I’m a huge fan of horror. Horror films reach into the core of everything that frightens us and puts it on display both in living color (or glorious black & white). Not surprisingly, Halloween is my favorite time of the year. Every year I throw a huge costume party for my family and the movies are the centerpiece of the evening. I must say that the selection process for me is always a nerve wracking (if worthwhile) endeavor — I take my horror seriously! Over the years, I’ve come up with a list: Here are seven horror films worthy of any gathering of ghouls.
When this Alfred Hitchcock masterpiece burst upon the scene in 1960, no one was prepared for the journey they were about to be taken on. In the years since its release, the legend of Psycho has catapulted it to iconic status among horror films. Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) stops at the Bates Motel run by Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins). The ensuing events are considered some of the most horrifying in cinematic history!
One of the most successful low budget films of all time, this movie would go on to define the zombie genre. A satellite leaking radiation causes the dead to rise with an insatiable craving for human flesh! A small group of survivors must weather the onslaught of the dead and their own natures.
This 1978 independent film from John Carpenter is lauded as the movie that ushered in the modern age of horror and I believe, rightfully so. Never before had such a single-minded menace, in the form of escaped mental patient Michael Myers, been brought to the screen. His inhuman pursuit of Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis in her first role) terrified audiences then and terrifies them now.
Released two years after Halloween, Friday the 13th pushed the slasher genre full speed ahead on all cylinders. This time a group of unsuspecting camp counselors fall prey to a maniacal killer. Friday the 13th has spawned an unimaginable nine sequels but don’t be fooled, the first one is still the creepiest.
I consider this the last of the great ‘Made-For-TV’ horror films. The story centers around a mentally challenged man wrongly accused of a crime. He is hunted and killed by a bigoted mob that soon discovers they have made a tragic error. Within days of this tragedy, a phantom in the guise of a scarecrow appears to exact vengeance on his former tormenters.
Wes Craven’s gem of both psychological and slasher horror, this film keeps the suspense building. Dead child murderer Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) has somehow returned from the grave to kill children in their dreams. No one believes the town’s teens yet we as the audience know the truth, which only heightens the terror. The film stars Heather Langenkamp as our heroine Nancy and was also the film debut of Johnny Depp. This one is a must see.
A refreshing entry in the slasher film category, Scream took all of the clichés attached to such movies and made them a survival tool for the supporting cast. Starring Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, David Arquette, Skeet Ulrich, and sporting a cameo by Drew Barrymore, Scream re-introduced horror to a younger generation through its slick dialogue and witty use of the camera.
So there you have seven of my favorites for any Horrorfest. I’m always looking for a good horror film. What are your favorites?