October is the month of both spooks and scares in equal measure and many people celebrate the spooky season in different way. Some people party, go trick or treating, commit a series of horrific murders or carve pumpkins. These are all fine ways to spend your Halloween but, in my opinion, what better way is there to celebrate the season than to lock yourself indoors and watch movies back to back until your eyes begin to bleed? There is no better way. So, with that in mind here is my list for a classic Halloween movie marathon.
Wes Craven’s Scream, in my opinion, is probably his best and most intriguing film (New Nightmare coming in at a close second). However, this is not only why it appears on this list. If you plan to spend your Halloween watching horror movies with friends, then a film about a group of horror movie obsessed teenager’s makes for perfect viewing. It is a classic slasher which has been executed almost perfectly and nicely balances horror and mystery to create a totally entertaining experience which will leave an uncomfortable chill down your spine.
Sometimes old is gold and this is certainly the case with F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu. The film is silent and monochrome, both creating an unbearably eerie sense of dread throughout the film. Despite its age, the vampire, Orlok, is still truly terrifying in appearance and this bloodlust psycho drama will fulfil the desires of both film buffs and casual viewers alike.
Takashi Shimizu’s Ju-On (The Grudge) is a haunted house story turned up to ten. Unlike many of the inclusions of this list, the plot of this film is very complex and the film is a real mind bender with some of the most malevolent and disturbing ghosts in cinematic history. The film is severely dark and genuinely terrifying no matter how many times you view it. What it lakes in set pieces or extreme gore it makes up for in the uncompromising terror.
Dead Alive (1992)
Before he started making award winning films about wizards and hobbits, New Zealand director Peter Jackson was a master of ridiculous B-Movie-esque horror. Dead Alive (or Braindead as it was known in New Zealand) is a strange and gory zombie movie which pays homage to the video nasties of the 1980s. The balance of lunacy and gore makes this one ideal for Halloween viewing and will certainly gain a response from the audience, be it shock, awe or delight.
Written by Stephen King (IT, The Shining, Misery) , directed by George A. Romero (Day of the Dead, Night of the Living Dead, The Crazies) and starring an ensemble cast of incredibly talented horror and comedy actors you really can’t go wrong with Creepshow. The film is split into five short stories, written by King, and all inspired visually by the EC and DC horror comics of the 1950s. Top it all off with incredible SFX by Tom Savini (Friday the 13th, Dawn of the Dead) and you have yourself a total horror classic on your hands.
Although Re-Animator doesn’t shy away from wry humour, it still makes for a great pick on a Halloween line-up. It is a campy sendup of an H.P. Lovecraft tale and it carries all the weirdness from the original author with it. The plot is centred on three college students with a morbid desire to reanimate dead flesh and this leads to both a peculiar yet engaging film experience. The film is grandly unique and a must watch for any horror fan.
Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
Halloween viewing doesn’t necessarily have to dwell on the horror genre and the introduction of a comedic musical the likes of Little Shop of Horrors will make for a refreshing break between all the gore and scares. Based on the musical play by Howard Ashman, Little Shop of Horrors is a fantastically weird and funny story of a florist and his giant man-eating plant. With standout Rick Moranis and Steve Martin on the bill laugher is guaranteed and the music is remarkably witty and memorable.
Evil Dead (1981)
Five friends, a cabin in the woods and an ancient relic that releases flesh possessing demons from the bowel of hell: what more do you need from a classic Halloween film? Sam Raimi’s fantastical, low budget splatter fest is a total masterpiece and should be treated with such respect. It has a fair mix of dark humour, creative gore and iconic moments blended in style with the makeshift production which culminates in a totally alienating yet enjoyable experience.
It wouldn’t be much of a Halloween list without this entry appearing somewhere. Despite being set during Halloween, the season actually has very little to do with the plot at all. Instead, this John Carpenter classic follows a series of brutal killings after Michael Myers escapes from a mental hospital and wreaks havoc upon his home town. Not only did this film ultimately define the slasher genre, it remains one of the most successful indie horror films of all time and is beloved by fans and critics alike. If you watch one film this Halloween, make it Halloween.
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