It’s October — my favourite month! The stifling heat of the summer has taken a hike; people can no longer show their upper arms, which I find to be a horror show of its own, particularly mine. They closely resemble a couple French loaves spread with clotted cream and jam, with a few currents sprinkled on top.
There’s a chill in the air, but it’s not so chilly that you want to set your nylon ski pants on fire and drop glowing red lumps of actual coal in your mitts to keep warm. Disclaimer: I do not endorse either of these methods for keeping warm in cold weather.
October also means its Halloween season, which equals horror movies galore. Every channel has a scarefest marathon running 24/7.
What’s the appeal you may be wondering?
Horror movies take the viewer on a journey with the characters from the normalcy of the doldrums of life into pure, horrifying chaos in many forms—pissy aliens, disgruntled ghosts, maniacal killers, inbred hillbillies, kooks, diabolical fog, the devil in disguise, basements, evil entities, killer fish, yucky insects (as if they can be anymore horrifying) cave-dwelling creatures, creepy kids, even a dude just taking care of a hotel—and so on.
And when a character comes out the other side of the chaos, they discover the mutilated carcass of normal in the stark light of the new reality where they now exist. It makes you wonder if survival is the point of the game.
Phew, that got a little heavy.
Anyway, in the spirit of the season, here’s a list of some of my favourite hair-raising flicks (in alphabetical order until I got tired of doing that and confused by all the Thes):
The movie takes a page out of The Amityville Horror: a large family struggling financially but are happy despite that. They purchase their first home and are excited to start their new life, until an evil presence starting tormenting the them. This is where paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren come in. The presence possesses Carolyn, the mother, and sets out to make her kill her children. A paranormal battle commences in the depths of the dank basement and then, shazam, the presence takes a hike and all is well in the world. This movie is a fun watch with genuine scares.
The Hills have Eyes (2006)
Hillbilly eyes mutated by nuclear testing that is. The movie is about an uppity, urban family on a cross-country trip. This movie is the perfect set-up of normalcy – a family trip in a mobile camper that descends into pure awesome chaos. They get lost and end up taking a shortcut into fucked-up, psychotic hillbilly country. Said hillbillies cause the vehicle to crash, leaving the family stranded in the middle of the New Mexico desert in the heat of day. Sure this is shitty, but it’s going to get a whole lot shittier. The men head off to find help and the gals (and a younger brother, a baby and a bird) stay back at the crash scene. As night descends, shit goes seriously sideways. And it’s terrifying and violent and just all-round messed up. A must watch for any horror fan worth your salt.
The Descent (2006)
Women with secrets+dark caves+starving, cave-dwelling humanoids=one hell of a movie. A group of women get together for their annual adventure weekend. Lots of good backstory and character development sets the tone of the movie. They’ve come together after the main character Sarah loses her husband and child in a car crash a year prior. But what happens on this caving trip will make that seem like drinking champagne in a hot tub. This movie is full of terrifying goodness.
You’re Next (2011)
A creepy indie movie involving a family during a gathering. As they sit around the dinner table, they come under attack by assailants in creepy animal masks, shooting at them with crossbows. But a new girlfriend of one of the family members has a little secret that changes the game for the assailants. This is a fun, jump out and get’cha movie. Plus, I discovered a new song I dig, Looking for the Magic by the Dwight Twilley band. Check it out.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
The original is a classic and quite often remakes are disappointing bits of crap, but not in this case. The cast is great, lead by Jessica Biel and her killer body (and outfit: low-slung bootcut jeans, white tank top and boots, so cute); the original Leatherface actor actually asked the director if he could revved up his chainsaw to appear in the 2003 version. The cinematography is top notch: the stark monstrosity of the Hewitt house under stormy grey skies and the grotesque, dank kill basement; the gore is hardcore and disturbing, and the scares are on point. If you are not on the edge of your seat the whole movie, then perhaps you need a little chat with Sheriff Hoyt.
Wolf Creek (2005)
I like my wine Australian and my horror. This thriller from Down Under is pure horror entertainment from bringing to end. Three young travellers, on a quest to see a famous crater in the Australian outback, become stranded in the middle of bloody nowhere. Help comes along, but unfortunately in the form of a sadistic redneck. He drugs them and a night of horror and really messed up stuff ensues. What are you still here for? Go watch it.
More of my favs, but without write-ups — a gal’s got to sleep, with the lights on.
- The Amityville Horror
- The Thing (1982)
- The Shining
- The Exorcist
- The Ring
- American Werewolf in London
- Wrong Turn series
- The Cabin in the Woods
- The Evil Dead
- The Witch
- Green Room