We are well into October and I know I don’t have to tell you that Halloween is just
around the corner. As a horror writer, the month of October is a special time. It’s
that time of the year when I get to do countdowns, host marathons and write about
them. It’s that wonderful time of year when old classics like The Evil Dead come
back to theatres for one night only midnight showings. And it’s also that time of
year when I get to compile a list of :
13 Movies You Should Be Watching This Halloween Season!
I’ve seen a lot of lists over the years. Everything from the top 10 best horror movies
of all time to the top 10 worst horror movies of all time. I know we all have a pretty
good handle on what good horror movies there are out there. Myself, I prefer the
obscure and ridiculous. I like the kinds of movies that are extremely entertaining
but at the same time terrifying. So this Halloween season I wanted to compile a list
of 13 horror movies you SHOULD be watching. This is a list for those of you that
are looking for something new to spice up your October. Something like…
13. Lesbian Vampire Killers
This wonderful little horror/comedy somehow snuck in under the radar and has been
stuck there ever since. I remember first hearing about this movie and being unable
to contain my excitement for it based on title alone. Unfortunately, when the movie
was released to DVD the title was changed to just simply “Vampire Killers.” I’m almost
certain that killed any chances of instant interest for anyone that came across it
at a rental store. But that doesn’t change the content of the film any. There ARE
Lesbian Vampires and they explode white ooze when they die. Think Shaun of the Dead
but with Vampires.
Basket Case is a movie that must be seen to be believed. The synopsis goes something
like this: Two brothers, one normal, the other a deformed “growth” housed in a basket,
are telepathically linked. Together they seek revenge on the doctors that separated
them. And boy, do they ever! This violent monster exploitation flick covers all realms
of film from the absolute ludicrous to the fantastically enjoyable. The stop motion
scenes will make you laugh and the deaths will give you nightmares.
11. Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat
This movie is directed by Anthony Hickox, director of Waxwork & Hellraiser 3: Hell
on Earth. If you’ve seen either of those movies then you can understand his style.
He goes for the insane over the top but at the same time keeping it completely serious.
Sundown is no different. Vampires have decided to try and live with humans. They
develop a skin cream that blocks out the sun completely so they can walk around during
the day. The plot mostly centers around them developing a blood substitute. They
can’t get it quite right so they call in a specialist to help them figure it out.
Comedy ensues when the specialist and his family show up in the vampire town and
all the vamps do their best to pretend that they are regular human beings. And it
gets better when a Mustached Bruce Campbell shows up claming to be the long lost
descendent of Van Helsing who must destroy the head vampire, played by David Carradine.
You can’t go wrong.
If you’re like me, aliens freak you out. Especially little green ones with big black
eyes and long pointy teeth. *shudder* I can’t stand the thought. I don’t know why,
they just scare me to death. The creepy little green alien with big black eyes and
long pointy teeth in Altered is especially terrifying. A bunch of rednecks were abducted
years ago by aliens so now they spend their weekends hunting in the woods at night
attempting to capture one so they can get themselves a little revenge. Sure enough,
one night they get one. They bring it to a mutual friend of theirs to figure out
what to do with it. Chaos ensues as they struggle with the morality of torturing
it, dodge its mind controlling stare and fatal bite, capture it again when it escapes,
and try to avoid an all out intergalactic war.
9. Carnosaur 2
Now, I know what you’re thinking…Carnosaur 2? What about Carnosaur 1? Don’t worry,
they aren’t an interwoven storyline. After all, it is a Roger Corman movie. All you
need to know is that they brought dinosaurs back to life and now they’re loose. You’ll
have to look past the men in rubber suit aspects of Carnosaur 2 but it is totally
worth it. Carnosaur 2 is actually an Aliens clone. The story is pretty much verbatim
but instead of aliens, it’s dinosaurs. I know it sounds dumb but it completely works
for this movie. Unlike the first one, the Aliens outline gives Carnosaur 2 something
to go by while they work on violent and gory ways to kill people.
8. Orca: The Killer Whale
Have you ever seen the movie Death Wish? Some thugs come into Charles Bronson’s apartment
and rape and kill his wife. After she dies, Charles Bronson flips out and takes justice
into his own hands and shoots thugs out on the street. Replace “Charles Bronson”
with “a Killer Whale” and “shoots thugs out on the street” with “lights an entire
town on fire” and you have Orca: The Killer Whale. It is every bit as epic as it
sounds. The pacing in this movie is incredible.
Razorback is almost like if Sam Raimi directed a killer pig movie. The lighting in
this movie is very Raimi-esque. The movie itself is pretty scary too…for a killer
pig movie. A giant Razorback is on the loose in Australia and it’s up to a reporter
to stop it. This movie works so great on so many levels. Every shot is so well framed
and put together that you can’t help but admire its artistry, the story itself flows
so well from scene to scene that you can’t turn away, and the gore and effects are
so outstanding that you’ll never forget it.
