Tis the season to be scary…MWHAHAHAHAA HA HA HA HAAAAAAA!
OK. My singing skills are suspect, but when it comes to knowing the best horror films for Halloween, there are very few who can question my list. I have spent the better part of my life invested in the horror industry — not just the mainstream Hollywood regurgitated stuff, but lots of indie flicks. Heck, I have been in some and even wrote a couple myself. Plus, I have been the creative director of different haunted houses, which is like telling a horror story every 45 seconds. So, you can trust my tastes when it comes to Halloween films.
I understand that fear and scary are subjective. With that in mind, I am going to break the list down into categories, so you can pick and choose the type of horrors you want to partake in. Think of it like the Oscars. Or maybe we should call it the Oscares? Kinda catchy, huh?
Another thing: This list may be missing some of the normal entries, like Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th and Child’s Play. I just feel like these films are in a class all of their own. They are staples in the horror genre and should be watched during this time of year, no matter what.
So, without further delay, lets get started with the thrills.
THE GORE GALORE AWARD
It’s hard to watch some scenes in Terrifier. Even as a guy who has worked in haunted houses that focused on being as disturbing as possible (does the term “Drilldo” mean anything to you?), this film just grosses me out. One scene in particular, an evisceration, just makes me squirm. Terrifier is the story of Art the Clown, a homicidal maniac who disguises himself as a clown, who murders people in a decrepit apartment complex. With the massively bloody scenes and unapologetic tones of the film, it’s no wonder why Terrifier is the winner of “Gore Galore Award.” Be warned, nudity is a main feature in the film.
THE JDFR AWARD
I had the pleasure of reviewing this amazing film earlier this year (read my review here). The acronym JDFR stands for “Just Doesn’t Feel Right.” It’s that feeling of impending dread. It’s your spider sense tingling. And Midsommar is the movie personification of that trait. The majority of the feel just feels off. You know something is up (I mean, it is labelled as a horror film after all), but you just can’t place what is wrong. Then suddenly… BOOM… the horror starts. But even then, it is veiled as something good and pure, with no ill intent behind it. Slowly though, that veil is removed and the truly terrifying plot is revealed, and you are just filled with an uneasiness that few films can capture.
THE GUILTY PLEASURE AWARD
House of Wax (2005)
One of the most underrated films of the early 2000s, House of Wax falls under most peoples’ radars. Maybe it is ’cause the film features Paris Hilton, and that stigma automatically drops the credibility of the film immensely. But the remake of the Vincent Price film by the same name does have some great horror qualities to it. First, the film frames the story very well, with a pair of conjoined twins (one disfigured and one not) who build their own small town of wax figures to get away from the society that persecuted them. Second, it is one of the first film roles for future Supernatural star, Jared Padalecki. And his fate in the film is one of the treasures in the film itself. If you haven’t watched this hidden gem, check it out now.
THE GOLDEN OLDIE AWARD
House on Haunted Hill (1954)
Vincent Price is undeniably the king of horror. Even to this day, his famous face and voice is attributed to Halloween and the horror genre in general. Out of all his great films, House on Haunted Hill is probably my favorite. In the story, a husband and wife invite five people to stay the night at a supposedly haunted house. if they stay the whole night, they will get $10,000. However, the couple has ulterior motives for the party. The tone of the film is tense, but fun, and leaves you wondering if the house is really haunted or not. I watch this film every year, and really wished the remake had lived up to the original, but alas it did not.
THE WTF AWARD
Sleepaway Camp (1983)
The ’80s had some of the greatest horror films ever. I remember as a kid watching those films from my local video rental store, getting scared, but wanting more. One day, I saw a film called Sleepaway Camp and thought, “I bet this is like Friday the 13th! It’s going to be awesome!” So, I rented it from the video store and took it home. And like I suspected, it was a lot like the original Friday the 13th. However, the swerve ending left me (and my dad, who just happened to walk in) in one of the most awkward moments I can remember in my pre-teen years. It took quite some time for dad to let me watch horror films again. But in retrospect, the film is pretty fun and very watchable today, just be sure to know the nudity that comes up at the end.
There are literally hundred of films I could keep listing, but this list fits the bill perfectly for 2019. These are the award winners for my “must see” films this year. I may add some more later on, and hopefully will have my 2020 list next year. Get to watching these flicks today. Thank me later.