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jerry snook

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12 Halloween Recommendations: Movies You May Not Have Seen... [Oct. 29th, 2008|06:34 am]
jerry snook
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Hi everyone!  Okay, so I came up with this list after being asked for some horror flick recommendations by my wife Sarah recently.  I've seen a ton, a ton, of horror movies.  If you read a lot of "Halloween" lists, you'll see the basics:  Alien, The Omen, The Exorcist, Psycho, Halloween, Friday the 13th, etc.  We've seen all of these!  So, what else is out there?

I've decided to put together a list of recommendations for Halloween that you maybe HAVEN'T seen.  Here's the list:

All of these movies are linked to IMDB.com with synopsis taken from IMDB/Amazon.com.

Good Movies:

Don't Look Now



A moody, very cool looking thriller-chiller shot in Venice.  Starring an occasionally quite naked Donald Sutherland.  This one's creepy and cool.  Highly recommended!

IMDB:
An American architect living in Venice, Italy with his wife on a getaway after the death of their young daughter, begins to question his sanity when he begins having a series of disturbing and fragmented premonitions which coincides with a series of murders in the city.

Suspiria/The Woods





Evil witches in all-girl boarding schools=fun!

Suspiria is a total classic by Italian bizarre film director Dario Argento.  Gory and "far out", this one is probably best viewed by people who can handle so-called "weird" movies.  This is one of my personal favorites, despite the fact that I'm not generally a gore hound or into slasher stuff.  The music by Goblin is great, Jessica Harper's totally awesome in it (and quite good looking, too).  There's some very odd deaths in this one.  The cinematogrphy alone is a reason to see this, neato art deco stylings. 

For people looking for a similar movie that's maybe a bit more "mainstream", I'd recommend the woods.  This one's directed by Luckee McGee as a follow-up to his hit "May", which is also a pretty decent horror flick.  In some ways, this movie totally rips off Suspiria.  But it's good too, and since it was made pretty recently, it might be easier to find in the video store. 

Phantasm



By Don Coscarelli, who did "Bubba Ho-Tep" a few years back.  Pretty much a classic as well, with some neat visuals and a well done plot. 

From Amazon: 
The Original Classic From The Director Of THE BEASTMASTER and BUBBA HO-TEP Michael Baldwin and Bill Thornbury star in the shocker that started it all, in which two brothers discover that their local mortuary hides a legion of hooded killer dwarf creatures, a flying drill-ball, and the demonic mortician known as The Tall Man (an iconic performance by Angus Scrimm) who enslaves the souls of the damned. More than 25 years later, it remains unlike any fright film you’ve ever seen. Reggie Bannister co-stars in the heart-stopping classic from writer/director Don Coscarelli that launched the most uniquely chilling series in horror history and is still hailed as one of the scariest movies of all time.

Black Sabbath



This is one of my personal favorites.  I love horror "trilogy tales" movies, a series of shorts, essentially.  Great black and white photography, very moody direction by Italian horror maestro Mario Bava.  Here's the description from IMDB:

"A trio of atmospheric horror tales about: A woman terrorized in her apartment by phone calls from an escaped prisoner from her past; a Russian count in the early 1800s who stumbles upon a family in the countryside trying to destroy a particularly vicious line of vampires; and a 1900-era nurse who makes a fateful decision while preparing the corpse of one of her patients - an elderly medium who died during a seance."

The Thing



This is probably the best "Alien" ripoff outside of Alien itself.  Also maybe John Carpenter's best movie.  Kurt Russell trapped in Antarctica with an alien that likes to shape shift.  Very cool!

The Haunting



DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT ACCIDENTALLY PICK UP the awful modern Hollywood remake of this film.  You will hate yourself forever if you do!

This is one of the classic "haunted house" stories, and movies.  Based (somewhat loosely) on the Shirley Jackson novel The Haunting of Hill House.  It's the basic "let's investigate the haunted house" story, but told from the perspective of a mentally frail woman.  Great black and white photography, directed by Robert Wise.  This is probably my pick for people who want to see something with the family. 

The Innocents




Another older pick for people looking for "classic" spooky flicks.  Based on the Turning of the Screw.  Ghost kids!

Fright Night



80's overload!  This is one of the most "1980's" films you are ever likely to see.  The fashion, the music, everything - this one screams "child of the 80's".  It's also a totally funny and great horror flick about a horny teen who finds out his next door neighbor is a vampire.  There's even boobs!  If you love the Lost Boys, Goonies and other 80's flicks, this one is highly recommended.  Great underappreciated flick!  The special effects are also quite good.

C.H.U.D.



Monsters in the sewers of New York!  This is another 80's classic.  It has some genuinely creepy moments, surprisingly effective given the subject matter.  It's also funny.

Necromancy - also known as "The Witching"



Good luck finding this one.  I saw this as a kid and loved it, found it in an asian video store back in college as well.  A classic of the "the whole town's a bunch of satanists!" genre (see: The Wicker Man).  Orson Wells even slums his career in this one!  I remember this for its groovy pagan themes and very early 70's feel. From IMDB:

"Orson Welles plays the head of a witches' coven in the town of Lilith, where he needs the powers of Pamela Franklin to raise his son from the dead."

Burnt Offerings


Another non-gore-based haunted house flick.  Moody and interesting.  From IMDB:

"Haunted house chiller from Dan Curtis has Oliver Reed and Karen Black as summer caretakers moving into gothic house with their young son. The catch? The house rejuvenates a part of itself with each death that occurs on its premises."


Session 9



David Caruso in a totally under-watched movie about a haunted abandoned mental hospital...or is it?  This one has some genuinely creepy moments.  It's violent and well done for being a low-budget film. 

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Other recommendations:  Dead End, The Gate, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, The People Under the Stairs, Watcher in the Woods, The Mist


I'll try to post up my list of good B movie recommendations later this week.

Jerry


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