I am not a big horror movie maven. It’s not really my genre and never really has been for whatever reason. Still, I have movies which partake of horror elements in my collection and every so often I do like to watch a couple.
So if I wanted to go overboard on movies with horror elements for Halloween viewing, I’d go with these:
eXistenZ, by David Cronenberg.
There’s enough body horror in this movie for me to put it on a Halloween list. Sure, its about virtual realities and videogames, but this IS early to mid Cronenberg, so there is plenty of elements that move toward horror, as well.
Prince of Darkness and In the Mouth of Madness by John Carpenter
Let’s go with cosmic horrors for this pair from Carpenter. In the first, Satan is in a giant test tube hidden by the Catholic church, and seeking to free himself so he can free his father, Anti-God. With bonus Alice Cooper as a possessed homeless person! In the Mouth of Madness goes with the reality mind screw, as hack horror writer Sutter Cane warps reality toward the return of Lovecraftian beasties, all filtered through a poor Insurance investigator who realizes he’s fictional.
28 Days Later
28 Days Later is probably the seminal work in the “new Zombie” craze that hit movies. Monkey gets infected with a zombie virus (“rage”) in order to study it. Environmental activists unwittingly unleash it on London. A man who has been in a coma wakes up 28 Days Later. And we’re off running.
Dawn of the Dead (2004 remake). I know, not the original. I told you I am not well schooled in horror movies but I like this remake even if it doesn’t really break any new ground. I love the strange world that the mall shelterees try to make for themselves, until it all eventually goes to hell.
My fellow Skiffy and Fanty members got me to watch this one, about a sexually transmitted supernatural curse that stalks its victim. Dark and most excellent.
The Ring (US remake)
I know I am an uncultured barbarian who hasn’t seen the Japanese original. The American remake is creepy enough, thank you very much. The idea of watching and seeing something that dooms you to die is as old as The Medusa but the idea of this videotape, and the force behind it, is a mind screw.
Finally, one of my favorite movies set in space, period, the story of a ghost ship, come back from hyperspace, and the evil that it has brought with it, and the rescue ship sent to study it. Poor Sam Neill goes through all sorts of hell for the second movie on this list, but with a very different endpoint. And how many movies use a mistranslation of Latin as a plot point?