Monday, 28 October 2013

The 7 Best Movies to Watch for Halloween

Greetings boys and ghouls! 'Tis the season of mischief, a celebration of the cycle of death and rebirth, of spirits and monsters and everything else that goes bump in the night as enjoyed by many cultures in many forms around the world.
And what better way to enjoy it than at the movies?! 

As such, here is a brief and in no way comprehensive list of some of my favorite flicks that best embody the aforementioned themes.


This is one of those movies that shaped my childhood and set me on my life path of creating animation and visual media. Masterfully directed by Henry Selick, The Nightmare before Christmas features the visual style of Tim Burton at the top of his game alongside some truly great music by Danny Elfman. This is one of the few films I've seen where there is no issue of style over substance because the style IS the substance. It defined an aesthetic (that was unfortunately and unintentionally turned into a parody by Hot Topic) and is one of the few flicks that is both a cult and mainstream classic. Plus, it's an equally good watch for both Halloween AND Christmas!


In my humble opinion, this is one of the best and most unique horror films ever made, Hellraiser introduced us to the now infamous character Pinhead and was directed by Clive Barker, based on his own story, 'The Hellbound Heart.' This is a surreal, visceral nightmare that puts a different spin on the classic haunted house setup and to this day is creepy as hell, thanks in no small part to the fantastic lighting, character design, and ingenious practical effects that no modern digital wizardry can ever hope to hold a candle to.


Hands down, the best of Sam Raimi's original trilogy. What started with attempting to play straight horror in The Evil Dead (an indie classic in its own right) evolved into slightly more goofy horror comedy in the sequel/remake, Evil Dead 2, and became fully realized in this no-holds-barred piece of macabre slapstick starring Bruce Campbell as the cynical and incidental hero Ash, everyone's favorite chainsaw-armed, womanizing Deadite slayer who knows his hardware. Full of great one liners and visual comedy, Army of Darkness is one of the most fun films of the era. Hail to the king, baby!


They just don't make kids' movies like they did in the 80's. This was an era before movies for children were shanghaied into playing nice and clean and talking down to their audience, and this film, which features a group of monster-savvy kids taking on classic Universal Monsters who invade their hometown, is a prime example of why that was infinitely better than today's standards. If you haven't seen this yet, remedy that. It's fun for the whole family! 


The ultimate slow-burn, this is one that intentionally takes its time so that it can catch you off guard and then some. But you won't get bored as you're carried along by the beautiful, charming Jocelin Donahue, who plays a college student desperately in need of funds and accepts a job taking care of...someone...offered by a quietly creepy Tom Noonan. To give much more away would spoil the fun, but trust me, if you stick it through, you won't be sorry. 


Like an episode of Scooby Doo on lethal amounts of LSD, this insane Japanese take on the haunted house genre is something that really can't be described and has to be seen to be believed. 


This is a weird one for the list, but I'll take any opportunity I can to advertise this movie. It's not really horror, though parts of it are terrifying. It's not really a ghost story, but we are taken into the post-mortal realm. Shown almost exclusively through a first person perspective, this story of the life and afterlife of a drug dealer and his long lost sister in a hypnotic, neon-soaked Tokyo is less about establishing a cohesive narrative and more about immersing the viewer in a psychedelic experience of what might lie on the other side of life. Artistically and technically one of the most impressive and original films I've ever seen, this essentially does for the supernatural what '2001: A Space Odyssey' did for sci-fi.

Do you agree with this list? What are some of your favorite flicks for the season? Tweet 'em at us @swagger_media!

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