Halloween is one of those holidays that really seems to rub people up the wrong way in this country. Kids love it, deservedly so. However, most grown-ups I talk to seem to hate Halloween, decrying it as an invented American holiday or a waste of money blah blah blah. Personally, I love it; give me an excuse to make our apartment look like a tacky fairground haunted house or binge on a horror movie marathon and I’m there. With that in mind, I now present to you my following tips for essential Halloween viewing…
I’m not actually a big advocate of rolling out the classics around Halloween. You’ve seen ‘em all a million times before so know every beat, every scare etc. Unless someone in your party hasn’t seen ‘The Exorcist’, ‘The Shining’ or ‘Halloween’, skip past the obvious choices and go digging a little deeper.
Controversial choice, I know. Ok, so you can justifiably skip about 90% of these uninspired and unwarranted ‘reimaginings’, but one or two rare gems exist. I’ve always been partial to Tom Savini’s 1990 take on ‘Night of the Living Dead’. Similarly, recent remakes of ‘Maniac’ and ‘Dawn of the Dead’ were serviceable enough and worth checking out. Double-bills with the originals can (sometimes) work too.
That period in the 70s where sexually-frustrated European dudes made trippy as hell horror movies? Yeah, they’re definitely worth adding to your viewing list. Often scant in plot and questionably dubbed, you can’t deny that uneasy feeling you get when checking out films by the likes of Dario Argento, Mario Bava and Lucio Fulci.
Ignore those who complain about the current state of horror movies. Sure, you’ll be stuck with ‘The Insidious Paranormal Saw Conjuring’ part 7 down the local multiplex and the bottom shelf of Asda’s DVD aisle is a horrificaly grim place, but dig a little deeper and there’s been some great movies released in recent years. Look at recent British productions like ‘Berberian Sound Studio’ and ‘Kill List’ for proof of the genre’s rude health.
Don’t go too far up your own ass overthinking what you watch at Halloween. Don’t forget to laugh too. Much like remakes, ‘horror-comedies’ can be a hit or miss affair. Stick to stuff like ‘Return of the Living Dead’ or ‘An American Werewolf in London’ and you should be fine. Also, as much as The Simpsons has fallen off in recent time, the ‘Treehouse of Terror’ episodes never fail to entertain.
My top 5 horror picks for Halloween
– John Carpenter’s The Thing
– Zombie Flesh Eaters / Zombi 2
– Halloween 3: Season of the Witch
– Jacob’s Ladder