Thursday, October 6, 2016

Classic and Out-Of-The-Box Movie Recommendations for Halloween

You think our Halloween costumes are scary now? Ha!

Halloween is my favorite holiday (what do you expect from a girl who has a bat tattoo?). It’s a time for pumpkin-spiced everything (yum!), red and gold leaves, crisp air, horror novels, and of course, scary movies!

I like to watch horror movies the entire month of October culminating with Night of the Living Dead (a true classic) actually on Halloween. My favorite flicks usually involve something psychological at the heart of the story and/or an original premise. Whether you’re a horror movie buff, or just getting into it, here are my favorites I watch every year:

A Nightmare on Elm Street: Just watched this the other day. Over the top gore, psychological mind games, a freaky monster man, nightmares, and suspense. Yes, please!

Re-Animator: I’ve said it a zillion times and I’ll say it again. I’m a HUGE H.P. Lovecraft fan. Watching movies inspired by his stories are just another way I can enjoy the brilliance that is Lovecraft. There are dozens of Lovecraft movies out there, but some are much better than others. In my opinion if you watch anything by Stuart Gordon you should be in good shape. He does an excellent job of capturing Lovecraft's works, and the overall budget, acting, and gore is a lot better than most. This campy movie focuses on a deranged medical student hell-bent on bringing the dead back to life.

Dagon: Another Stuart Gordon film of an H.P. Lovecraft story. You wouldn’t think that a story about a demonic fish god could be scary, but holy crap, it is! That scene where he’s trying to lock the door in the hotel gets my heart pumping every time. Fun Fact: The original H.P. story is only five pages long!
Evil Dead 2: This is one of my favorite movies of all time! I can remember seeing it at Blockbuster back in the day and being freaked out by the cover. The cover is definitely still haunting. This movie is freaky, funny, gory, and it has Bruce Campbell. Is that H.P. Lovecraft’s Necronomicon he’s reading? Why yes, it is!

May: This is actually a little-known Indie film, but deserves much esteem. Angela Bettis does a fantastic job playing an incredibly dorky strange girl with the sole mission to make a real friend—no matter what it takes. Hint: She likes to sew. If you’ve ever seen Clueless, Elton (the guy who likes Cher) is the love interest.

Gingersnaps: Another little-known film, but soooooo good! I don't know how I found out about this one, but it's become a tradition to watch. Two sisters have an unnatural obsession with death and one of them manages to get bitten by a werewolf. Chaos ensues. This film is quite clever and different than your run-of-the-mill werewolf movies.

Hellraiser: You opened it, we came. :) The first three are really good. As the series progresses you learn more about the characters and how everything ties in. This series is pretty scary, especially the mattress scene in the second movie, so I don’t recommend watching unless you are very comfortable with gore and nightmarish scenarios.

Mother of Tears: This is a Dario Argento movie. If you aren’t familiar with that name, he is an Italian director whose movies have been banned in a bunch of countries. His stuff is super evil, weird, gory, and imaginative. Mother of Tears is my favorite movie of his movies (and in this particular series), which actually stars his daughter Aria Argento. It’s about an archaeology student who accidentally releases a demonic witch from her ancient prison.

I have a funny story about this movie. Years ago, my husband and I were flying back from Europe and he brought the movie with us to watch on the plane coming home. It was night and everyone was sleeping, so I didn’t think anything of it and we started watching. As we were watching the goriest scene of the entire movie, we caught a glimpse of the woman’s expression in the next seat. Apparently she’d been watching over my husband’s shoulder. Her face was pure horror. I’m talking paralyzed with fear horror. We felt really bad and offered to turn it off, but she said no and insisted that we continue. Although we tried tilting the screen away from her, it was still very awkward the rest of the flight because she wouldn’t speak to us at all or make eye contact after that. If you’re reading this lady from the plane, we are sorry for scaring the crap out of you. I promise I won’t watch a movie like this on a plane again.

In the Mouth of Madness: One of my all-time favorites, and yes, another Lovecraft story. It's about a horror novelist who goes missing and an insurance investigator sets out to retrieve a yet-to-be-released manuscript and ascertain the writer's whereabouts. I've seen this movie a hundred times and every time I watch it, I notice more and more hidden details which make the story even more intriguing. 

Here' me at a Halloween midnight movie when I lived in Florida
What do you watch for Halloween? Give me your recommendations in the comments below.