Top movies for halloween
Published: Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05
Halloween means trick-or-treating, costumes, parties but it also means horror movies. Here are a few films that could help you get in the mood for the scariest night of the year.
“The Exorcist”—Controversial and acclaimed since its initial release in the 1970s, William Friedkin’s Best Picture nominee has long haunted and terrified moviegoers with its shocking power and masterful use of true horror. Adapted from William Peter Blattey’s notorious bestseller and starring a celebrated cast that includes Max Von Sydow, Ellen Burstyn and Linda Blair, the film captivated audiences since its theatrical run, combining the suspenseful trademark of a dark thriller with a terrifying subject matter about a young girl’s possession.
Disturbing, genuinely terrifying, but above all completely believable, “The Exorcist” still horrifies because of Friedkin’s serious and provoking treatment of faith and belief.
“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (1974) — Shot on gritty 16mm and made on a cheap budget, Tobe Hooper’s slasher film is one of the first of the genre and certainly one that created one of the most terrifying serial killers in cinema: Leather face. Instead of relying on gore and showing gruesome killings, Hooper frames each kill without showing anything grotesque. A clear influence on everything from “Jaws” to “Alien,” Massacre was banned in several countries and to this day continues to shock newcomers. With its visceral documentary-style look, plus its unrelenting intensity and one of the most disturbing and craziest dinner sequences in cinema, the original Texas Chainsaw remains a fantastic example of what low-budget horror can do.
“The Shining”— Stanley Kubrick co-wrote and directed this iconic piece of horror cinema from the Stephen King novel and it truly stands the test of time. The film features a landmark performance by Jack Nicholson, haunting visuals that will stick with you long after you see it and a mesmerizing Wendy Carlos score. Kubrick creates the feeling of being trapped inside the Overlook Hotel with the Torrance family, brilliantly showing Jack’s descent into madness and delusion. The film is technically impressive and it marvelously tiptoes between dream and reality. With a running time of two and half hours, “The Shining” is an example of a master of cinema making a genre film with dazzling visuals that create a horror masterpiece in every sense of the word.
“The Evil Dead”— Ash and his friends go out into woods to spend the weekend, but upon discovering a book called “The Necronomicon,” they awaken the forces of darkness and one of his friends becomes possessed. With a simple plot but incredible energetic filmmaking, Sam Raimi proved that it doesn’t take much to scare people. The film features great camera angles and movements, remarkable effects, great disturbing imagery and fantastic jump scares and ultimately it introduced the world to just the right amount of Raimi’s dark humor. “The Evil Dead” set the standard for cabin in the woods movies and still remains a staple of the genre thanks to its grainy but truly effectively terrifying moviemaking.
“The Ring” (2002) — Gore Verbinski, the director of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” trilogy, directed perhaps one of the few remakes that actually works. Based on the original Japanese film “Ringu” and set in rainy Seattle, Verbinski’s film succeeds because of the creepy and atmospheric visuals he creates and a marvelous lead performance by Naomi Watts. Verbinski moves the mystery at a fantastic pace and keeps it moody and sinister with cool cinematography, a haunting score by Hans Zimmer and a creepy little girl that drags herself through a screen. The shots of the actual tape are truly nightmarish; they look like something out of David Lynch’s “Eraserhead.” Verbinski’s film remains a template on how to remake a film successfully and doing it in a way that offers its own unique spin on it.
“The Omen”— One of the best horror films of all time, Richard Donner’s “The Omen” has a phenomenal score by Jerry Goldsmith, Hitchcockian suspense and fantastic thematic elements. Donner along with his excellent cast led by Gregory Peck, created a horrific story about the son of Satan on Earth, played perfectly by Harvey Spencer Stephens.
“Trick ‘R Treat”— A wonderful anthology film with interlocking stories all occurring on Halloween night, “Trick ‘R Treat” is perfect for the season and darkly humorous but also frighteningly entertaining. “Trick ‘R Treat” is a reminder that horror films can be fun as well. Writer-director Mike Dougherty’s love letter to the holiday and anthology stories (much like “Creep Show” or “Tales from the Crypt”) are funny when he wants them to be and scary and gory when it needs to be. Dougherty injects the film with the type of humor that someone like Sam Raimi might present. Featuring one of the creepiest kids in recent horror history, the film is fun, terrifying and funny.