Happy Thursday Everyone
As Halloween is fast approaching (seriously, where is the time going?) I’m back today with a post geared towards the holiday and the movie buffs among you. One of the best things to do on Halloween is to get all cosy on the couch with a copious amount of sweets and chocolate, and watch some really scary films. Or even some less scary ones we used to watch when were younger, but can’t help watching again and again. With so much to choose, it can be hard to decide which ones to go for. So, I’ve taken the hassle out of it for you.
Here are a few suggests for a Halloween movie marathon that will keep you occupied and keep you terrified all day long (well, for the most part). Of course, you could go for the usual classics like The Exorcist, Carrie or A Nightmare on Elm Street that everybody immediately thinks of. But, here I decided to pick a few that I think are a little less obvious.
9am – 10.15am: The Nightmare Before Christmas
So, let’s dive in first with a bit of childhood nostalgia from the 90’s in The Nightmare Before Christmas. In this animated classic, the leader of Halloween Town, the Pumpkin King Jack Skellington, is gearing up for the town’s annual Halloween celebrations with the help of a whole host of monsters. Taking a walk in the woods, he stumbles across a series of doors that represent a different holiday and transport who enters them to a different town. Intrigued by the unfamiliar celebrations of Christmas Town, Jack decides that Halloween Town will also take part in the celebrations. This leads to numerous Christmas themed plans put in place, including a plan to kidnap Santa from Christmas Town. A great one to watch with the kids on Halloween Morning.
10.15am – 11.45am: Hocus Pocus
Just as you can’t have Christmas without watching Home Alone, you can’t have Halloween without watching Hocus Pocus. Which is ironic really, considering that when it was first released back in 1993, it wasn’t anywhere near as popular as it is nowadays. Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy play a trio of witches who are executed in 17th century Salem. They are accidentally resurrected 300 years later in 1993 on Halloween night, when a young virgin lights the cursed Black Flame Candle during the full moon. They launch a plan to suck all the souls out of every child in Salem to regain their youth and live forever. Another great option for all the family, or just for anybody who was born in the 90’s to enjoy a bit of nostalgia. I hear it’s also getting a remake, but I’m betting that it won’t beat the original.
11.45am – 1.15pm: The Woman in Black
If you had kids around for the first instalments of this marathon, best to send them out trick or treating at this point. The Woman in Black, starring Daniel Radcliffe, is in my opinion one of the better horrors to emerge over the last decade. In it, Radcliffe plays solicitor Arthur Kipps, who has been summoned to the village of Grythin Gifford to handle the affairs of the recently deceased Alice Drablow, who lived reclusively in the eerie Eel Marsh House at the edge of the town where no one goes. Upon arriving in the town, he immediately senses hostility from the locals, who do not want him to go to the house, as they live in fear of the woman in black who haunts it. The film is based on the book by Susan Hill, which is an excellent read, and I included it on my Halloween reading suggestions here. The film does a great job of adapting the story and it’s sure to have the hairs on the back of your neck standing to attention.
1.15pm – 2.45pm: The Strangers
Moving from a haunted house to people terrorised in their home. The Strangers is one of the creepiest films I’ve ever seen, and it’s inspired by real live events. It stars Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman as a couple staying the night in their summer home. They answer the door at 4am to a young woman asking for Tamara. Hearing that she has the wrong house, she leaves, telling them ominously that she will “see them later”. Later, the couple are stalked and terrorised by three people in terrifying masks. The film is really effective in its scares, as we see the aggressors appear out of the shadows behind the main characters on numerous occasions before they even know they are there. And to make the whole thing even more chilling, the people reveal they are only attacking them because they were home when they happened upon the house. The film is directed by Bryan Bertino, and was directly inspired by events from his childhood, and the Charles Manson Murders. Make sure you have the doors locked after watching this one.
2.45pm – 4.35pm: The Conjuring
The Conjuring tells the story of one of the cases of real life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. In the movie, they come to the aid of the Perron family who are being terrorised by evil spirits in their home in Rhode Island in the 70’s. Days after moving into the house, they started to experience strange and paranormal events, such as all the clocks stopping at exactly 3:07am each night, and their family dog being found dead shortly after refusing to enter the house. These occurrences become more frequent, as well as the evil spirit haunting the family physically attacking them. Desperate, they turn to the Warren’s for help, who learn of the tragic history of the house and the evil that resides there. The film is really tense, relying on old school scares but executing them perfectly. It ended up being a huge success, and has led to numerous sequels and spin-offs, but none have been as good or scary as this.
4.35pm – 6.25pm: It Follows
It Follows was a surprise hit a few years back, but it’s easy to see why, given its unique take on the horror genre. The film’s plot acts as a metaphor of sorts for STD’s. In it, Maika Monroe plays Jay, a teenage girl who has a sexual encounter with her new boyfriend. Afterwards he confesses that he has passed on a kind of curse to her, where by a supernatural entity will keep pursuing her until it has killed her. As it can take human form, it could be anybody at any time. And the only way to pass the curse on is to sleep with somebody else, leaving Jay with a terrible dilemma. The plot is really clever, it’s proper tense because you find yourself scanning the background of every scene to see if anyone is making a beeline for Jay, and it has a killer soundtrack that is inspired by old-school horror from the 70’s and 80’s. You’ll probably be afraid to have sex for a while after though. No Netflix and Chill after this one.
6.25pm – 8.45pm: Dead Set
Channel 4 in the UK released Dead Set back in 2008, as five episodes that aired over consecutive nights in the run up to Halloween. You can also watch it as one big movie if you wish. The plot is really simple and clever. A zombie apocalypse strikes the UK and the safest place to be becomes the famous Big Brother house. The contestants at first are blissfully unaware of the chaos ensuing outside the house, but eventually realise something is wrong. Of course, it’s not long before their safe haven is compromised and they are forced to band together to try and make it out alive. This is like The Walking Dead meets reality TV with a good helping of gore thrown in.
8.45pm – 10.35pm: Sinister
Whenever somebody asks for good horror movie recommendations, Sinister always springs to mind, at it has one of the most terrifying monsters I have ever seen in a movie. Ethan Hawke stars as fictional true crime writer Ellison Oswalt, who moves into a new home with his family while working on writing his next best seller. The home was previously owned by a family in which the parents and two of the children were hung from a tree in the back garden. Another family member, a 10-year-old girl, mysteriously disappeared after the incident and Oswalt hopes his investigation into the case can reveal her fate. Shortly after moving in, he finds a box of tapes in the attic that depict numerous families being murdered by an unseen killer, which he later finds out is a demonic entity known as Bughuul. If the opening scene of this movie doesn’t unsettle you, I don’t know what will, as I thought it was one of the scariest openings to a film I’ve ever seen. And the design of Bughuul is sure to haunt your nightmares for a while after seeing this. A definite must-watch on any Halloween movie marathon.
10.35pm – 12.35am: Train to Busan
To round out your day of movies, why not throw on Train to Busan. If Dead Set is like The Walking Dead meets reality TV, this is like The Walking Dead meets commuter nightmare. Set in South Korea, as a train is about to depart, a young girl stumbles aboard with a leg wound. She begins convulsing as she becomes a zombie and proceeds to attack the people on board and spread the infection further. A group of survivors on the train attempt to flee at the next station, but find it over run with zombies. After hearing that a quarantine zone has been established in Busan, they board the train again and attempt to make it there. The zombie genre can be very hit and miss, often more on the miss side. But, with a unique take on the genre and a score of 96% on Rotten Tomatoes by critics that would normally tear a film like this apart, it’s safe to say you are on to a winner.