🎃Halloween Horror Warriors Viewing Guide 2021

Halloween (1978)
Halloween (1978)

It’s Halloween, everyone’s entitled to one good scare.

Are you a Halloween horror warrior? Everyone Halloween lover craves getting scared. And loves horror movies! Halloween warriors are also highly subjective towards the genre. Especially to what makes a horror film great. For some, it’s the perfect blend of scared witless, buckets of blood, and “amazing ” special effects. To others, it’s all about the slow burn gore in We Are What We Are (2013), or the erratic narrative, and silence buried in High Tension (2003). For still others, horror is perfect when it conjures pure evil in Event Horizon (1997) or requires an Exorcist (1973). No matter the type of film, fans require unexpected jump scares.

Event Horizon (1997)
Event Horizon (1997)

But, despite people’s personal critiques, what makes a Halloween movie a great Halloween movie? How about the horror slasher classic Halloween (1978)? A deranged lunatic escapes an asylum and returns home to exact revenge. To kill his only living sibling, Laurie, on the anniversary of killing his older sister Judith. Laurie, now adopted and living in peace, is hiding in plain sight in Michael’s hometown of Haddonfield.

Of the near-perfect Halloween, film critic Roger Ebert describes the movie more as a work of art than a horror movie, writing, “Halloween” is a visceral experience — we aren’t seeing the movie, we’re having it happen to us. It’s frightening. Maybe you don’t like movies that are really scary: Then don’t see this one.[1]” If you do, then make sure to watch Halloween II (1981)

Halloween II (1981)
Halloween II (1981)

Halloween Horror Warriors – Can You Kill a Boogie Man?

By the climax of the film, terror is pressing firmly against the base of one’s neck. For example, when Laurie Strode pokes Michael in the eye with a coat hanger. When Dr. Loomis riddles him with bullets, sending him through a window and over the second-floor balcony. When the camera cuts back to Laurie, crouched down in the closet telling Dr. Loomis “it was the boogeyman.” When Loomis responds, “as a matter of fact, it was.” then cuts to the good doctor stepping towards the broken window and looking down into the yard.

And Michael Myers is gone! Cue the “tick-tock clock-like nature of the electronic percussive sound in relentless sixteenth notes suggesting Michael’s unrelenting drive to kill. Those synthesizers! The iconic dark blue coveralls. A pale creepy rubber mask. Meanwhile, cut back to Laurie crying in misery. Fade to black.

Ebert also writes, “the performances are all the more absorbing because of that; the movie’s a slice of life that is carefully painted (in drab daylights and impenetrable nighttimes) before its human monster enters the scene.” Halloween is horror movie perfection.

Sinister (2012)
Sinister (2012)

Halloween Horror Warriors – Home Invasion

Being at home on Halloween and watching a collection of home invasion horror films is the perfect combo for night terrors and sleeping with a flashlight. Sinister (2012) introduces the Oswalt family; the father an author using the previous owner’s family’s murder as the basis for his new novel. The discovery of a “paralyzing” collection of Super 8 films individually labeled Pool Party, BBQ, Lawn Work, Sleepy Time, and Family Hanging Out sets a film in motion which Den of Geek’s Ryan Lambie writes, “manages to inspire moments of palpable dread.[2]

The Strangers (2008)
The Strangers (2008)

The Strangers (2008) is a freakshow simply because the moment the mom asks why the killers are torturing her family, the response is, “because you were home.” The Purge (2013) seems tame in comparison. Like a water gun fight, on a hot summer day in the backyard. Watching Fede Álvarez’s Don’t Breathe (2016) is like watching a home invasion in reverse. Don’t trespass in a creepy dark house, and beware of the blind man with razor-sharp senses.  Hush (2016) follows the Halloween trope, except the Laurie character is a deaf-mute, in a cabin in the woods, alone. Not to mention that the serial killer/forest stalker wears a creepier mask than Michael Myers, and prefers a cross-bow over a carving knife.

The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

Halloween Horror Warriors – Cabins in the Woods

Speaking of The Cabin in the Woods (2012), see it simply because most critics agree, the film personifies horror “as a genre that can function as a playground for something completely fresh.[3]” Of course the original horror-cabin spectacular is director Sam Raimi’s cheaply made but incredibly effective Evil Dead (1981). The near-perfect remake (2013) is a bloody terror confection. The movie poster bragged ‘It is the most terrifying film you will ever experience’. More gore, more puke, more blood! A Halloween Horror Warriors Nightmare on Elm Street dream come true!

Horror and home invasion don’t discriminate. The Lighthouse (2019) brings it to the beach! Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe play lighthouse and island keeper, respectively. With a pinch of Edgar Allen Poe, a hearty dose of sea monsters and seagulls reincarnated as sailors, this horror film “locks you into the fever of what’s happening on screen.[4]

It Comes at Night (2017)
It Comes at Night (2017)

1, 2 Freddy’s Coming For You (and Jason too!)

Friday the 13th (1980) and the infamous Jason Voorhees (and his mom) would help spawn 11 films

The great dream interrupter, Freddy Krueger made staying awake in class virtually impossible and stirred up a big bloody mess in Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). He would go on to appear in 7 more Elm Street films and cross over into another slasher universe to compete in the ultimate showdown with none other than Jason Voorhees in Freddy vs Jason (2003).

If Netflix and Thrills, Chills, and Spills are on the Halloween agenda, pop the corn and snuggle up for a trifecta of scares. Fear and mystery dominate I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House (2016). Paranoia, mistrust, and a deadly virus plague It Comes at Night (2017).

Cam (2018)
Cam (2018)

However, nothing is more amazing to watch than the father-daughter-zombie-themed Cargo (2017). Stay up ’til the witching hour for an extra double feature. Watch CAM (2018), a fun psychological thriller about how to reclaim a stolen online identity and trek through The Forest (2016) a place where the tortured and trouble go to die.

Trick 'r Treat (2007)
Trick ‘r Treat (2007)

Halloween Horror Warriors – Conjure up the Terror

Lastly, it is imperative to sneak in The Conjuring (2013) and The Conjuring 2 (2016), plus the jump scare-packed Insidious (2010). Guaranteed no sleep for days afterward, and lots of looking over the shoulder!

Freakish Halloween theme music, a good costume, some “killer” special effects are the perfect recipe. The best Halloween horror film “makes it feel as if it’s pushing us forward and creating an unsteadiness.” And when all else fails, and this list of Halloween’s best horror films has been exhausted, there’s always the anthology classic Trick ‘r Treat (2007)! Make sure to inspect your candy! Happy Halloween Horror Warriors!

[1] “Halloween movie review & film summary (1979) | Roger Ebert.” 31 Oct. 1979, https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/halloween-1979. Accessed 3 Sep. 2021.

[2] “Sinister review – Den of Geek.” 25 Sep. 2012, https://www.denofgeek.com/movies/sinister-review/. Accessed 3 Sep. 2021.

[3] “The Cabin in the Woods – CINEMABLEND.” 27 May. 2016, https://www.cinemablend.com/reviews/Cabin-Woods-5775.html. Accessed 3 Sep. 2021.

[4] “Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe in ‘The Lighthouse’ – Variety.” 19 May. 2019, https://variety.com/2019/film/reviews/the-lighthouse-review-robert-pattinson-willem-dafoe-1203220127/. Accessed 3 Sep. 2021.

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