While many people in my home country might still be confused about Halloween, I embrace it. I will jump at the chance to dress in costume and eat lollies. When I was single my brother, and my friend Doug, would dress up and celebrate "International Speak like a Pirate Day!". Sadly I could not convince my colleagues at my serious government job to do the same.
Being the sort of chap that I am I embrace the sheer fun of it, and part of the fun for me is to have a few friends over and watch some horror movies. Here is a list of some of my favorites in no particular order.
1: An American Werewolf in London
Arguably the best Werewolf movie ever made, this film will always have a soft spot in my heart due to the fact I stayed up to watch it one night with my brother who had confused it with Teen Wolf. Needless to say this was not the laugh riot I thought it was. However its special effects still stand the test of time, and the story balances humor, frights and gore in an entertaining way.
In my opinion John Carpenters Halloween started that whole slasher trend that came about in the 80's. And while I am not a fan of those films in general, the story, and cinematography of Halloween is truly eerie. The mythology of Michael Myers embodies the urban legends such as the hook man, and the disturbing imagery of Hitchcock's Psycho. The end is still one of the best endings of a horror film ever.
4: Fright Night
I probably should have chosen a classic Hammer Horror such as The Horror of Dracula, but Fright Night embodies all the classic cinematic Vampire mythology without taking itself too seriously. Roddy McDowall is awesome as a second rate Peter Cushing. The 80's spawned a revival of horror, and this is my favorite vampire film of that generation.
5: Let the right One In
In the recent renaissance of Swedish cinema Let the Right One in was a blessed relief to those of us that enjoy Vampire stories. Let the Right One is is both endearing and disturbing. It is dark and compassionate and weirdly beautiful.
6: Night of the Living Dead
George A. Romero's first and classic Zombie horror. It set the bench mark for modern Zombie films from Sean of the Dead, to Zombieland. Psychologically still compelling.
7: Evil Dead II
Sam Raimi's and Bruce Campbell's comedy sequel to Evil Dead. Sure in a list like this I should be referencing The Omen or the Exorcist, but I love Evil Dead II. Crazy and creepy it is still great 27 years later.
8: In the Mouth of Madness
John Carpenter's homage to H.P. Lovecraft. In my opinion closer to any of Lovecraft's works than any other film made, yes even Re-animator. Sam Neil, Jurgen Prochnow and the cameo with Charlton Heston is great. Not overly popular but a firm favorite for fans of Lovecraft.
9: The Thing
This is the last of the three John Carpenter films on my list. This was not intentional but it turns out I am a massive fan. I love this film, and I love people watching it for the first time. Infinitely better than the remake, this is classic modern horror at it's best.
Peter Jackson at his best. If you haven't seen it you will feel like you need an apron for the amount of gore that will virtually wash over you. But in saying that it is accompanied with a sense of humor and style which has turned this little kiwi movie into a horror classic. The fact that a character from the Norwegian horror Dead Snow is wearing a Brain dead t-shirt is marvelous.
These are not necessarily the best horror films ever, I have not included Psycho or Invasion of the Body Snatchers or the Exorcist, but these after much pressure to decide were my top ten.
Love to hear your favorites as well. Happy Halloween everybody.