Yes, I am falling into a trend of blogging about horror movies during the month of Halloween. Sue me. Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday of the year, and I love horror movies. That is, when they actually accomplish the feat of being able to scare me. But horror films are not the only ones that I like to watch during Halloween. Oddly enough, my two absolute favorite Halloween films are not scary at all. You will see what I mean...
10. "The Ring"
I don't really consider this a horror movie, even though there are a few parts that make my skin crawl. It's more of psychological thriller, that gives you a good flinching, gasping and jumping moment every now and then. Let's be honest, who didn't jump, scream or gasp when that deer crashed through her driver's window in the sequel? I'm good at predicting endings, and whenever one completely alludes me, I'm impressed. That's the reason "The Ring" is on my list. It keeps you guessing, with fast paced intensity, and just when you think it's over, it's really not after all.
Yes, I know. Most people either didn't like it, or didn't even give it a chance. However, I really enjoyed this movie. I was curled up in my seat in the packed theater the entire movie. Though, it may not be a movie that keeps me up at night, it carries you along for a ride as you watch it. This film was meant to be seen in the theater, and remains one of the most tense theater experiences I have ever had. My seat would shake whenever they were close enough to feel the creature's footsteps. The way it was shot made you feel like you were the one holding the camera. And of course, there is always the classic theme of horror films: the fear of the unknown. The fact that we never find out where this creature came from, what happened to it, or the rest of the world, is scary. J.J. Abrams certainly knows how to make an audience have a great experience.
8. "Scream" franchise
I personally think these movies are genius. Even though I guess who the killers are every time, they are still too much fun to watch. From the stand point of an aspiring writer that studies all the ins and outs of story, I just can't get enough of how this franchise not only enhances the teen horror film, but makes fun of it as well. Like using the classic "I'll be right back" line, and the determination and discussion of what truly makes a sequel. We constantly talk about how stupid the average teenage girl is when she runs upstairs away from the killer, instead of out the front door. It is because of this, that even though we know the killer is hiding behind the door, we still jump. Or even though we can guess who the killer is halfway through, we are still surprised. I don't know about you my dear readers, but I for one am ecstatic for "Scream 4". And as long as Neve Campbell, David Arquette, and Courteney Cox are still able, they can make 10 of these films and I will still go see them.
7. "Paranormal Activity"
This movie goes down as the single, only film that has ever kept me up at night. In fact, it still does. I still sleep with a night light thanks to this cheap genius of a film. The reason it scares me? Not only do I believe in the paranormal, and do I believe in evil spirits, but I spent my entire childhood living next to a haunted house, having my own experiences with the paranormal. This movie still makes me weary of the dark, and I definitely recommend it to anyone who wants a good scare.
Many people find this movie terribly dull and boring. I think quite the opposite. I'm a nut for movies that take the religious card to killing. Not only are they usually superbly written, but they are compelling, keep you on the edge of your seat, and keep you guessing until the last moment. Sometimes, I like to call this film the award-worthy companion to the cult classic "The Boondock Saints", because they deal with the same story. Men who believe they are called of God to rid the world of evil. This film, along with others on this list, force you to face the realities of the savagery that humans are truly capable of, and for some, that is what we fear most. Plus, Bill Paxton and Matthew McConaughey are phenomenal.
5. "28 Days Later"
The best zombie movie I have ever seen, which is actually, just today. I am finishing watching it for the first time while writing this post. I may be more critical over horror than any other genre, but even more so over specifically zombie films. Too many times to count they are over loaded with too much blood, too many ridiculous action scenes and dialogue that's really more of a "wannabe cool" than actually badass-ness. This film is about the survivors, not the infected, or even killing the infected. It's about the survivors surviving. And in times of catastrophe and crisis, it's a story about the terrors that humans can be capable of.
More a psychological drama that a horror film, but this movie still scares me. It doesn't leave me huddled in my chair, with a hood over my head, but rather, it's terror comes from the horrifying reality of what humans are truly capable of doing to each other. It is no coincidence that the serial killer of this film kills those that are in his eyes, sinners. And that he too, is one, and must be punished. The themes and questions that this movie promotes are terrifying to ponder. We call ourselves a civilized race, yet, history alone can tell you how savage we truly can be. Plus, this movie is perfect for anyone that loves a little gore. The crime scenes are the most skin crawling I have ever seen. And from a writing stand point, you almost can't do better than this crime masterpiece.
I know most people prefer the first film of the cult "Alien" franchise, however, I like the sequel, "Aliens" best. Perhaps it's the story of the greedy businessman putting his career over the lives of his shipmates. Or the bond made between Ripley and Newt. Or maybe it's even the hilarious rants made by Bill Paxton's Hudson. In fact, I still believe that this is James Cameron's finest film, over "The Terminator", "Titanic" and even "Avatar". This movie is the perfection of scary science fiction. We already know the story. We know how dangerous just one of these aliens can be, and finding our characters surrounded by them is even more terrifying. This movie may not scare me anymore, but I love watching it, over and over again. I am always amused by Hudson's desperation. Burke's death holds a certain gratification for me, and of course, who can resist saying one of film's most infamous lines of dialogue with one of our favorite science fiction hero's? "Get away from her you bitch!" And if you ever have a hankering to watch it, just check the Spike Channel. They play it almost as much as "Star Wars".
2. "A Nightmare Before Christmas"
Yes, I am one of the many cult followers of Tim Burton's "A Nightmare Before Christmas". Why? For me, it's the music. I have always had a soft spot for musicals. And when they gave me a musical that mixes in my favorite holiday, it was bound to become one of my favorites. During the month of October, the songs that I find myself humming are every single one from this movie. Sometimes, when I can watching it by myself, I may even throw in a dance step or two. This is one of two movies that goes into my DVD player on October 1st, and doesn't come out until after Halloween. Sometimes, it even stays in until after Christmas.
1. "Hocus Pocus"
I know what you are thinking. A children's movie, your favorite Halloween film? What can I say. This has been my all time favorite Halloween movie since it came out. There is just something about it, like a guilty pleasure. It could be Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker as some of the wackiest witches around, or it could just be that Binx is the coolest movie cat ever. In fact, I named one of my cat's after Binx. I make sure that this is the first movie I watch every Halloween night, before following it up with something scary. I dare you to say that the "I Put a Spell on You" singing and dance number is not a classic Halloween moment.