Thursday, September 27, 2012

Supernatural Friday: Eleven Scary Horror Films

October will be here in a couple of days and at the end of October is Halloween. At this time of year there are those who will read scary fiction or nonfiction ghost books, or watch scary movies. Personally, I watch the movies all year round or read the books the same. But today, on this last Supernatural Friday of September, I will start with what I think are eleven films to rent or buy on DVD, and watch.(Yeah-right, only I could make it an uneven number. . . )

1. Cabin the Woods (2011). This film just came out on DVD last week and I have watched it twice already. With Joss Whelon’s name as producer (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Serenity and The Avengers) attached to this film, I knew I had to have it, even though I didn’t catch it in the theaters this past spring. I heard it was worth the price of admission. And I will say, that is so true. Definitely a Whelon trademark, with some familiar faces too. The premise sounds old hat in horror films: “Five friends go for a break at a remote cabin in the woods, where they get more than they bargained for. Together, they must discover the truth behind the cabin in the woods.” But honestly, there is a surprisingly difference. I loved it. Watch the trailer here:

2. The Haunting (1963). Don’t rent the 90s stinkero remake. Get this one.  It is based on the novel, The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. Premise: Dr. Markway, doing research to prove the existence of ghosts, investigates Hill House, a large, eerie mansion with a lurid history of violent death and insanity. With him are the skeptical young Luke, who stands to inherit the house, the mysterious and clairvoyant Theodora and the insecure Eleanor, whose psychic abilities make her feel somehow attuned to whatever spirits inhabit the old mansion. As time goes by it becomes obvious that they have gotten more than they bargained for as the ghostly presence in the house manifests itself in horrific and deadly ways. The film doesn’t need special effects to scare you. So grab this film, turn off the lights, huddle on the couch or your favorite chair, and be prepared to be frightened.
3.  Dog Soldiers (2002). No this is not a military film, though there are English soldiers in it. Plus a pack of werewolves they end up battling for their lives. And all set in the Scottish wilderness. Intense, this is one of the best werewolf horror films I have seen in a while. 

4.  An American Werewolf in London (1981). A horror film with werewolves that will make you think twice about traveling to English and hiking through it with your buddy at night and during a full moon.

5.  30 Days of Night (2007). This is a vampire film that is intense from beginning to end. If you are looking for those breaks in humor, forget it, this movie won’t give it to you. If you’re looking for vampires that sparkle, forget it. These vamps are vicious and out for one thing you can give them, and it’s not love!

6.   Psycho (1960). Premise: a young woman steals $40,000 from her employer's client, and subsequently encounters a young motel proprietor too long under the domination of his mother. Though black and white, this Alfred Hitchcock film will scare you as only Hitchcock can. Famous for the shower scene.

7.  The Evil Dead and Evil Dead II (1981 and 1987–both by Sam Raimi). First one is more grade-B horror, while the second one, a kind of remake has humor in it. The second one is the movie that made Bruce Campbell a B-movie icon and won Sam Raimi a whole lot more directing gigs. This films has equal parts humor and gore, but when the frights happen, they happen on a grand scale. Ever wondered what it would be like to fight your own hand? You won't have to wonder anymore after watching this movie. But still I thought I point out the first one, too.

8.  28 Days Later (2002). Undead, or zombies as they are calling the ghouls of these films these days, this is a good one. Many movies have tried to recreate what a major city could look like after an apocalypse, but not many do it as hauntingly well as Danny Boyle's "28 Days Later." The terrifyingly fast zombie-like creatures roaming the landscape proved to be so effectively scary that the movie spawned a wave of movies featuring fast-paced zombies. And the zombies don’t have to die to change and are logical in why they act the way they do.

9.   The Descent (2005). This movie will terrify you if:  1) You’re claustrophobic. 2) You’re scared of the dark. 3) You have a fear of being trapped under the earth.  4) You have a fear of being trapped under the earth with vampire-like creatures that can see you but you can’t see them.

10. Trick 'r Treat (2007). Premise: Four interwoven stories that occur on Halloween: An everyday high school principal has a secret life as a serial killer; a college virgin might have just met the one guy for her; a group of teenagers pull a mean prank; a woman who loathes the night has to contend with her holiday-obsessed husband. Perfect Halloween horror tales that will make you nervous about answering the door to trick-or-treaters.

11.  Alien (1979) and John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982). Since both are about creepy, monstrous aliens, then I think both should share equal billing, don’t you? In Alien, “no one can hear you scream,” as stuck on a spaceship not near Earth, the crew of the mining spacecraft, Nostromo battle something that proves ET is not so friendly. Same for The Thing, based on the short story, “Who Goes There” by John W. Campbell that I had read back in college, it is a more faithful adaptation than the 50s version with James Arness. It will make you question if your friends are really your friend, or something that may want to take over the Earth. You can even download the short story here:

There are many more films I loved, but could only put down ten. Other scary films included Poltergeist (1982), Night of the Living Dead (1968), Dracula (1931-with Bela Lugosi), The Wolfman (1941-Lon Chaney Jr.), The Grudge (2004), Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), The House on Haunted Hill (1999), The Woman in Black (2012), The House of Wax (1953—with Vincent Price), Salem’s Lot (1979 and 2004), Rosemary’s Baby, so many more. What are your favorites?


Mary Frances Roya said...

I'm not too much into slash and dice scary movies. But I do enjoy ghost stories. The Lady in Black was good although didn't have a satifactory ending for me. Another one that I really enjoyed was 'The Lady in White'. It has some scenes that made me jump. About a young boy that gets locked in the school and he see the ghost of a little girl. Great blog.

Pamela K. Kinney said...

That's another favorite of mine, Mary: Lady in White. None of what I posted is slash and dice films--all supernatural. Except Psycho, but I love Alfred Hitchcock suspense. He does have a scary film, The Birds.