As a special treat for Halloween, myself, Zoe and Jade have all prepared our essential viewing selections for you to peruse. We have all picked three films that no Halloween night can do without, and that we find ourselves going back to each year without hestitaion. Check out our selections after the jump.
What About The Twinkie?:
Halloween (John Carpenter,1978): Halloween is the quintessential old school horror film. It was the first horror film I remember watching, at Halloween I might add, and it’s a film that I return to each year without fail. I have yet to watch all the sequels and remakes that preceded it, and even if do eventually watch the others out of curiosity, I am sure that none of them will be able to better the original. Halloween set the tone for the slasher genre, and the rules John Carpenter set up here are still abided by today. Halloween’s influence stretches far and wide across the horror genre, and makes perfect viewing for this time of year.
The Cabin in the Woods (Drew Goddard, 2012): I have nothing but good words to say about The Cabin in the Woods. I have seen it on multiple occasions now, and it gets better with each viewing. It has everything a horror fan could want; sex, blood, humour and lots of painful and agonising death. Not only that, but it subverts the genre in such a clever way, that while it may appear to be poking fun at horror staples over the years, it is in fact paying adoring tribute to them. A must watch at any time of year, not just Halloween.
You’re Next (Adam Wingard, 2011): You’re Next put director Adam Wingard on the map for many horror fans with it’s brutal kills, and tributes to old school horrors like A Nightmare on Elm Street. The simple set up could have been undone so easily, but Wingard and star Sharni Vinson bring their A game, resulting in one of the most memorable horror films in years, and one that is infinitely watchable.
Three movies that I watch each Halloween without fail? Hmmmm, pretty simple for me.
Trick ‘r Treat (2007): True, I have a lot of love for this movie. It captures and embraces the essence of Halloween overall, with great effects, fantastic humour (for me), excellent sets and costumes and entertaining stories, this movie is definitely on my October Halloween viewing list. It seriously gets me into the spirit of the season.
A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984): I know, maybe a little cliché to add, but I am a fan of Freddy Krueger and his comedic horror antics, and the original Elm Street delivers Krueger in all his glory. I really view this as a holiday flick (don’t ask, but the last two Christmases this has, for some obscene reason, been the go-to movie – bizarre, I know). A Nightmare On Elm Street was original for it’s time, and it holds up really well even after all these years.
In The Mouth of Madness (1994) This film… wow. I love the effects, the acting, the story, the progression, the soundtrack, Carpenter’s directing, the whole shebang. Yep, I can wax lyrical sometimes, it’s just too much fun. The film comes together really well, has a creepy aspect to it, and just sets the horror movie mood for me, gearing me up for Halloween, good and proper.
Sleepy Hollow (Tim Burton, 1999) – Tim Burton is the king of all things Gothic horror, and Sleepy Hollow, based on the Washington Irving novella (1820) of the same name, is the ultimate Gothic Halloween watch. A hybrid of horror, dark fantasy, comedy and fairytale, Sleepy Hollow tells the tale of Ichabod Crane, a goofy police detective that must travel to the small village of Sleepy Hollow in order to catch the culprit behind a string of horrific headless murders. What makes this film my ultimate Halloween watch is that it is a traditional horror tale. Rather than being explicitly scary (although there are gory moments within the film), Burton allows the spectator to experience the film through the eyes of cynic Ichabod, similarly unaware of just who is behind the murders. Bringing to life all of the ghouls and goblins of a legendary ghost story, Sleepy Hollow always makes my Halloween must watch list.
Hocus Pocus (Kenny Ortega, 1993) – Aside from spine-tingling Halloween films, it is always enjoyable to watch a more light-hearted family horror that incorporates all of the traditional elements that make Halloween so iconic – witches, pumpkins, black cats, old, creaky houses, and of course being set on Halloween. Hocus Pocus is made up of all these things and more, and has become a tradition of many family households the world over every Hallows Eve. The film traces the story of siblings Max and Dani, and their friend Allison who stumble across the house of the three Sanderson sisters on Halloween. The Sanderson sisters are Centuries old evil witches that take the lives of children in Salem in order to restore their youth. It is up to Max, Dani, and Allison, accompanied by a talking black cat, to rid the town of these wicked, old crones. Bubbling together great moments of comedy, memorable lines, and a colourful production of original costumes and sets, as is it is for many others, Hocus Pocus is a Halloween tradition for me.
The Innocents (Jack Clayton, 1961) – Undoubtedly one of the most iconic ghost stories of all time, The Innocents, directed by Jack Clayton is based on Henry James’ 1898 Gothic novella The Turn of the Screw. Telling the ghostly tale of a young governess of two children that believes the house and its grounds are haunted, it became a classic horror film that went on to influence contemporary film, notably The Others (Alejandro Amenábar, 2001). What makes this film so brilliant is its diversion from obviously horrific images, and instead a use of narrative to create suspense and an uncanny feeling of not quite knowing who or what the monster of the tale is, if there is any monster at all. With an eerie soundtrack and outstanding acting from Deborah Kerr,The Innocents is a film to watch this Halloween if you aren’t one for slashers, but want something a bit darker than a family horror film, and it may, like it has for me, become a Halloween must watch.