18 Films to Trick and Treat You
The season is upon us. The time for spiders (Don’t ya’ hate walking through a spider web, ewwwww, creepola!!!) and bats (They mine bat poop (guano)…. Who knew?!), ghosts (See, I told you to get out in the sun a little more!!!) and werewolves (They leave me howling!). Let’s not forget vampires (They’re the ones who never miss a tooth whitening appointment) and witches (Who are finally starting to get decent roles on Broadway!), pumpkins (Did you know the medicinal properties of pumpkin include anti-diabetic, antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-inflammatory, in other words, Pumpkins are our friends!!!) and candy (Which likely contains none of the medicinal properties listed above, oops!).
But this is also the season where we go out of our way to scare each other and ourselves. Think about that, we have designated a specific time of year to engage in a cultural pastime that is about purposely planning, preparing and participating in scaring the living s— out of ourselves and our friends, oh, and wait, small children.
But, honestly most of us love this season! And, that definitely includes me!
So here’s a random list of 18 Scary Movies to make your Halloween all you deserve it to be. I’m passing it on to you complete with some thoughts, tips, tidbits and trivia added by yours truly. So here goes:
1) The Omen – American ambassador, regally played by Gregory Peck, learns that his son is the anti-christ (Okay, it’s not a plot spoiler to tell you the kid isn’t really Peck’s character’s real son. After all, everybody knows Gregory Peck could never be the father of the anti-christ. Hmpf!) The kid becomes a real terror, grisly deaths occur all around. Great plot shrouded in intriguing mystery. But I ask you, where’s Nanny 911 when you need her?!
2) Psycho – Loosely based on the true story of the murder spree and psychosis (see, there’s a reason for the name) of mild-mannered Ed Gein. This Hitchcock thriller makes clean showers, motel rooms and loving your mother creepy things.
Another terror fest, which is far gorier, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, is also loosely based on Ed’s life. Boy that guy must have been a real cut-up at parties.
3) The Exorcist – C’mon what hasn’t been written about this film? You know it all, pea soup, spinning heads, jumping beds, Linda Blair, “Dimmie, Dimmie”…. I could go on and on. And yes, it is based on a true story. But, probably not the one you’ve heard about. Enough said.
4) The Uninvited – Old school supernatural, mystery, romance flick from 1944. Not to be missed. Put this on your Bucket List of Must See’s. Plot is wound around a brother and sister who buy a fantastic old mansion overlooking the beautiful, rocky English seacoast. They get a sweet deal on it real cheap (that should have been their first clue) only to find it’s haunted. Surprise!!! And, this ghost is no Casper. Séances, spooky apparitions, hand made Ouija boards, trances and icy chills all abound in this house of long-dead secrets – that maybe aren’t so dead. This seldom seen film is unquestionably one of my faves.
5) Rosemary’s Baby – Cute couple move into groovy old historic brownstone in New York City, complete with funky sixties style and quirky neighbors with crazy herb gardens. Seems everybody in the building is consumed with interest in Rosemary’s ovulation cycle. Oops, she gets pregnant. Bad news is, the Devil made her do it. When your kid is Satan Jr. what’s a girl to do?
Adorably, even when she’s evil, Ruth Gordon steals this show!!!
6) Friday the 13th (1980) – With not even one degree of separation from Kevin Bacon (‘cuz he’s in this) Friday the 13th is one of those classic dark woods, strange sounds, half-naked teenage girls wandering in the darkness, complete with scares that make you jump, scream and spill your popcorn. All of which is followed up by murder and gory mayhem. Obviously, a fun time to be had by all.
7) Poltergeist – They’re Here! Deep in the suburban jungle where all homes look alike, a family is visited by static on their TV that turns out to be EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena), or put another way, spooks talking to them. Things turn ugly fast, there’s a wicked tree, a pool full of floating skeletons, people gobbled up by a vortex then belched back up covered in mucus, and one of the nastiest stuffed toy clowns you’ll ever meet. Note to contractors: Neighborhoods built on graveyards make bad investments.
