The calls are coming from inside the house!
You’re never too old to spook yourself on the way to bed, and with Halloween around the corner, it’s time to grab a bowl of popcorn and brace yourself for some horror. Whether you’re looking to revisit the classics or take a dip into new waters, freak out about ghosts or recoil at graphic violence, the horror genre has seen a lot of shifts and schisms. In other words, there’s a little something for everyone. These are the top five horror films to watch this Halloween.
“The Shining” (1980)
The love child of two auteurs, “The Shining” combines the cinematic brilliance of auteur Stanley Kubrick with the macabre vision of the renowned Stephen King. Aside from a historic performance from the cast, an eerie, looming soundtrack, creepy twins that no one could ever forget, and lines that have stayed the test of time, “The Shining” is filmed with the same attention to composition that marks all of Kubrick’s work. It’s masterfully shot. Though initial receptions were mixed, the film is now widely regarded as one of the most influential horror films of all time.
“The Ring” (2002)
Japanese cinema lays claim to a long list of blood-curdling and mind-bending horror films, but the 2002 classic “The Ring” is one of the major sparks that ignited interest with American audiences. Based on the 1998 Japanese film of the same name, “The Ring” follows the curse of those who watch a mysterious VHS containing footage of a ring of light. The film doesn’t feature gore, but the appearances of the film’s supernatural horror were plenty to burn themselves into the memory of film buffs for years to come.
“Evil Dead” (2013)
If, on the other hand, you’re more in the mood for a slaughter house, the 2013 remake of “The Evil Dead” may be more up your alley. Aside from benching the series’ protagonist, Ash, the franchise reboot also sheds much of the self-aware camp and humor that the original became known for. It instead moves toward heavy use of practical effects for a viewing experience that is… less than appetizing.
Aside from traumatizing preteens, horror as a genre also has a longstanding reputation of not taking itself too seriously – at least not all the time. The 1996 slasher film “Scream” is credited with revitalizing the genre by playing on clichés from its predecessors. Along with the suspense of a masked killer based on an actual murderer, “Scream” serves up a hefty dose of self-awareness and black comedy.
“The Exorcist” (1973)
When it comes to iconic horror films, “The Exorcist” takes the cake on nearly every list. It was the first in its genre to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars and was as much a film as a cultural hurricane. From rumors among the cast of a cursed set following a fire and continued setbacks to audiences at screenings bursting into hysterics, the film came close to possessing many involved with its production or subject to its release. It was a surprise that the Catholic Church supported the film for its depiction of a priest as the hero exorcising a demon and the renewed interest around Catholicism that the film sparked. Forty-six years later, pop culture at large still recalls vivid images of a young girl’s head spinning full circle and profanity that would make a sailor cringe.
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