7 films I watch each year at Halloween
It is no secret that I love horror films, good horror films, anyway. Recently, I was having a conversation with friends about the films I keep coming back to, the ones that I watch during Halloween season and other times of year. Here are some of my favorites:
1. The original 1978 Halloween is my absolute favorite. The opening sequence Michael Myers as a young boy shot from Myers' point of view is chilling. The scariest moments of the film for me are the moments you see and then don't see Myers. He appears and vanishes throughout the film, you're never sure where he's going to show up, which creates the bulk of the tension in the film. There's also no detailed explanation from him about why he does what he does. He is faceless and silent, which are two of the creepiest things a crazed killer at Halloween can be. You can't watch Halloween horror films and not begin here.
2. The Shining is perhaps a predictable Halloween film but a fantastic one. I do seem to watch it this time of year, though, for some reason a few years ago it was on during Christmas. Sick programming joke, perhaps. Some people don't consider this a horror film and it certainly doesn't hold up to today's slasher standards. But it's incredibly creepy and cold in ways that show just how insane and weird it's characters spiral. I'm still not sure if the ghosts exists are only exist in Torrence's imagination. The cinematography is gorgeous and make the film feel more epic.
3. I'm not sure you can have Halloween without Rocky Horror Picture Show. It's incredibly fun and strange in all the best ways. Fantastic and a nice break from some of the grittier titles on this list.
4. A yearly tradition of mine is watching the Scream movies. The first one still reigns above the others in my opinion, but I like some of the things they did in the most recent film and there's something nice about watching the characters evolve over time.
5. Night of the Living Dead (1968), particularly scary is the scene of the little girl, the one you're just waiting to turn into a zombie, feasting on her father and then coming toward her mother with blood all over her mouth. I just love Romero's first film which endeared the zombie genre to me.
6. The Hitcher (again, the original 1988 (I think) version with Rutger Hauer) has some of the most awful and grotesque scenes as Hauer terrorizes the main character. Hauer is excellent as the film's antagonist; he can do so much with a glance or leer. What is so great about the film is the silences, particularly in the opening scene. The entire film is just heavy with this horrible possibility. It seems nothing is off limits for John Ryder (Hauer's villain) and what the terror of what he will do next is only met by the horrible things we see him do. Definitely skip the remake of this and see the original, if nothing else but for Hauer's performance.
7. Psycho There's nothing better than Hitchcock's film at Halloween. I don't know if that kind of film would work today, with all the spoiler information available, but even when you know the surprises, it's still just as terrifying and chilling. It's near perfection from the camera angles to silence and music in-between.
There are a lot of horror films I love but these are the ones that are must-sees for me as a Halloween tradition. I don't watch a lot of contemporary horror because not much of it is very good. I LOVED Cabin in the Woods and think that it will make the list as a must watch for next year as well.