8) A Nightmare on Elm Street – This Wes Craven film is credited as being the origin of the term “slasher film”. The parents of a group of teenagers have a secret and that secret is killing their kids off one at a time, first in their dreams and then for real. Freddy Krueger drives this “you get what you give” meets “see what happens kids when you have sex” morality plot. But, maybe the biggest hoot is catching Johnny Depp in his first feature film role.
9) The Shining – “Here’s Johnny!!!!!” This Stephen King/Stanley Kubrick offering is an infamous doozy, especially to King who disliked it so much he did a made-for-TV remake years later, to set the story and the record straight. The plot is simple. A family spends the winter taking care of a big, beautiful albeit creepy, haunted hotel that drives dad mad, makes mom hysterical and causes their little boy to clam up, talk backwards and run around in mazes. By the time the movie’s over you’ll be looking for the nearest corn maze to tackle just for the heck of it!!
10) Halloween – Jason comes home, but don’t plan on anyone giving him any festive “Welcome Home” parade. Short hand on this tale is an escaped psychotic murderer goes on a killing rampage with his doctor chasing him around town while Jamie Lee Curtis screams – a lot. Matter of fact, she got her “Scream Queen” nickname from this film. Boy, that gal’s got a set of lungs!!! Here’s another one to make you jump and end up wearing your popcorn as bling.
11) The Blair Witch Project – A film based on “found” footage located a year after the disappearance of three student filmmakers in the woods near Burkittsville, Maryland. This film opened up the grab-the-hand-held-video cam-let’s-make-a horror movie commando filmmaker style. Additionally, it had HUGE buzz on the Internet before it was out, giving it lots of pre-release hype. But people weren’t ready for what this long cold night in the woods would bring. Beware the unsteady hand clutching the camera. It can definitely bring out the motion sickness in you.
12) The Ring – A young reporter investigates a mysterious videotape, which contains a seemingly random series of disturbing images. After watching the tape, each viewer receives a phone call in which a spooky voice tells them they will die in seven days. And they do. This one turns the creep factor on high. You’ll never look at a VHS player the same again.
13) The Vanishing – As with so many of these, this has a great cast. A woman is abducted, her boyfriend searches for her. He finally meets up with her abductor, who promises to reveal what happened to her. Even if it doesn’t scare you, which it will, it might leave you humming the chorus of “Little Boxes” the rest of the night.
14) The Haunting – Catch the 1963 version. It relies on good old psychological horror. What do a clairvoyant lesbian, a stylin’ playboy heir, a paranormal-hunting PhD who really wants to make tenure and a high-strung possessive woman have in common? Answer: a spooky old abandoned haunted mansion, of course.
15) Carrie – Here’s another great Stephen King do-up. An unpopular and constantly picked-on girl gets humiliated on prom night. Oh, did I forget to mention she has telekinetic powers? After one slight too many, she becomes a rage-filled killing machine. Let’s just say when this girl gets mad she leaves everybody seeing red!!
16) The Amityville Horror – Here’s another one based on a true story. But, this one is taken from the actual account of the people who lived through it. It’s about a couple who move into their dream home only to find that dream turning into an unending nightmare. So they wrote a scary book that someone knew we were dying (of course, pun intended) to see and so they turned it into a scary movie. Bet their old neighbors hate them for what this tell-all did to their property values.
17) Night of the Living Dead – A casual cemetery visit (Does that seem like an oxymoronic phrase?) results in the dead letting us all know they’re really the undead. Lots of people run frenetically and fast from laboriously plodding, slow moving zombies who seem to almost always catch up with them. ‘Cuz that makes sense, right? Hint: One bite and “You’re IT”!
18) Scream – Hmm, this is an American horror-slasher film about American horror-slasher films. It is actually credited with revitalizing the horror genre after it had fallen into decline.
It’s partly based on the real-life case of the Gainesville Ripper. This is definitely a horror film for people who dig horror films. I loved it. A film combining comedy, horror, whodunit and suspense. C’mon who could ask for anything more on All Hallow’s Eve? Right?!
So hey, whatever you watch, enjoy the show!!! Happy Halloween!!