Posts Tagged ‘Halloween series’

  1. Halloween (1978) – I know I’ve spoken of Halloween quite a few times, but it is impossible to think of horror movie masks/costumes without thinking of Michael Myers.  Myers’ mask is one of the most iconic of all horror movie masks.  It is a distorted version of everyone’s beloved Star Trek captain, Kirk.  Due to budgetary constraints when making this movie, the mask that was picked out for Myers’ visage had to be cheap, and I’m glad it was so, because in this case, a simple, blank, expressionless mask works the best of all.  Something overly complicated would have lessened the impact that Michael has on our psyche.  His blank, expressionless stare, with his heartless eyes, is terrifically frightening.  We see that he has no emotion in his stare, no love or hate, which makes him that much more fear-provoking.  He is a killer just because that’s what he is.  In the original Halloween it’s not established that he is Laurie’s brother, he is a killer just because, with no known motivation other than the evil that is inside him.  No motive is scarier than having a motive, because someone with no motive can just as easily kill YOU.

2. The Eyes Without a Face (Les Yeux Sans Visage) (1960) – Blank, expressionless, porcelain masks are utterly terrifying.  Maybe it’s the expressionless-ness, like Michael Myers’ mask.  We are only able to read what the person in thinking from the expression in their eyes.  As humans we tend to look at facial features and expressions for cues on how to react to a person.  Without the facial cues, we’re often at a loss.  When we don’t know how to react to something, we generally react in fear, even when the person wearing the mask is not the villain.  In The Eyes Without A Face, our villain is not the person who is wearing the mask, Christiane, but her father, Dr. Génessier, who is just trying to do what he thinks is best for his daughter.  Due to a tragic automobile accident, her face has been destroyed, and he is just trying to find her a new one.  No biggie, right? Prior to the medical community being able to perform a face transplant, he decides that it is up to him.  He will kidnap women, cut off their faces, and then transplant them on his daughter’s.  Sounds simple enough.  Unfortunately though, the transplants are ultimately unsuccessful, and so his daughter is relegated to wearing that creepy porcelain mask.  The surgery scenes in this movie are quite impressive, and extremely disturbing!  Watch here for the facial surgery scene!

3. Alice, Sweet Alice (1976) – The masks worn in this movie are the type of mask you can buy in a Halloween costume store for pennies.  Just clear plastic, with painted on features.   But somehow, they are some of the most terrifying masks of all.  In this movie, the design of the villain is reminiscent of Don’t Look Now, as I stated in a previous post.  The mask is simple, and it is utterly terrifying, and the only other aspect to the costume is a childish yellow raincoat.  This is not a mask that I’d want to encounter in a dark alley, or even out in the open.  Our title character if fascinated by these masks, and uses them to scare her little sister.  She doesn’t just use one mask either, she wears masks on top of masks, so you never know what’s going to pop up when she removes the outer layer.  It could just be her face, or another hideous mask, and this keeps us on our toes.

4. The Hills Run Red (2009) – Wow!  This movie begins with a bang, a bloody bang.  Seeing a kid take scissors, and cut off his own skin….it’s sickening just thinking about it.  It hurts enough to get a cut, but actually slicing off chunks of skin, your own skin… man, you’d have to be doped up in order to even be able to do that, otherwise you’d probably pass out from the pain.  The actual mask that is worn over the disfigured face is disturbing in its own right, a porcelain baby face?  This is so unimaginable creepy you just have to see it for yourself.

5. The Strangers (2008) – Where did these masks come from?  How is a simple, cheap, plastic mask that is supposed to be cute and innocent end up so creepy?  These masks give me nightmares!  Two of the three masks are made to look like dolls faces, and the other is just a simple burlap-like sack.  Maybe the doll-faced masks are supposed to play on a fear that many have of dolls coming to life and killing and torturing us , such as Chucky from Child’s Play, or the Twilight Zone episode “Living Doll”, with ultra-creepy Talky Tina.  In The Strangers, our protagonists are harassed by three menacing figures- “Dollface, Man in the Mask, and Pin-Up Girl”, for no reason.  The villains only picked this particular couple because they were home.  Again, like Michael Myers, there was no motive.  They could just have easily chosen the house next door.  Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman just happened to be who they chose to torture this particular night.  If you liked The Strangers, I would also recommend seeing Them (Ils), a French flick with a similar premise.

