Your Halloween Movie Pick
So Trick or Treating isn’t your thing. And because of Halloween’s unfortunate placement on a Wednesday, partying is no longer an option. Constricted to the confines of your house, you seek to participate in the festivities to the best of your ability, given the situation. So you turn to a scary movie. You flip between different channels and different marathons, all featuring the classics. The big names are there, Halloween, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, maybe Jeepers Creepers is there if you get lucky. However, these films can sometimes be too predictable. Freddy, Jason and Michael Myers have all become cultural icons, rendering the nefariousness of them completely futile. We aren’t scared of them because we’ve seen them in broad daylight. In no way do I mean to detract any cinematic value from these masterpieces, but in terms of true horror, it’s just not there. With this article, I hope to suggest a list of horror movies that suits each individual movie goer. What we expect and want out of a horror movie varies among everyone, so with this list I will offer a multitude of different horror films from different genre.
For the classic horror movie fan, the fan who appreciates conventional means of horror (tension, tone, buildup etc.), look no further than John Carpenter’s The Thing. A masterclass on tension, The Thing continues to terrify its audience with its restrained use of its villain, ambiguities, and sound track. Set on an isolated Arctic Research base, the scientists onboard discover the remnants of an alien species, entrapped in ice. As a snow storm rages outside, the scientists are trapped in their base. The alien, or should I say the thing, eventually breaks free from its confinement, wrecking havoc on the scientists through its ability to transform itself into any person that it comes into contact. Carpenters dedication to practical effects allows The Thing to hold up better than most modern movies. The effects in the first film look much better than the recent CGI remake. So if you’re looking for a freezing horror on this warm Halloween, The Thing is for you.
With today’s Culture fixation with zombies, it’s surprising that it has been so long since a genuinely good zombie film was released. However our desire for stories of the undead still rages, and, especially with the recent decline of The Walking Dead’s quality, these desires are unmet. To quench your thirst of a brilliant zombie film, you’ll have to look across the Pacific to find Yeon Sang-ho‘s Train to Busan. Currently streaming on Netflix, Train To Busan is a linear story centered around a variety of characters, each from different background, as they survive relentless waves of the undead while on a train. Train To Busan’s ability to balance a well structured story with terrifying effects through precise acting and genuine horror is the reason why I can confidently call this the best zombie film of the last 10 years.
When people first think of horror, they tend to see the gritty, ugly nature of it. Although this is understandable, many viewers would be surprised to learn of the sub genre of artistic horror. As the genre usually tends to encompass Japanese films similar to Nobuhiko Obayashi’s House or Park Chan-wook‘s OldBoy, plenty of the genre’s best entries range from all over the world. The recently remade Suspiria, directed by notable horror Italian director, Dario Argento, is a film of kaleidoscopic color schemes, as a primarily red color palette illuminates the film. The American film I will suggest, however, is none other than The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. You may be shocked that I would describe the Massacre as artistic, however, Tobe Hooper’s intent to capture the imagery and vibrancy of the early 70’s pays off, as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remains of the best indie horror movies of all time.
The past few suggestions range from all areas and all time periods. With this next film, I decided to pick a modern American film that features a premise that is mainstream in today’s audience; hauntings. In his directorial and writing debut, Ari Aster has not only made one of the most terrifying films in recent memory, but a film that is able to be terrifying in such a cinematic manner. Hereditary imparts on its viewers a sense of dread that is felt long after its viewing. With beautiful cinematography and elaborate symbolism, Hereditary just feels like a completed project, a film that has had every detail fine tuned to engulf you into a world of fear.
Maybe horror isn’t your thing though. With the amount of frights on TV, the average viewer may feel pigeonholed into partaking In the jump scare and gore galore. There are plenty of alternatives that feature the horror theme but are much lighter. Films like Beetlejuice often represent this genre; the horror comedy. For a more modern take on the genre, Edgar Wright’s Shawn of the Dead creatively sets the paradigm. However my personal favorite is What We Do In the Shadows. Set in modern day England, What We Do In the Shadows is a tale of vampires as they go about their lives. Constructed mainly though improv, Taika Waittiti’s film is the perfect lighthearted film for your Halloween night.