The Halloween season inevitably leads to movie recommendations, but they can be a little derivative — we all know the obvious ones. Instead, I’ve compiled some alternative suggestions that don’t necessarily get their due but will surely put you in the spooky spirit.
10. Psycho III: viewing of the first two is perhaps a good idea, but not entirely necessary to enjoy Anthony Perkins’ directorial tour de force. Twenty-six years after the events of the original Psycho, Norman Bates is still at odds with his “mother,” especially once intruders start nosing around his life and motel. Not exactly Alfred-Hitchcock-quality but wildly entertaining regardless.
9. An American Werewolf in London: an unexpected turn from Animal House and Blues Brothers auteur John Landis, this can either be taken as gruesomely comedic or maliciously painful to sit through. The title just about sums the plot up, but it doesn’t prepare you for the still-impressive transformation scene that highlights practical effects and makeup at their best.
8. Drag Me to Hell: this is Sam Raimi’s foray into the very politically correct genre of “scorned gypsy” movies. A young woman is cursed after denying an old lady a bank loan and subsequently tries to cure herself before being — you guessed it — dragged to hell. This is a B-movie of the highest order that’s sure to leave a lasting impression.
7. Horror Express: derived from the same source material as The Thing, this movie manages to hold its own as a distinctly different creature. Deaths on the Trans-Siberian Express raise questions about the fossilized specimen on board. With great performances by Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, this one may be a bit dated but as far as I’m concerned, it holds up great.
6. Thinner: we get more cursed fun in this Stephen King adaptation. A morbidly obese lawyer begins to uncontrollably lose weight after running over a woman mid-blowjob. It’s silly fun, mostly notable for being the only horror movie I know of where the protagonist is in an Eddie Murphy style fat-suit for most of his screen time — a totally solid bad movie.
5. The Brood: adding a little Canadian content to the mix, David Cronenberg’s look at a divorce and a father’s custody battle has taken on a new light in the era of men’s rights activism, which only thickens the plot. It’s a real gem of Canadiana, complete with great locations and an amazing score by Howard Shore.
4. New Nightmare: I’d argue that the original Nightmare on Elm Street is perhaps a little overrated, so maybe that leads me to overrate the entertainment value of the franchise’s seventh entry. Freddy Krueger begins to enter the “real” world and take aim on the people who make movies about him. With most of the series’ humour toned down, Krueger was never scarier.
3. The Cable Guy: if you don’t think this movie is scary as hell, you probably haven’t seen it. While Jim Carrey is expectedly hilarious as the clingy, stalkerish titular character, the layers of psychoticism in his performance are sure to chill your bones. Plus the role of stereotypical, helpless victim fits Matthew Broderick like a glove.
2. Instruments of Evil: this Saskatoon production even outdoes the Canadianness of The Brood. Humour and do-it-yourself effects are abundant in the exploitation anthology of the evils of music. It’s trashy and exploitative, but all in good fun. Keep an eye out for familiar faces and locales, as you’re likely to spot them.
1. Halloween III: Season of the Witch: this is the best horror movie ever made and I’ll go to my grave believing it. Allegedly a takedown of consumerism, this movie has nothing to do with the rest of the series. Instead of watching Michael Myers kill teens, we follow an alcoholic dad and young woman as they investigate a suspicious Halloween mask company and uncover its nefarious inner workings. Still creepy upon each rewatch, it’s the gold standard for classic horror.
Zach Tennent / Opinions Editor
Graphic: Lesia Karalash / Graphics Editor