Being the Press’s resident master of all things dark, horrible, and decidedly creepy, I was, of course, asked if I wanted to write the Halloween post. Obviously, being the aforementioned strange, disturbing, and abject terror-inspiring man that I am, I jumped at the chance. I thought about doing a long blog about the history of Halloween, the modern connotations of that history, and the importance of candy, but then I thought to myself “You know, strange and disturbing man, that has been done a million times; even if you write something completely original it’s going to look like you copied it from somewhere and just pasted the text in.” So, I decided against that approach. Instead I decided to go with movies.
One of my favorite things to do on Halloween, assuming I have the day off (which I sadly won’t this year), is to spend the whole day watching scary movies. Nobody trick or treats in my neighborhood, which is quite scary enough on its own without all the little ghosts and goblins running around. I don’t have the outlet of scaring little kids when they come to the door followed by offering them potentially dangerous amounts of sugar (I know, I’m a terrible person), and so to compensate I watch movies. For any other lovers of horror out there I thought I’d share a few of my favorites, some of the underrated gems of the genre. To follow are four horror movies which will, in descending order, make you laugh your pants off, confuse the heck out of you, shock you, and give you nightmares for years to come.
1. Boy Eats Girl: The lost little cousin of Shaun of the Dead. If you enjoyed that movie, you will love this one. Boy Eats Girl is your basic teen romantic comedy with a zombie spin; it manages to fit in the best/worst points of gawky teen romances, all the while filling your plate with flesh-eating zombie goodness. Definitely a must see for lovers of comedic horror or dark irony; one of the best scenes is the one where the school’s ‘popular girl’ tries to seduce a zombie without realizing what it is…priceless. Note that this movie is not similar to any of the “Scary Movie 1-Infinity” franchise. For one it’s British (God Save The Queen) and for two it’s not nasty nor does it depend on crude humor for its laughs.
2. Cry Wolf: Ok, it’s rare that a movie keeps me guessing, but this one did. The most frustrating/intoxicating part of the movie is that I had the killer right on the money from the very beginning; I called it maybe fifteen minutes into the movie. However the makers present you with a vast array of realistic possibilities, and you will change your mind about who the killer is so many times by the end of the movie that you really just don’t know. Even at the end they leave it up to you to decide if the “killer” actually is the killer or rather an innocent party in the wrong place at the wrong time. All in all, if you like your horror movies to have a little mystery in them and a lot of possibility, then Cry Wolf is a Halloween movie for you.
3. Urban Legends: I love this movie; I really can’t overstate that. I don’t buy thrillers; I watch them, once, because I can always tell where they’re going. This movie I think I shelled out $15 on because it’s amazing. This is the one and only thriller that I can ever remember being completely wrong about. When I found out who the killer was at the end, the first thing I said was “No Way! Can’t be.” However, and this is why I love it, when I went back through the movie again, it made complete sense. Now let me warn you, Urban Legends 2 is not worth the time it takes to watch, but the first one is simply an amazing work of horrific misdirection. I still watch this movie from time to time just to admire the style with which the makers lead you astray. If you like to be shocked and surprised by a completely believable killer whom you never suspected then watch Urban Legends.
4. Apt Pupil: Simply put, this is one of the most terrifying movies I’ve ever seen. The best part is, only one person dies violently in the entire movie, and that happens off camera. This is a psychological thriller that will have you looking at every one of your neighbors askance for weeks to come. The movie is based on a novella by Stephen King, features an incredible performance by Ian Mckellen, and is worth watching even if you don’t like scary movies. The movie focuses on human nature and the ease with which one can be seduced into a certain way of thinking. Honestly this is one of the sources to which I attribute my own fascination with the darker side of the artistic endeavor; it has more to say about humanity than the vast majority of stories I’ve watched or read.
So, if anyone wants to try out some great Halloween movies, here are my suggestions for a day’s worth of scary goodness. Personally I will be watching Carnivale; I picked up the first season of this HBO special for cheap a couple days ago, and let me just say, it is fabulous. So, tell me, what are some of your Halloween traditions? Do you participate at all? If not, why?