autumn · halloween · personal

Some of my favourite Halloween films.

There are only 20 days to Halloween so if you haven’t started watching some scary films, you definitely should get to it ASAP! I started putting together this post a couple of days ago and every day the list grew longer. Eventually I decided to only keep there the films I thought of right away because otherwise I’d never stop editing this post. 😛 So, this is by no means a comprehensive list of my favourite scary films; it’s just a list of some of the films that I love to watch in October. 🙂

All right, then, let’s start with something lighter.


The Nightmare Before Christmas
Not a horror film but definitely appropriate for this time of the year. I love the idea of a Halloween and Christmas town and I love everything about TNBC.


Beetlejuice
A quintessential Tim Burton. If you’ve never seen it, you’re missing out. The screen cap should be reason enough. 😀


Psycho
A complete classic. Need I say more?


The Birds
I think I love The Birds more than Psycho. I’ve never liked birds much and I still remember that when I first saw it, I thought how very plausible it was. Also I find the concept of something that we co-exist with on this planet turning evil very creepy.
My favourite scene is probably the one in the screen cap.


The Shining
All work and no play make Jack a dull boy. Nicholson is so perfectly unhinged in this and even the score is rather disturbing. Also, the final shot of this film won’t leave you for a while.


Poltergeist
One of my all-time favourites. This film really has it all. My problem with a lot of the recent horror films is that I find the characters so unlikable that I can’t wait for them to get destroyed by the (super)natural forces. And that’s really not the way it should be, I think. A good example of this would be the 2015 remake of The Poltergeist which I saw earlier this week. I mean, the father was a bully, plain and simple. I hated his attitude towards his son. They all, including him, got better in the second half of the film but really the only person I was rooting for for the entire duration of the film was the son.
Also, since I’m already ranting about this, I understand why people would like to re-make older, successful films. But those who do always seem to take what made the original film so good and scary and replace it with cheap scares and/or too much unnecessary violence. But that’s not what makes horror films scary. A perfect example of this would be the remake of Halloween, but I’ll get to that later.

The original Poltergeist, however, is different. I’ve always liked the characters and the family dynamic. From the beginning I cared about what will happen to them. And I love how the Poltergeist manifests itself at the beginning. THAT is how you build up a creepy atmosphere. I mean, Carol Anne and her mum have fun with some of the things it does at the beginning. They are completely beguiled and innocently oblivious to the evil that lurks behind what they, at that point in the film, find funny, while you are beginning to feel very unsettled. A perfect horror film.


The Exorcist
The father of all exorcism films. A must-see.


Stigmata
A disturbing, thought-provoking and intriguing film centred around a young, atheist woman who, for unknown reasons, starts experiencing stigmata. There’s some beautiful cinematography involved and if this subject matter appeals to you at all, I dare say you won’t be bored.


The Exorcism of Emily Rose
I haven’t got a religious bone in my body, yet possession films and stories are among the scariest ones for me — and again, it’s because of the characterisation, as the film itself makes it clear that it doesn’t matter whether you believe in demonic possession or not. The point is something else entirely. See for yourself.
(Incidentally, I watched The Vatican Tapes earlier this week. It was not bad at all!)


Halloween
I cannot imagine Halloween without Halloween. I really can’t. What I really love about it is that there is no cause for anything that Michael Meyers does. He is just plain evil. And that really is the scariest thing about him. He’s not a product of a miserable childhood, his behaviour is not a reaction to a bad thing in his past. He’s just evil. And that’s what’s so horrifying and disturbing about him. It plays on one of our innermost fears — the fear or what other human beings are capable of, for no reason at all, and just because they can.
This is why the re-make failed. They gave Michael a background (childhood abuse, if I recall correctly), they added some absolutely unnecessary rape scenes, and just made a mess of it. No, thank you.


Halloween 2
The fact that Halloween 2 begins exactly where Halloween 1 left off is, I think, one of the reasons why it’s just as good as the first film. Of course, you have to suspend your belief a bit, with regards to how many times Michael Meyers can be killed and not really mind and keep going, but I mean, it’s a horror film, so that’s basically a given.


Halloween H20
A grown up, Laurie Strode, 20 years later. Not bad at all, surprisingly. I liked that they kept the characterisation intact, and I actually had no problems believing that he’d survived all that was inflicted on him in the first two films waited another 20 years to go after Laurie one last time. I do, however, pretend that the abomination that was Halloween: Resurrection doesn’t exist.


The Sixth Sense
A perfect example of a film which is so good that it doesn’t matter at all that you know what the twist is. It always gives me the creeps.


The Others
Another good example of the above. Whether you know (or can guess) the twist is completely irrelevant. The setting, the atmosphere, the cinematography…. it’s all amazingly beautiful and unsettling.


Sleepy Hollow
There are very few horror films with such a perfect creepy atmosphere, right from the start. The cinematography is simply breathtaking. I won’t lie, I love Tim Burton and his films, and this is a good example of why. Also, Danny Elfman’s score is flawless, as usual.


El Laberinto del Fauno / Pan’s Labyrinth
One of the most disturbing films I have ever seen. The visuals are stunning. The story is compelling. Guillermo del Torro is an outstanding director. Yet I find it difficult to find some words to describe this film. Let me put it this way: that thing in the screen cap is not, by far, the most horrifying thing about it. This film is really something else.


El Orfanato (The Orphanage)
Maybe you’ll see the plot twist coming a mile off. It doesn’t matter. Because if you actually do entertain the possibility of that twist, you will be too horrified to actually think that they will go there. If you think that this is your usual ghost story, think again.


Trick ‘r Treat
This is an interesting one. Four stories that seemingly do not have that much in common. Until they do. It overflows with Halloween spirit and iconography and I really like the way it’s done.

So there you have it, some of my favourite horror films. Like I said, I could go on and on. I found The Mist completely terrifying. I loved The Ring. I think Rosemary’s Baby is genius. But then this post would never end.
What are your favourite scary films and why? Is there one you can’t imagine your Halloween without? And what’s your favourite horror film of 2015 so far?

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