So Halloween is coming up, and you’ve already watched “Hocus Pocus” 14 times, right? Maybe you’ve also already picked the perfect costume, “accidentally” eaten your weight in Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and chanted all the Wiccan rituals in your repertoire. It’s fine. We’re all flawed human beings. But how can you continue to celebrate the spectacular spookiness of Halloween when you’ve been channeling your inner Dracula since the minute the calendars flipped to October?
MOVE’s got the answer for you: Gather your friends, a comfy sweater and a pumpkin spice latte (or three), and sit down to some of Hollywood’s premier screamers. Here are five great films to get you started:
“The Blair Witch Project” (1999)
The scariest part of “Blair Witch” isn’t blood or gore, of which there is a surprisingly minimal amount. Filmed as a mockumentary, the film achieves an air of realism Hollywood typically isn’t able to pull off in the horror genre. Throughout the movie, the characters discuss a camera’s ability to feign detachment from reality, which creates an eerie, psychological association to the story. Opposite of most slasher films with buckets of ketchup-blood and fake rubber organs, “Blair Witch” messes with your mind rather than your gag reflex.
It’s called “Scream,” yes, but you probably won’t. Fans of Wes Craven’s satirical horror classic know all too well about the overused plot devices scary movies often employ, and “Scream” is out to make fun of each and every last one of them. If you’re in the mood for a more tame, humorous approach to celebrating Halloween, it’s your best bet, but know there’s still quite a bit of blood and gore.
“The Shining” (1980)
The movie industry makes some pretty god-awful horror films. That much is indisputable. Every once in awhile, however, they’ll turn out something so brilliant and beautiful that you can’t help but forgive them. “The Shining,” with its symmetry, constantly coordinated colors and iconic acting (hey, Jack Nicholson), is one of the best films to watch at any point time, let alone during Halloween. Ideally, you should read the book first, but there’s no judgment here.
“The Exorcist” (1973)
Oh, “The Exorcist.” It really makes you wonder how many people you know are currently possessed by demons. “Hey, pass me that Pop-Tart.” More like “Hey, pass me your soul to munch on,” right? Regardless, “The Exorcist” is one of the first horror films to be considered mainstream, and it’s probably because it’s so darn scary.
Duh. Frankly, you shouldn’t even be allowed to dress up as a ghost, witch or “Despicable Me” minion unless you’ve seen the king of all Halloween films first. Included in a long list of movies inspired by Alfred Hitchcock (who has a dozen films that could be included in this list), “Halloween” involves the trials of a young girl and her stalker. It’s a fairly predictable plot, but it’s a classic. Contributing to the customary scariness surrounding the holiday, this movie is best watched before a costume party.