As a DVD Examiner, I often reach out to the public to find out what dvds are trending, which ones are public and fan-favorites and which dvds are just pure duds. With Halloween coming soon, I polled a random section of movie watchers on Facebook to find out which favorite ‘scary’ movies are still at the top of the watch list. Some of them may surprise you.
1. The ‘Halloween’ series
Michael Myers, apparently, is still more frightening than other horror-movie main characters (including Freddy and Jason) to horror fans. The movie, ‘Halloween’, features a six-year-old Michael Audrey Myers who brutally murdered his 17-year-old sister, Judith. Sentenced to the Smith’s Grove-Warren County Sanitarium, Michael Myers was under lock and key for 15 years. On October 30, 1978, Michael is 21, being tranfered for a court date and is able to steal a car and escape. Haddonfield, Illinois, will never be the same again. Jamie Lee Curtis plays the bookworm babysitter who becomes a new interest to Michael and here we go…John Carpenter’s story came to life on the big screen.
If you want to get in on the action, try renting the movies (yes, the entire series) from a local store or borrowing them from a fan of the films that just can’t get enough. Watching these movies on dvd should fill up a boring night if you’ve decided not to give candy out to the neighborhood kids. Plan on a spook-fest instead, but make sure you lock your doors.
- Halloween (the original)
- Halloween II
- Halloween III ‘The Season of the Witch’
- Halloween IV ‘The Return of Michael Myers’
- Halloween V ‘The Revenge of Michael Myers’
- Halloween VI ‘ The Curse of Michael Myers’
- Halloween H20
- Halloween Resurrection
The average price for rental is between $1.00 and $3.00 per night in the Des Moines metropolitan area. The original movie may or may not be available on dvd, but many retail stores like Walmart and Best Buy usually stock their shelves full at this time of year. Amazon.com is also selling these dvds. The original movie is now selling brand new in Blu-ray at Amazon.com for $8.99. The DVD version is only $5.99.
If you’ve seen the originals, there is also ‘Halloween: 25 Years of Terror’ (2006), which takes a look at the classic horror film over the years. Rob Zombie also did a remake of the original film ‘Halloween’ (Two-Disc Unrated Collector’s Edition) [Blu-ray] (2007) and on dvd. All of the dvds and Blu-ray versions are Rated R (but there are a few unrated versions as well). You choose at your own peril.
2. The Exorcist (1973)
Surprised that this movie came out at number two? Don’t be. Audiences have been scared by this movies for generations. When it first came out, not only was it controversial, but many people had to leave their seats in the audience because they had to run to the restroom to be sick or were just too freaked out to stay put and eat their popcorn.
Father Lancaster Merrin (Max Von Sydown), an elderly Catholic priest finds strange items, including a bizarre demonic figure on an archeological dig in Iraq. He quickly returns to the United States. Meanwhile, in an upscale Georgetown neighborhood of D.C., successful actress Chris McNeil (Ellen Burstyn) and her twelve-year-old daughter Regan (Linda Blair) begin experiencing unexplained phenomena. With unexplained sounds in the attic and even stranger behavioral changes by Regan, Chris approaches her daughter to discover Regan has been playing with a Ouija board and has been communicating with an other-worldly entity. Despite medical tests, there are no explanations for Regan’s behavior. Enter the Catholic church and the exorcism. Remind yourself not to eat split pea soup before you watch this for the first time, or even the second or third.
Rated R for strong language and disturbing images; not appropriate for children under 17
There was also a re-release of the dvd in the United States on September 30, 2010.
This film also generated some sequels:
- Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977)
- The Exorcist III (1990)
- Exorcist: The Beginning (2004)
If you want to watch the movies in ‘chronological’ order, not the order they came out – start with Exorcist: The Beginning (2004) which is actually a sort of prequel. Then go back to the original, and best, of the bunch. Some of these movies can be viewed in full online, such as at IMDB.com.
3. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
It seems the 1970s were a time for getting scared half to death and enjoying it. When poor Sally spends two minutes dining with Leatherface and his family – you can’t help but be disturbed! Toby Hooper took a gruesome true-life story, mixed in the needed theatrical elements and changes, and took us all on a journey into a backwoods world of insanity and cannibalism. You could call this film the pre-cursor to films like the ‘Saw’ franchise and other ‘slasher’ horror movies. If you can’t keep your teens out of graveyards in the middle of nowhere, or if you do this on your own, perhaps a revisit to this dvd will get your blood pumping and remind you that the backwoods are not for city folks.
