My horror movie picks are a bit of a mixed bag, ranging from comedy to cheesy to shocking and to terrifying. I’m sure you’ll find them all enjoyable and suitable for Halloween viewing.
Once you’ve digested my picks, go ahead and check out the other features we’ve run for our 31 Days of Scares month-long feature.
No.5 Student Bodies (1981)
Directed by Mickey Rose, Michael Ritchie
Horror comedies are tricky business. They can either be utterly annoying like any of the Scary Movie types or they can be a real treat, like this one, Student Bodies, which was the first film to parody the slasher genre. Slashers were a burgeoning horror genre in the late ’70s and early ’80s with such classics as Friday the 13th, Don’t Answer the Phone, Maniac, Prom Night, Halloween, and many more for Student Bodies to draw upon. The on-screen text clues that point to the painfully obvious are just hilarious and so is the interruption to bring the movie to an R rating. You don’t even have to tally the kill count since the movie does it for you. After watching this, you’ll never look at wooden horse head book ends the same… come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen a wooden horse head book end. This movie may have you and your friends in stitches by the time the final credits roll. And you’ll want to watch it again to see what you missed the first time around.
No.4 Sleepaway Camp (1983)
Directed by Robert Hiltzik
Back when pedophilia was apparently socially acceptable, before this guy, Sleepaway Camp showed no signs of to change the trend. Today, Artie the cook is the stuff of legend. While it’s a slasher film, it was also very ahead of its time for addressing gender identity issues in a time when just homosexuality (a completely different thing, but somehow less stigmatized than transsexualism) was equated with rapture. It’s a fun movie and required viewing for any fan of the genre. The ending is surprising, it has one of the best burn victims I’ve ever seen on film, and the poster depicting a bloody knife going through a shoe is one of my all-time favorites.
No3. V/H/S/2 (2013)
Directed by Simon Barrett, Jason Eisener, Gareth Evans, Gregg Hale, Eduardo Sanchez, Timo Tjahjanto, and Adam Wingard
Jumping right over the ’90s and into 2013, I’ve selected V/H/S/2 for your Halloween night viewing. It’s an anthology horror, which is required for any Halloween night movie marathon. This one is terrifying. I think “Tape 49,” the glue tying all the shorts together, might be the best part of this film, but “Safe Haven” by Timo Tjahjanto might be the most fear-inducing segment. “A Ride in the Park” is also a lot of fun, bringing some much-needed situational comedy to the genre.
Directed by Marcel Sarmiento, Gadi Harel
Speaking of bringing originality to the horror genre, you need to see Deadgirl. This film has stayed with me since seeing it, but not because it’s scary. It’s stuck in my head because it’s so psychologically disturbing and what happens in the movie is unimaginable. It’s a great film from a sick mind and I love it, even if our reviewer Rod Harshcore hated it.
No.1 1408 (2007)
Directed by Mikael Håfström
1408 is another movie that’s stayed with me since seeing it, and this time it is because it scared the crap out of me. Based on a Stephen King story of the same name, 1408 easily ranks as one of my favorite movies of all time. It gets its hooks in you and doesn’t let go, maintaining intensity all the way through, and it doesn’t suffer from the usually horrible Stephen King endings. John Cusack’s performance is 100% believable and captivating. If you want to wet yourself on Halloween, this is the way to do it.
American Horror Story
This show is about the scariest thing on TV. Although its a serial show, I think individual episodes can serve to scare the crap out of you and your guests on Halloween night. Somehow this show is able to take tried and true horror plots and tricks and present them in a way that doesn’t come off as cliche. Everybody loves a good haunting, right? I suggest you just start watching American Horror Story and have Halloween scares outside the box.
Rock Hard \m/