Sweet dreams!!!!

~Emily

Well, here’s part 2 of my series devoted to actors who began their career in the horror genre, or had an early role in their career in this genre.

Enjoy!

1. Brooke Shields– In Alice, Sweet Alice (aka Communion), Ms. Shields appeared in her first movie role as the “perfect” sister of a potentially homicidal, definitely disturbed girl named Alice.  She is the first murder victim in this movie, dying right before her first communion.  This movie was very well made, deeply unsettling, and has one of the most terrifying costumes I have seen on a killer.  If you’ve seen Don’t Look Now you’ll see a lot of inspiration was drawn from that movie.  I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to figure out how a simple plastic mask with some painted on makeup can be so creepy, but just take a look at the following clip and you’ll see for yourself.  The masks that are worn in this movie are the stuff of nightmares.  I actually bought one myself this Halloween for about $3, but then refrained from wearing it so that the very few Trick or Treaters that came to my door would not be frightened away.  Anyway…I very much enjoyed this movie, and was engaged throughout the entire film trying to figure out whether or not Alice was the killer.

2. Patricia Arquette– In A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors Patricia Arquette made her acting debut.  This is definitely my favorite sequel in the Nightmare on Elm Street series!  Arquette stars as Kristin Parker, a girl who has the ability to pull others into her dreams.  She and her fellow sleep-deprived peers decide that they will take on Freddy Krueger in their dreams, as they all can create special dream powers to defeat him.  Nancy returns as a sleeping disorder specialist, and gets another chance to take on Freddy.  This movie has a fun story line, and some awesome death scenes, my favorite of which in the whole series is the marionette death .  It also has the requisite 80’s punk girl, whose dream power is being “bad and beautiful”, in which her definition of beautiful is having a foot-high Mohawk.   Awesome!

3. Breckin Meyer– Another actor who got his start in the Nightmare on Elm Street series was Breckin Meyer, who starred as a stoner (surprise, surprise) in Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, which was the 6th part in this series.  In this installment, the last surviving child in the town of Springwood is used by Freddy to bring him more victims, including his daughter!!!!  This movie is filled with cameos- Johnny Depp, Alice Cooper, and Roseanne and Tom Arnold all make appearances!  The deaths in this film are a bit cheesy, especially Breckin Meyer’s death scene .  I also thought it was pretty laughable how the 3-D glasses were introduced, and are supposedly so amazingly powerful when you use them in a dream.  They appear at about 3:05 in the clip.  Watch here! I ought to try that myself.

4. Paul Rudd In Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, Paul Rudd appears as a very creepy, grown-up, Tommy Doyle (you know, the one Jamie Lee Curtis babysat in the original Halloween), who, since his brush with death, has become obsessed with Michael Myers, and his connection to the occult.  Yes, this very weak entry into the series continues with the mysterious man who freed Michael from jail, his connection to some occultists who made him the killer he is, and Jamie Lloyd’s child, who is apparently to be the next incarnation of Michael Myers once the occultists get their hands on the baby.  This entry is overly convoluted, and filled with crazy conspiracies.  Also, Paul Rudd’s acting was pretty poor, possibly due to the poor script.  Anyway, he is definitely doing well for himself now, and thankfully, the next entry in the series, Halloween H2O, returned to its roots and rid itself of the whole cult thingamajig.

Watch for Mr. Rudd around 3:35

5. Danielle Harris– Playing the orphaned daughter of Laurie Strode, Danielle Harris is Michael Myer’s prime target in the 4th and 5th installments of the Halloween series- The Return of Michael Myers and The Revenge of Michael Myers. She has some kind of psychic connection to Michael, and when the 4th movie ends, we think she may become the reincarnation of Michael, perhaps headed down the same path that he began on when he murdered his sister.  When the 5th one begins however, we see that she has not become evil, she has just been shocked into speechlessness.  Dr. Loomis is his crazy, Myers-obsessed self, who is perhaps a bit harsh with Harris in his attempt to find Michael, and rid the world of him for good.  Since then, Ms. Harris  has appeared in a number of television shows and movies, among them horror films such as Urban Legend as the Goth roommate of main character Natalie, as well as the recent Ron Zombie Halloween reincarnations of the Halloween series.  It is also rumored that she will be in the upcoming sequel to Hatchet, which I am quite excited about as Hatchet is one of my favorite recent slasher films.

