by Cameron Tejeda | staff writer
It’s Halloween time! Ah, October 31- a time when the evil spirits come out to play. And by “play”, I mean devour your insides. It’s OK, calm down. Halloween is the perfect time to sit down with your friends at night and watch some scary movies. So grab some popcorn and an icy cold beverage, because I’m counting down my top five favorite horror movies of all time.
* Note: A lot of the films on this list have been remade over the years, so make sure to look at the dates next to the titles.
- A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Directed by Wes Craven, A Nightmare on Elm Street has one of the most frightening stories ever. Kids fall asleep, and they get stalked by a child murderer in their dreams. But here’s the deal, if you die in the dream, you die in real life. Just think about that for a second. Imagine if every time you fell asleep, you were putting your life at risk. Even the most caffeinated drinks couldn’t keep you up forever, I mean your body needs sleep! Freddy Krueger is so menacing and creepy. He looks repulsive too, with his burnt up face and that nasty old sweater he wears (you’ll never look at red and green Christmas sweaters the same way again). Don’t even get me started on his claw gloves. Some of the scenes in this movie are truly petrifying. Robert Englund does phenomenal as Krueger, and Heather Langenkamp is great as the main character of Nancy. A Nightmare on Elm Street might make you not want to fall asleep after watching it, so it’s a perfect film to watch on Halloween night.
- Halloween (1978)
What better movie to watch on Halloween than a movie titled Halloween. John Carpenter created a horror masterpiece with this film. The movie is shot very well, but the villain of the movie is perhaps the best part of the film. Michael Myers is a really disturbing character. Right from the opening of the movie, we get a spectacular POV scene in the perspective of young Myers killing his sister. Yeah, you could say things are getting dark pretty quickly. Michael Myers is also seemingly invincible. There are a lot of very suspenseful scenes as a result of how menacing he is. The score for the film is so great! It makes the movie even more chilling. The setting also helps makes the movie seem even more scary, because it takes place on a normal Halloween night in the suburbs. People can actually relate to the kids in the film. John Carpenter is a horror genius, and this isn’t the last time you’ll hear about him on this list.
- The Shining (1980)
Stanley Kubrick was the man behind the camera directing this one, and he really knows how to make a movie. His filmography speaks for itself, and I feel one of those movies belongs on this list, and that is: The Shining. It’s about a man who gets a job to take care of a hotel over the winter. He brings his wife and son along to stay with him, but after awhile he begins to go crazy and antagonize them. Another great talent, Jack Nicholson, plays the father, and he is absolutely amazing in this role! Nicholson plays this character in a way where you can tell something is just building up inside of him. You never know when he will snap, so this sets up some very suspenseful scenes. When he eventually tries to murder his family, Nicholson brilliantly has this insane look in his eyes. Both the actress who played the wife and the young actor who played the son do great as well. The setting is perfect too, as it is very isolated and eerie. Because of this, I really feared for the wife and kid’s lives. They couldn’t just run outside and call for help, because they were trapped in the middle of nowhere with snow pouring down. They were stuck in a hotel with a maniac! This movie also contained a very famous movie quote: “Here’s Johnny!”
- The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
This movie is about an FBI agent who gets advice from an imprisoned cannibal (Hannibal Lecter) to catch a serial killer named Buffalo Bill. All three of the actors who portrayed those characters were phenomenal. Especially Anthony Hopkins, who played Lecter. His performance was downright creepy. I mean- he wore another man’s face! But the character himself was also brilliant. I think it’s even scarier when a killer is smart too. Buffalo Bill was by far the weirdest and most disturbing character in the whole movie. I’m getting chills just thinking about some of the scenes he’s in. Try listening to the song “Goodbye Horses” by Q Lazzarus after watching this movie. I guarantee it won’t be pleasant. With all the frightening scenes and iconic characters, The Silence of the Lambs will continue to be a horror classic.
- The Thing (1982)
My favorite horror movie of all-time is one that many people have not heard of. The Thing is directed by John Carpenter (I told you he’d be on the list again) and is about a group of men isolated on Antarctica. They find a mysterious creature that can change itself to look like any living thing, and it begins to attack them. None of the men know who “The Thing” is, because it could be anyone! We as the audience never know who it is either, so this creates riveting dialogue and a tremendous amount of suspense. Every time somebody said something, I didn’t want to miss a word. When you combine the fact that nobody knows who is alien and who is human, with the possibility of “it” attacking at any moment, you get tension through the entire length of the movie. The practical effects for this film are so realistic and disgusting! They are much better than a lot of CGI used today, because you can tell there is actually something there. I think that even the actors themselves benefited from the use of the practical effects. When an actor can see what is actually in front of them instead of looking at a green screen for example, you get more emotion and true shock from their performances. I don’t think the film would be what it is without the amazing effects. The performances are all spectacular too, especially Kurt Russell. The setting of the camp in Antarctica makes the film even scarier because the people are trapped from the outside world. This is honestly one of the most suspenseful movies ever. It had me glued to the screen at all times. I don’t feel enough people have seen it, so do yourself a favor this Halloween and check it out.