Wednesday, September 30, 2009

my classic horror film recommendations

it's no secret to anyone who knows me that i am a huge supernatural horror enthusiast. ever since the age of 13, when i convinced my parents i was old enough to watch scary movies, i have been enthralled by them. it's not quite october yet but as of yesterday there is a new, crisp chill in the air and that means one thing to me- bring on the horror! the spookier & creepier, the better.

and it's with that spirit that i've decided to compile a list of my all time favorite horror films for you. some are pretty well known, others maybe not so much...

i decided to start the list with 'phantasm' as it's one of the goofier films on my list. while it holds lots of creepy promise at the start, with otherworldly beings transporting corpses to their world, it quickly dissolves into a dis-jointed romp of occasional creepy images, hippy jam sessions and tall men staring at you menacingly from ice cream trucks. in other words, it's freaking awesome!

and on to john carpenter's 'halloween'. i consider it an all-time classic film in it's mysterious villain and spooky atmosphere building up to some fantastic slasher scenes at the end.

the original 'amittyville horror' is another of my favorites due to it's super creep-out atmosphere and great performances by james brolin & margot kidder. that and, i have a thing for haunted house stories and this one does not disappoint. (and though i decided not to officially include it in my list, the 2005 re-make is pretty decent too.)

dario argento's 'suspiria' is beloved by many and i'm sure on any self-respecting list of cult horror films. it's the story of suzy bannion, who has just arrived at an acclaimed german dance academy on the night of a terrific murder. while the pacing is slow and the characters are mostly annoying, the eye-candy by way of interior design and post-murder victim close-up is gorgeous and makes slogging through the many slow & tedious scenes worthwhile.

'the beyond' is another italian-directed horror, this time helmed by lucio fulci. i am ashamed to say i haven't checked out any of his other films, because 'the beyond' is so stellar. crumbling old louisiana house with a supernatural history? check! creepy characters probably from other dimensions? check! super gory deaths by way of zombies? check! allusions to satanic ritual? check! told you, stellar.

'session 9' was filmed in the danvers state mental hospital in danvers, massachusetts, which was demolished just 4 years later. the building itself is the star of this film, contributing to the uber-spooky atmosphere, but the story of a team of asbestos removers haunted by the spirits of the defunct mental hospital is well-written and uber-creepy in it's own right. to be honest, it took 2 viewings of this film for me to completely "get it" but once i did, i realized what a fantastic work of horror it truly is.

'the abandoned' is one of those films that sets up an intriguing and mysterious story (adopted woman inherits her secluded family estate in russia and travels from the US to check it out, learning some shocking truths in the process) and actually follows through to the end. no, they didn't just accidentally drop acid and no it wasn't just an axe-wielding maniac stalking them the whole time. this movie is scary and creepy and fully delivers at the end.

1980's 'the changeling' is supposedly based upon true events and follows a man living in a gorgeous manor of a house that holds supernatural secrets which it forces him to learn & reveal despite his initial resistance. so yeah... big gorgeous house? secret rooms? ghosts? that's the not-so-secret recipe to win my heart.

'wind chill' is one of the most recent films on this list as the current trend in horror seemingly turns more and more to what i dub 'torture porn'. still, i've found if you are patient and look hard enough there are some modern gems to be found. following two unlikely travel companions as they are snowed in on an abandoned road, there is plenty of supernatural action to indeed earn this film the title of "gem".

and lastly, i present 'communion'. so far in life, i find that i'm the only person who finds the idea of extra-terrestrial life to be terrifying but boy, do i. the purportedly true story of whitley strieber's abduction experiences always sends chills down my spine and is truly hard for me to watch, what with all the scaries!

so what do you think?? do you love supernatural horror as much as i do?? email me at abt.arcade{at}gmail{dot}com to let me know if i've missed any movies worth mention!

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