Halloween is right around the creepy, chilling corner, so here are five of our critic’s favorite, ferocious, and frightening horror films!
All-time: “The Thing” (1982) – John Carpenter’s remake of “The Thing from Another World” (1951) has a deserved reputation for its extreme gore and wild practical effects, but it’s much more than buckets of blood and innards thrown at the screen. It’s an intense whodunnit and works exceptionally well in the isolated confines of a U.S. Government station located on Earth’s most lonely continent. Kurt Russell leads an exceptional ensemble, which includes Wilford Brimley, Keith David, Richard Dysart, and Richard Masur.
Classic Horror: “House of Wax” (1953) – Mild-mannered Prof. Henry Jarrod (Vincent Price) suffers tragedy at his beloved House of Wax, but he reopens it with sinister displays, like a guillotine and torture rack. He says, “How wonderful it is to be scared to death.” Yes, it is. Also look for a 32-year-old Charles Bronson as Igor!
Japanese Horror: “Audition” (1999) – Dating is difficult. Just ask Shigeharu (Ryo Ishibashi). He’s a lonely middle-aged widower, so his friend – in the film business – talks him into holding a fake casting audition to appeal to attractive 20-somethings. What? Maybe, he’ll find Ms. Right, after deceptive beginnings? Oh, Shigeharu finds…Ms. Wrong. Eihi Shiina stars as every man’s worst nightmare. Maybe stick match.com or never date again.
Recent: “It Follows” (2014) – Writer/director David Robert Mitchell delivers a horror film masterpiece, as a mysterious being singularly follows an ordinary student through Detroit’s suburbs. Mitchell’s movie seems to set during the 21st century, but it also offers an obscure late 70s/early 80s vibe with the period’s cars, clothes, living room decor, a synthesizer-infused score, and hand-wringing sequences reminiscent of 1978’s “Halloween”.
Recent Discovery: “The Loved Ones” (2009) – When Brent (Xavier Samuel) gently rejects Lola’s (Robin McLeavy) invitation to the prom, he inadvertently makes a bigger mistake than drinking the punch on an empty stomach. Sean Byrne’s depraved revenge flick makes “Prom Night” (1980) look like “Sixteen Candles” (1984). We’re not exaggerating!
Image credits: Universal Pictures, Warner Bros., Omega Project, RADiUS-TWC, and Madman Films