Classic horror films to watch with friends for the Halloween season

October 31, 2016

Kyle Guthrie

kguthri2@uccs.edu

     Nothing gets you in the spirit of Halloween quite like a marathon of scary movies. But with all the classics easily available on streaming sites, it’s hard to determine which movie is the best to watch.

     For your ghoulish viewing pleasure, The Scribe compiled a list of Halloween films that are not to be overlooked on this scary day.

“The Exorcist”

     Considered by many to be the scariest film ever made, “The Exorcist” boasts a terrifying atmosphere, nightmarish visuals and a twisted story that still holds up over forty years after its original release in 1973.

     The film deals with the slow deterioration of a young girl, Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair), who is possessed by a demon named Pazuzu, as a young priest tries to save her. Audiences fainted when they saw it in theaters and the shocking narrative coupled with terrifying imagery shows why.

     The film’s strength lies in its perpetual sense of dread rather than simply relying on jump scares. Powerful performances, brilliant direction and genius sound design contribute to the eerie sense of terror that dominates the film.

“Halloween”

     It just wouldn’t be Halloween without “Halloween.”

     The horror film follows deranged killer Michael Myers’s (Tony Moran) escape from a sanatorium and return to his home town to continue his blood-fueled rampage.

     The film, made in 1978, ushered in a new genre of horror films dubbed “the slasher.” Many argue that it is director John Carpenter’s masterpiece.

     While the film may not seem as terrifying or intense as many modern horror films, it is still recognized as revolutionizing the horror genre.

“Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn”

     A remake of the 1981 cult classic sequel to “Evil Dead,” “Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn” is a new chapter in horror history. The hybrid film is half-remake, and half-direct sequel.

     The film follows a young man named Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell), who unwittingly releases a demonic presence while vacationing in a cabin in the woods.

     The film combines dark humor with disturbing imagery. The movie was followed by the equally depraved “Army of Darkness” and the current “Ash vs The Evil Dead” Starz series, both directed by Sam Raimi.

“Drag me to Hell”

     The “Evil Dead” series made director Sam Raimi into a respected filmmaker, allowing him to take on several A-list properties such as the “Spider-man” films and “Oz the Great and Terrible.”

     In 2009, he returned to the horror franchise with “Drag me to Hell,” and the result couldn’t have been better.

     “Drag me to Hell” follows Christine Brown (Alison Lohman), a young woman living in Los Angeles who is tormented by a demon following a gypsy curse.

     As the curse gains strength, she must race against the clock to find a way to free herself from the curse before the demon literally drags her to hell.

     While the movie is not as well-known as the other titles on this list, this film is nothing short of horror perfection, and features a great deal of Raimi’s signature “tongue-incheek” gory humor that he refers to as “splat-stick.”

     The direction is tight; the séance scene in particular still stands out as one of the greatest scenes in horror movie history.

“Cabin in the Woods”

     While the other films on the list are horror movie staples, “Cabin in the Woods” sets itself apart from the rest because it satires the tropes inherent in these other works.

     The film begins by centering on a group of college students preparing to enjoy a weekend retreat in a secluded cabin in the woods. As the story progresses, what appears to be a typical cabin in the woods themed horror film is completely turned on its head and becomes something totally unexpected.

     “Cabin in the Woods” does a remarkable job providing a commentary on the age-old genre, while managing to incorporate completely original elements into its narrative.

     Its fascinating concept, mixed with its tight direction and fantastic creature design, make it stand out as a real treat.

     But be advised: the less you know about this film going into it, the better.