…and just like that, it’s Halloween again!
I’ve spent this last week diving into my own personal collection of horror films. I re-watched some classics like Poltergeist, The Thing, Halloween, and Alien. It was fun to see the good ol’ boys again. The thing that differentiates a merely good horror film from a ‘classic’ is its re-watch-ability. I’ve seen Alien thirty times at least, and it never stops being scary.
Actually, that’s not true.
Horror films aren’t endlessly re-watchable, if I’m being honest. You can usually get five or six toe-curling viewings out of a good horror, and after that you basically know every scary moment by heart. The tension is lost as well, because you know where the story is going. The only thing that really remains is your love for the characters and the atmosphere.
I meet people all the time who refuse to watch horror films, and all I want to do is this:
You haven’t lived until you’ve seen a great horror film. Watching one that makes you shake involuntarily by chilling your very bone marrow is an invigorating experience. It’s a rare one, too, unless you scare easily or you’re a horror virgin. There’s so much garbage out there calling itself ‘horror’ that you have to do your homework before making a selection. Speaking of which, I’ve found it hard to pick out three new horror films this year. There just haven’t been any good horror releases in 2016. Last year was jam packed by comparison. There was Crimson Peak, We Are Still Here, The Witch, and my personal favourite…It Follows.
If you’re a layman who’s eager to pick out a good horror this year, then It Follows and Crimson Peak are excellent choices. Beyond that, there are some fantastic modern horrors for you to check out; The House of the Devil, Cabin in the Woods, Insidious, The Evil Dead Remake, Drag Me To Hell, and Trick R’ Treat are just some of the great chillers and splatter-slashers made in the last ten years. Also, if you’ve never seen one of the Scream movies, make sure you get on that shit right away! There are four of them and they’re equal parts scary, funny, and genre-educational.
Unfortunately for me, I’ve seen way too many of these horror movies. I’m always struggling to find adequate fresh blood for this time of year, so this time I’ve decided to search outside of ghouls and goblins.
The first film I chose was The Invitation. I’ve wanted to see this one since I first heard about the great response it was getting from critics. It’s not a ‘Halloween’ film, or even a ‘horror’ films per se. It’s more of a tense paranoia thriller, but it’s a damn good one!
It starts off with a couple arriving at a reunion for friends who haven’t seen each other in years. The night begins pleasantly, but as the hours tick by things begin to seem oddly out of place. The hosts of the party appear to be hiding something, or perhaps our main character is simply overly suspicious. Only in the last few moments of the film do we get the real answer.
You should watch this one, I recommend it! I just can’t tell you any more about it without spoiling the whole thing.
Session 9 is a weird one. It’s a tiny movie from 2001, made for a small budget and shot on digital video tape instead of film. It only made about $300,000 upon its initial release, and has since become a tiny cult favourite.
The film concerns a group of asbestos removalists who take on the job of cleaning an old abandoned mental hospital with a creepy history. As you might imagine, the dark hallways are hiding something far more dangerous than a carcinogen.
I do wish this film looked more professional. I’m not a fan of video tape, and I wish people like Michael Mann would stop using it. In this case, however, it did add a certain ultra-realism to the film. I felt like I could reach out and actually touch the walls, which I suppose works for a horror film.
Most importantly, though, the film had some really creepy moments where I began to feel damp behind the ears. One scene, in particular, stayed with me for all the right claustrophobic reasons.
The underlying story is almost entirely confusing until the very end, when the whole thing suddenly falls into place. Make sure you stay with it until then, because it will make sense eventually.
The final film I’ve chosen is Roman Polanski’s Repulsion. I’ve not seen it yet, and will be watching it tomorrow night. I don’t know much about it, other than that it comes highly recommended. Many film historians put it high up on their list of horrors, next to The Shining and The Exorcist. How can I argue with that?
Anyways, that’s what I’m up to this time around. I hope you all have a great night. I do hope you’ll try and find a really scary film to watch, or even two or three. Happy Halloween!