I like monster movies and the occasional scary movie, but when it comes to straight-up horror movies I’m a bit of a wimp. For my Halloween movies, I prefer entertainment over scares. Here, then, are five flicks I always enjoy watching around this time of year.
This remake got panned when it came out back in 2010, but I always kinda liked it. Sure, it’s not particularly memorable, and sure, some of the acting is a bit flat, especially from Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins, both of whom seem a little bored. Honestly, the reason to see this movie is for the gory killing sprees that ensue every time the big furry fellow makes an appearance. The movie is even rated R for violence, which is perhaps a little surprising. It also boasts some fantastic creature effects from legendary makeup artist Rick Baker, and there’s even a wolfman-on-wolfman fight scene at the end of the movie. And if that right there isn’t enough to recommend it, then I simply don’t know what is.
The Woman in Black
Okay, this movie scared the hell out of me. It got mixed reviews when it came out, some people criticized it for having cheap jump scares, which is true enough I suppose. It may be cheap, but it is also undeniably effective. Daniel “Harry Potter” Radcliffe gives a really good performance as the protagonist, the naïve young lawyer Arthur Kipps, who doesn’t realize he’s bitten off more than he can chew until it is, of course, far too late. The movie is based on a very creepy novel by Susan Hill, although the movie is quite a bit darker than the book. Still, it’s a good, creepy, well-acted ghost story.
Shaun of the Dead
And here we have my Number-One favorite zombie movie ever, likely never to be equaled. A perfect mix of humor, horror, romance, heart, and lots and lots of zombies. It’s hilarious, endlessly quotable, and surprisingly intense. The final zombie assault on the pub Shaun and his pals are holed up in is really intense, and features one of the most memorably disgusting disembowelments I’ve seen outside of a George Romero flick. I am firmly convinced that this is the perfect zombie movie. Remember a couple weeks ago, w
It’ll even provide you with a foolproof zombie contingency plan.
How’s that for a slice of fried gold?
The Cabin in the Woods
I really love this movie. It got put on the shelf for a few years when its original studio was facing bankruptcy, but was eventually released to a very positive reception. It’s a fantastically clever and wryly funny send-up of all those classic horror-movie clichés (see above poster). It’s also well-directed, well-acted (Chris “Thor” Hemsworth plays one of the leads), well-written (Nerd Hero Joss Whedon co-wrote it) and incredibly gory. The final fifteen minutes or so of this movie are so spectacularly gory it should be more than enough to satisfy hardcore horror fans. Picture every imaginable kind of movie monster all being unleashed at once. Seriously. Zombies, killer clowns, giant snakes, killer robots, masked knife-wielding killers, ghosts, demons, giant bugs, winged bat-creatures, unicorns (yes, unicorns), and the most hideous merman imaginable. I sound like kind of a psycho saying this, but The Cabin in the Woods is a hell of a lot of fun.
And here we have what I consider to be the ultimate Halloween flick. Does it get any more Halloween-y than a movie with a nine-figure budget that features Dracula, Frankenstein, Dracula’s Brides, multiple werewolves, and more winged vampire babies than you can shake a stick at? (“Winged Vampire Babies” would be a good name for a rock band.) Sure, the plot holes are big enough for a horde of winged vampire babies to fly through, the acting is campy as hell, the accents are inexplicable (seriously, what kind of accent is Kate Beckinsale’s character even supposed to have?), there’s some groan-worthy dialogue, and it’s longer than it really needs to be by a good twenty minutes.
But who cares? All of those things are what give the movie its charm. It’s over-the-top fun, and I look forward to watching it every Halloween. As a matter of fact, I have it on in the background as I’m typing this.
So go grab a couple of those kid-sized candy bars, kick back, and have some fun.