6. Demon Knight
Ah, “Tales from the Crypt.” That TV show takes you back doesn’t it? Demon Knight
is the first movie that was spawned from that show. Demon Knight, in my humble opinion,
is easily one of the most re-watchable horror movies ever made. I could sit through
this movie a hundred times and never be bored with it. Every character was cast perfectly.
Billy Zane as the psychotic demon in Luh..Luh…Luhhhvvve, Jada Pinkett-Smith as the
love interest, and Dick Miller (my favorite underappreciated B Movie stars) as the
creepy uncle looking for his next drink. The demons themselves will surely give you
nightmares. They scare me to this day. It’s all in the eyes, man.
When Splinter first came out, I heard a lot about how good it was. I sat on it a
while before watching it…and I regret that. This movie is amazing. They pack so much
action/suspense/horror/gore into 80 minutes. A nasty little symbiotic creature gets
into you and starts taking over your body. It “splinters” out. This movie has an
infamous scene where a guy’s hand gets Splintered so they need to cut off his arm
before it spreads to his entire body…problem is all they have is a rusty box cutter
and a cinder block. You can about imagine the rest.
4. Warlock 2: The Armageddon
The first Warlock movie is a fun little campy horror movie about a warlock that travels
through time to the 80s and is followed there by an old Irish warrior who must stop
him. Warlock 2 is a completely new story with nothing to do with the original. And
I’m happy they did it that way. Warlock 2 is about the warlock, played again by Julian
Sands, and he is reborn through a pregnant woman (she seriously gives birth to a
full grown Julian Sands) and he must collect several Rune stones in order to open
the gates of Hell and unleash his father Satan upon Earth. The thing is he can’t
just take them; he must trick the owners of the stones to give them up willingly.
Also, there is a teenager who holds the power inside of him to defeat the warlock
and he spends most of the movie training for the final showdown. This movie is also
directed by the great Anthony Hickox (see #11). The effects in this movie are out
of this world. The gore is awesome. The warlock is kind of like Wishmaster to the
effect he turns all of the Rune stone owner’s wishes against them.
Re-Animator is without a doubt my all time favorite movie. There are times when I’m
feeling depressed and I can put this movie in and completely turn myself around.
Everything from Stuart Gordon’s directing to Jeffrey Combs’ acting is absolutely
perfect (in my eyes anyway). Jeffrey Combs plays a mad scientist who has created
a glowing green serum that can bring the dead back to life. Problem is the reanimated
corpses have lost all sense of conscience and are more or less angry zombies. The
best part of this movie is without a doubt Jeffrey Combs. His character, Herbert
West, has a real passion for his work. He isn’t afraid to try anything…reanimating
dead bodies, individual parts, that kind of thing. Every time he tries, it always
ends with hilarious and gory consequences.
2. Night of the Creeps
I don’t think this movie gets enough recognition and I don’t understand why. Night
of the Creeps is easily one of the greatest zombie movies of the 80s (Debatable against
Re-Animator for sure). In Night of the Creeps, an alien has stolen a secret experiment
and is on the run on a spaceship. Thinking quickly, he ejects it into space…where
it lands on Earth. The experiment (brain slugs) is discovered by some guy parked
alongside the road with his girlfriend in the 1950s. Fast forward to the late 80s
and its pledge week. For a prank, a couple of losers go to a research facility and
accidentally revive the frozen corpse of the guy with the brain slugs in his head.
Shortly after, the brain slugs multiply and start taking over other hosts turning
people into incubator zombies. Teens start dying everywhere and it’s up to TOM “FREAKIN”
ATKINS to stop them. This movie has some of the most jaw dropping head explosions
this side of Scanners. Brain slugs are everywhere. Even in the bathroom.
1. Trick ‘r Treat
Trick ‘r Treat conceptualizes everything great about Halloween and packages it into
one neat little film. Well, technically four. Trick ‘r Treat is an anthology of overlapping
and interconnected stories. Each of them rooted in the traditions of Halloween and
each of them features a surprise twist. One story deals with the values of checking
your candy, another deals with the traditions of Halloween decorations, while another
deals with the consequences of Halloween pranks. Trick ‘r Treat is the single greatest
Halloween based movie out there. No other movie takes so many different traditions,
joys, and monsters of the holiday and puts them all together. Sure, John Carpenter’s
Halloween takes place on Halloween night with a masked killer on the loose but Trick
‘r Treat has got pumpkins and candy and trick or treating and bonfires and chicks
in skimpy costumes and Halloween scrooges and parades and…Sam. Sam is a character
that appears in every segment. His name comes from Samhain, the origins of Halloween.
He is depicted in this movie as child in an orange jumpsuit with a burlap sack over
his head. He is Halloween and he’s got his beady little button eyes on you…
Staff Guy Who Knows How to Have an Indie Good Time
Editor’s Note: Thank you for the Orca and Dick Miller Mentions. You made my day!