Daniel Boland suggests a few horror classics to get you in the mood for All Hallow’s Eve.
The names Ghostface, Norman Bates and Michael Myers instantly remind us of the famous horror characters imprinted in our memory from films most of us have seen through the years. With Halloween coming at the end of the month, it is time for the following films to provide the jumps and scares they were made to do.
The Exorcist (1973)
Perhaps the most famous horror film, this classic tells the story of a young girl who is possessed by a demon as two priests attempt to return the girl to normality through an exorcism. This film left quite an impression when it was released and won an Oscar for best sound – who could forget the first time they heard ‘Tubular Bells’? A scene which will not likely be forgotten is the spider-walk down the stairs as Regan is spewing blood from her mouth.
This modern day ‘whodunit?’ centres around Sidney Prescott as she is tormented by the serial killer known as Ghostface. This film does not hold back as the director, Wes Craven, tries to provide the ultimate scaring experience. The first scene with Drew Barrymore playing a distressed victim sets the pace for how the horror film will continue. Ghostface is notorious for hiding behind doors and jumping out at any minute giving a great horror experience. Scream is often credited with reviving the genre.
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
This film takes a different approach to the horror genre through a world where zombies roam free preying on human flesh. Following on from George A. Romero’s first film in the Living Dead series, the United States is in panic mode as they are helpless in the fight against the zombies. The film centres on Stephen and Francine as they attempt to evade the zombie invasion. Dawn of the Dead also features some humourous scenes to break up the tension, in particular during the zombie invasion in the shopping centre and a character stops to have his blood pressure taken before being attacked by the flesh eating zombies.
Released the same year as Dawn of the Dead; this slasher horror film tells the story of the psychotic Michael Myers as he stalks high school student Laurie Strode with devastating consequences. Strodes is played by a then unknown Jamie Lee Curtis in this low budget slasher and provides her with enough attention to remain on the horror scene for a few years before branching out to other genres. The defining scene in Halloween is when Laurie is trying to hide from Myers in the closet, but he breaks the door down as he turns to face both Laurie and the camera showing the true horror of his haunting mask.
No Halloween film collection is complete without this Hitchcock classic – the earliest film on the list provides a blend of horror and suspense that only Hitchcock could execute perfectly. Who could forget the harrowing stare of Norman Bates as he drooled over Marion Crane when she stays in the motel? In the famous shower scene we see that it is not just Norman who displays psychotic tendencies as a shadowy figure pulls the curtain across. The scene previously mentioned has been named as one of the best scenes in all of cinema history.
When Halloween night comes around root out these DVDs, turn off all the lights and, most importantly, ignore those ‘trick or treaters’!
Images: Dimension Films, Compass International Pictures. Universal Pictures