Happy Halloween! In honor of the holiday (it's my personal favorite), I’m blogging about my favorite horror movies.
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 films starring Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff. Others enjoy the British Hammer Studio films of the 1960s.
Some fans are attracted to a specific genre (torture porn, mutant families, clowns) or a monster (vampires, werewolves, and zombies). Still other folks are loyal to a character (Fred Krueger, Jason Voorhees) or a franchise (Scream, Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm St.)
So what are my favorites among these categories? I have my list of “classics” but I’ve always had a special fondness for 1970s horror films. Some are considered classic or revolutionary, while other, low budget films fall into the “so bad they’re good” kind of cheesy bad. These drive-in specials used to be featured on late-night TV before the rise of infomercials (another type of horror!).
True fans of the horror genre don’t wait around until October or Halloween to celebrate all things spooky and creepy. We can find horror in a sunny June afternoon, at Christmas (hello Krampus!), or on a tropical island. Those of us who love the genre understand the mechanics of good storytelling, know why you need a convincing and scary villain, and give the often-maligned genre the credit it deserves for constantly evolving and reinventing itself.
I could go on and on (really!) but here’s a short list of my favorites in alphabetical order by genre. They’re not all necessarily gory or scary, but they have a good story, tense camera work, or are just plain cool — or strange — depending how you look at it.
There’s still time to check out a few of these movies before Halloween. Or, if you’re like me, you can watch them anytime. Many of these have been remade or have spawned sequels, so why not watch the original and then the remake?
The Other (1972) – Often overlooked story about creepy twins – need I say more? (Not to be confused with The Others with Nicole Kidman.)
The Bad Seed (1956) – An 8 year-old sociopath fools everyone (almost!)
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (1973) – When someone tells you not to open something, don’t! And the 2011 “remake” was pretty good too.
The Amityville Horror (1975) – Some houses are cheap for a reason…
Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981) – Spooky TV movie that makes you wonder about scarecrows..
Frogs (1972) – One of my favorites & part of the “animal revenge” genre of the 1970s, along with Squirm, Empire of the Ants, etc. The original poster had a hand hanging out of the frog’s mouth.
Dog Soldiers (2002) – Best werewolf movie ever. These are not Lon Chaney’s wolves.
The Mummy (1932) – Don’t mess around in tombs.
King Kong (1933) – A classic for its time, and the island part is the best.
Murder & Mayhem:
Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) – The horror classic about a highly dysfunctional family – and there’s no blood – really!
Black Christmas (1974) – The first really creepy Christmas movie – still holds up after all these years
Halloween (1978) – The classic that still freaks people out. (Lots of remakes and sequels to check out - if you’re into that.)
Rosemary’s Baby (1968) – Paranoia and persecution = Polanski
Twisted Brain (1974) – Horror in high school (makes a great double feature with Bad Ronald!)
Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things (1972) – Friends dig up a corpse to use in a mock Satanic ritual. It doesn’t end well.
The Hills Have Eyes (1977) – A family takes a shortcut and meets another, stranger, family
Race with the Devil (1975) – While camping, two couples run afoul of a group of Satanists. (Anti-camping movies are their own genre!)
Enjoy them – at your own risk!