Fright Fest: 10 Totally Scary Halloween Movies
1. Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2
Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead empire put him (and his leading man Bruce Campbell) on the map. Both movies are full of gore, demonically-possessed people and objects and haunted forests. The first entry introduces us to the relentless and wild language of horror that the two men created, the second really nails it, while solidifying their campy, sight-gag humor. And really, you need to watch both together.
2. Eyes Without a Face
If you haven’t seen this inspiration for the Billy Idol jam, you are missing some really freaky stuff. A little deformed girl behind a blank, white face mask: Scary. A father who kidnaps other little girls to remove their faces: Crazy.
For decades the American horror movie was dominated by a few slasher franchises whose villains we’ve all come to know. But none of the other jokers compare to Michael Myers, whose gleaming butcher knife and expressionless mask have haunted Haddonfield and audiences since John Carpenter’s original in 1977.
4. Let the Right One In
This quiet, poetic little Scandanavian number is as much a horror movie as a love story. Featuring a twelve-year old girl who has been twelve “a very long time,” and a visual dreariness and darkness that somehow manages to be lush, you almost forget it’s horror until, bam, something horrible happens.
5. Night of the Living Dead
This George Romero masterpiece made the zombie genre into what we know it today. We love this movie as much for what happens as the general feeling of it—the constant sounds of moaning, the shabby, crumbling house, the tense sense of a threat closing in, the hopelessness.
With its creepy house, its dark, gloomy sets and skewed angles, its mummy corpse mom, its knife wielding killer and its beautiful, unsuspecting, naked victim, this movie is the dear old mother of modern horror.
In this movie, watching a videotape condemns viewers to gruesome death. How gruesome? A greasy, horrific spirit woman crawls out of a television and stops your heart. Not for the weak of, well, heart.
8. Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The agonizing scenes of torture and pleading, the sheer glee of Leatherface dancing as he works, the down-home country grotesqueness of his cannibalizing family, and the low-budget, verite camera work make this movie shocking.
9. The Brood
Nobody has had quite the influence that Cronenberg has on the genre and this movie is among his most entertaining. Between the reptile-faced blonde children marauding through town in one-piece snowsuits, tearing people apart at the behest of their deeply troubled, psychic mother and that “birth” scene (with the licking)—it’s downright nasty (fun).
10. The Descent
Unsuspecting viewers went to movie theaters expecting the run-of-the-mill cheap horror movie, then, without warning, found ourselves in a nightmare of super-tight spaces, brutal gore and cave-dwelling demon-creatures in a feeding frenzy. This flick is truly scary with a totally satisfying and hopeless ending.
Can’t get enough of scary movies? Tune in to Stephen King Week on SundanceTV.