We thought we would do a list of 25 horror films for Halloween. Please don’t take this list as the 25 best horror movies ever made. (We have a list similar to that but even now we would do that list differently.. it’s funny how perspectives change with time). Anyway, the point of this list is that we thought: What would we like to see if we could sit down for a horror movie marathon on Halloween night? What movies might we get off the shelf? Well, here’s what we came up with:
25. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
I can't wait to work on my ice sculptures today!
Shocking in its day, Tobe Hooper’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre is based (loosely) on the Ed Gein murders. It features the debut of Leatherface, a simple brute who wears human skin masks and has a knack for using the chainsaw. Bad news for the poor kids who stumble into the cannibal family’s lair on the Texas backroads. A milestone in horror and a terrifying film.
24. Fright Night (1985)
The power of Rod compels you!
Horror fan Charley Brewster likes to watch Fright Night on TV, hosted by Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall). He discovers that new neighbor Jerry (Chris Sarandon) is a real vampire, so he enlists Vincent’s help, only to discover that Vincent is basically a fraud. But Vincent will have to learn the vampire-killing trade real fast, as Charley’s girlfriend Amy and buddy “Evil Ed” fall under Jerry’s spell. Fright Night is a real hoot, and the only thing more priceless than Evil Ed’s over-the-top performance is Roddy McDowall’s reactions to him. Reviewed here.
23. From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Years of smoking finally catches up to Cheech.
This is actually two films in one – first, it’s a witty crime spree picture featuring George Clooney as a bad ass along with his psycho brother (Quentin Tarantino), who kidnap a preacher (Harvey Keitel) and his kids (including Juliette Lewis) and drive their camper down to Mexico. Once there, the movie switches gears and becomes a very amusing takeoff on Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13. Turns out that the Titty Twister bar is really a haven for vampires, and soon it’s an all out war. Pretty gruesome, twisted, and violent.. but also quite a blast. The last half hour of From Dusk Till Dawn is action packed; don’t miss Cheech Marin’s “pussy” speech and an appearance by legends Danny Trejo, Tom Savini, and Fred Williamson.
22. The Exorcist (1973)
Now in a new 3D version.
The granddaddy of possession flicks, this has wonderful performances and a shocking depiction of a 12 year old girl (Linda Blair) slowly being taken over by a demon. Directed by William Friedkin, The Exorcist was adapted from the William Peter Blatty’s novel. The subplots involving the two priests (Max von Sydow, Jason Miller) are interesting, too. The inspiration for countless demon-child/possession stories, this is a scary but in the end, hopeful, picture. Read our review of The Exorcist here.
21. Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
This is my happening and it freaks me out!
What more can be said about this midnight sensation? The Rocky Horror Picture Show adapts the British rock musical for the screen and offers up horror, sci-fi, transvestites, and a cabaret floor show. Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick, and Meatloaf are all great. Wild, wacky, and fun, it is a cult phenomenom which encourages audience particpation at midnight screenings (costume wearing, call-backs, throwing items at the screen, shadow-casts, and even hazing of Rocky Horror “virgins”). Most famous song: Time Warp. This is one of the most financially successful midnight movies of all time.
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