Here’s Looking at Film, Kid

Films to die for: Matt’s Halloween flicks! by Matt Click
October 24, 2007, 6:56 pm
Filed under: Movie Lists

I’m not big into Halloween. Dressing up is fun, but once the flow of candy ceased, I lost all but a thin shred of interest in the holiday. For me, Halloween is simply a solid excuse to watch a bunch of terrifying movies. Granted, the Saw franchise has seen to the successful downfall of the horror genre. So, for my horror fix, I turn to the classics. Here’s a few of my favorites.

The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980): If there was one filmmaker who could mess with the audiences’ minds like no other, it was Kubrick. The guy was an artist with suspense, a visionary with terror. The butchered twins, the elevator filled with blood, the old woman in the bathtub, the guy in the dog suit … merely thinking about this flick gives me the willies. Do yourself a favor and make it a Kubrick Halloween.

Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979): Possibly the greatest genre-bender of all time, Scott’s Alien is equal parts sci-fi, horror and action. It also has the most kickass heroine of all time, Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), and one of the scariest creatures in cinema history. Mix with just a pinch of claustrophobia and isolation and you’ve got a timeless horror classic. That chest-bursting scene still gets me every time. Poor John Hurt.

Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960): Hitchcock’s famous thriller is essential viewing for anyone claiming to possess even a faint love of cinema. The unconventional story arc, when mingled with Hitchcock’s palpable sense of dread, makes for a truly fantastic film. Psycho sports a plot twist M. Night Shyamalan wishes he could develop and has remained one of the most well-known and well-loved films of all time.

Evil Dead II (Sam Raimi, 1987): Essentially a higher-budget remake of the first Evil Dead film; this hybrid horror-comedy pits the chainsaw-wielding, shotgun-toting Ash Williams (the legendary Bruce Campbell) against the undead forces of darkness. Evil Dead II is at all times hilarious, disgusting and terrifying. Also check out the awesome sequel, Army of Darkness.

Ed Wood (Tim Burton, 1994): OK, so this isn’t really a horror film. But it does deal with the business of horror filmmaking and life of B-movie directing legend Edward D. Wood, Jr. Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Wood is arguably the best performance of his career. This light-hearted tale of failure, dreams and crappy movies is my favorite Burton flick, and one that fits in quite snugly with the rest of my Halloween picks. After watching Ed Wood, you should pick up a copy of Wood’s undisputed “masterpiece,” Plan 9 From Outer Space. You’ll enjoy it even more after you learn the story behind its production.

Night of the Living Dead (George A. Romero, 1968): Zombie films are great. From Dawn of the Dead to 28 Days Later (yes, the latter is a zombie film. I don’t care what Danny Boyle says), I can’t get enough of those beloved flesh-eaters come Halloween. My favorite zombie flick has to be the quintessential one: Romero’s black-and-white horror masterpiece, Night of the Living Dead. It’s the story of a small band of troubled survivors who hole up in a country home surrounded by the mottled-skinned shamblers. And there’s racial allegory to boot! What’s not to love?

Poltergeist (Tobe Hooper, 1982): Everyone has that movie they watched as a kid that scarred them for life. Mine is Poltergeist, a film that taught me never to build any sort of domicile structure on the site of an Indian burial ground. This twisted ‘80s classic never lets up with some of the most terrifying images in any horror film ever – and just when you think it’s safe, all hell breaks lose. Literally.

Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975): Spielberg’s often replicated but never equaled Jaws is probably my favorite horror film of all time. It’s a film that manages terror without forgetting that movies are, first and foremost, supposed to be fun. Jaws is one of those few flicks that’s hard not to like, and it’s perfect to round-off or jump-start an evening of scary movies. You’re gonna need a bigger boat.