Ah, Halloween is right around the corner again. That magical time of the year where you can kill a drifter and leave them on your front porch for 12 hours without anyone batting an eye. So many horror films fit the bill as excellent viewing choices for the season. Here are 10 that I myself enjoy. Have you seen them all?
1. Donnie Darko
Might not technically be horror, by holy hell is it a mind fuck. Featuring an all star cast including a young Jake Gyllanhaal, Drew Barrymore, and Patrick Swayze, this movie takes place in a month of surrealness that culminates on Halloween night. The titular Donnie Darko (Gyllanhaal) is a high schooler with some serious issues (eg. he sees a giant demonic rabbit named Frank who tells him to do things). But when he is warned of the impending end of the world, is it all in his head or can he somehow figure out a way to stop it? It’s just a beautifully dark and surreal story that leaves you scratching your head after, wondering what was real and what was in Donnie’s head.
2. Ginger Snaps
What happens when you make a film using werewolves as a metaphor for coming of age? Pure. Awesomeness. Ginger Snaps is one of the best werewolf movies out there and, like Donnie Darko, takes place over the course of a month, culminating on Halloween night. Brigitte and her older sister Ginger’s lives get turned upside down when Ginger is bitten by a werewolf. Well, we know what that means. Now, Brigitte is trying to cure her sister before Ginger is lost forever to the curse. Let’s call a spade a spade, most werewolf movies suck, so calling this one one of the better ones might not be saying much, but it’s an amazing film.
3. Satan’s Little Helper
An indie slasher film with not nearly enough recognition as it should have, Satan’s Little Helper is a fun ride. Douglas is a 9 year old boy obsessed with a violent video game called “Satan’s Little Helper”. On Halloween, Doug separates from his older sister, Jennifer, after fighting with her and comes across a man wearing a devil mask who has just finished killing a person. Doug, being a naive child, believes the man is actually Satan and asks to be his helper. And so Satan causes chaos throughout the town, all the while the Douglas tags along unaware of the line between real life and a video game. It’s one of the better slasher films in recent years, packed with dark humor and entertainment value.
4. Murder Party
A straight up horror comedy, Murder Party is about a lonely 30-something loser named Christopher who happens to find an invitation to a party on Halloween. Arriving at the address, he is taken prisoner by an assortment of deranged artists, all of whom want to make the next great art project… by killing him. It’s like watching a train wreck as the events slowly spiral out of control til a bloody climax! Really a truly entertaining film with what I would almost describe as a British sense of humor to it.
5. Trick or Treat
Released during the highpoint of the slasher craze in the 80’s, Trick or Treat (not to be confused with more recent anthology Trick ‘r Treat) is about a satanic rocker named Sammi Curr who dies… but doesn’t stay dead. On Halloween, it falls to former superfan and metalhead Eddie to stop his former idol. Giving both Ozzy Osbourne and Gene Simmons top billing for their small cameos, this rock n’ roll horror film is a must watch for fans of the subgenre.
6. Night of the Demons (original, not the shitty remake)
A true classic of the 80’s, Night of the Demons spawned 2 sequels, a remake, and features the lovely scream queen Linnea Quigley. A group of kids go to a haunted house for a Halloween party, only to awaken the demons there who possess them all one-by-one. A gory (and sexy) horror film that is a must see for fans of possession flicks. Just don’t mix it up with the remake. (shudders)
7. All Hallows Eve
The other Halloween anthology film of recent years (No, Trick r’ Treat is not on this list. Like the Halloween films, it’s too obvious). A babysitter watching 2 kids on Halloween finds an old VHS tape in their candy bags. On it are 3 gruesome horror tales. But as the tape goes on, it becomes clear that the evil clown on the tape is more real than she thought. A really well put together film that I actually just today learned got a sequel this year, this is a top grade anthology horror flick that few can match.
8. The Crow
Again, similar to Donnie Darko, this is not, strictly speaking, horror. But it is a dark, gothic film of beauty that few films from any genre can match. When Eric Draven and his fiance are murdered the night before Halloween (the day of their wedding), he comes back one year later to avenge their deaths as a supernatural being, showing that even death cannot stop true love. A beautiful story with a heartbreaking series of events behind the film (read about it HERE).
9. Idle Hands
Another horror comedy for the list! Idle Hands, featuring Seth Green, is about a lazy guy named Anton who is doing absolutely nothing with his life. That is, until one Halloween when his right hand is possessed by the forces of darkness and develops of mind of its own. Now he and his two recently-zombified stoner friends must try to stop the evil once and for all. One of the most hilarious stoner comedies out there!
10. Silver Bullet
Adapted from the Stephen King book “Cycle of the Werewolf”, this film actually takes place over several months but culminates on Halloween night. A werewolf is terrorizing the community and Marty, a young boy paralyzed from the waste down, knows it. The problem is, no one will believe him. Again, this is one of the few good werewolf movies. Great characters and, as you can see, some pretty good prac fx on the werewolf too!
What do you think? What other films would you add to the list? Sound off in the comments!
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