Stay tuned for part 3…coming soon!

~Emily

Many people have a tradition on Halloween of watching scary movies, including myself of course, but what are the best movies to watch on Halloween?  Just any old horror movie, or a horror movie dedicated to the holiday itself?  In my horror movie watching history, I have come across few movies that really pay respect to Halloween, and fewer that evoke the feeling that I associate with Halloween, rooted in the Halloween celebrations of my childhood.  So what do I associate with Halloween? Trick or treating, Jack O’ Lanterns, costume parties, scary stories, horror movies, and of course candy.

In tribute to Halloween, here is a list of Halloween themed movies that you may want to add to your own Halloween horror movie watching tradition.

  1. Halloween (1978)- Well of course Halloween has to be included on this list, for me it is the quintessential Halloween movie. This movie has it all- trick or treating, pumpkin carving, horror movie watching (in this case The Thing From Another World), and of course the BOGEYMAN!!!! Now I like to watch the original on Halloween, but certain sequels to this original would do as well….Maybe watch Halloween 4 or 5 which has Michael Myers terrorizing Jamie Lloyd two years in a row, or Halloween H2O. This is one of my favorite in the series, despite the fact that the entries past Halloween II in the series have been disregarded, and despite that fact that there is no Dr. Loomis.

2.  Trick ‘R Treat (2008) – A new entry into Halloween themed horror, this movie has finally been released on DVD and just in time for the holiday. Set up as an anthology with four stories, inter-linked with some characters, settings, and overall theme. This movie really embodies what Halloween is really about- tradition. It includes some history of Halloween, as told by our Halloween expert, Rhonda- “Samhain, also known as All Hallows’ Eve, also known as Halloween. Predating Christianity, the Celtic holiday was celebrated on the one night between autumn and winter when the barrier between the living and dead was thinnest and often included rituals that included human sacrifice”.  This movie really makes you want to respect all Halloween traditions, because someone or something will get you if you don’t!  So don’t extinguish your Jack O’ Lanterns before the night is over, don’t smash them, and ALWAYS CHECK YOUR CANDY!  I found that this movie is best viewed multiple times because you will pick up something new every time you watch it!

3. Night of the Demons (1988) – On Halloween night a group of teenagers have a party at an abandoned funeral home, “Hull House”, built on EVIL land, and where the whole Hull family was massacred years before. There are of course the requisite stereotypes, and some mean-spirited humor, and some awesome 80’s music.  Of course the teens decide to have a séance, causing a demon to be released, which ends up possessing most of them…..then the death starts!  Another reason to watch it is for the amazing dance scene- its like a demonic version of flashdance, of course to much darker music.

4. Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) – Now, I’m including this entry separately for obvious reasons. It was made as an entry into the Halloween series, due to the fact that originally this was going to be a series of films about Halloween, an anthology, rather than a series about Michael Myers. This was the only one made with the anthology in mind, before the “man” decided that Michael Myers was much more popular.  Due to the lack of Michael Myers, this is a controversial entry in the series, and is frequently dismissed as sub par. I admit, I too dismissed it until fairly recently. I have watched it since, and realized that it is much better when viewed as its own individual film, and you’re not just wondering “when is Michael going to show up?”  It really does evoke that sense of waiting for Halloween, the countdown to Halloween…and that Silver Shamrock song will be running through your head for days after.  I do find it a weird, but entertaining film, and it is a scary thought that wearing one of these Halloween masks can kill you,  One question though…..why only 3 masks? I find it really strange that the kids only get three choices.  It seems to me that when I was growing up, I was always trying to find a costume that not everybody else was wearing, but oh well, it’s just a movie.

