As Halloween approaches, many are preparing the perfect costumes and readying for holiday-themed parties. It’s no secret that some students anxiously await the one day they get to dress up as their favorite fictional character. Some students spend the entire month of October coming up with the right costume idea, but there are other traditions that come along during this season of fright.
One of the best preparations for getting into the Halloween spirit is sitting down and watching favorite horror movies, from classics like the “Goosebumps” series dating back to the mid-1990s, to more contemporary movies like “Insidious Chapter 1” and “Insidious Chapter 2.”
It’s movies like these that remind students what it was first like to feel scared, enjoying the comfort of a warm home and curiosity of what lies in the dark. Movies like these keep the Halloween spirit alive year after year.
1. “Hocus Pocus”
As cliche as it is, “Hocus Pocus” is a Halloween classic. Three sister witches of Salem are accidentally resurrected by a naive teenager looking to impress the classic beauty. Little did he know he would be unleashing the Sanderson sisters from a 300-year slumber, vengeful and bent on sucking the life out of every child in Salem in order to stay young. It is up to the young trio Max, Dani and Allison to send the witches back into the depths of Hell from which they came.
This family classic had a cult following soon after its release in 1993 and is still popular today.
Shifting gears, “Psycho” was the film that revolutionized American horror forever, as well as made some afraid to take a shower. The Alfred Hitchcock 1960s black and white classic taught many Americans what it truly felt like to be scared. Loosely based on the notorious murders of serial killer Ed Gein, the movie begins with the attractive Marion Craine, played by Janet Leigh. On the run after embezzling thousands of dollars from her employer, Marion makes the crucial mistake of stopping for the night at the Bates Motel. After dinner with the proprietor, Norman Bates, Marion goes up to her room for a shower, and the rest is history.
With twists and turns that keep the audience guessing as Marion’s sister and former lover investigate her disappearance, “Psycho” is a sure pick for anyone on Halloween. The classic horror film that many call Hitchcock’s greatest work contains intense and controversial scenes that brought Hollywood cinema to a new form of art.
3. John Carpenter’s “The Thing”
Set in the rural Arctic, John Carpenter’s “The Thing” introduced audiences to a new type of horror. A shape-shifting alien from who knows where was discovered deep in the ice by a group of Norwegian scientists. Days later, a group of American scientists find the Norwegians’ base camp and discover a horror not known to man.
Finding what seems to be the corpse of a man either splitting in half or becoming one, the Americans know they have made a discovery that will brand their names onto history. Little do they know, the alien corpse is still alive. The American team then has to rush to figure out who’s human and who’s monster.
Hollywood’s attempt to revamp this classic film failed at the box office but provided a prequel that revealed new secrets from the mind of John Carpenter. For anyone who has not watched either film, I suggest watching “The Thing” (2011) and following with the cult classic, John Carpenter’s “The Thing” (1982).
4. “The Conjuring”
The surprising summer flick “The Conjuring” set a new level for all Hollywood writers to aim for when writing and producing horror films. It could be argued that all current films are recreations of past ideas, but The Conjuring brought unexpected thrills to audiences worldwide.
Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren are called in to solve a mystery that has been disturbing the lives of a family living on a farm. As the story develops, the Warrens discover that the land was once owned by a witch in 1863 who set a curse condemning anyone who settled there. Unfortunately for the family, the Warrens have to wait for authorization from the Catholic church to exorcise the house.
5. “A Clockwork Orange”
One of the most controversial films of all time, “A Clockwork Orange,” based on the book of the same name, is not for the faint of heart. Some might not consider this a Halloween film; however, the costumes and delinquency of the film always return during the Halloween season because of the style in which it was filmed.
“Clockwork” centers around the life of Alex DeLarge in the not-so-distant future of Great Britain. DeLarge, played by Malcolm McDowell, is a troubled young man who terrorizes the residents of Britain and commits various crimes which land him in prison. While there, he volunteers to be a participant in an extreme experiment.
DeLarge later finds himself released from prison and runs into many of his victims prior to his incarceration. He then finds himself becoming a victim of his own past.
This film contains graphic scenes and language and should only be watched by mature audiences. The film’s producers and director created an art form unknown to British audiences, and though it’s quite disturbing, this film has many lessons to offer.
There are many other Halloween films offered in theaters and in marathons on TV every year. These are only a few of my personal favorites to look out for.