Halloween is just around the corner, and I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t be happier. Haunted houses, spooky decorations, costume parties, and of course scary movies!
But with so many scary movies, from the oldies to this season, the task is deciding which ones to watch. Classics? New horror? There are only so many days in the month, so here are my must-watch movies for the Halloween season.
Night of the Living Dead (1969)
It’s true that zombies are “in” and have been for some time. With the huge success of tv shows like The Walking Dead and movies like Zombieland and Warm Bodies, zombies are essential to Halloween. That is why the 1969 classic Night of the Living Dead is perfect to watch this time of year. This is the zombie move that spawned them all. No explanation needed on why the dead have come back to walk the earth, just creepy music and people trapped in a farm house while the zombies lumber around outside waiting for a feast. Shot in black and white, with chicken guts used for human insides, this movie will set you in the mood to watch the other Living Dead series.
Evil Dead ( 2013 )
I am well aware that the cult classic is a huge hit. But the 2013 remake of Evil Dead is disturbing masterpiece to say the least. Evil Dead is a gore fest with scary moments throughout. Imagine being trapped in the woods with an evil book that releases… well, let’s just say nothing good. From the setting to the effects, Evil Dead will make you squirm and second guess some of the choices you have made… like picking this movie to watch at night! All of the elements fit together perfectly making Evil Dead a don’t-miss movie to watch. It might be best to let the kids give this one a miss, so watch it while they’re sleeping.
The prince of darkness needs his place in this line up and what better way to watch Vlad the Impaler than with Bella Lugosi playing the lead in Dracula. This is a true classic, and although released in 1932, it is still one of the best. Lugosi owns the role, and even in his death, he continued his loyalty to the dead king by being buried in his Dracula costume. Universal Studios went on a run with classic monster movies and Dracula was a part of making it so successful. The Wolf Man and The Mummy followed but nothing can hold a torch to Dracula. Sorry Frankenstein.
Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
To this day, I can still hear that song playing in my head, “One, two. Freddy’s coming for you.” Just a creepy song. When Nightmare on Elm Street came out in 1984, our dreams were haunted by the burnt man with the glove. Freddy Kruger terrorized the residents of Elm Street in the worse place possible – their dreams. The deranged Kruger made you stay awake and used all your fears against you. Even a young Johnny Depp couldn’t escape the nightmare .
The Exorcist (1973)
One of the only movies that still gives me nightmares to this day. Possession movies are a dime a dozen, but this original stands above them all. Based on a true story that was turned into a novel, The Exorcist is about a young girl Regan, who is possessed by a demon. Regan and has no hope of survival unless the priest can remove the evil within. The movie has several famous scenes that make audiences look away or shake their head. Add the legend of a cursed movie set, and this movie will not only make you never eat pea soup again, but it will be a great addition to your Halloween movie collection.
I know this isn’t a typical choice, and it doesn’t stand out as the scariest on the list, but Ghostbusters is a great break from the other terrifying titles. The cast, the one-liners, and of course, slime! All make this a pretty good movie to watch with the family all while keeping to the creepy tradition. I’m sticking with the first-released one, of course.
28 Days Later (2002)
What happens when a group of animal rights activists unleash infected apes in a protest against animal testing? Infected people with a “rage” virus that turns your eyes blood red and makes you a violent zombie-like beast. The 28 Days Later story follows a bike courier named Jim who wakes up from a coma to a world of nothing. N o cars on the street, no people walking around, and nobody but infected zombie-like maniacs to talk to. What makes this movie so different than other “virus-type” movies is the way the music plays into the scenes. The main character, Jim, goes from being a scared man with a thousand questions to a scared man who just wants to survive. The scenes with the horde of the infected chasing Jim are edge-of-your-seat suspenseful. Violent, scary, and gross. What else could you ask for on an October Friday night!
The Ring (2002)
Originally released in Japan in 1998, The Ring was adapted and turned into a U.S. film with more of a story. The plot involves a videotape with disturbing images and scenes. The legend is that if you watch this tape you’ll receive a phone call and then die seven days after that. Sounds simple enough right? Just don’t watch the tape. The movie and story do a great job of keeping you guessing as to what is really going on and why this videotape is cursed. Without giving too much of the movie away, all I can say is just watch it until the end. Last piece of advice? If someone calls while you’re watching this, whatever you do… DON’T pick up the phone.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
What happens when your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere and the only house around is owned by a deranged, cannibalistic family with a son who they call “Leatherface?” Nothing good to be sure! It’s a whole lot of chainsaws and torture in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Every Halloween needs a slasher film, and this is one of the top two I would suggest. Filmed on a budget of only $300,000, the movie took in $30.8 million when released. Not bad for a movie that was banned in several countries and was pulled from numerous theaters because it was “too violent.” The film has been hailed as the original slasher film and has generated several follow up movies as well as a prequel.
Let Me In (2010)
Some might say that this film is not scary nor does not fit the “Halloween” theme but I disagree. Let Me In starts off with a badly disfigured man in the hospital being question by the police for a murder. The police officer receives a phone call and the person on the other end of the call informs the officer that the man’s daughter is downstairs. As the police man leave the room, the man writes down a note and promptly jumps out the window. To me, that sounds like it fits the “Halloween” theme perfectly. The story only gets stranger and darker from there, and even when you think you have an idea, you don’t. The plot in Let Me In does move slowly at times, and sometimes even feels like it is not going anywhere, but I assure you this dark movie is different than the typical scary movies that are out these days. Side note to prevent confusion: Let Me In is the English version of Let The Right One In which is a Swedish film and arguably better because it’s creepier. I’d tell you to go for the Swedish version. You’ll get over the subtitles quickly, but if you just can’t stand them, you’ve got the English version to fall back on.
So there you go!
A variety of scary movies to creep you out for the rest of October. I could have written a list of a hundred, but these movies will put you in a perfectly disturbed frame of mind for the season. And, if you don’t want to watch at home, check out Cinemark in Frisco Square for some new seasonal scary films.