Happy Halloween, Turkey Day, Christmas, New Year, Kwanazaa, Hanukkah, New Year, Flag Day, Arbor Day, and Festivus, you know, for the rest of us. Tis' the season kiddies, for gifts, candy, nog, bird and the time for us freaks to really, carve out a piece of holiday cheer. While some cuddle up and sip hot chocolate to watch The Great Pumpkin or Rudolph, I choose a much different path, a much more enlightened path, dare I say.... a better path. So, here it is my friends, the first installment of my favorite bits of holiday cheer, starting with Halloween:
1. Theater of Blood (1973):
Theater of Blood, perhaps not Halloween specific, but the scintillating gore and camp of this film will start any Halloween marathon off right, after all, it is necessary, when locked into a major gore collection, to have as many laughs as screams. Simply, this tale of vengeance follows Edward Lionheart (Price) a renowned Shakespearean actor who, as he sees it, has been humiliated and treated poorly by his critics. What does he do? What any rational stage actor would do: kills his critics by way of some of Shakespeare's bloodiest death scenes. Without a doubt, my favorite Vincent Price film.
2. An American Werewolf in London (1981):
I tend to save this one for Halloween. It has everything: Werewolves, ghosts, sweater vests, moors, superstition, and stupid American tourists. This movie to me is in many ways the total package, great practical effects, solid performances, and some great jump out scares. For me, it's a must on Halloween, an absolute must.
3. Fright Night (1985):
I love Fright Night, its like The Rear Window meets The Lost Boys. Again, great special effects and the perfect amount of humor and gore. Jerry Dandrige remains one of my favorite villains in all of 80's horrordom. It's about a kid who knows his neighbor is a Vampire and no one believes him, and of course, all hell breaks loose. Ultimately, the kid should have just joined Dandrige. This, very much like An American Werewolf in London, is one that I like to save for my all day Halloween marathon, and remember if you are going to use a crucifix on a vampire, make sure you have faith, otherwise, it doesn't work.
4. The Shining (1980):
Honestly, this is a no brainer. Isolation, madness, ghosts, clairvoyance, and a frustrated writer. Personally, I find The Shining to be quite soothing. It is the perfect segue, at least in this list, between humor and straight up uncomfortable fear. I still have that visceral lingering fear from when I watched it as a kid. This film has sheer standing power, especially if you are with some of the uninitiated that have never taken the time to truly treat themselves to the Torrance family get away. If you really look at Clark Griswold's mental state in Christmas Vacation, the two films are actually quite similar.
5. Halloween (1978):
I know, I know, not quite a surprise, but come on, Halloween? If there was ever a film meant for the holiday, it was this one. Boasting the most perfectly evil character in all of horror, this film has everything. Sinful babysitters, beer, candy, costumes, Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence, and lots and lots of gratuitous violence. I spent eight years trying to reach him and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized that what was living behind that boy's eyes was purely and simply... evil. That sums it up, Halloween is an absolute must, that and all of the street names are names from my hometown, because Carpenter is fellow Kentucky boy.
Alright, those are five of my favorite Halloween flicks, but worry not, I will be doing a few more of these lists in the weeks to come before the big night. Thanks for checking it out dear readers, and remember, keep it scary. Don't forget to follow me.
WHAT IS ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE HALLOWEEN MUSTS?