01st Oct2013

31 Days of Horror – Top 5 Halloween Movie Picks!

by Phil Wheat

31-Horror-Header

Hi everyone! To kick off Nerdly’s 31 Days of Horror I thought I’d put together a list of my Top 5 flicks to watch on Halloween. Obviously being a huge horror fan my dilemma is that there are so many good horror movies that I sit down to watch at this time of year – how could I possibly condense it down to just one blog post? Well, it took a lot of work but I managed it.  So here it is, my top five picks of the best scary movies to darken(?) up your Halloween. With a few honourable mentions thrown in (told you it was hard to pare down the list).

Of course this is the start of our Halloween festivities – look out for a horror movie review a day for the entire month of October but for now here’s my Top 5 Halloween Movie Picks…

One mainstay of my Halloween viewing (and it should be of yours) is the Sam Raimi classic, The Evil Dead. Blending terror, gore and comedy is always hard and there are plenty of filmic flops out there to prove it but Raimi managed it superbly with this film. A stunning debut for the man now more commonly known as the director of the Spider-Man movies, the film was a cause for concern at the BBFC back in the day, only available in a heavily cut version until as recently as a decade ago. Now available uncut, the film is still an essential additional to any horror collection.

Now besides horror movies I also love teen movies, so when the two genres come together it’s my idea of heaven and there are two prime examples of great teen horrors that you should definitely check out this Halloween: Night of the Creeps and The Faculty. Both films are takes on the same concept, an alien invasion occurring at a school/college, but made decades apart.

The Faculty was, in my opinion, one of the first great modern horrors made post-Scream that didn’t smack you in the face with the then-trendy post-modern “I know how horror movies work” attitude. Written by Scream’s Kevin Williamson and directed by Robert Rodriguez, fresh from his success with From Dusk Till Dawn, the film features a superb ensemble cast lead by Josh Hartnett, who discover that their teachers have been taken over by aliens and are plotting the students demise. Again a great blend of action, horror and comedy that I can watch over and over – and with the film now out on Blu-ray there hasn’t been a better time to take a look for yourselves.

Directed by Fred Dekker – who also made another of my favourite movies The Monster SquadNight of the Creeps is one of my all-time favourites horror movies. Period. Like The Faculty, which was made over a decade later, the film tells of an alien invasion at a college – only this time it’s the students who are taken over (by strange work-like alien parasites) and turned into zombies! The film scores, for me, on all counts – great script, great acting, great special effects and another fantastic performance from one of the genre greats, actor Tom Atkins. Sadly Night of the Creeps isn’t available to buy on DVD or Blu-ray here in the UK, so you’ll have to do some work to track down a copy – but believe me it’s well worth it.

There are many sub-genres in horror but one that is often overlooked is the anthology. Reaching its peak in the 60s and early 70s with the classic Amicus releases Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1964), Torture Garden (1967), The House That Dripped Blood (1970), Tales from the Crypt (1972) and Vault of Horror (1973) the genre has since spawned a (small) handful of greats, including Creepshow, Nightmares, The Willies (yes, I love this movie no matter what anyone else says), and Trilogy of Terror.

One of the more recent great horror anthologies is the sadly overlooked Trick ‘r Treat. Released straight to DVD by Warner Bros in 2009, the film comes from writer/ director Michael Dougherty, who also wrote the big budget movies X-Men 2 and Superman Returns. Reminiscent of the 80s anthology Creepshow (in that its completely awesome), Trick ‘r Treat is unlike many of its kind as it doesn’t contain a wrap-around story, instead we follow trick or treater Sam, dressed in an orange onesie and a burlap sack for a mask, as he weaves in and out of stories until getting his own tale and going head to toe with the UK’s very own Brian Cox. Capturing the spirit of all that is great about anthology films, Trick ‘r Treat is light years ahead of some of the dross that calls itself horror and really deserves to be rediscovered as a Halloween classic.

Of course no Halloween is complete without watching the grand-daddy of all slasher movies, I’m talking John Carpenter’s Halloween. Made in 1977 the film tells the story of Laurie Strode who one fateful Halloween night is stalked by the serial-killing madman in a mask, Michael Myers. Despite being remade by Rob Zombie in 2007, the original film still holds up today. In fact I defy anyone to sit alone in a darkened room with Halloween playing on the TV and not get a little spooked – it works for me every time!

So that’s my top five picks for your Halloween viewing (dis)pleasure. But before I go, I must point out some honourable mentions that just didn’t quite make the cut: The Hills Run Red, Dawn of the Dead (1978), A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Friday the 13th: Part 4 and Maniac Cop.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Trackbacks & Pings