Halloween is my favorite time of year- the haunted houses, the costumes, the change of seasons, and the new crop of horror movies that come out around this time. I love horror and suspense and paranormal movies, even though That Guy can’t stand them, so I have to drag other friends to go with me- in fact, I have a meet-up this Saturday to go see the new one, Crimson Peak. So excited.
At any rate, I’ve been into horror and suspense movies since I’ve been able to watch them (or sneak around and watch them), and my tastes are a bit picky. I sort my horror movies into actual suspense and horror movies, while anything that has vampires or werewolves (think Underworld) goes into a different category. Below I’ve listed some of my favorite horror movies that I go to over and over during this time of year. Have ones that you love? Share in the comments!
Child’s Play: This entire series freaked me out when I was younger, partially because I grew up with the whole life size doll craze and my brother HAD a doll that was about the same size as good ol’ Chucky. It didn’t help that all my relatives thought it would be wonderful that I started collecting porcelain dolls, and so for every birthday and Christmas I would get dolls as presents, and they would live in my room. Eyes EVERYWHERE, and possibilities for them to come to life. Add to the fact that no one ever believes the kids, and it just added to the creep factor. I really think they could do a decent job remaking this, especially with the leaps and bounds special effects have made since the start of the series. Imagine a realistic moving Chucky…
The Fly: I have always been in to science fiction, and so teleportation was always realistic to my mind (Star Trek reruns were a constant in my house growing up). So when the tape of The Fly came along, and the issues of teleportation and mixing up DNA by accident becomes a realistic horror movie, I couldn’t turn away. Add in Jeff Goldblum, who is capturing on his own, and amazing special effects, and you’re hooked.
The Shining: I’ve had huge debates with people about whether The Shining is a horror movie or a paranormal movie- and I come down strongly on the horror/suspense side. Really, if the twins aren’t enough to do it, the book the movie was based on was written by STEPHEN KING. Enough said.
Psycho: I’m not talking about the really awesome Bates Motel series on A&E (although I do recommend it), nor am I talking about the remake. I’m talking about the original, 1960 black and white film starring Anthony Perkins and Janet Lee. This was my first introduction to Alfred Hitchcock, and I have been addicted to his films ever since. It’s hard to get teens into movies like this any more because there’s not enough action for them, and it’s a slower pace than what they’re used to, but if you can get them into it, they really get into it. And the twists and turns are delicious.
Pitch Black: A decent case can be made that Pitch Black falls more into the science fiction catagory of movies, especially when taken together with it’s other two episodes, The Chronicles of Riddick and Riddick. I’ve also have to have huge debates with teens that the movies came out before the books, not after, so unforunately the novelizations don’t count as “book based movies” for their homework assignments. I include Pitch Black into my horror movie genre because it’s got the awesome critters, and is more critter/suspense than sci-fi. That and no one knew the rest of Riddick until afterwards- Pitch Black was billed as horror.
Pet Cemetery: Another Stephen King book come to life, this is one of the creepiest things that you could wish for come to life. If you aren’t familiar with it, this family moves in to a house, and across the street is the sacred ground and a pet cemetery- when the cat dies, they bury it there, and it comes back, but it’s twisted. Then the completely evil happens and the angelic blond boy dies and…. you can take it from there. It was creepy and horrific when I was a teen, and it’s even worse now because I can see it from the parents’ viewpoint. And just and wonderfully awful.
Halloween: How can you have Halloween horror movies without Halloween? The original killer slasher movie that introduced generations to the genre, and what terror you could generate with a generic mask? AND made Jamie Lee Curtis a horror icon? (If your teens are into Scream Queens and do NOT know their horror history, this is a perfect place to start educating them immediately).
A Nightmare on Elm Street: One of the best boogeymen to ever invade dreams, he has become an icon all on his own- I’ve had tweens and teens dress up like him and play video games online with his character without having seen any of his movies. The original movies were breaking ground with special effects for their time, and if you can find details of how the did what they did and interviews with the cast and crew, it’s worth the time. I much prefer the original to the remake, just for the story.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers: This 1978 version has Jeff Goldblum, Leonard Nimoy, and Donald Sutherland in major roles, while aliens are taking over Earth one human at a time. It’s creepy, dramatic, and sufficiently thought provoking so that throughout the movie you’re not sure who’s an alien and who’s human until the very end, and even then you could be wrong. I’ve shown this a couple of times with tweens and teens (be warned, even though it’s rated PG this was before there was a PG-13 rating and there is brief nudity), and it’s always interesting to see how they handle it. The last time, we were making buttons, and at the start of the movie the tweens and teens were scattered around the room talking and making buttons, but by the middle of the movie then started moving closer to me and getting quieter. By the start of the end, they were all sitting next to me (in the brightest part of the room), and silent, waiting to see if the aliens would win.
Alien: The best, however, for horror and suspense that keeps it’s title year after year has to be the original Alien. A space crew is awakened to a distress call, only to be taken over by an alien who is using them to hatch more creatures. Iconic in and of itself, Alien has sequels, has become a staple of pop culture and crossed country lines. Unfortunately, some people think that it needs to be rebooted and remade, even though it will never come close to the original.
What are your favorite horror movies? Share below in the comments!