This time around, we had all of you readers tell us what your favorite Halloween horror movies were, and man, there was a ton of results from our Best Movies Ever News Twitter & Facebooks sites. Now you can yell amongst yourselves on why some films weren’t included rather than me!
10: The Strangers
This film has many people divided since it’s the third film based on the same ‘true’ story, (Ils, Eden Lake), and many have claimed ‘The Strangers‘ was a rip-off of ‘Ils’, but after seeing all three, they each have their own place. ‘Ils‘ was rather intense in the way it just ended as many foreign horror films do, where ‘The Strangers’ took me by surprise in that I was gripped all the way through, and I even forgot that was Liv Tyler being attacked and brutalized. This film builds the two main characters story up really well and adds another nice piece of conflict, and for some reason the idea of someone just pounding the hell out of your front door in the middle of the night scares the crap out of me.
Synopsis: Kristen (Liv Tyler) and James Hoyt (Scott Speedman) arrive home from a wedding reception to their vacation home. Half way through the night there comes a knocking. Things quickly start to go sour. Terrorised by three strangers who hide their identities behind masks, when violence ensues both Kristen and James realise how far they must go in order to regain control.
This is one messed up film! I’ve had a few friends not accustomed to foreign horror that complained it just took too long for any action, but then they cursed me when they realized that it had been building all along to that very brutal ending. I, for one, had to take a five minute break during that scene, and you know which one, before finishing. I don’t know if it was because of the bag, the bowl of ‘food’ or her seeming thrill at doing what she does, but man this film stayed in my head for a long time.
I loved this film, and the fact that you can feel for this totally messed up girl, and then hope she doesn’t do what she’s doing shows what a great little gem this one is. Many people still haven’t heard of this one, but if you’re a true horror junkie, this is a must watch movie. You won’t look at the loner at work the same way again.
There’s not many good werewolf kinda horror films out there, but ‘Ginger Snaps’ did a great twist on this genre that keeps it on my top horror list still.
Synopsis: ‘Ginger Snaps’ uses werewolfism as a metaphor for puberty. One of the Fitzgerald sisters, suburban goth girl outcasts, gets bitten by something in the woods (and it ain’t a neighborhood dog).
Clive Barker was basically the granddaddy of torture porn with ‘Hellraiser‘, but in this film, it was what the entire story was about. There’s definitely not any gratuitous scenes of violence in this one since it well served here, and Barker introduced many people to a still popular underground fetish scene. Being hung from the ceiling by a bunch of hooks going through my skin won’t get me going, but it obviously works for many others I’ve met. If you’ve read any of his books, this guy has seen some very very dark underground scenes. Who can forget Pinhead’s wonderful line ‘Tears are such a waste of suffering‘?
Synopsis: An unfaithful wife encounters the zombie of her dead lover, who’s being chased by demons after he escaped from their sado-masochistic Hell.
5. Friday the 13th (1980)
This started it all for Jason, and many forget (unless you saw ‘Scream’) that the real killer in this one was Jason’s mommy, played wonderfully by Betsy Palmer. Sean Cunningham captured the spirit of the beginning of the 80’s with ‘Friday the 13th‘ that is still being copied today. This one holds up just as well being watched today as when it came out in theaters, and along with ‘Halloween‘ changed the face of horror in the U.S. forever.
If you’ve seen ‘Quarantine’ and not the original ‘REC’ that is was remade from, shame on you. This is that are zombieish movie that takes you by the throat and doesn’t let go. Watching it at home on a big screen just feels like these former people are going to come out of the screen. This is one of those rare found footage films that works perfectly and this format makes it feel all the more real. Sony bought ‘REC’ and did what the Hollywood studios usually do with great foreign horror; they quickly pushed it out on DVD and then made ‘Quarantine’ which is literally shot for shot figuring most people wouldn’t notice. We did, and you should too!
Synopsis: “REC” turns on a young TV reporter and her cameraman who cover the night shift at the local fire station. Receiving a call from an old lady trapped in her house, they reach her building to hear horrifying screams — which begin a long nightmare and a uniquely dramatic TV report.
3. Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer
This is another brutal film shot very down and dirty. It reminded me of Larry Clarke’s ‘Kids’ in that it sucked you in and felt more real than most horror films which is why it resonates so well and many find it too disturbing to watch. Unlike many serial killer films which make the killer look cool and smart, this one lays it all out there and shows murder for what it really is.
George Romero made zombies scary in his low low budget 1968 horror film which showed that many times, the low budget ones can give you the most scares. Romero has become known as the godfather of zombies films for good reason, and even some of the political implications from that time still resonate today. Of course, at the time, he didn’t know he was making what would become a huge cult classic, but I remember as a kid hearing people talk about the nightmares they had after watching it.
Of course, you all had to make sure this classic Halloween film made it in this list. This one came out when I was a real little kid, and I didn’t get to watch until it showed on network tv. Even with the network censors edits, this film just made me love horror films even more. Interestingly enough, there’s not that much violence in it, but it sure feels like it with all the suspense. The face that Michael Myers always just takes his time getting to the victims always made it more scary since he was a stalker, and what’s more scary then those? John Carpenter made his mark with this film and made an interesting mixed bag of horror film since (and don’t get me started on ‘The Ward’)!
Synopsis: A psychotic murderer institutionalized since childhood escapes and stalks a high school girl and her friends on Halloween.
So that’s all your readers top choices for the best Halloween horror films. I’m just grateful, but not surprised that no Eli Roth films made it into the bunch. Actually no one put any of his films in the mix. Happy Halloween!