Halloween is now just around the corner, ready to surprise you in a frightening way!
You decorate your house, you prepare treats for the children (hoping not to receive tricks as a reward), you think about the costume if you have a party, but above all you meditate on the horror movies marathon to organize with your friends: from the great classics to the softer titles suitable for the whole family, through the latest releases and the most acclaimed films, the list is to die for.
Put aside your fears, or at least try, and let the night of the witches, of ghosts, werewolves, vampires and other terryfing creatures drag you into the dark world, where the light does not penetrate and the chances of escaping unharmed are few… Will you be able to survive?!
THE GREAT CLASSICS
The Silence of the Lambs
Considered by many as the most frightening film of all time, “The Exorcist” tells the story of the possession of a girl and the work of a priest who tries to exorcize the demon that lives inside her. The screenplay is from the homonymous successful novel of 1971, written by William Peter Blatty, the author and producer of the film. The novel was inspired by an article published on the Washington Post in August 1949, that narrated an alleged exorcism performed on a 14-year-old boy in Maryland. The icing on the cake, the film is considered cursed because of the several accidents, even deadly, that occurred during the filming!
This masterpiece of 1980, directed by Stanley Kubrick, is based on the homonymous novel by the King of Horror Literature, Stephen King, and it tells the story of Jack Torrance (played by Jack Nicholson), an aspiring writer, unemployed teacher with alcoholism problem, that accepts the work as winter watchman in a huge hotel in Colorado, lost in the mountains. This is just the beginning of a series of scary episodes that will make your skin crawl… A tip: Beware of the axe!
The “Scream” saga has now reached 4 titles, but the original remains a classic Halloween movie. The film stars Sidney Prescott, a girl who is shocked, like all the rest of the town where she lives, by some brutal and mysterious murders. It seems that behind them there is a boy who wears a Ghostface mask, whose character is inspired by the true serial killer Danny Rolling.
The protagonist of this frightening saga is the iconic Freddy Krueger, a man who years before the story killed the children of his city in a bloody way in an abandoned factory. Years after being lynched by the parents of these children, Freddy returns in the form of a demon in the dream dimension, killing in this way the children of Springwood without (almost) any obstacle. The saga consists of 9 films, two video games, and a television miniseries, “Freddy’s Nightmares.” Will you still have sweet dreams after this movie?
The Sixth Sense
This film sees Bruce Willis playing the child psychologist Malcolm Crowe, who faces the case of Cole, a child with a great sensitivity and an unusual “ability:” he can see and talk to the dead. It is one of the biggest receipts in the history of cinema, as well as the most successful horror film at the box office until 2017 when it was surpassed by “It.”
THE “SOFTEST” ONES
A Disney Classic directed by Kenny Ortega (yeah, the same director of “High School Musical “) where Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker interpret a trio of funny but dangerous witches. The film does not lack romance, drama, and the beautiful autumnal settings of Massachusetts: moreover, there is no better Halloween than this to see it again, because this year it celebrates the 25th anniversary!
The Addams Family
This film, adaptation of the ideas of American cartoonist Charles Addams, includes in the cast Anjelica Huston, Raúl Juliá, Christina Ricci, and Christopher Lloyd, who interpret the members of a strange, and always dressed in black, but fun family! It is certainly one of the titles to refer to if you are looking for ideas, always revisited and never trivial, for costumes and/or decorations for Halloween night.
We find again Christina Ricci as the young protagonist of this sad, but sweet film: Ricci interprets Kat, a young girl who, with her medium father, moves to the town of Friendship, more precisely in an ancient manor haunted by three bully ghosts (Fatso, Stinky, and Stretch) and their nephew, who is a ghost too, the sweet Casper. Keep the kleenex close, you’ll need it after the finale!
New York, 1984. Peter Venkman, Raymond Stantz and Egon Spengler, three university researchers in Parapsychology try to learn more, but with poor results, about the paranormal phenomena. Contacted by the Public Library of New York, they find themselves facing for the first time an ectoplasm. This will only be the beginning of a great search for ghosts all around the city and a consequential great amount of laughter! “Who you going to call?”
The film, a kind of dark/romantic fairytale, is directed by Tim Burton and starring a very young Johnny Depp: this title marks the beginning of the bound director-actor and director-composer (Danny Elfman), still ongoing today. Johnny Depp plays Edward, an artificial man, an unfinished creation that presents scissors instead of hands. Edward will end up falling in love with Kim, played by an equally young Winona Ryder, starting the envy of his friends and the fears of an entire town. Morality? The strength of feeling is able to overcome any obstacle and, above all, any difference.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
This is one of the best films by Tim Burton, made in stop-motion, and it is a choice suitable for both Halloween and Christmas (but also for all the rest of the year!). Jack Skellington is the king of Halloween Town, a fictional world full of monsters where everything revolves around the feast of October 31st, whose preparations last for the entire year. Tired, however, to frighten people, he decides one day to visit Christmas Town, where he comes to a brilliant enlightenment: to bring Christmas even to his kingdom! However, not everything will go according to his plans…
THE MOST ACCLAIMED
Patrick Bateman (played by Christian Bale) is a young twenty-seven years old yuppie of Wall Street, graduated from Harvard, who has a rich, attractive and superficial girlfriend and a circle of friends like him. But, overwhelmed by the vortex of capitalism, he will end up turning his perfect life into an equally perfect deadly cocktail. The cast is impressive, since it counts the names of William Dafoe, Jared Leto, Justin Theroux, Chloë Sevigny and Reese Witherspoon.