5. House of 1000 Corpses (2003) – So this movie isn’t really about Halloween per se, but it does take place on October 30 and 31st, and there are some disturbing scenes involving a really creepy and disturbing Halloween show put on for the guests by the Firefly family.  I think that its gruesome, sinister, troubling, and supernatural nature makes it a worthy selection for watching on Halloween.

    And a very special selection:

    Hocus Pocus (1993) – So this is really a family/kid’s Halloween movie, but it’s one of my childhood favorites.  This is one of my Halloween staples, about a kid (Max)  who hates Halloween (How is this possible?) who has moved with his family to Salem, Massachusetts. On Halloween night he lights the black flame candle, and because he happens to be a virgin, brings some witches- the  Sanderson sisters – back to life. Now he, his sister, and his love interest have to find a way to get rid of them before they suck the life out of all the children in Salem. Thora Birch (American Beauty) is hilarious in this movie as the little sister. Also starring in this movie is Vinessa Shaw from the remake of The Hills Have Eyes.

    ~Emily

    1. Halloween (1978) From the opening scene, seen from Michael Myers point of view as a knife wielding 6 year old, to the stalking of Laurie Strode and friends 15 years later on Halloween,  Myers is the embodiment of evil.  This movie is gory, suspenseful, and has a great Halloween atmosphere.  Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie, the responsible babysitter, is perfect in the role, even though I have a hard time believing that she is a teenager.  She has always looked like an adult to me.  I bet that as a 10 year old she looked just the same.  Her friends break the rules of the horror movie, and thus die- drinking, smoking pot, and having premarital sex.  Michael Myers stalking her from the shadows is very creepy.  And of course who can forget Dr. Sam Loomis, the one who has tried to help Michael, and now realizes that he is beyond help and must be destroyed.  The music in the movie is also one of the most memorable and recognizable horror movie themes, as is Michael Myers’ Mask, whom some will recognize as an evil Captain Kirk!
    2. Scream (1996) – Now of course Scream is a horror-comedy, poking fun at the conventions of the horror flick, and parodying itself.  The movie discusses the rules of the horror film. Where it is stated if you drink, do drugs, have premarital sex, or say “I’ll be right back”, YOU WILL DIE!!!  This movie exists in the world of horror movie watching teenagers, and quite a few horror films are mentioned in this movie- Halloween, The Town that Dreaded Sundown, Friday the 13th, and Carrie, among others.  This movie became the most quoted movie in my life, and my fellow blogger Rebecca and I frequently quote it to this day.  “Liver alone, liver alone…get it? It was a joke.”
    3. The Descent (2005) – This movie made me never, ever want to enter a cave again.  It was scary even before the albino flesh-eating mutants appear.  The scene in which the women crawl through the narrow tunnel in the cave, and it begins to collapse on them, scared the living daylights out of me, and even though I have never been one to experience claustrophobia, just watching this scene gave me a feeling of what it must be like.  Of course the albino mutants are also freaky, and the thought of being in the dark with these creatures, which don’t need light to find and eat you is terrifying!
    4. The Shining (1980) – I love creepy kids in horror movies.  Danny is a really creepy kid, especially when Tony, “the little boy that lives in his mouth” is speaking. “Danny’s not here Mrs. Torrance”…..”Redrum, redrum, redrum”.  And of course the girls in the hallway that invite Danny to play with them forever, and ever, and ever, are terrifying, even before Danny sees them hacked to pieces with an axe.  Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance is the perfect actor in this role, and I was scared of him even before the hotel brings about his insanity.  Also disturbing is the feeling of isolation- the hotel is evil, the father is going crazy, and we are stuck up here with no outside contact, no transportation, in the middle of nowhere, and cannot escape.
    5. The Ring (2002) – I still have trouble watching the scene where the girl’s face is shown after she has been killed, or scared to death by Samara.  After a watching a film, you will die after 7 days, and also will be slowly driven insane by visions of a little girl.  The film that they watch is terrifying in itself; it seems like something out of a nightmare, with images of things that seem to be random, unless you take the time to investigate them.  And even if you do investigate, and solve the mystery, and find the little girl who was never properly buried, you are still cursed, because “she never sleeps”.  It is really hard for a film to scare me, and this film scared me!
