It’s that time of the year again, where children systematically collect candy disguised as demons, and adults have an excuse to act against their better judgment. For those who already partook in the debauchery this past weekend, or if you’re looking to have a quiet night in, consuming pounds and pounds of candy, here are some film recommendations to accompany your sugar buzz.
Child’s Play 2:
I can hear you snickering, Internet. Child’s Play 2 is far from a great horror film, but where a Rosemary’s Baby trades fun in for artistic strokes, Child’s Play 2 is unapologetically absurd. Where its predecessor played a murderous serial killing cabbage patch doll seriously, Child’s Play 2 embraces its inherent goofiness, delivering a dose of bleak humor amidst its body count. For better and for worse, you’ll never look at dolls the same again, especially ones deeply invested in a game called “Hide the Soul”.
Do you like when a demon feasts on the frayed nerves of a struggling family? If so, well, you may need to reassess your fetishes, and take a look at The Conjuring. Taking place in the 70’s and featuring an unshakeable amount of dread, The Conjuring is a throwback horror film that reminds us just how effective the horror genre can be. In spite of some layers of cheese, The Conjuring is an electric horror film boasting a phenomenal score, and enough well orchestrated scares to make you want to invest in a catheter.
Speaking of demons, how about this seminal classic about the possession of an innocent girl? At its core, The Exorcist is a family drama with religious complications, as a mother clutches to her daughter’s vanishing soul, and a sullen man of faith loses trust in his chosen deity. The film’s cerebral approach gains more weight when coupled with grotesque scenes of mutilation and unsuspecting body contortions. It’s one of the few films that torments the mind and rots the stomach, introducing the possibility of projectile vomit emanating from the viewer.
Les Diaboliques is one of the finer psychological thrillers to have graced cinemas. Shot in beautiful black and white, Les Diaboliques tells the tale of two women, a wife and her husband’s mistress, plotting the untimely death of the man actively betraying their trust. The murder is executed and calamitous relationship waves are tempered…until the body disappears and bizarre events surround the women. Making use of great staging, director Clouzot’s use of shadows is intimidating, and unnerving performances, Les Diaboliques is a classic thriller.
4 Months 3 Weeks 2 Days:
All right , this isn’t a horror movie per se, but it’s a terrifying, oppressive film nonetheless. Instead of featuring an axe murderer chasing down a buxom babe, 4 Month’s monster is the Romanian government lurking in the shadows. Telling the tale of two friends attempting to execute an abortion under the watchful eye of Romania’s vicious government circa the 1980’s, anxiety hangs on the air in every scene, as a desperate act pushes friendship beyond the limits of the law. For those with asthma, bring your inhaler.
Madness has never been as bombastic as it is in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Taking place in an abandoned, snowed in hotel over the course of a few months, a family becomes warped beyond repair. The hotels grand fixtures and incandescent design are claustrophobic; raging on our family’s already fragile bond. Of course, there are some bizarre happenings within this hotel. Gallons of blood rushing out of an elevator, apparitions seducing Jack Nicholson, and two freaky ass twin girls all make the hotel a conduit to hell. But I have to say, the film’s score is probably the best score to grace a horror film, as it impeccably captures the destruction of a man’s psyche.
If you name your film after one of the world’s most beloved events, it better be fucking good. Halloween is legendary. Halloween was the precursor to the slasher genre, establishing the very rules of the horror genre that would dominate the 80’s and be satirized in the 90’’s. Director Jon Carpenter establishes a frightening mood early on by welding a chilling score to the cold bite of a dark fall night. Carpenter also incites terror by keeping his emotionless killer trailing in the distance of the frame, always lingering in the back of our mind as the innocent embrace hallows eve. But Carpenter also puts us in the shoes of his ghostly killer with POV shots, making us feel helpless in stopping the vicious acts of violence.
Roman Polanski’s first English language film is a disorienting masterpiece, as a young woman grows increasingly paranoid of sex and the opposite gender. Pent up in her sister’s apartment alone, and facing an immeasurable emotional breakdown, Carol has lucid and sexually deviant nightmares. Each occurring nightmare erases the line dividing reality and her fragmented imagination. Soon, the apartment begins to deteriorate, and Carol’s sexual anxiety is parlayed into murder. Provocative, and strangely erotic, Repulsion is one of the best psychological horror films in existence.
Dissenters of The Ring largely point to its logic as being a weak point , which is funny because most horror films aren’t dictated by logic. Nonetheless, The Ring is a darkly absorbing tale about a mother going to great lengths to protect her son from a demonic curse brought on by watching a video tape consisting of surreal imagery that’d give David Lynch an erection. The film’s chilling mood, most of the film possesses a sickening green hue, is accompanied by a thunderous score consisting of sharp strings and a desperately frantic pace. The Ring’s most important aspect, outside of its mood, is its ability to be emotionally disruptive without being vulgar. It’s a horror genre miracle.
Night of the Living Dead:
Night of the Living Dead is probably my favorite horror film. First off, it’s a horror film with subtext, a notion that has made its director, George A Romero, an undeniable master. The frightening images on display are far more potent when coupled with a subversive message about humanity and society. Shot on a shoestring budget, Night of the Living Dead has a worn, documentary vibe, grounding the film in a reality within reach of our own. And as the film and its characters bunker down in an abandoned house, where lumbering flesh eaters wait outside, the human drama unravels in a dispiriting way; demonstrating that the monsters within are far more dangerous than those waiting outside.