Thursday, October 28, 2010

My Top Ten picks for Halloween viewing

This Sunday will be Halloween. So it's time again for my annual picks for Halloween film watching. It's finally cold outside and the leaves are falling. Perfect weather for a few horror movies.

10. Unhinged (1982)

Every Halloween feast needs a cheesy treat or two. Sure we know it's bad for us, but damn it we still enjoy it. That's Unhinged. Bad for you but definitely entertaining. You won't even realize your brain has rotted away. Three girls (Two of which, look completely stoned.) on their way to a rock festival crash in the middle of nowhere. they wake to find themselves in an isolated mansion belonging to some crazy old woman and her spinster daughter. Odd happenings and bad acting ensue. As an added bonus the film is filled with some nice Fall foliage.

9. Baron Blood (1972)

A creepy old castle with a torture chamber in the dungeon, a fog ensconced countryside and a badly deformed undead evil Baron. There's some very, very red blood. This is classic Mario Bava.

8. Psycho III (1986)

A highly enjoyable entry in the Psycho franchise directed by Anthony Perkins himself. Perkins does a fine job in front and behind the camera. The murder scenes are staged very stylishly. More akin to Dario Argento then the slasher films that were then all the rage. The film embraces the dark humor of the original. The second film was very well done, but played it far more serious. then there's Jeff Fahey. He plays a wonderfully sleazy douchebag in this one, trying to seduce every woman that crosses his path. You won't soon forget the insane light seduction thing he does whilst nude.

7. Madman (1982)

Set just before Thanksgiving, Madman has the perfect atmosphere for Halloween viewing. I never had the pleasure of seeing this entry from the golden age of the slasher film till recently. It was a very informative experience. I learned of the legend of Madman Marz and that Mr. Marz does not take kindly to being called out. I learned that telling said legend to a bunch of wiseacre teens will only lead to tragedy. I also discovered that Gaylen Ross (Francine in Dawn of the Dead) is really hot! Also Madman Marz has one hell of a theme song.

6. The Masque of the Red Death (1964)

Two things go perfect with all that Halloween candy on the 31st. Edgar Allan Poe and Vincent Price. This is my favorite of the Roger Corman Poe films. Price's Prince Prospero, a wealthy servant of Satan, is all sorts of crazy and he's having loads of fun playing him. One of the most ambitious films in Corman's Poe cycle. The atmosphere, costumes, scenery and use of colors all come together perfectly.

5. Silent Night, Bloody Night (1974)

This time of the year the air grows cold and our thoughts turn to the impending holiday season. what better way to prepare then a little Christmas set horror. Silent Night, Bloody Night is one of the best of the bunch. Weirdly stilled acting, the always welcome Mary Woronov, John Carradine's character ringing a bell instead of talking, the killer's strange phone calls and a crazy sepia toned loony bin flashback. All of it adds together for a one of a kind viewing experience. Now were the hell is a special edition of this film? I'm waiting.

4. Exorcist III (1990)

I remember it like it was yesterday. Sitting in the dark watching of the theater and WHAM! One of the few times a film used a jump scare that not only worked but it didn't feel cheap. The fact that the studio made director William Peter Blatty add a totally unnecessary exorcism climax hurt the otherwise somber tone of the film.

3. Sole Survivor (1983)

Carnival Of Souls and the 80's slasher had a love child and they named it Sole Survivor, I'm in love. A prime example of early '80's low budget horror. Tis another X-mas set horror film. But this holiday is set in a constantly rainy environment. Denise (Please call her Dee-Dee) survives a plane crash were everyone else bites it. Death isn't too pleased with that. There's a creepy tone that's lighted by a strip-poker game and a horny comic relief cabbie. This one will stay with you.

2. Season of the Witch (1972)

Perfect for fall. There's decaying leaves and a dream monster for that Halloween feel. George A. Romero’s Season of the Witch is a somber and strange look at femininity, witchcraft and the break down of a family. I remember renting it one night along with a few other horror films. I watched it last. Big mistake. It was around four in the morning. The weirdness of this film mixed with an empty house and my tired brain made for one spooky viewing experience.

1. The Haunting (1963)

I watch this one every October. The Haunting is a masterpiece of editing and storytelling. This is the film to show anyone that thinks "old" movies are boring. Robert Wise direction here is top-notch. The camera is almost always in motion, giving us a sense of the house's malevolent forces in motion and Eleanor's cracking sanity.


Andrew Green said...

Those are all great choices....
However, my number one Halloween movie will always be Night of the Living Dead.

Wings said...

Great pics, added a bunch to my Netflix queue! So thanks!

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