Ah, it’s that magical time of year when all the scary things in the dark can finally show their face. A celebrated season of spooky fun and gruesome delights, where kids can dress up like monsters and their parents have full permission to scare the shit out of them.
Along with the costumes and the general sense of creepiness, the other great thing about Halloween is the horror movies. A time honored tradition of cinema where we can explore our deepest fears in the span of 90 minutes. Over at Taste of Cinema they have a classic list of 25 Modern Horror Film That Are Genuinely Nightmarish. Typically I’d find this type of list redundant, but the blogger takes time to add some great new titles to the list, some that even I’m yet to see. It’s a really well written entry and I encourage you to peruse each film in your horror search for the holiday.
Below I’ve taken five of my classic favorites from the list.
Hands down one of the most terrifying movies I’ve ever seen. Watching it as an adult I can still feel the terror I had as a young kid watching this for the first time. The sound alone in this film will give you nightmares. Expertly crafted, hard to watch, and eviscerating in every way, this is the Halloween horror movie to beat them all. Sweaty, greasy, dark, and wholly upsetting, you won’t be able to stop thinking about it for days.
If you haven’t seen this yet, well, shame on you. While technically speaking, this should seasonally be number one, Michael Myers didn’t have the same effect on me as Leatherface. That said, this movie will still scare your pants right off. This is the quintessential stalk and slash film, one that launched the careers of Jamie Lee Curtis and John Carpenter. It has that same dirty, 70s look as Texas Chainsaw, but rather than the isolation of rural Texas, this movie brings the maniac home to the suburbs. Essential viewing.
This is not a movie for everyone. It’s atmospheric, wildly ambitious, creepy, and even somewhat haunting, but it’s Italian. If you know anything about Italian horror movies before, say, 1991, you know that you’re not necessarily going to get a solid script, a cohesive narrative, nor Grade A acting and effects. What you will get is imagery and music that will burrow so deep inside of you that you think you’ve gone mad. The Beyond is one of those films, a discarded classic and a genuine fright fest worthy of your selection.
Hold on to your popcorn, because this one will kick you square in the face. Starring the inimitable Sigourney Weaver, and written by one of my favorites, Dan O’Bannon (writer of the inarguably greatest zombie film ever made, The Return of the Living Dead), this movie blends the psychological terror of alien fear with an oozy, wicked monster from outer space. This is the film that features the infamous chest-bursting scene. You’ve been warned.
The Tall Man gave me the craziest chills when I was a kid. I don’t know if describing the movie, or his role in it, would do it any justice. But here you’ll find murderous little people, flying killer spheres, an alternate universe and one the most horrifying last seconds of film in horror history. “Booooyyyy!” Don’t watch it alone.
Stay tuned for more horror selections from us during our favorite time of year.