I love Halloween. It's one of my favorite times of the year. The garish lights, the swirling leaves, the kinetic sense of chaos that can only come with the changing of the seasons. It brings out the anarchist in me and Halloween is truly an anarchists holiday. On what other day of the year is pure, uncut mischief so unapologetically celebrated. Children roam the streets, unattended, after dark, dressed as monsters and killers (ideally), travelling from door to door, demanding junk food under the thinly veiled threat of petty vandalism. How could I not love it. The flickering jack-o-lanterns, the bite size candy bars, the smashed mailboxes and toilet paper strewn trees. I love all of it but my favorite part of Halloween is and always will be the horror movies.
I've been obsessed with the horror genre for as long as I can remember and over my years of self imposed isolation I've become something of a connoisseur. There is something so sinfully satisfying about watching other people get butchered in late October. I know, I know, I'm certifiable but who better to guide you through the wonderful world of cinematic blood-lust then a mad, anarchist, hermit. So without further ado, I bring you, dearest motherfuckers, ten of my all time favorite horror movies for your Halloween viewing pleasure. Most of these nightmares don't go down easy. I don't do pussy shit. Wes Craven can fucking suck it. But if your craving something truly sinister, try adding one of these motherfuckers to your Netflix cue.
THE SHINING (1980)- Stanley Kubrick's disorientingly claustrophobic masterpiece may not only be Kubrick's finest work but is quite possibly the greatest horror movie ever made. I honestly can't begin to comprehend what it all means. There's more theories on this then the JFK assassination but the mystery of the film itself, the enigma of Jack Torrance and the Overlook Hotel are precisely what makes The Shining so goddamn terrifying. There is nothing scarier then the unknown except for perhaps the lengths the human mind will go to make sense of it. Stanley Kubrick is truly one of the great mad genius' of cinema and Stephen King is a petty fool for denying his brilliance. The Shining is my favorite horror movie.
THE BABADOOK (2014)- A bedtime story from hell that brilliantly mixes the macabre whimsy of early Tim Burton with the nightmarish surrealism of late David Lynch. The story of a lonely widow struggling to raise a deeply troubled son while attempting desperately to move on from the tragic death of her husband, slain in a gruesome car crash on the way to the hospital to give birth to there only child. The mother and sons shared grief manifests itself into a diabolic children's book come to life and the two must come to terms with this demon, called the Babadook, in order to defeat it. Truly a modern day classic and one of the best horror films of the last year.
THE WICKER MAN (1973)- An eerie and picturesque mystery about a devout Christian detective searching for a missing girl on an isolated Scottish island populated by a strange Celtic cult of born again pagans. I won't give away the ending because it's one of the greatest twists in the history of cinema but trust me it's a shocker you wont see coming. Christopher Lee of Lord of the Rings and Star Wars fame gives a downright mesmerizing performance as the heathen Svengali, Lord Summerisle. The Academy remains cursed to this day for denying him. As does Nicholas Cage for that bastard remake for that matter.
INLAND EMPIRE (2006)- One of the strangest and most terrifying movies ever made from one the greatest directors alive today, a modern day Renaissance lunatic named David Lynch, and this grueling mindfuck-a-thon is the macabre maestro at his best and most unhinged. Not so much a horror movie as an abstract meditation on madness, Inland Empire plays like a kaleidoscope of nightmarish imagery giving the viewer the sensation that they are slowly losing there grip on sanity. Don't try to make fucking sense of it, as Hunter S. Thompson would say just "buy the ticket, take the ride". At three hours of untamed terror, Inland Empire is definitely not for everyone but if you manage to make it through the looking glass to the other end you'll find yourself begging for more. It's art house cinema at its bug-fuck finest.
IT FOLLOWS (2014)- The Babadook is undeniably amazing but this little blood spattered indie gem has to be my favorite horror flick of 2014. A terrifying story about a college girl infected by a strange, sexually transmitted curse that finds her stalked by a slow lumbering, shape-shifting entity that will continue to stalk her until she's either dead (quite literally fucked to death in fact) or has passed the curse on to someone else. A fascinating new take on the body horror genre that should make David Cronenberg proud. It will leave you looking over your shoulder for month.
LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (2008)- Fuck Twilight and forget that crass, soulless American remake, if your in the mood for blood and romance among the world of the living dead (and who isn't) you can do no finer then this beautifully macabre Swedish love story about a twelve year old outcast who falls in love with the girl next door only to discover she's a centuries old vampress. She gives him the courage to stand up to his bullies with naturally gruesome results and intern he gives her the strength to be human. Many found this film terrifying. God help me, I found it to be beautiful. A tale of two misfits capable of acts of merciless brutality and selfless humanity in defense of the shelter the have found in each others embrace. Like a Gothic Badlands or Kurt and Courtney cast as preteen Scandinavian ghouls, Let the Right One In is perfect for Halloween or Valentines Day, provided your a little sinister.
MARTYRS (2008)- Dearest motherfuckers be warned, this french shocker is NOT for beginners. This movie will scar you but if you can survive the experience you will be hard pressed not to agree that it may be the greatest horror film since The Shining. I don't want to tell you to much because the brutal twists are part of what gives this masterpiece it's gravity. All I'll say is that it's the story of a pair of orphan lovers who seek revenge against a mysterious couple who brutally tortured one of them as a child for unknown reasons. The two manage to get there revenge as well as far, far more then they bargained for. There are many possible interpretations into what this film is truly trying to say. My personal theory is that it's meant to be an allegory for the dangers of organized religion and the depths of inhumanity people are capable of in this life in the name of the possibility of the next one. Like I said, just a theory. Regardless, in spite of all the controversy regarding the films brutal subject matter, Martyrs stands apart from it's more nihilistic cousins in the splatter genre in that Martyrs is essentially a very Humanist horror movie, philosophically. Watch this film at your own risk but WATCH THIS FILM. It will break you but it will also make you stronger. It will make you a martyr.
THE EXORCIST (1973)- To this day this simple story of a young girl possessed by Satan and one tortured priest's suicidal attempt to save her is still the scariest movie I have ever seen and I'm still not completely sure why. Maybe its my Catholic upbringing or maybe I just happened to see this movie at a particularly raw period of my life but this remains the one movie aside from Martyrs that can break me. Being a virtually unbreakable horror junkie, that's fucking saying something. Mad respect, William Peter Blatty, mad respect.
AUDITION (1999)- The ultimate feminist horror movie by Japan's resident king of chaos Takashi Miike. A middle aged widower holds a fake film audition in order to snag a new squeeze. Naturally the conservative Japanese salary-man picks out a cute, shy, and proper Japanese young lady, half his age. What could possibly go wrong? Well, a fuck load of a lot with Miike behind the camera. The salary-man's adorable nymph turns out to be a total fucking psycho, more twisted and dangerous then any massive, lumbering male escaped mental patient and she doesn't appreciate being used. Micheal fucking Myers ain't got shit on this girl. The last half hour alone of this stomach churning, mind bender will go down in history as thirty of the most disturbing minutes ever captured on film. If this movie doesn't make you think twice about using women for your own self serving, chauvinistic designs then your probably Newt Gingrich and you deserve to have your fucking feet sawed off. (teet!-teet!-teet!-teet!-teet!)
THE EVIL DEAD (1981)- Last but definitely not least, a cult treasure and, in my humble opinion, hands down the best of the Evil Dead series. Filmed on a shoestring budget of less then 90 grand, Sam Raimi (yes, THAT Sam Raimi) managed to make the quintessential Halloween shock-fest. Blood thirty demons, sexy coeds, man eating trees, Bruce Campbell's glorious chin and the most fucked up cabin in the woods in horror history. This motherfucker's got em all, not to mention gallons of gore. It's the most fun screaming you'll have with your pants on. (that is, unless you take them off)
HONORABLE MENTION- Haven't had enough yet? Still thirsty for more? Well then congratulations, your officially as sick as I am. You might wanna give some of these a shot- VIDEODROME (1983), THIRST (2009), DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978), WOLF CREEK (2005), ROSEMARY'S BABY (1968), HIGH TENSION (2003), JACOB'S LADDER (1990), STOKER (2013), CALVAIRE (2004), THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991), INSIDE (2007), EDEN LAKE (2008), THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE (2009).
Happy Halloween, dearest motherfuckers! Stay sinister.