It’s that time of year again, fancy dress parties, trick or treat, apple bobbing but my most favourite...Horror Movie Season.
As the Witching Hour is open us and the nights draw in, it’s time get in the spooky spirit by curling up on the couch with some snacks and watching a good horror flick. Here are my top four classics that will help you capture the holiday spirit (well at least in my mind).
HALLOWEEN: This 1978 classic really helped define the slasher genre. Halloween follows the story of the iconic Michael Myers who escapes from a mental institution and returns to his hometown Haddonfield , Illinois fifteen years after murdering his older sister. Directed by genre genius, John Carpenter, it stars Jamie Lee Curtis in her debut role as Laurie Strode who is the main protagonist of the film, as well as a career high for the late Donald Pleasance who plays a blinder as Myers Doctor, the creepy yet eccentric Sam Loomis who is obsessed with catching the crazed killer on the loose. Filmed in just 20 days in the spring of 78 on a low budget, this film deserves all the credit for what a suspenseful masterpiece that it really is.
HALLOWEEN III, Season of The Witch (1982): Ahh Halloween III, Season of the Witch, considered as the black sheep of the Halloween family as it the only one in the franchise that doesn’t feature Michael Myers. But what it lacks with Myers it largely makes up for with its far fetched plot and atmospheric feel. The plot revolves around an investigation by Doctor Chalis, played by Tom Atkins who investigates the mysterious Silver Shamrock company and its Irish owner Cochran who seeks to take over the world with killer horror masks that contain microchips from Stonehenge. Mad right? And there’s also the annoyingly catchy tune to the commercial tune to London Bridge is falling down (8 more days till Halloween, Halloween. Silver Shamrock, and so on). Largely panned by critics on its release in 1982, it has now come to be loved as a guilty pleasure and is an endlessly enjoyable cult favourite. The film also highlights the American consumerism that we have for better or worse, adopted in this country today.
THE CONJURING (2013): I rarely give modern horror films a chance, as they are either terrible remakes or gory torture films, however The Conjuring is an exception. Based on apparent real life events, the film set in the 1970s follows two paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren, who investigate an old farm house in Rhode Island which a new family have just moved into and happens to be haunted by some less than friendly ghosts. The story is jam packed with classic horror imagery including scary dolls, corpses and exorcisms with scenes that will make your spine shiver, Directed by James Wan, the sequel came out last year and is equally as good, based on the infamous Enfield Poltergeist . The Conjuring manages to throwback to the glory days of old school haunted house flicks but also by putting its own modern twist in. For me these two films really helped put my faith back into the modern genre of Horror.
SCREAM (1996): Scream, what can I say? An absolute phenomenon that reinvented the slasher genre. From the opening scene with Drew Barrymoore right through to the reveal of the killer (Killers, possible spoiler) it’s a rollercoaster of a ride. Scream follows Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) and her group of high school friends who are terrorised by a mask wearing, knife wielding serial killer aptly named “Ghost Face”. The film boasts an impressive cast from Matthew Lilliard to the eventually married couple of David Arteque and Courtney Cox, who plays feisty TV reporter Gail Weathers. Directed by John Carpenter, the film nods to classics such as Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th and Halloween and contrasts self deprecating parody with genuine horror.