1.) The Frankenstein Trilogy: Frankenstein isn't just a great horror film its a great film... In fact, I would say that it is a perfect film. It has everything you could ever want in a any horror film or film in general... Drama, excellent acting commitment, action, moral questions about life and death, obsession, crazy newfangled science, murders, misunderstood outcasts, and of course incredible cinematography and story telling! People hail Citizen Kane for its use of cinematography and lighting, but I don't think it would have been as well executed w/out Frankenstein to use as a reference point... After all, isn't Citizen Kane just a monster movie from a more human and less macabre angle. ( a discussion for another time) Anyway, Frankenstein creates a deep and layered character from a monster that grunts and lumbers around. He is really just a a giant baby w/ super size and strength, which is another genius element we don't really think about when we watch it. And another reason on top of countless that this film is so great!
Bride of Frankenstein is one of the best sequels ever made. It's great story telling and sets a creepy tone from the beginning when this time Mary Shelly herself explains to here friends just how her characters survived. The monster is back and this time he is given a lady. And the best part is that the women of his dreams (who is a monster too) even rejects him. The monster can't even be accepted by his own kind. These movies aren't just scary... they are really quite sad extremely easy to relate to. We all have felt like outcasts and have gone through life rejections. The problem w/ the monster is that he doesn't have tools to deal w/ it and instead destroys everything in his path.
Son of Frankenstein is to me, a great end to a great trilogy of films. The monster even talks, and is controlled by Igor who is played by Bela Lugosi... What more could you ever ask for? On a personal note the first time I ever saw this movie was w/ my brother Kevin sitting in my dads office at work years ago... the best part of the story is that dad meant to get us Young Frankenstein to watch, but couldn't remember the name. We were pretty scared, but enjoyed the film nonetheless.
2.) The Creature from the Black Lagoon Trilogy: This is another classic horror collection that explores interesting concepts about what makes a man and so on. And it plays on the fears of most people when swimming in open water... I mean what is down there? We don't, after all, really belong swimming in a black lagoons in sexy white swim suits in the amazon do we? ( I look damn good in a one piece by the way) I personally think that seen is one of the greatest and most psychologically scary moments in film history, while remaining beautiful. I just love the way these films explore what we as humans do when we find something we don't understand... We bother it in its habitat, then we put it in a cage or in this case and aquarium, but then after is destroys everything in its path for two films we decide that it's okay to live in society w/ us. If you haven't watched all of these films you should because they are great!
3.) Evil Dead Trilogy: That's right gimme some sugar baby... These films are some of my favorites to watch really anytime w/ in the season of Halloween. They are all good for different reasons, but what I love about these three films as a whole is that they grow and change. The first film is definitely funny and campy is spots but overall it is much darker than the sequels and somewhat disturbing.(tree rape) I think some of the stop motion and practical effects still look awesome and fun as well, but this film doesn't have the humor element as strongly as what Evil Dead 2 would become known for. Evil Dead 2 basically coined the term horror comedy, largely dude to Bruce Campbell's execution of the material. He is heroic, confused and good old fashioned slap-stick comedy, all at the same time. And by the time we get to Army of Darkness we find our pal Ash in the dark ages w/ knights and dead-ites to dispatch. This film takes the funny elements in Evil Dead 2 and creates an even funnier and lighter version of the original film. It also turns Ash in to a full blown hero icon. If you haven't seen these films you are missing out... there would be no Cabin in the Woods w/out Sam Raimi's Evil Dead trilogy, kids!
4.) Monster Squad: Since we have been talking about some of the universal Monsters I have to add Monster Squad to a this list... This was probably my favorite light horror film when I was a kid. (probably even now) I was about the age of the kids in the film when it came out and I could watch this film and not have nightmares! It definitely is very cool and the effects and make up are some of my favorite ever on film, but is also has a cool story, and the kids represent different types of kids you knew growing up. It has a lot of adventure and some great one-liners, courtesy of Writers Fred Dekker and Shane Black, and it's just an overall enjoyable 80's horror comedy! I normally start off the Halloween season w/ this film!
5.) Night of the Creeps: This is another Fred Dekker film and another 80's Classic! It's part Zombie film and part sci-fi and it is worth your time if you have never seen it. It even has a hard boiled detective w/ no shortage of sassy one liners. It is actually playing on Netflix streaming this month as well, so you are in luck!
6.) Night of the Living Dead: This is a great movie! It is always creepy and always entertaining. In a world where Zombies are the thing to like, if you haven't seen the film that started it all... Shame on you! I hear Walking Dead this and Walking Dead that, (and it is great... especially the actually comic, kids) but there probably wouldn't even be a Walking Dead to obsess over if it wasn't for NOTLD! It is the original social commentary about society, using Zombies as a way to explore the human condition! It has one of the first strong black characters ever playing the hero/lead role in a film! Because would race really matter when the world ends and people are eating each other?? I hope that everyone who reads this has seen this film by now, but if you haven't... it's a must!
7.) The Lost Boy : This a a great modern day vampire film about brothers who move to a new town over run by some teen blood suckers! To me 80's horror is some of the best horror and this film delivers! It has intense teen romance, comic relief, a great young hero and evil teenage villains! (what's worse than a teenage boy I ask you?) I saw this film for the first time at my buddy Kevin's house in the third grade and it scared the hell out of me! But I loved to watch it when it was light out side :) Check it out if you haven't ever seen it... it has some great 80's teens in it as well!
8.) Jaws: Like I said, these are classics and comedy. And for my money it doesn't get much more classic than Jaws... I know to some this film may not be scary, but to me it doesn't get any more!!! Water scares me to begin w/! And I am not talking about pools or the bath tub! I am talking about oceans, lakes and even rivers! You know, those things that that we know less about that the universe! To me there is nothing more horrifying than to be hanging out on a hot day in the ocean splashing and playing and living the good life... when a giant freaking MONSTER comes up and eats you in a very painful and violent way! But Jaws isn't just scary, it's also a great buddy movie w/ funny scenes and one-liners! As a film, I think its perfect! See the misconception w/ the horror film is that they are bad films or that they can't be a "good" film too. I am here to tell you that Jaws proves otherwise! It was also one of the first modern day blockbusters. Setting that stage for films like Star Wars and Indiana Jones! It is just a special film that you should watch right now!
Well, that about does it for this week... I want to save some for next time :) These films you see before you are all classics at this point and several are quite funny. The horror film is a great film genre because almost anything can be scary! And it blends the feeling of being scared w/ the feeling of relief and laughter when you get through a tense scene! I think that many times we can even identify w/ the monsters in the films because we think about how we would act in a certain situation if all that bad stuff happened to us. Anyway, I hope you read through this list and get inspired for Halloween film viewing! Take care and stay scared this month! :)