Top 6 Horror Films for this Halloween
FRIGHT NIGHT (1985) This campy vampire motion picture combines thrills and humor in this blood sucking tale about what might happen when a vampire moves in next door. This is a fun 80’s ride. Classic Vampire film about a teenager who learns that his next door neighbor is a vampire, and no one will believe him. As a child I saw this movie and it taught me what a fine line there can be between humor and terror. The veiled messages here are many. Some of the ones I saw are man vs himself and how people can turn on you. The vampire representing all that oppressed and segregated. And what we all think about: eternal life, belonging and the teen theme of figuring out who you are.
POLTERGEIST (1982) put Steven Spielberg on the map as a bona fide Producer. Skillfully Shot with tight writing, and - most importantly - consistently suspenseful. The fun is really in watching the story unfold into it’s climax. Indian burial grounds are never a good idea to mess with but the Cuesta Verde Home Estates aren’t as peaceful as it seems. The ride is where it’s at in this one. You have to want to sit back and let the story unfold. You can’t miss the pool that was never finished scene. I feel that it took a big gamble and some serious hustle to get this project off the ground at the time. We’re all grateful you did. Thanks Steven for a (nother) childhood classic.
MISERY (1990) Elevated by standout performances from James Caan and Kathy Bates, this tight, almost play-like aura being in nearly one setting. Bates winning her one of the few Best Actress Oscars ever bestowed for portraying an evil character. This suspenseful and frightening film is one of the best Stephen King adaptations to date. It definitely keeps you on the edge of your seat and draws you into their world. Sheldon (Caan) finishes his new novel but runs into some car trouble on the way home. Serendipitously, Annie (Bates) is not only his biggest fan but she gets to have her way with him, of course, only after nursing back to health. Taking place in a cabin in the middle of nowhere and snowed in it utterly forges an enclosed sense of isolation. Annie is life and I feel it’s a grounded fantasy story of “what if.”
EXORCIST (1973) By the Novelist William Peter Blatty based his best-seller on the last known Catholic-sanctioned-exorcism in the United States. This film will take you on a spine-chilling, demonic possession ride and much, much more. With remarkable FX, makeup and a bloodcurdling atmosphere, this is truly one of the scariest films of all time. Blatty transformed the original little boy from the real 1949 incident into a 14-year-old girl. There is a reason this film is one of the scariest; because of the strong tones of man vs himself and how rough it is to transform from child to adult. Every time I watch it I see something new.
THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (1999) was a groundbreaking creation of a film. With no script, some vague instructions for the actors they made it made one scary ride, not to mention a shoestring budget. Combining Hi-8 video with black-and-white 16mm film, this movie presents a raw look at what can happen when footage is found of college students who forego common sense and enter the world of voodoo and witchcraft. Presented as a straightforward documentary, this film is will keep you from camping forever. I feel it’s important to mention that the ad campaign was genius.
CARRIE (1976) is a classic horror movie based on Stephen King's first novel. Horrifying look at supernatural powers, high school cruelty, bullying, and teen angst as it rings true today as much if not worse that it ever was - hence the not so good remake. Breathlessly , this picture brings us one of the most memorable prom scenes in history. These elements are still relevant today as Sissy Spacek plays a character that the young and “unpopular” most teens can all relate to. There tones of the classic mom and teen daughter can struggle through. Young woman vs herself. Most importantly, it shows us that it’s not easy to be a young adult, especially a female.
I recently asked my wife why she doesn’t like horror films. Obviously, she said they’re scary and they give her nightmares. I believe most people would agree with her. What if I told you that looking at any given horror film from a grounded/real world point of view it isn’t nearly as scary as what real life elements they are personifying or giving a face too. Most smart films have this unique, human, groundedness, set the rules and don’t break them. For Example, this is how we can get KING KONG to work on an emotional level. Look, most of us didn’t waste our parents money on film school. Most people take what they are seeing for face value only or Jason Vorhees. There are some movies that just are made scary for the sake of being scary. That’s fine but very rarely do I find one that speaks to me. My late father and I used to play a game we called “Face your Fears,” in which he would match what little allowance I had. I loved this game , if I could get through something like BASKET CASE and not get scared that I have an evil messed up appendage, I would get to keep all the money in the “pot.”
I’m going to write about horror films here from time to time. I certainly don’t know everything but I do take a strong point of view when speaking about the horror genre. For the most part, I will not be posting any remakes (some). Please send me your favorite horror films, a brief synopsis and why you like it so much. What grabs you (no pun intended.) What makes you come back again and again or what about horror films keeps you away or compels you to you leave a light on. There are no monsters other than the emotional scars left by our past and our own personal “demons.” This is why pulling the covers over your head doesn’t work.By @artisdead76
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