If you want to see the re-make The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), do it because the cast, especially Jessica Biel, is prettier, not because it is so much better than the original that you just HAVE to have it. Oh, and this one is rated NC-17, which used to be what most adults would call ‘X rated’ back in the day.
- The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Collector’s Edition) (Widescreen) (2003) on dvd is at Walmart.com, selling for $20.96, but at this time of year, they usually sell ‘haunted’ or ‘scary’ movies for cheap! Visit your local retail stores or shop online for deals.
- Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (Unrated) (Widescreen) (2007) is at Walmart.com, selling for $14.96.
4. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Adults today should ask their parents what it was like to watch beautiful Mia Farrow in her bob haircut finding out just what her baby really was, and how shocked they were. Poor Rosemary is the nicest women you’ll ever meet, but her husband is bound to dark forces. This movie isn’t the typical ‘cat gag’ scary movie. It has twists and turns that keep you watching Farrow, who unravels the truth piece by piece like an onion. Roman Polanski truly delivered a chilling story that left viewers guessing right to the end.
Because of the age of this movie, finding it on dvd might be a bit harder. I was unable to find it in stock at local Best Buy locations or on their online store; Walmart either. Don’t confuse the movie with the music artists, by the way. Vudu is allowing users to rent the movie for 24 hours or purchase unlimited viewings online. Their list price is $2.99. Netflix currently has the dvd listed. The best bet for getting this dvd local may be making a visit to your favorite video rental place. Usually they also give specials in October for horror-type movies.
5. The ‘Alien’ series
These movies put horror and science fiction on the big screen and horrified viewers. One friend, who wanted to remain anonymous, told me that they were afraid to look under their seat in the movie theater when the original film came out. Another said they wished Sigourney Weaver (the infamous Ripley) would protect them, even with a cigarette hanging from her lips. The small cast made the claustrophobic setting of a ship deep in space that much more appealing and frightening. Turn loose a creature they have no understanding of, and you’ve got the heeby-jeebies to go with your malted milk balls! Alien truly had no competition at the time, at least in the sci-fi genre. Think cold, dark, dirty, twisted and dark hallways. Then imagine something trying to suck your face off. Now you’ve got the idea.
Netflix has Alien available in a collector’s edition.
Other movies in what some are calling the ‘quadrology’:
- Aliens (1986)
- Alien³ (1992)
- Alien: Resurrection (1997)
These movies were produced and placed into a boxed-set with all 4 movies called the Alien Anthology. Walmart online has the set available in dvd and Blu-ray (Widescreen), selling for $69.66. If that is a little steep for your budget (even though there are great extras with that set), try Alien: Quadrilogy – Alien / Aliens / Alien3 / Alien Resurrection (Widescreen) on DVD (at Walmart online) for a mere $39.96. That isn’t to say that these movies aren’t available locally in retail stores or other locations. Now that you know the name(s), you can hunt them down easily. The Alien vs. Predator movies are not related. I found copies of each of the dvd versions at Family Video locally, and they were all only $1.00 to rent (for up to 3 or 5 days, I believe).
Other dvd and Blu-ray movies that made the top 10
The Silence of the Lambs (1991) (and all of the Hannibal Lecter movies – books written by Thomas Harris)
Friday the 13th (1980) series (and remake)
Psycho (1960) (the original and the remake)
Do you have a FAVORITE scary movie that isn’t on this list? Leave a comment below naming the movie, what it is rated, and why you think it should be at the top of this list!!
Do you love DVD’s? Subscribe today to get DVD reviews and free rental codes straight to your email inbox. Share this review with others on Facebook, Twitter, Digg or use the Share Button at the top of this article.
This Examiner reviews DVDs that have been released or are soon to be released in the DVD and Blu-Ray format for purchase or rental. This Examiner does not endorse any film company, cast member, movie crews, producers, companies, retail locations and/or rental locations. This Examiner reviews DVD and Blu-Ray movies in the Des Moines, Iowa, market – but the reviews are also relevant to all U.S. locations where these movies can also be rented or purchased.
You can also follow this Examiner’s reviews on Facebook and on Twitter. Click here to email Christina about this review.