Well, while I prep a few videos for airing and continue uploading my previous content to the site’s Youtube channel; I thought I’d share some of my ‘Halloween’ watches with you since it’s about a week from now.
Okay, so in South Africa we don’t celebrate Halloween but every year around about this time; I sit and watch a lot of horror movies – and horror comedies. So I guess that counts sort of; anyways on with the list!
Number 10: The Wolfman (either version)
I don’t always watch the Wolfman but it’s a good flick if you want some mindless, gory entertainment. The story, if you’re somehow unfamiliar with it, is that of a nobleman who returns home and ends up mauled/bitten by an animal and cursed with lycanthropy with chaos ensuing. There are two versions of this film, the original from 1941 and a 2010 remake.
I’ve seen the 2010 version several times but I’ve only seen parts of the original 1941 classic. Maybe I should sit down and really watch the 1941 film at some point. The remake is by no means a perfect film, there are huge problems with it but it’s a well-made and decently entertaining.
Number 09: Halloween (1978/2007)
Once again, I don’t watch this one every year but the film is well done and worth watching. The story is simple, a young boy is committed to a sanitarium after killing his sister, after fifteen years he escapes and returns to his hometown to kill again.
Like the previous entry on this list, Halloween has two versions. The original was made in 1978 and the remake in 2007. Unlike the previous entry, I’ve seen both versions of this one and to be honest I enjoyed them both but for different reasons – if I had to choose which version was scarier I’d probably use the killer as the linchpin. In the original film the killer has no motives and shows no emotion – except one instance of what could be admiration. The idea that someone could kill without reason and feel nothing is disturbing.
In the remake, the grownup Michael Myers is more physical; using brute strength and aggression to overpower his victims. I don’t care how brave you are; if you’re unarmed and a masked man comes running at you with a knife I don’t think it’ll end well.
Number 08: 30 Days of Night
Yes, vampires we’re looking at the other end of the monster scale for this entry. Based on a graphic novel by the same name, 30 Days of Night follows a small group of people in a small Alaskan town as they try to fend of a vampire siege. This film is just brilliant coming out in 2007 at the height of the twilight book craze; it brought vampires back from the sparkly, love-struck edge and made them scary again.
Number 07: Sleepy Hollow
Ah yes, Sleepy Hollow probably one of my favorite Tim Burton films since 1989’s Batman. A New York constable is sent out into the boonies to solve a series of grisly murders perpetrated by a spectral horseman who did quit when he was ahead….okay, okay, bad joke I know but still it was all lined up!
Alright, all jokes aside; this film is great. Everything is very well done from the Hammer-style lighting and color palette, to the creepy music by Danny Elfman and phenomenal performances from the cast!
Number 06: the Black Cauldron
This entry might seem out of place on this list but trust me; it’s not. Around the mid-1970s, Disney started doing more live-action films which were geared at older audiences and as you can imagine this made for some pretty disturbing imagery. In 1985, Disney released the Black Cauldron, a story about a boy called Taran who is constantly daydreaming and getting into trouble having to protect a clairvoyant pig (yes, you read that correctly) from the evil Horned King who wishes to use the pig to find the titular black cauldron to take over the world.
Sounds pretty standard, right? Well the problem, from what I understand, was that at the time the darker stuff that Disney was making wasn’t very well liked by parents. They were nominated for awards and such but that was about it and at that point all of their darker stuff was live-action. This was their first, and thankfully last, dark, scary, animated film (at least for that time period; don’t know if they’ve tried again). The film was destroyed upon release and was a box office bomb – still it’s a good film to watch if you’re looking for something out of the norm from the usually kid-friendly studio.
Number 05: the Strangers
A young couple in their summer residence is tormented by a group of masked, knife-wielding strangers. That’s about all I can say about the film’s plot without spoiling anything. This little gem of a thriller was released in 2008 and is, in my opinion, very, VERY underappreciated. Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman do a great job as the couple in peril and the strangers tormenting them in the film are creepy…like uber-creepy.
Number 04: the Curse of Frankenstein
Okay, going old-school for this entry. Curse of Frankenstein was produced by Hammer Film Studios in 1957 and was the start of a wonderful pair-up of actors. Peter Cushing plays Victor Frankenstein, a man who is fascinated with restoring life to the dead. After many months of preparation, the baron successfully reanimates his creature (played by the late, great Christopher Lee). Unfortunately, the creature escapes and chaos ensues as they try to capture it.
Very loosely based on Mary Shelley’s novel of the same name, this film hasn’t really aged well (it’s 60 years old for goodness’ sakes) but it’s a real joy to watch.
Hey voices in my head, I need a break from all this dark stuff; don’t we have any lighter stuff than this?
<inane whispering from the voices>
We do? <relieved sigh> What is it?
Number 03: Bram Stoker’s Dracula
A young lawyer, Jonathan Harker is sent to Transylvania to assist an eccentric nobleman in purchasing properties in England and while there he discovers that his host is in fact not what he appears to be. Dracula goes off to England, leaving Harker at the mercy of his brides and what follows is the quest to kill the evil vampire before he kills again.
Vibrantly colored, dark toned and rather more sexual than the book on which it was based this is also the closest any film in recent years has stuck to the book. The one and only BIG problem that I have with the film as a whole is how they’ve made Dracula a love-struck idiot! He’s Dracula not Romeo Montague! He’s not meant to be a romantic character – he’s supposed to be scary!
Still a good film for this list.
Voices, I said ‘something lighter’ I feel like laughing; not hiding! I’ll give you one more chance and then it’s loud music time for you.
Dracula Dead and Loving It? You got lucky this time!
Number 02: Dracula – Dead and Loving It
Yes, the king of vampires returns to the list and at the number 2 spot no less. Same story, this time it’s Renfield who’s the attorney though and he goes crazy at the not-too-subtle prompting of Leslie Nielsen’s Dracula.
Sexual innuendos, bad accents and chaos ensue in this admittedly silly film. There isn’t much to recommend this film but I like it.
and before the voices in my head throw out something totally messed up; I’ll beat them to it with:
Number 01: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Now, this isn’t the TV series that most everyone is familiar with. No, I’m talking about the 1992 film starring Kristy Swanson. The story is the same in both versions more or less – Buffy is a teen in high school who wants nothing more than a normal life but she’s bound by destiny to slay vampires until the day she dies.
The film is corny, overacted and purely a good time waster. Some of the humor falls flat but for the most part it’s okay and I watch this one quite frequently. If I had one problem with the film it’d be that the dialogue in some places is clearly very dated – 90s slang isn’t very pleasant to listen to.
So, that’s my list of 10 films to watch for Halloween; let me know what you think and I’ll see you next time! Leave a recommendation to add to the list in the comments.
Thanks for Reading!