Ah… Halloween. It’s one night for children to dress up in costumes to run around their neighborhoods and collect candy. But you can get the blood-curdling scares from Halloween any night of the week with priceless horror flicks. And here we are, five of the best horror films, the ones you can bet will be hard to find in stock this month at the video store.
By BRYCE MARTIN | N.D. Group Editor
‘The Exorcist’ (1973)
Who could ever forget the green vomit or the full 360-degree head spinning? Classic horror films like “The Exorcist” are among the few that really have an impact on the definition of terror. The movie centered on gore-faced Regan (Linda Blair), a teenager who became possessed by a foul-mouthed demon, and the floundering priests that have come to exorcize her. One infamous scene that chilled many was when demonic Regan would make her bed violently tilt and shake while her mother (Ellen Burstyn) went along for the unanticipated ride. That scene actually caused injuries to Blair in real-life. While the movie certainly isn’t for children, it’s the stuff great horror films are made of.
Kudos to Alfred Hitchcock, who scored gold after directing his horror masterpiece, “Psycho,” which scared people so much they didn’t shower for weeks. The late Janet Leigh perfected the role of scream-queen as she was mercilessly slaughtered in the shower by mama’s boy Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins). Still today, that is recognized as one of the scariest film sequences in motion-picture history. The film instantly made millions of people run out to buy see-through shower curtains.
The eerie music, the long butcher’s knife, the familiar white mask… it must be Director John Carpenter’s work of art, “Halloween,” which launched Jamie Lee Curtis’ career and began a long-running horror film enterprise. Michael Myers, one of the creepiest film villains, was nothing short of a sociopath as he mindlessly butchered dozens of horny teenagers in the midst of finding his sister (Curtis). Evidently, Myers ate too much candy. Why else would he be so crazy on Halloween?
‘The House on Haunted Hill’ (1959)
No, not the 1999 remake, but film legend Vincent Price’s 1959 stroke of genius. “The House on Haunted Hill” may have been behind in its time regarding visual special effects, but the impressions lingering around its ghastly scenes were more than advanced. Five unsuspecting people were invited to a house party, where they each were offered $10,000 by eccentric Price to survive the night. The catch? The house was haunted. From there, half of the group is murdered. The film makes you rethink the parties you’re invited to from now on.
‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ (1974)
Ouch! Rounding out the Top 5 horror films is the original “Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” not that the 2004 remake wasn’t good. Director Tobe Hooper’s 1974 cult classic was reported to have sent people running out of the cineplex before the film even ended. The film featured a group of hippies who, while traveling through 1970s Texas, fell pray to Leatherface— a grisly villain that murdered teenagers by hacking them up with a chainsaw. Arguably, one of the scariest parts of the movie was John Larroquette’s deep-voiced narration and the grainy archive footage showing the “real-life” Leatherface.
OTHER NOTABLE HORROR FILMS:
– ‘The Conjuring’ (2013)
– ‘The Descent’ (2005)
– ‘Night of the Living Dead’ (1968)
– ‘Wait Until Dark’ (1967)
– ‘The Blob’ (1958)