Movie Junkie TO (Kirk Haviland)
Hello fellow Genre Heads! After seeing some of the other guys chime in on this subject I thought I would lend my voice to the argument. For me Halloween, much like Christmas, is about going back and visiting the classic films I grew up with. Not ‘classics’ like the Universal Monsters films and the like, but the classic films from the 60’s/ 70’s/80’s and 90`s. But my ultimate list of the top 5 will span all the way up to a few scant years ago.
Sadly this list may end up being a little less obscure than some of my compatriots, but that’s the fun of these lists. I can now go back and check out some of the other films mentioned. There will be some cheats here as well. That said here we go.
5. The Crow – Dir Alex Proyas (1994)
My first cheat, not really a Halloween film but a Devil`s Night tradition. Every Oct 30th I pop in Proyas` brilliant dark noir about a vengeful spirit coming back from the dead, with the help of a crow, to exact his bloody revenge on the people that killed his fiancé and him a year earlier. The film showed the brilliance of Brandon Lee, son of Bruce, before was killed in a tragic on set accident. The Blu-Ray transfer looks brilliant but sadly exposes some of the now ancient CGI work done on the film. The performances by Michael Wincott and Warriors Baddie David Patrick Kelly make this film a must see alone.
4. Brain Dead aka Dead Alive – Dir Peter Jackson (1992)
Long before getting eternally lost in Middle Earth, Peter Jackson made one of the best zombie splatter films in history. Brain Dead contains some of the most inventive and over the top kills ever recorded on film. The use of lawnmower in the film has become iconic. This is the film that won out a spot on the list by a sliver over another classic `Return of the Living Dead` that I am sure will end up on one of my compatriot`s list.
3. The Romero Trilogy – Night of the Living Dead (1968), Dawn of the Dead (1978) and Day of the Dead (1985) Dir George Romero
Another cheat yes, but if not then 2 of my spots would be gone instead of one. The original Night is the grandfather of the zombie film and a classic in every sense of the word. The fact that it is a black and white production just adds to the overall creepiness. Dawn is my personal favorite of the series, as the morality play on consumerism combined with the many claustrophobic attacks in confined places and the effectiveness of Tom Savini’s make-up produce a Romero must see. And yes the effects and kills still hold up today. Day is my least favorite, but it’s still a more effective zombie film than 90% of the films that followed it.
2. Trick ‘r Treat – Dir Michael Dougherty (2007)
What I can only describe as a ‘new classic’, Trick ‘r Treat was sadly overlooked when it came out a few years ago and ended up as a straight to DVD release in 2009. One of the best anthology films since the 80’s, the film weaves a complex and intricate tale of 4 stories all intertwined and told out of sequence but all connected through the one child-like character known as Sam (short for Samhain). The tales are wicked and performances great, specifically Brian Cox and Dylan Baker, in this film bound to become a Halloween tradition in many homes.
1. Halloween – Dir John Carpenter (1978)
What else to close off the list than the one that is actually named after the day itself! John Carpenter’s classic is the ONLY film that I watch EVERY Halloween without fail. It`s still remains my favorite horror film of all time as Carpenter’s keen eye and brilliant direction keep you on the edge of your seat throughout. His camera lingers and makes you sense dread even when nothing is in the frame. The kills are as iconic as the man behind the mask himself. The double bill with the inferior part 2 works much better than watching the 2nd alone as the film continues on immediately after the finish of the first.
So that`s the list. Honorable mentions go to the Evil Dead films (including Army of Darkness) and A American Werewolf in London (something that for me is not Halloween based, hence it`s non-inclusion here). How`s your list shaping up?