The best of the Halloween genre
By Cazzy Lewchuk, Staff Writer
The Halloween season is upon us! As we begin planning our costumes and decorating for parties, we inevitably find the spooky movies available on Netflix, cable, and (scariest of all) physical DVD. There are hundreds of movies available to get you into the spirit of Halloween, and here’s a look at some of the genre essentials.
The concept of a serial killer stalking young adults is one of the most iconic and imitated horror plotlines. Halloween (1978) was one of the original and scariest pieces, in which escaped psychiatric patient and psychopath Michael Myers slashes college kids on Halloween night. The movie featured much more suspense and tension over gore to build fright, leading to its iconic status. Other iconic and suspenseful entries in the genre include Psycho (1960) and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974).
The supernatural has always been frightening, and haunted forces conflicting with human protagonists make for one scary time indeed. One of the greatest modern entries is Sinister (2012), in which a true-crime writer discovers disturbing videotapes in his attic—and the frightening entity beyond them. Indeed, writers tormented by literal (and inner) demons have always proven popular—like in The Shining (1980),in which Jack Torrance retreats to a secluded hotel for the winter with his family. The evil within quickly drives him close to the edge in what’s considered one of the scariest movies of all time. Other great horror movies featuring hauntings include Insidious (2010), Poltergeist (1982), and The Ring (2002).
When demons from another realm or evil place conflict with the goodness that religion provides, it frightens audiences for their perpetual real-life basis, particularly the movies based on true stories. The Exorcist (1973)—another contender for scariest movie of all time—features a little girl possessed by something truly evil. It was one of the original demon possession movies, along with Rosemary’s Baby (1968), in which a woman becomes pregnant by something demonic. For other terrifying demon-infested children and adults alike, check out The Last Exorcism (2010), The Omen (1976), and The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005).
The opposite of fright and horror is humour and comedy, and many filmmakers have blended the two together. Self-awareness, playing gore and ghosts for laughs, and parodying conventional horror standards can make for iconic genre-busting films. The Cabin in the Woods (2012)featured college kids going up to the woods for typical fun/sexy times, but their fate embodies and parodies almost every horror movie ever made. Other excellent horror-comedies include Young Frankenstein (1974), What We Do in the Shadows (2014), Hocus Pocus (1993), Beetlejuice (1988), and The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993).