With the runaway success of the film, Paranormal Activity, the horror genre is once again alive and well. The indie flick, made for an unbelievable $15,000 and so far raking in nearly $62 million since being released in late September (and showing no signs of loosening its grip on the box office any time soon) is basically a haunted house movie, but terrifyingly so, according to critics and audiences alike. I’ve been dying (so to speak) to see it and it looks like my beyond busy schedule of late will finally allow me to do so this Halloween weekend. I can’t wait; I love a good scare!
This time of the year really is the best for discovering some new horror film, whether it’s a current cinematic offering or something courtesy of your local dvd store. And television is loaded with all sorts of viewing options in the horror genre right about now, too.
The present is also an ideal time to revisit past horror favorites; here are some titles which for me have really stood the test of time…and still make me jump out of my seat at just the right moment.
The Exorcist (1973) – Satanic possession at its finest. Enough said.
Halloween (1978) – For better or worse, John Carpenter’s classic tale of evil got the head rolling on the slasher sub-genre. Some may argue that it’s a bit dated (not to mention tame by today’s torture porn standards) but for me it’s still a very effective piece of horror. And the musical score is a ring tone favorite, too, especially at this time of the year.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) – Director Wes Craven’s introduction to the man sooooo not of your dreams, Freddy Krueger, robbed me of sleep for at least a couple of nights when I first saw it back in the mid 1980’s. However, like most great horror films, generally unnecessary sequels followed. And as everyone knows by now, the first Nightmare flick also featured a very young Johnny Depp in his feature film debut.
The Vanishing (1988) – This foreign film was remade in 1993 with Jeff Bridges, Kiefer Sutherland and Sandra Bullock but the original is far superior and therefore the one to see. The plot is simple enough: while on vacation with her boyfriend, a woman is mysteriously abducted. Three years later, the boyfriend tracks down her kidnapper with chilling results.
The Blair Witch Project (1999) – I have this film on my list even though I’ve only seen it once (at the theater) and haven’t been able to watch it again. So it must be effective. A trio of film makers encounters more than it bargained for while researching and filming a documentary about The Blair Witch. Like Paranormal Activity, this was made for next to nothing ($60,000 budget) and made a ton of money while scaring audiences shitless (almost $250 million worldwide). The final scene of the film is absolutely terrifying.
Those would be just a (very) few of my favorite scary things; all pre-2000 I just noticed. I’m thinking that Paranormal Activity might find a home among them once I see it this weekend.