Must-watch films for Halloween
Published: Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 08:10
Adapted from William Peter Blatty’s classic horror novel of the same name, "The Exorcist" is hands down the scariest horror movie of all time.
There is a reason virtually every new horror film contains some variation of "the best horror movie since ‘The Exorcist’" in its trailer: the original film is an absolute masterpiece within the horror genre.
For those unfamiliar with the plot, let me enlighten you.
Regan (Linda Blair), an innocent and decidedly average 12-year-old girl, lives with her mother Chris (Ellen Burstyn), a famous actress. The two share a house in Georgetown, Washington D.C., while Chris films for a role in an upcoming movie.
Chris notices some changes in Regan’s behavior, such as extended communication with ethereal beings, violent outbursts and a control of her bladder that would make even the most ill-behaved puppy beam with pride.
In typical horror movie fashion, Chris fails to see the severity of her daughter’s situation and assumes all of these changes are puberty-related.
Just to make sure her motherly instinct is correct, the actress takes Regan to a doctor, where a brain scan reveals some abnormal activity. While there, Regan flips out on the doctor and clenches his groin with a vice-like grip that leaves him crippled in pain.
At this point, there is no question "something else" is happening in the mind of young Regan, and thankfully, the writers immediately make this point evident.
Soon after this visit, Regan spirals into an abyss of demonic possession, where she becomes a mere puppet for Satan’s duty.
Using then-state-of-the-art makeup and special effects, director William Friedkin displays the possessed Regan in a light that no horror movie has so accurately captured since.
She still looks very human, but she is scarred and discolored enough for viewers to realize that something is very, very wrong. The makeup designs may have been conceived in 1974, but they are every bit as horrifying today.
This terror is compounded by Regan’s demonic voice and penchant for unexpected outbursts of hate and utter contempt, and these elements combine to create the most bone-chilling character in cinematic history.
A normal, playful young girl becomes an earthly demon, and that scares the s--- out of me.
The true fear inherent in "The Exorcist," though, is the seeming reality of Regan’s situation. Blatty’s storyline is never too far-fetched and sensational, and for that one feels like they may be next in line to play the role of host for Satan’s parasitic lifestyle.
Simply put, you cannot convince me that any movie is scarier than "The Exorcist." It is psychologically and visually disturbing, and no movie before or since has presented the human condition in such a vulnerable and exploitable fashion.
A true work of perfection, "The Exorcist" contains everything one could desire for a Halloween movie night.
In a genre swimming with bad sex scenes and some of the worst fake screams known to man, 2010’s thriller "Insidious" is incredibly underrated on many levels.
When the Lambert family moves into their new home, they’re horrified to find out that it is haunted.
Though it starts slowly, "Insidious" intensifies substantially when one of the family’s three children, Dalton, ends up in a coma.
After medical professionals fail to explain the nature of Dalton’s condition, the family moves Dalton back home.
However, following an incident where the mother comes in contact with a terrifying, otherworldly spirit, the Lamberts decide to move again.
The spiritual trouble seems to follow them everywhere they go, though, and the movie hits a peak when you find out that Dalton’s soul is on the line and only his astral-projecting father can save him.
Yeah, it gets a little confusing there – just watch the movie to understand.
While "Insidious" is bland at times, it is downright terrifying at others.
If you’ve ever had an out-of-body experience while sleeping, don’t even try to watch this movie – it will make you think way too in-depth about what goes on in this moment.
Using the same bad music, scare tactics and the occasional instance of fake blood you’ve seen in every other scary movie, "Insidious" takes terror to a whole new level with its many plot twists.
While some parts include very cliched moments that will leave you laughing, the parts that stay with you afterward are the movie’s many jump-out-at-you scenes.
A real sense of family and community among the actors make the overall plot believable despite some silly plotlines, and this saves the film.
Every great father would sacrifice himself for his child, and this is the case for Josh Lambert (Patrick Wilson).
The only question is: Will he be able to make it through the maze of evil spirits that try to capture his son’s soul, or will he, too, get lost in the astral world forever?
Most frightening of all is the unforeseeable ending that will leave you fearful to open your eyes at night.
Trick r' Treat
If you’re looking for a real scare this Halloween, "Trick ‘r Treat" is an optimal choice to pop in your DVD player.
This film is a compilation of four interwoven stories, all haunted by a small trick-or-treater in orange pajamas and a burlap sack (Quinn Lord).
Here’s a quick rundown of the plot, but be warned: spoilers lay ahead.
The first story begins when Steven Wilkins (Dylan Baker), a school principal, catches a neighborhood kid attempting to steal candy from his yard.
Instead of chasing him away, he invites the child to sit with him as he finishes carving a pumpkin and offers him some candy. But this story doesn’t bode well for gluttonous children, as the boy soon learns a dangerous lesson about taking candy from a stranger.
Elsewhere, a group of trouble-making adolescents takes a trip to a local rock quarry with a shy classmate (Samm Todd). On the way, Macy (Britt McKillip) tells them all the spooky tale of "The Halloween School Bus Massacre."
According to the legend, a local bus driver was driving a bus full of mentally challenged children when he decided to take a "detour" toward the quarry.
One of the children escaped from the group, and the driver accidentally put the vehicle in gear. The bus crashed into the lake at the bottom of the quarry, and the driver was the only survivor. As a surprising twist, Macy reveals that the children’s parents paid the driver to murder their children.
While taunting Rhonda, the aforementioned shy classmate, the legend proves true as ghostly children begin to emerge from the lake and attack the group.
The next story centers on a familiar face for many, Anna Paquin, who stars as Laurie, a socially-awkward 22-year-old virgin.
As her sister (Lauren Lee Smith) and two friends prepare for a local party in the woods, Laurie is put off by their incessant talk of boys. The other girls go out to find dates for the party while Laurie opts to stay behind.
Later, Laurie sets off alone for the party. She encounters a man dressed as a vampire, and a surprising twist follows.
In the final story, we are presented with a character spotted earlier in the film.
Principal Wilkins’ curmudgeonly old neighbor (Brian Cox) reappears – this time with his own tale to tell, which involves the haunting trick-or-treater from the previous stories and yet another surprising twist relating to them as well.
These stories come together to form a terrifying and well-executed Halloween masterpiece that is sure to have you clutching your nearest blanket and cowering in terror.