As Halloween approaches, the mood to be scared begins to fill many souls, and looking to the megaplex theaters this coming week may be for naught as the pickings are slim. Instead, maybe curl up at home, get a glass of wine, maybe a fireplace, and check out one of these classic, timeless films that if you have not already seen, you can now easily through a variety of outlets like Netflix, Redbox, Amazon, etc.
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Never has a movie scared me like this, probably not even close, because Freddy could get at where you are defenseless, your dreams. The sequels were OK I suppose, but the first time Freddy’s scarred face and claws appear, well, I am still a little skeeved out right now thinking about it. But if you are looking for a chill, lots of terror, the buck stops with Freddy Krueger.
Someone’s Knocking at the Door
A bit unknown, and the most recent film on this list, but nonetheless, it deserves to be here, bringing some back to the horror genre after a period where it seemed to have lost its capacity for complex plots and character development, instead opting just for the cheap scare tactics. Well written, creatively shot, and competently acted, Someone’s Knocking at the Door is an indie horror film that deserves more of an audience, showing the potential for small projects to produce better results than mega productions. A more thorough review of the film can be found here.
Friday the 13th
The sound of Jason is perhaps his most frightening aspect, ringing in my head at will. It’s breathy, sadistic, driving nature pushes the visual elements to allow for the sudden scare after building tension. But the campy, no pun intended, nature of the film keeps it enjoyable still, as I saw some if it a few months back, holding up pretty well in its jump factor.
Freaking Mike Myers is pretty bad ass, and Jamie Lee Curtis can scream like no other, taking Halloween into a strata with other films that have stood the test of time. No doubt, the great John Carpenter who stewarded this project found his filmmaking chops with this film, leading him to other fine projects in the future. If for some reason you have never seen this, it is highly advised to not watch alone, you may have a tough time catching some shut-eye.
The creepiest little twin girls you will ever see and the maniacal tenacity and unhinging of Jack Nicholson mixed with the unmatched filmmaking skills of Stanley Kubrick brings forth a suspense classic that still sends chills down viewers spines with its audacity and verve. Yes, Shelley DuVall is annoying at times, but it is essential as a storytelling vehicle to help unravel Nicholson. The images created by Kubrick alone make this a must see, let alone the wildly potent performances from Nicholson, DuVall, Scatman Crothers, and Danny Lloyd.
The Evil Dead
Bloody, gory, gotcha terrifying, The Evil Dead launched the career of Sam Raimi and was telling of the revival that the zombie genre has seen over the last decade. There was a palpable stir caused by this movie that has gone on to become a cult classic of the highest order, packing art house cinemas to this day when it is shown. Frequent Raimi collaborator Bruce Campbell stands out among the performers, propelling his prosperous and credit laden career forward following this masterpiece.
Kathy Bates, you crazy ass woman, the hobbles, really? Please let me never face that insanity. Her and James Caan’s work prove that stories mostly set in one place can be just as powerful as films floating across a panorama of vistas and locales. It also doesn’t hurt to have Rob Reiner directing Stephen King’s story, crafted by super screen scribe William Goldman.
Hot girls as witches, and when it came out, this was right in my age bracket and wheelhouse. Robin Tunney, Neve Campbell, Christine Taylor (not a witch, but hot), et al heat up the screen, while moreover, the film is exciting, entertaining, and a sort of symbol for the growth of the vampire, witchcraft genre that has boomed this last decade.
The Devil’s Rejects
Always doing a great job playing strong, potent characters, one of the best in the business, William Forsythe brings Sheriff Wydell to life in this strong follow up for Rob Zombie to House of 1000 Corpses. Terror does not always come from monstrous looking villains like Mike Myers, Freddy, et al. Sometimes the scariest things are what other, outwardly “normal” looking humans can prove to be capable of.
One of the most insane films ever, Tim Robbins portrayal of a Vietnam vet suffering from PTSD who finds his thoughts becoming his reality to terrifying results, Jacob’s Ladder is one of Robbins most stellar moments in a brilliant career. Adrian Lyne pushed the envelope with this film, but unfortunately never really found that same magical creativity again, instead getting bogged down in sexually charged films, which were not all bad, just not on the level of Jacob’s Ladder.
You can check out this link to find incredible special edition versions of these films, for honestly, really great prices if you are looking to add any of these to your collection. If you are interested in receiving these article directly as they are published, click the “Subscribe” button at the top of the article. You can also check me out on Twitter by clicking the tabs above and below the article.
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