films for october10/26/2012
As a kid I wasn't really allowed to watch much television, so if I wanted to know about an episode of the X-Files (this was the 90's after all), my sister had to explain it to me as a bedtime story. It was funny then, that my dad let me see so many scary films with him. Every time that we rented a film, we stopped by the horror section and picked a new title out. I have such fond memories of that time! Through the years I've watched many films from the genre, preferring the subdued type. These are my suggestions for this pre-Halloween weekend!
The Innocents (1961)
When I think of a beautifully constructed film, that is both subtle and creepy, the Innocents immediately comes to mind. The opening credits always give me chills because of the song "O Willow Waly" sung by what sounds to be a sad little girl. The film is hauntingly lovely and surprisingly terrifying at times. It's in my top five "scariest films" and I'll continue with the next four...
The Shining (1980)
I probably consider the Shining to be the magnum opus of all horror films. I go back and forth between a few others, but it always resonates with me because of it's underlying symbolism. I can't count how many times I've researched Kubrick's intentions in film, which always imply that there's something far more sinister at hand. It's a visual and sonic feast of unrivaled proportions!
Perhaps I spoke too soon, but Psycho is visually the most masterful film in the horror genre, if it can even be limited to that. By now everyone is aware of the "famous shower scene" which is unfortunate considering it should be experienced within the context of the film. I think Anthony Perkins is under-appreciated for his portrayal, but at least the score is aptly considered to be a work of genius!
I have a great memory of seeing this unassuming film with friends several years ago- because we were all screaming at the top of our lungs (hah). That has only happened to me one other time, so it is quite rare! Truthfully, I can't see this film alone in the dark or I will never sleep. It hits me in all the right spots - eerie atmosphere, slow build and it involves a haunted house of sorts. It's a must watch!
The Brood (1979)
There are so many amazing David Cronenberg films that are worth mentioning, but The Brood was the first movie that had me screaming out loud. I saw it with my sister many years ago, without knowing the plot (which you should never know beforehand) and it completely surprised me. I don't want to give away plot points, but I'll say that anything miniature really scares me haha!
The Exorcist (1973)
This is an obligatory mention, one that perhaps everyone has seen, but I re-watch it almost every year out of nostalgia. Ignoring it's reputation, it is probably the most effective horror film due to it's sheer terror and unsightliness. All I have to say is: Captain Howdy!
The Birds (1963)
Another Hitchcock classic and another film that I re-watch every year. I don't consider it to be among his absolute best films, but I think that it's perfect for Halloween. I saw it in a movie theater several weeks ago and I never realized how loud the Birds were!
Bunny Lake is Missing (1965)
Aside from featuring Keir Dullea from 2001: A Space Odyssey fame, there's also a random inclusion of the Zombies performing live. How any of this makes sense together is irrelevant, but it all adds to a story that is quite unique and enjoyable to experience.
Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)
I don't consider this to be part of the genre of "scary films" but it definitely left me disturbed! The costumes, slow filming, hypnotic scenes, and eerie behavior - all left me feeling uncomfortable. It's also somewhat funny which is a welcome aspect to any Halloween film!
Eyes Without A Face (1960)
Any film that involves a mask of some kind, usually manages scare me in some way. There's another film called Onibaba (1964) that similarly gives me an uneasy feeling because of the obstruction of facial features. In this film the protagonist looks strange but also very cool. The themes that are explored are quite interesting and the atmosphere is chilling!
Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (1970)
I'll throw in this curveball as a final suggestion, not only because my name is involved (hehe) but because it's a strange trip into a world of Czech oddities. I also loved the soundtrack so much that I bought it on vinyl some years ago. Although it doesn't frighten me in a traditional sense, it does have some unsettling elements!
There are many other eerie films that I like, but these have stayed with me in some memorable way. What are your favorites?