“Welcome to my home. Enter freely of your own will and leave some of the happiness you bring.”
What more do you need say to set the stage for Halloween? If you recognize the line, you know the movie. I know that I normally blog a specific review or two for some spooky delights at this festive time of year. It gets harder with each passing year for adults to savor in the devilish delights of being scared out of our minds – especially by a good Horror movie. Sure, there are some “haunted hayrides” or such that you may find, but it just isn’t the way it used to be. To those of you who used to do a “haunted barn”, you know exactly what I am talking about. In the late ‘70s, all of the ‘80s and even into the early ‘90s, there were more than a few in the area that were truly excellent! Alas, those days are gone and thus a lot of us turn to movies to fulfill that want.
Unfortunately, a lot of people today don’t bother with the classics. I blame the plethora of pure garbage that comes out of Hollywood. You’ll notice that the “resurrection” of Michael Myers by Rob Zombie failed utterly. You may also pass along that same condemnation to the “re-invention” of Jason Vorhees and Freddy Kreuger of the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street franchises. It’s not that these films flat out sucked – it’s that you should never re-do a classic. That’s a cardinal rule of filmmaking. Re-making a classic is the equivalent of trying to run down the street naked and not be arrested, and it makes about as much sense. Remember the first time you saw “Halloween” and got totally creeped out by even the look of Michael Myers? How about the nursery rhyme of “Nightmare on Elm Street” – do you remember the words? (Kudos to Wes Craven for ending that one the way he did – it still bothers me today…because I don’t know if it was real or a nightmare!) And how many of us are still shocked by the original “Friday the 13th” revelation with the line “Kill her, Mommy!”?
There’s a multitude of some really great works of Horror out there. You just have to know where to look! Now, I just rattled off the 3 “kings” of the ‘80s Horror franchises, but by no means are these the only Horror Movies worth checking out! So, in lieu of rushing to post several reviews of Horror films that I think you, my readers, might find appealing, I have decided instead to throw out some suggestions. These are in no particular order, and each is just a brief snippet of a review really. I recommend all of them!
“Jeepers Creepers” and “Jeepers Creepers 2” – Both of these films are worth a watch because it has a new Horror villain with a truly horrifying appetite and a unique setting: a Midwestern roadway. Both films are effective in gore, atmosphere, and suspense. I loved “the Lair” in the first one and the scarecrow scene in the second one!
“Rosemary’s Baby” – A lot of folks pass on this film because it is a slow-paced Horror film that leaves much to the imagination. I personally think that is what makes this film truly an awesome Horror film. It isn’t what you see; rather it is what you believe. Roman Polanski gives us that “doorway” film that would open up audiences to future Horror masterpieces.
“The Omen” – How on earth anyone could think of Horror films and NOT consider this film is beyond my understanding! Your son may be the Anti-Christ. Now, what would you do about it? There is a brilliance on display here and it gets me every time. Parts of it remind me of Kubrick’s “the Shining”, but mostly this is an actor’s movie with suspense that builds through the movie and a man consumed by the madness of the supernatural events he has found himself immersed in. Brilliant!
John Carpenter’s “The Thing” – I urge anyone even thinking of seeing the supposed prequel to this film out in theaters now to see this movie first! This is more Science Fiction than Horror, but I have to include it here. This hands-down one of the most shocking and suspenseful (not to mention realistic, in a certain sense) movies you will ever see. The score adds so much to this film. I LOVE this movie!
“The Howling” – This is my favorite werewolf film. It has a creative twist in how the film evolves. Look at this movie’s beginning and ask yourself: if you didn’t know the title to this movie, would you have guessed that Eddie Quist is a werewolf? There’s something kind of haunting about this movie and it scared me half to death when I was a kid. Living in the woods and watching a scary movie alone is NOT a good idea.
“Ghost Story” – Maybe it’s the flashbacks of this movie that get me, but Alice Krige is one of the most terrifying ghosts ever portrayed on film. Ghost stories don’t translate well to film. They really don’t. This one though is exceptional. It’s horrific in that the dead want revenge and they will not rest until they have it. That makes me root for this ghost in this film. It’s still worth watching today!
“The Amityville Horror” (1979) – I remember not wanting to watch this film to its conclusion the 1st time I saw it. Yes, I know that is the kid in me talking, but something about that house was just too scary. The stairs, the rocking chair that rocks on its own, the basement, and of course, those windows! All of it creeped me out. The sequel “Amityville Horror 2” (which is actually the 1st prequel I ever saw) was actually even more terrifying because it tells the story of the murders and you get to watch it all “go south”. Both feature that house and I had the same reaction to the house in the 2nd film!
“Suspiria” – Okay, so apparently the Horror movies of the ‘70s got me. I never thought that a film about ballet dancers would turn into one of the most widely-recommended Horror movies. Watch it one time, and you’ll understand what is lacking from a lot of other Horror movies. Dario Argento made this masterpiece with such a deft hand that it really does amaze me. ALL filmmakers should be required to watch this movie! I loved the ending of this film, which I know a lot of other critics condemn.
“The Exorcist” – I promise, someday I will write a full review of this one, but for now, let me say this is the scariest film I have ever seen. (Well, “Jaws” gets me but that’s entirely different!) The thing that gets me with this one is that is takes something mundane and simple – a child and her bedroom – and turns it into something so horrific that you do NOT want them to open that door! Every time her mother goes for that door I want to yell “don’t do it!” And every time she does, something worse than the last visit to the room has happened. That voice, the change in temperature, and the sounds are really so well executed that they make me very uncomfortable. I never sleep well after seeing this movie!
…and that’s it for this edition of THE REEL VOICE.
- Halloween (1978) (reelvoice2013.wordpress.com)