Halloween is approaching, and what better way to celebrate the haunted holiday than with some movies that will make you jump out of your seat in fright?
Horror movies have a long and impressive history, and have come a long way from what they started out as. Oh, sure. You may see some similar set-ups for horrifying chill's in today's movies. After all, nothing welcomes monsters and murder much like an unsuspected group of naive young people with a love for making horrible decisions in sketchy settings, right? But instead of relying entirely on shadow, camera, and sound, movie magic has come a long way in being able to create some truly nightmarish minions.
If you're in the mood for a little scare, I've picked out five of my favorite films for this frightening time of year.
Nosferatu, A Symphony of Terror (1922)
I'm kicking off this list with a classic, and one of my personal favorites. German director and film pioneer F.W. Murnau was not able to secure the rights to Bram Stroker's Dracula, so he was left to re-creating a terrifying tale about a blood-sucking monster. The result was this classic vampire movie, which relied on creepy lighting and a spectacular performance from Max Schreck as Nosferatu. Who needs special effects when you've got a ghoulish antagonist and masterful work with lighting and camera? It's a silent film, and my advice to you if you're viewing this with a music track is to just watch it in silence. Some of the scenes can be absolutely chilling.
The Exorcist (1973)
It's hard to think of a 70s horror movie that could be more famous than this one. Based off of William Peter Blatty's 1971 novel, The Exorcist tells the tales of a girl who has become possessed by the devil, as she as trapped while the demon torments those trying to help her. Two priests, one young and one old, are called to the girl's home as they attempt to perform an exorcism on the girl to dispel the devil hiding within her. The movie has also seen many re-releases, including one which includes all cut footage from the original showing.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
One of the original slasher flicks, A Nightmare on Elm Street kicked off the Freddy Krueger franchise. Teenagers in a town are attacked in their dreams by Freddy, a child killer who was burned to death by their enraged parents. Freddy has now returned, and can inhabit a person's dreams to attack them, where their wounds become real. This movie also marked the film debut of Johnny Depp, who met his end in the film by sinking into a bed and being spit up as a massive geyser of blood. No!!! Not Johnny!!!
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Okay, so this one could apply to two holidays, and it's not really a horror movie (although I'm sure it may scare a six-year-old), but hey, The Nightmare Before Christmas has a protagonist who's a skeleton, so I'm going to say it fits. Also, the character designs are among some of the creepiest and coolest from any animated film I've seen. Tim Burton's masterpiece of stop motion and music tells the tale of Jack Skellington, who has become bored with the same old boring bit of being the pumpkin king during Halloween. He stumbles upon Christmas land, and decides to give Santa the year off so that he can have a change of pace. However, in Halloween Town, not everyone shares the same good intentions as Jack, as he and his friends must save Santa and Christmas from the vile Oogie Boogie.
Cabin in the Woods (2012)
I'm pretty sure Cory Jones would smack me if he found out I excluded this new and incredible film from the list. Cabin in the Woods features a stereotypical troupe of college kids who venture to a remote cabin in the woods for a little vacation. It's there that they accidentally awaken some zombies, get manipulated by people behind the scenes who are plotting for something, and ultimately discover that they are part of a plan that is bigger than expected. I won't spoil how this one ends, but it's pretty damn amazing.
The world of horror movies is vast, and I barely scratched the surface with these five picks. Halloween and horror tends to inspire some creative and disturbing works, and the genre is filled with choices. What you don't watch this year, you can always watch... well, next month. Because getting chills from a movie is fine anytime during the year.