The Neon Demon
This visionary film, directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, sees Elle Fanning as the protagonist of a horror set in the fashion world: The young actress plays Jesse, a sixteen-year-old who lands in Los Angeles to attempt the modeling career. Her beauty and innocence are immediately noticed and it rise the jealousy of two more experienced colleagues (Gigi and Sarah) who use Ruby, a makeup artist, to attract her in a game that will become more and more dangerous…. The film participated in competition at the Cannes 2016 Festival.
“Saw:” is a horror franchise, created by James Wan and Leigh Whannell, and composed so far by eight films. The plot revolves around the maniac John Kramer, alias Jigsaw, and his disciples, whose victims are captured and tested in deadly traps from which it is possible to leave only after atrocious mutilations and sufferings, and only if you are still alive… Jigsaw places its “guinea pigs” on these treatments to see if they are worthy to continue to live an existence that until that time they have despised. Live or Die? Make your choice.
When you do not know what to watch at Halloween, Tim Burton is always a good choice: in the film, Johnny Depp plays the role of Ichabod Crane, an eccentric and scrupulous policeman who finds himself investigating a series of murders occurred in the village of Sleepy Hollow, believed to have been made by a headless knight (Christopher Walken) who came from the past. Inspired by the story “Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving, the film won the Oscar as Best Scenography, curated by Rick Heinrichs.
Friday the 13th
It’s a classic, it’s nostalgic, it’s a must-see, it’s just the scariest day of the week! “Friday the 13th” is a 1980 film directed by Sean S. Cunningham, starring Adrienne King and Betsy Palmer, which gave rise to a long horror saga. The plot of the first film is based only on plausible facts, while the following count all fantastic elements, despite the stories being all realistic. Are you still sure that going camping by the lake is a good idea? We would avoid it, especially if in that camp there was years ago a mysterious trail of murders that seems to have reached to the our day…
It is a supernatural horror based on the facts reported by paranormal researchers Ed and Lorraine Warren. The plot, set in 1971, focuses on the attempt of the Warrens (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) to help a family who has recently moved into a haunted house. The screenplay is mostly true to the real stories told by the protagonists, even if there are some discrepancies. In 2014 it was released the prologue/spin-off “Annabelle,” while in the 2016 was the turn of the sequel “The Conjuring 2.”
“The Ring” is a film directed by Gore Verbinski, starring Naomi Watts, an adaptation of Kōji Suzuki’s novel “Ring” and a remake of the 1998 film directed by Hideo Nakata. The film had two sequels (2005 and 2017). The story revolves around Rachel, who is called to investigate the mysterious death of four teenagers, including her niece. Rachel discovers the existence of a videotape that, seven days after its vision, leads to a horrible death whoever watches it…
Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola and based on Bram Stoker‘s novel “Dracula,” this movie is a “must-see:” whether it is for the spectacular cast, that includes the Oscar winner Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins and Keanu Reeves, or for the romantic-dramatic story that crosses the centuries, or for the immortal fascination that only vampires are able to exercise, or for the scenographies, what is certain is that you can not avoid the adulation that only count Vlad is able to practice…
THE MOST RECENT ONES
“The Witch,” directed by Robert Eggers, is a horror-historical movie inspired directly by newspapers, diaries and judicial accounts of the time XVI Century. The film was presented at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the award as Best Dramatic Directing. Set in New England in 1630, the film tells about a family of Christian pilgrims that faces, with catastrophic consequences, supernatural entities that seem to be ruled by the Devil itself, and which will lead to the unconscious perdition of the teen daughter Thomasin.
This is a psychological horror, and it is the debut feature movie of the Australian director Jennifer Kent. It tells the story of a mother and her son who are persecuted by a spirit, coming from a book of fables, which poisons and conditions more and more the two protagonists, leading them to delirium. Acclaimed by the international critics, the film had been praised from Stephen King in person, who defined it as “profoundly disturbing.”
“It,” or “It-Chapter One,” is a 2017 film directed by Andrés Muschietti, adaptation of the homonymous novel by Stephen King. The story revolves around a group of friends (“the Losers“) that, in a torrid summer of the late ’50s, faces a supernatural creature, who looks like a clown and brutally kills the children of their town with a cyclical cadence. The strength of their friendship is the weapon that will help them to defeat it. While waiting to see the sequel, in which we will find the grown-up children forced to resurface the past to beat It once and for all, you can watch the original adaptation of the ’90s or, even better, read the book! You will stay away from the manholes for a long time after seeing it, trust us…
Ouija: Origin of Evil
Los Angeles 1967. Alice Zander, a widow, earns money with the complicity of her daughters Lina and Doris pretending to be a psychic capable of evoking the dead. One day she is attracted by the idea of increasing the effectiveness of her sessions by using an Ouija board. However, the youngest daughter Doris, who tries to get in contact with her father, starts to use it too and she will soon find out that she is actually speaking with other entities, not so friendly, that are hiding inside their home.
“Crimson Peak” is a 2015 film co-written and directed by Guillermo del Toro, starring Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, and Charlie Hunnam. The story, set in nineteenth-century England, follows the vicissitudes of Edith Cushing who, after a family tragedy, sees her existence turning into a nightmare, whose dark protagonists are the new husband, his sister and the house itself where they move in. If you are keen to the visionary genius of Guillermo del Toro then you are prepared for what awaits you: if not, be ready to immerse yourself in his disturbing, but suggestive, kingdom!