As I write this it’s oddly warm out. It really doesn't feel like Fall out. Global Warming? What’s that? Anyway, can’t believe October is almost over again. Time for the annual Halloween recommendations from yours truly. So let's get to it!
10) Fade to Black (1980)
A big part of Halloween is dressing up as monsters and famous characters. What better film to watch around the 31st then one were the main character dresses up as Dracula, The Mummy and Hopalong Cassidy among others and gets revenge on a bunch of douche bags. This horror oddity from early in the golden age of slashers was produced by Irwin “Mother Fucking Halloween” Yablans. Not really a straight up slasher and more psychological horror.
9) Night of the Werewolf (1981)
Halloween needs a little Waldemar Daninsky action. Night deliverers some great werewolf action. Night has perhaps some of the best it’s been in the Daninsky film series. Coming across as almost a Waldemar greatest hits. Redoing parts of the past films. There’s plenty of sex and violence on hand to satisfy your horror film cravings.
8) Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II (1987)
Degrassi High has A Nightmare on Elm Street! Teen drama galore mixed Freddy Kruger antics. The slasher trappings of the first Prom Night are dropped. In their place we're treated to Freddy K. supernatural shenanigans. Weird dream sequences. Chalkboards become water and suck people in, gym lockers pulp a chick, giant ass spider webs, and evil as hell rocking horse! This one is unquestionably sooo crazy that it's great for having friends over with some pizza and booze for a movie night.
7) The Mutilator (1984)
We’re going on a Fall Break! Time to get away! The Mutilator isn’t the best slasher from the early ‘80s’ nor is a classic one. That said it’s an insanely fun film. On you can just kick back with and hang out. It takes place in the Fall so it’s perfect for October viewing. And there’s that amazing theme song. I’m still mystified by what exactly a Fall Break is.
6) Haunter (2013)
A cool little spin on the usual ghost story starring Scream Queens alum Abigail Breslin. Directed by Vincenzo Natali, the dude who made both Cube and Splice. There’s great atmosphere, a cool bad guy and a pretty good twist. It gets bonus points for using The Killing Jar by Siouxsie and the Banshees as it’s sort of theme song.
5) Nightmare (2015)
Something a little different. Dante Tomaselli’s Nightmare is the perfect soundtrack to a fever dream or a Halloween night spent reading some horror comics. From the get go we’re treated to screams and then awesome 80s’ style synth. Perfect company on a chilly October afternoon.
4)The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942)
Halloween isn’t right without some black and white horror goodness. It’s a hard act to follow Son of Frankenstein, much less the first two films. But it’s a fine Universal monster outing all the same. One that manages to be fun and thrilling in it’s short running time. Here’s the first time out for Lon Chaney Jr. as the Monster, taking over from Boris Karloff. There’s also Bela Lugosi returning for his second and final appearance as the awesome demented Ygor. And lovely Universal scream queen Evelyn Ankers is on hand to liven things up.
3) Lemora: A Child's Tale of the Supernatural (1973)
After my first viewing of Lemora it quickly became a favorite. A haunting little film that mixes Lovecraft, vampires and Little Red Riding Hood. Like Messiah of Evil, Suspiria and Let's Scare Jessica to Death (Three of my favorite '70's horror films), Lemora creates an eerie atmosphere that pulls you into it's world and keeps you transfixed to the screen. Cheryl "Rainbeaux" Smith is perfect as young Lila Lee and considering how her life would end it makes her character somewhat tragic. I'm still not sure what the heck is up with the film's ending, but that's one of the joys of '70's horror.
2) It Follows (2014)
When I first watched this last year, I was worried it wouldn’t live up to all the hype online. But it sure as hell did. It was fantastic. I love the feel nightmare of the film. The ‘70’s and ‘80’s vibe so many horror films try and fail to recreate. It Follows nails it. The monster and it's nature, a freaking unique horror boogeyman. And that score is amazing. The lived in nature of the world these characters inhabit and the sense of their history we get adds oodles to the film’s likability. To top it all off, there’s Fall going on in all it’s glory in the background. It Follows may just become a October tradition.
1) Swamp Thing: Dark Genesis (1991)
My number one this year isn’t a film. This year we lost two greats in the comic book field. Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson, the fathers of Swamp Thing. This collection contains the first ten issues of Swampy’s first run by them, as well as the short that started it all. These stories introduced many of the characters and ideas that would play a major part of the mythology of the character. Packed from cover to cover with great storytelling and beautiful art. There’s monsters galore and even The Batman! Perfect reading while waiting for trick or treaters.
Have a Happy Halloween everyone!