My favorite horror
Halloween and horror movies come in a lot
different forms. Here's a list of my favorites within (and
- Alien (1979) - I was
junkie as a kid that I never thought about this one in terms of it
a horror movie until years later, but the elements are all there.
I don't care how far in the future you go, horror will never be
either as an emotion or a genre that exploits it.
- Aliens (1986) - Even
one is more of an all-out action film than the first one, there are
a lot of moments that are straight out of a horror film. Rather
one "bug" this time, we have a hive full of them. There are great
moments when Ripley and company are literally swarmed by these giant
and it's as many times creepier than they are bigger than anything in
real world that could climb all over you.
- The Blair Witch Project (1999) -
hate this one. I think it's because it worked too
If you've ever been lost in the woods, this movie will make you
- Changeling (1980) -
terrific suspenseful film that never relies on special effects to be
If you've seen The Ring, you're going to hate that movie for
unapologetically lifted chunks out of this one.
- Children of the Corn (1984) -
idea of getting lost into a town controlled by a cult already has
potential. That there's more to it than that is just bonus.
- Dawn of the Dead (1978) -
other relatively plotless films in the original trilogy, this is
a great concept and is effective as both a horror and an action movie.
- Edward Scissorhands (1990) -
like the humor Burton found in the juxtaposition of a horror film
(albeit a sympathetic one) into a suburban context, but the beginning
ending of this one have some beautiful gothic sets that distill all the
best features from nearly a century of horror films.
- Event Horizon (1997) -
design is terrific, but the second they start delving into the
they lose credibility. Much the way religions do.
- Hellraiser (1987) -
the budget wasn't nearly sufficient to make this a fantastic movie, the
underlying mythology and a concise setting (i.e., almost everything
in one house) make this a damned fine film.
- Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)
Much like with the "Alien" series, the second one shifted from horror
a larger, more action-oriented story, but it still employs great horror
elements to make this a classic.
- Invasion of the Body Snatchers
If you could distill a pure emotion and bottle it, this would be the
equivalent of freshly squeezed paranoia.
- It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie
(1966) - I hated this one when I was a child. The
is simple: It isn't for children. When I was a kid, I was as
to see "The Great Pumpkin" as Linus was. He built the naive youth
audience up for it the same as he did Sally. Adults get
They aren't disappointed at what kids see as a cruel anticlimax.
Grown-ups get the joke. Kids think one has been played on them.
- Jacob's Ladder (1990) -
going to try and explain it. It's a good one. The deleted
are great and for the most part should have been left in, however.
- Jaws (1975) -
the best monster movies ever made, and one that continues to generate
to this day.
- The Nightmare Before Xmas
I think it's a little bit short of a classic, but it's such a near-miss
that it has grown on me.
- The Omen (1976) -
movies work best with great casts, not great special effects
This is an example of a great recipe.
- Phantasm (1979) -
has such an odd premise that it manages to be very original while still
maintaining a level of creepiness that keeps up your interest. I
don't want to give too much away here, but there are some terrific
in this one.
As an H.P. Lovecraft fan, you would think that would be my attraction
to it, but it's the film itself. In fact, the original story is
one of the least interesting horror stories Lovecraft wrote. The
film not only manages to update it; it develops a completely update the
tone of the material to one that flirts with comedy without every
coming across as looking for laughs. Additionally, it's one of
the best-directed films I have ever seen.
- The Shining (1980) - It
to find movies that establish a certain creepiness for the appropriate
scenes. This one does so and never, EVER lets up.
- Sixth Sense (1999) -
seen this already, so I'm not even going to bother.
- The Thing (1982) -
version of this story is incredibly effective.
- 28 Days Later... (2002) -
best zombie movie ever. The second act of the film sort of
from a lack of where to go next, but overall I enjoyed this one a lot.
wrong with horror series?
In general, if it's a film series, you
can skip it. It's less a horror film than a horrible film.
These series increasingly depart from the elements that made the
work and typically forego continuity or any other form of consistency
- Child's Play - What
do to drag out this series beyond its one-joke appeal? How about
add another doll? Yep, more of the same. The sheer lack of
originality ought to get the producers' throats slashed.
- Friday the 13th - Can
me what's different between any of the first handful? Out of
we ultimately end up with Jason fighting Freddy and even being sent to
the far future. By this point the gimmicks are transparently just
- Halloween - I'm
only one who thought Part III was any good. That was only one
the incredibly boring Michael Meyers who throughout the series doesn't
even do his trademark Scottish accent or Austin Powers character.
- Nightmare on Elm St. -
you to name the plot of any two movies in this series and tell me how
- Hellraiser - The
films in the series are great (and the fourth one wasn't bad either),
the rest are an on-going joke without a punchline that has little to do
with the mythology of the box or the Cenobites other than to capitalize
on a (now-tarnished) brand name.
- Phantasm - Once
suffers in the quest for something original to put on the screen.
In general, I think these movies are more interesting than average, but
the series does go downhill pretty quickly.