In honor of the Halloween holiday (it's my personal favorite and yes, those are my “vintage” 1970s decorations above), I’m sharing a bit about my favorite horror movies.
Although this is off my usual topic of writing, writing and movies are connected – after all, every movie begins with a story idea. And, as some people may know, I majored in film studies in college. So I’ve been watching movies and writing about them forever.
Horror movies (like ice cream) come in a variety of flavors, and horror movie fans/buffs have their personal likes and dislikes. Some people are devoted to the classic 1930 and 1940 Universal Studios “monster” films starring Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff. Others enjoy the British Hammer and American International films of the 1960s and 1970s. Those are famous for featuring Peter Cushing, Vincent Price, and Christopher Lee.
Some fans are attracted to a specific genre (torture porn, mutant hillbilly families, camping, killer clowns) or a particular type of monster (vampires, werewolves, zombies). Still other folks are loyal to a specific character (Jason Voorhees) or a franchise (Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm St., SAW)
At this time of year, you can find almost any kind of horror movie or monster on TV or available for screaming... I mean, streaming. Horror movie fans can practically glue themselves to the couch and catch all day marathons of their favorite movies on about 1000 channels. (I actually did that yesterday!)
I could go on and on (really!) about what makes a good (scary) horror movie, but here’s a list of my favorites (in alphabetical order – with 2 ties.). They’re not all necessarily gory or scary, but they have a good story, tense camera work, or are just plain cool.
The Amityville Horror (1975) – Some houses are cheap for a reason! Skip the sequels & remakes.
Dog Soldiers (2002) – Best werewolf movie ever.
Dracula (1931) tied with The Mummy (1932) – Can’t choose between them!
Evil Dead (1983) – Bruce Campbell stays in the worst cabin ever – yey!
Halloween (1978) tied with Black Christmas (1974) – Both are classics that freaked people out – and are strikingly similar (watch them back to back!).
King Kong (1933) – A classic for its time – the island part is the best.
The Other (1972) – Often overlooked story about creepy twins – need I say more?
Pitch Black (2000) – Life on other planets isn’t always nice.
Rosemary’s Baby (1968) – Paranoia and persecution = Polanski.
And, in my personal favorite genre, 1970s horror movies, here are the top ten. Some are considered classic or revolutionary and others are just plain bad. (The “so bad they’re good” kind!)
Bad Ronald (1974) – Who’s living behind your walls?
Black Christmas (1974) – Yes, this makes BOTH lists. It’s the first really creepy Christmas movie and a true classic!
The Car (1977) – Before Christine started trouble, this scared everyone.
Dark Night of the Scarecrow – Okay, it’s really 1981, but who won’t jump at the last scene in this TV movie?
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (1973) – When someone tells you not to open something, don’t!
Frogs (1972) – One of my favorites – original poster had a hand hanging out of the frog’s mouth.
The Hills Have Eyes (1977) – A family goes camping and meets another, stranger, family.
Race with the Devil (1975) – Again, while trying to go camping, a group meets up with
trouble (anti-camping movies are their own genre!)
Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) – The horror classic about a dysfunctional family – and there’s no blood – really! (RIP, Gunnar.)
Twisted Brain (1974) – Horror in high school (makes a great double feature with Bad Ronald).
So there you have it, my take on horror movies. What are yours? What do you think of these? Check a few out and enjoy them – at your own risk, of course!
And while we’re talking movies… what’s my ALL-TIME FAVORITE movie with the word “horror” in the title? It’s not a horror movie... it’s… THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW.
And what horror/Halloween music do I listen to? Two recommendations: Book of Love’s CD Book of Love. The whole thing is great, but download the song “Witchcraft” to get an idea. And, anything by Midnight Syndicate.
Have a happy Halloween everyone! And a blessed New Year to all who are celebrating!