Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween Movie Picks for the Squeamish and Persnickety

It’s almost Halloween and you know what that means: being guilted into putting a bunch of horror movies in your Netflix queue by friends who don’t seem to understand a) your distaste at having your renting cycle seasonably disrupted, b) your reticence at watching another person being eviscerated, and c) your desire to eat candy alone whilst watching White Chicks.  Fear not, dear reader, I’ve got you covered:

When in doubt, hipster it out.

What would a hipster do in a similar situation?  While not one myself, I am sure our NHS-spec friends with trust funds would profess to watching either something obtuse, foreign, and gorey (out of the question; “Just Say No to Argento!”); watching a B-grade horror movie that few of heard of (a legitimate possibility); or to watching a classic horror or monster flick from the golden age of cinema.  Well, they might make one of the above choices or make some asinine remark about life being a horror movie (blergh).

So, for the squeamish and persnickety among us (*ahem* moi) there are only two options: to watch B-grade horror-ish films or classic horror/monster movies; luckily, many of these films are readily available online either through on-demand services or from YouTube.  Here are a few of my personal-- and widely available--favorites.  

Night of the Living Dead (1968): This is the original-- and best-- version of this horror movie classic.  Yes, there is violence and gore, but the black and white film, B-grade production values, and captivating storyline make the film less graphic and more chilling.  I would recommend playing the film in the background during your Halloween party; those interested in watching the film can grab their sugary treats and watch away while those more interested in mingling and can listen to the film as background ambiance.

The Phantom of the Opera (1925): This is a silent film staring Lon Chaney, one of the first great Hollywood actors and makeup artists.  Chaney was known as "the man of a 1,000 faces" for his uncanny ability to physically transform into his disfigured characters.  Movie makeup was in its infancy during Chaney's time, so the (to our eyes) rudimentary makeup he uses was cutting edge in the 1920s.  Watch this film before Halloween and impress your friends with your knowledge of early cinema.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920): Here is another classic film from the silent era that is also foreign (two for the price of one!) that's widely considered to be one of the first horror movies.  The film still retains much of it's creepy value almost one hundred years after it's release.  For pretension's sake, make sure to refer to the film by its German title Das Cabinet des Doktor Caligari.

Carnival of Souls (1962): Again, here is another early horror film that, due to it's B-production values is more creepy than scary.  Being familiar with this film (which I also believe is available from The Criterion Collection-- BONUS) will earn you hipster points and make you seem like a real film aficionado.

Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959): Perhaps the best worst movie ever, this film is a perfect film (like The Room) to admit to having seen and enjoying in all of its horribleness.  This could be another candidate for a Halloween ambiance film to have playing at your party.  Might I recommend a sing-along party (Rocky Horror style) to accompany your festive viewing of the film?

And last, but certainly not least . . .

The Pit and the Pendulum (1961): What would Halloween be without a grand appearance from Vincent Price, hmmm?  Nada, I say!  This is my favorite Poe-inspired film that Price did with Roger Corman, it's deliciously bad. :-)
What are some of your favorite creepy movies to watch at Halloween time?  Share in the comments.



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