, A Nightmare on Elm Street (Parts 1 and 3), Insidious, Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil, Repo! The Genetic Opera, Puppet Master,…I could really go on forever.
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