Retrospective: Top 10 Must-See Horror Movies During Halloween Night | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Retrospective: Top 10 Must-See Horror Movies During Halloween Night

Come 31 October (which is tomorrow, by the way!) will be none others than celebrating Halloween! Apart from dressing up in Halloween costumes and putting scary makeup, watching horror movies is another part of tradition to celebrate the particular season. So here are my "Top 10 Must-See Horror Movies During Halloween Night" that I have compiled right below:

No zombie movies will ever be completed without mentioning George A. Romero's groundbreaking classic DAWN OF THE DEAD. In fact, this Romero's follow-up to his landmark 1968's NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD was a superior movie in all counts. Blessed with Tom Savini's tour de force makeup effects and fascinating social commentary on capitalism, this independently-produced low budget zombie movie (at a measly cost of $1.5 million) remained one of the key horror movies in the 1970s that subsequently paved way for modern generation of many horror filmmakers.

The movie that started the "found footage" craze. Made at a shoestring budget of $600,000, directors Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez has created a terrifying faux-documentary style that cleverly uses the effect of screaming, heavy breathing, running and strange voices to its full advantage without relying heavily on excessive gore to do the tricks. Watch out for the particular creepy finale.

When we mention zombie movie, the first name that came to mind is George A. Romero. But in werewolf movie, it's none others than John Landis' landmark genre classic AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON. An inventive mix of horror and comedy, this horror movie is mostly benefited from Rick Baker's groundbreaking makeup effects. The famous werewolf transformation remains as timeless as ever, and no amount of state-of-the-art CGI widely used today can compared the way Baker did so well in the past.

One, two; Freddy’s comin’ for you/ Three, four; better lock you door/ Five, six; grab your crucifix/ Seven, eight; gonna stay up late/ Nine, ten; never sleep again... One of the most groundbreaking horror movies in the '80s, Wes Craven's highly-influential classic was a terrifying genre piece that skillfully juggles between dream and reality. This movie is of course, also best known for its iconic character, Freddy Krueger (played by Robert Englund).

This is the movie that made the tired slasher genre fresh again. Wes Craven and screenwriter Kevin Williamson has brilliantly tweaked the typical slasher genre inside out by presenting SCREAM with dark sense of humor, clever whodunit, and of course, genuine thrills from start to the disturbing finale. Subsequent sequels that followed are pale in comparison because this remained the real deal.

A landmark of modern horror movie, John Carpenter's HALLOWEEN was widely compared to Alfred Hitchcock's seminal PSYCHO (1960) -- which both of them shared the similar slasher genre style. Blessed with Carpenter's impeccable direction and Dean Cundey's sneaky camerawork, they have created a series of genuinely frightening horror movie where gore is kept to the bare minimum and everything are mostly suggestive -- a clever move that is even more compelling. Not to forget also, is the iconic killer himself -- a silent boogieman dressed in serviceman's uniform and white deformed mask who frequently stalked his victim with a knife. The long-take POV scene at the beginning and the long-tracking shot of finale where we see Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) trying to fend off the killer, but seemingly killing him over and over again, only to have him rise again -- are simply unforgettable.

Forget about the so-called prequel. John Carpenter's THE THING remained the one and only best there is. It's a terrifying exercise of paranoia and claustrophobia blessed with Dean Cundey's brilliant camerawork and Ennio Morricone's chilling music. The movie is best remembered for Rob Bottin's elaborate special effects that brings vivid life to its scary creatures.

Before slasher genre became all the craze especially during the '80s, one must never forget that it was master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock who started it all at the first place. PSYCHO was no doubt among his finest genre masterpiece to date, with memorable performances from Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins. Then there's Bernard Herrmann’s screeching violin score and of course, the ever-popular "shower scene" where Marion (Janet Leigh) eventually meet her doom as she suffered from multiple stabs by an unseen killer.

Isolation and claustrophobia has never been this scary in Stanley Kubrick's underrated masterpiece, THE SHINING. Blessed with John Alcott's groundbreaking camerawork where he and Kubrick pioneered the Steadicam shot (in a memorable scene where the camera follows Danny from behind, played by Danny Lloyd, riding his Big Wheel bike through the winding corridors of the hotel) and unforgettable haywire performance by Jack Nicholson ("Herrreee's Johnny!"), THE SHINING was a visually outstanding motion picture that remained a benchmark for many inspiring horror filmmakers till today.

And here's my reigning champion of all time -- William Friedkin's THE EXORCIST! This is the movie that shocked the viewers until today. Highly controversial at the time of its release, THE EXORCIST had paved intense debate among critics, community leaders and even religious leaders because of its controversial subject matter. The then-young Friedkin was a highly-promising director on the top of the world. He cleverly used Dick Smith's tour de force makeup effects to enhance realistic scare and nerve-shattering sound effects to the max. The particular finale was the most horrifying set-piece among all, as Father Merrin (Max von Sydow) and Karras (Jason Miller) worked together to perform exorcism in order to cast out the Devil out of Regan's (Linda Blair) body.

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