Since Halloween is quickly approaching and TV is boasting hours of every Friday the 13th movie ever made (who knew that they would reach the double digits?), I got to thinking about horror/suspense movies with really great stories. Sure, I can go for a good thrasher – but when you combine that with a kick-ass story or a really good plot twist well…that’s a reason to have popcorn – with extra butter! So, here’s my opinion of five great Halloween season flicks:
5. John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982) – This movie scared the beguses out of me. Plus, the story is actually plausible. The cold unexplored antarctic is the perfect backdrop for unknown alien-like things to happen, as well as the classic human foible of losing trust in our fellow-man in dire circumstances. Kurt Russell is at the peak of his most macho phase in his career and Wilford Brimley is well…Wilford Brimley – before he made all his friends in Cocoon. Plus, it’s kind of bloody and gooey and gross.
4. The Exorcist (1973) – Talk about gross. Linda Blair and the green pea soup has made this flick famous, but it’s also grounded in such strong storytelling that you’re left wondering if something like it could really happen. The priest and his mother issues is an added bonus. And Ellen Burstyn’s look of horror is classic. I made the mistake of seeing it with my older brother (granted, I was like fourteen and it was a late night showing), and I kept my eyes covered almost the entire time. And I was awake all night. Watching it as an adult, I still feel like a kid and shade my eyes whenever she spews that soup. Gross.
3. The Others (2001) – Wow. The story of this movie is pretty fantastic. Although the pacing hits some speed bumps in the middle. I still don’t understand the appearance and then disappearance of the father/husband. And I’m still in doubt about the children’s “condition”. I wish Kidman demonstrated a little bit more madness before the big reveal, but perhaps the beauty of the film is her subtlety. Anyway, the story rocks.
2. Scream (1996) – The first one. Or should I say, the good one. This flick is funny! How many horror movies can you say are funny – on purpose? This is it! It’s so good that you can ignore David Arquette acting like a doufus – again. You’re so busy laughing that Neve Campbell’s famous “my life sucks so I must pout” look that she formed while on PARTY OF FIVE isn’t so annoying when you see her being chased by her crazy classmates. And who can forget Drew Barrymore getting murdered within the first three minutes – that really starts things off with a bang!
1. Rosemary’s Baby (1968) – Classic! I saw this on the big screen while I was in college and saw the beauty of Roman Polanski’s directing. The camera angles in this film force the audience to comply. It’s powerful, powerful directing. Plus, Ruth Gordon is irresistible as the devil’s right hand helper. She makes the whole film. It’s a good story about entitlement and want and how having the devil’s baby is better than no baby at all, well…at least to Mia Farrow.
What’s your favorite Halloween season flick?