    6. Shaun of the Dead (2004) – the first zombie comedy I ever saw, and still my favorite. Hilarious and disgusting, this movie still delights me every time I watch it.  Simon Pegg as Shaun and Nick Frost as Ed, make the perfect pairing.  I love the scene where they first encounter the zombie in the backyard, and think she’s just drunk until they push her over and she falls onto the pipe, stands up, and we see the huge gaping hole in her midsection, hilarious!  The debate over which records are bad enough to throw at the zombies while they try to stop them is always amusing.  Of course references to other zombie flicks are numerous- “We’re coming to get you Barbara”, and the gore is definitely not lacking.  I especially love David’s disembowelment scene- that’s what happens when you try to escape through a horde of hungry zombies!
    7. The Exorcist (1973)This movie just gets better, and better the more I see it.  It’s a scary thought that an innocent child could become possessed by a devil.  And how did this come about, was in through something as innocent as a Ouija board?  There are many scenes in this film that are cringe inducing- there is of course the puking of the pea soup, the peeing on the living room floor in front of party guests, the 360 degree head turn, the growing disfigurement of Regan, and the filth that comes out of her mouth due to the possession- “Your mother sucks cocks in hell”.  It’s terrifying that the priest finally had to draw the demon into himself and throw himself out of a window to rid Regan of this demon.
    8. House of Wax (2005) – Yeah, the one with Paris Hilton, I know, I know.  But this is one of those horror movies that is so entertaining, and has some great death scenes, not the least of which is Paris Hilton’s, being speared in the face with a rusty pole and slowly sliding down onto it.  Just awesome!  Imagine ending up in some creepy town that is full of wax people, and under the wax are real people.  It just makes me cringe to think of Jared Padalecki being paralyzed, having his hair waxed off (OUCH!!), then being sprayed with hot wax (double OUCH!!), and being displayed in the wax house.  And he is STILL ALIVE.  Then your friend finds you, and when trying to help you, peels off your skin!!!  I also love that our heroine gets such nasty wounds- its not every day that you get your lips sealed shut with super glue and part of your finger cut of with pliers!
    9. Jaws (1975) – A huge shark terrorizes the water off northeastern vacation spot.  This movie hit close to home, as my family and I would vacation on Cape Cod for a week every summer when I was growing up.  It’s enough to be afraid of jelly fish and horseshoe crabs, but now I have to be afraid of great white sharks too?  It always scared me that a killer shark could just come up out of the water and take a bite out of your leg.  Isn’t vacation supposed to be relaxing? Not off Amity Island!
    10. Final Destination (2000) – Imagine having a premonition of your death, being able to escape it, but then seeing those you saved once, still die.  So death is coming after you, you know it, and are pretty much powerless to stop it.  The ultimate movie in thinking that everything is out to get you- even when you think you’ve escaped certain death, you are never safe.  Instead of being killed by a train plowing at you when you’re stuck on the tracks, you will be able to get out of the car, but then be decapitated by flying shrapnel!  Even if you escape once, you will need to watch your back for the rest of your life- as evidenced by Clear Rivers (Ali Larter) in the sequel, who is resigned to staying in a padded room of an asylum in order to survive.  I love this movie for its wonderfully gory and creative deaths!

    Some other horror flicks that were considered for my list:

    The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) – Don’t we all love deranged and cannibalistic families?  And who could forget Franklin?

    Psycho (1960) – The famous shower scene is still shocking to this day!  Even though every one knows now that Norman Bates is the killer, the revelation that his mother is a corpse is still horrifying!

    The Hills Have Eyes (1977) and (2006) – Terrifying mutants stalk family stranded in the desert!  Mutants that we created due to atomic bombing! Both versions are quite frightening!

    The Others (2001) – A scary haunted house flick, with more scary kids who are allergic to light!!

    The Orphanage (2007) – Another flick that takes place in a big old house, with frightening kids.  Scary and sad at the same time.

    ~Emily