…And I raid the horror section of my DVD and Blu-ray collection.
I’ll be honest. Christmas is my second favorite holiday next to Halloween. I am obsessed with Halloween. Ask anyone who knows me, and they’ll tell you. I await Halloween with the anticipation of a small child every year. I never grew out of it and I never will. You all know the feeling, because you’re in love with it too. There’s something magical about it. There are also some pretty awesome films that are required viewing around this time of year, and I am going to tell you what they are! There are, at the very least, FIVE films that you should definitely seek out for a Halloween film fest:
1.) THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS: Directed by Henry Selick and produced by Tim Burton, this film is wonderful, full of strange claymation creatures, and a lovable lead character named Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloweentown who selfishly tries to take over the Christmas holiday. It all ends in disaster, but it’s all in good fun! If you know the film as well as I do, you know that you’ll be singing along with the magnificent score from Danny Elfman. It’s okay. Don’t hold back.
2.) THE SHINING: Directed by Stanley Kubrick, this is THE best film in the “haunted hotel” genre, and features a knock out performance from Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrence, a husband and father who slowly loses his sanity while acting as the caretaker for The Overlook Hotel. Danny, his son who just so happens to have a psychic gift called “the shining”, begins seeing deadly visions of the past and future – which includes a set of dead twins who beckon Danny to come and play with them – and a chain of memorably horrifying events begin to unfold as the film works its way under your skin, and the tension builds and builds until the infamous third act. *Contains adult content*
3.) HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL: No, this isn’t the 1999 remake, but the 1959 William Castle camp-fest starring Vincent Price as a millionaire who hosts a Halloween party in a supposedly haunted house. He offers each of his guests 10,000 dollars provided that they survive the entire night. “Once, the door is locked, there is no way out. The windows have bars that a jail would be proud of and the only door to the outside locks like a vault.” Well, suffice it to say that no one makes it out in time, and so they’re all stuck for the time being. That is when the real fun begins! Halloween simply isn’t complete without at least one viewing of this classic film. I’ll be honest, the remake isn’t bad, but trades in the old-fashioned fun of the original for blood and gore.
4.) HALLOWEEN: Directed by John Carpenter, this is a bona-fide masterpiece of the genre. Featuring Jamie Lee Curtis as a babysitter stalked by a knife-wielding maniac named Micheal Myers, this is first and foremost a mood piece, as it relies more on atmospheric chills than on gratuitous gore and cheap jump scares. Some may prefer the Rob Zombie remake. I am not among them. *Contains adult content*
5.) TRICK ‘R TREAT: Directed by Michael Dougherty, this is the newest obsession of mine, as far as film is concerned. With a narrative structure much like that of PULP FICTION, this film delivers four different story lines which are interconnected. They all take place on Halloween night, and are based on various myths and folklore that have always been a part of the Halloween tradition. This creepy and hilarious film captures the fun and excitement that we can all relate to around this time of year, and the tales that it seamlessly weaves together are all captivating in their own little way. You’ll be cringing and laughing at the same time! Much like John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN, this film relies heavily on mood and atmosphere, and this only adds to its charm. Barely released by Warner Brothers due to various marketing problems and a mild controversy concerning one of the film’s story lines, this is a little gem of a film that can finally take its place as an instant classic in the Halloween canon of cinema. *Contains adult content*
These are just FIVE, mind you, but there are many, many more! Honorable mentions include PSYCHO, THE OTHERS, CARRIE, THE EXORCIST, POLTERGEIST, THE UNINVITED, THE CHANGELING, PAPERHOUSE, LADY IN WHITE, and the 2008 Swedish film, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN.
Happy viewing, and Happy Halloween!