Classic horror films offer variety of seasonal thrills
October 17, 2013
Halloween is merely two weeks away and cable television is laden with old horror film reruns. Some students may find the horror genre to be repulsive or frightening, but I find it to be bloody entertaining.
October is clearly not the same without the chills and thrills of a good old-fashioned horror flick.
Many people associate Halloween with the faces depicted in motion pictures. Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, Leatherface and Pinhead have haunted thousands.
Horror films are a rare breed. They are typically not scary, but rather corny and terribly acted. Yet, every so often, we are blessed with an occasional classic.
If you are like me, the perfect horror film keeps you up at night. Inexplicably, we challenge ourselves to become legitimately frightened when observing a horror film. Why else do we spend two hours in a dark room daring ourselves to keep our eyes on the screen?
The terrible 80s horror reruns sadly will not cease until November arrives. So, in the meantime, try one of my many horrific film suggestions below.
Best zombie film: “28 Days Later” (2002) – While Danny Boyle’s (“127 Hours,” “Slumdog Millionaire”) apocalyptic thriller technically may not be a “zombie” film because the “zombies” are not dead, it is certainly one of my favorite horror films of all-time. “28 Days Later” is pulsating, horrifying and artistic.
Best 50-year-old horror film: “Psycho” (1960) – Alfred Hitchcock’s (“The Birds,” “Vertigo”) iconic horror film is filmmaking at its best. The film is 53-years-old but will always be a scary treat. Norman Bates’ hair-raising character has found a new home on A&E’s “Bates Motel.”
Best slasher film: “Halloween” (1978) – John Carpenter’s (“The Thing,” “The Fog”) imaginative slasher film is easily the best of the franchise. The dull Rob Zombie remakes pale in comparison to the originals. Michael Myers has proven himself the best slasher in cinematic history and the musical score still provides goose bumps.
Most creative horror film: “The Cabin in the Woods” (2012) – This film shocked audiences last spring with its witty humor and unforgettable finish. It utilizes horror clichés to the full extent. “The Cabin in the Woods” is comical, ingenious, gory fun.
Best Stephen King adaptation: “The Shining” (1980) – Stanley Kubrick’s (“A Clockwork Orange,” “Full Metal Jacket”) masterpiece is securely among the greatest horror films of all-time. Stephen King has written many unnerving novels, but “The Shining” may be his crowning achievement.
Best parasitic extraterrestrial film: “The Thing” (1982) – “The Thing” caused my two grown sisters to cry for over an hour. The creatures that roam the great unknown in this shocking science fiction horror extravaganza are beyond belief.
Best unintentionally amusing horror film: “The Wicker Man” (2006) – Nicolas Cage (“Lord of War,” “Knowing”) occasionally can be a great actor, but he is so incredibly bad in “The Wicker Man” that you may die laughing. What is funnier than a grown man running around in a bear costume punching women in the face? Stick around for the grand finale where Cage can be heard screaming, “Not the bees!”
Scariest trip in outer space: “Alien” (1979) – Ridley Scott’s (“Gladiator,” “Prometheus”) unforgettable science fiction horror film sprung forth one of the best franchise’s in motion picture history. Sigourney Weaver owes her acting career to Scott.
Best horror remake: “The Crazies” (2010) – Most remakes are bad. Thankfully, this film is not. In fact, “The Crazies” is actually quite brilliant. Crazy hick farmers attacking civilians for no reason? I’m in.
Scariest killer animal: “Jaws” (1975) – This classic film kept swimmers out of the water for years. The thought of a cunning, giant, flesh-devouring shark brought people to tears in the mid-seventies. Heck, I don’t blame them. I swam in the Atlantic Ocean one time and could not help but be wary of giant killer sharks.
Scariest camping trip: “The Blair Witch Project” (1999) – “Found footage” films have become an overused horror genre, but in the late-nineties “The Blair Witch Project” was petrifying and believable. The majority of moviegoers, myself included, thought they were watching actual found footage, making this film a startling experience.
Two weeks, 11 films, 20 bags of popcorn, 32 missed calls and 100 screams. Do you have what it takes to attempt my challenge?
Jack Tuthill is an alumnus of UW-River Falls. He was editor of the <em>Student Voice</em> during the 2014-2015 academic year.