Wes's Halloween List 2007 First time reviewer, long time poster. Enjoy the list, everyone, and Happy Halloween! 10. Witchboard (1986) Not exactly the best horror film ever made, but certainly a fun one. With the popularity of Ouija boards at some Halloween parties, this masterpiece of 80’s cheese would easily fit into an evening of festive programming. If Ouija boards creep you out, this is definitely the film for you. Not the bloodiest or the goriest film out there, but it comes recommended for the menacing villain and the spooky subject matter that it does manage to deliver. If you enjoy 80’s horror, you could certainly do worse. 9. The House on Haunted Hill (1959) There is something about older films that seems much more Halloween than most of the stuff being made today. Good or bad, old horror films have a certain quality about them that make them ideal for the holiday. House on Haunted Hill has it all. It features a walking skeleton, sinister characters, a spooky old house, hearses, small coffins containing guns, an old witch/hag, and more. Pretty much anything with Vincent Price is required Halloween viewing. The 1999 remake is fun as well, but try your best to check out the original if you can. 8. Creepshow (1980) There are plenty of older, more distinguished and serious anthologies out there (the best, by Amicus) but George Romero’s Creepshow was distinct and fun in its own way. Borrowing subject matter and style from E.C. comics of the 1950’s, Creepshow features five tales of horror with zombies, killer bugs, a strange meteorite, and a bizarre crate with a surprise inside. Anthologies are always great for parties, but if your guests want something a little more modern than Amicus, fire this one up and prepare to be entertained. 7. Popcorn (1990) Another guilty, but fun favorite. For some reason, I really enjoy horror movies about horror movies. This one is about an old, run-down theater that a group of college students try to renovate with the help of an all-night horror marathon (featuring a batch of amusing, fictitious films). One of the films has a notorious past, and now a masked killer wants to remind everyone just how notorious it was. I’m sure it has its detractors, but the great performances all around and a good, fun atmosphere make it hard for me to dislike the film. 6. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) This story has been told and re-told many times, but as is the case with most remakes, the original is truly the best. The idea that aliens could arrive tomorrow, steal us away, and then create an evil duplicate to take our place is and always will be quite chilling. Though, many films of the same ilk in the 50’s were campy and featured rubbery and obvious special effects, this one is more about idea, suspense, and paranoia. Though, the Cold War themes are outdated, the underlying concepts presented in the film can pretty much be relevant and scary at any period in which you watch the film. It’s a very cool movie, and one of the all-time best of the 50’s sci-fi bunch. 5. Terror Train (1980) Magicians, pranks, and costumes, costumes everywhere! What says Halloween better than a slasher movie featuring college students on a costume party train ride? This is a solid slasher featuring Jamie Lee Curtis in the type of scream queen role that made her a star. The photography is great, the direction is great, the cast is great, and the killer (who changes costumes after each kill) is creepy in the way few slasher villains are. People who hate slasher ripoffs should definitely give this one a chance. It’s one of the few truly great one-shots outside of the more popular franchises. 4. The Changeling (1980) What would Halloween be without a good ghost movie? This particular film is my all-time favorite haunted house film. George C. Scott lends a certain credibility to the proceedings that other similar films don’t quite have. Many subsequent films have borrowed elements from this film (The Others, for one) but none have equaled its impact. The story unfolds like a good ghost story should. It might be a little slow-paced for modern audiences, but I find nothing in wrong in a good ghost story taking its time to scare us if the destination is worth the trip. In this case, it is definitely a slow, but engaging and chilling ride. 3. The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (1966) A comedy, yes, I know. More than that, a Don Knotts comedy from the 60’s. Yes, I know. But, seriously, if there is one movie that you can watch with your family this Halloween, watch this one! I’ve loved it since I was a kid, and I still enjoy it. Knotts returned to the haunted house comedy subgenre in 1981 (along side pal Tim Conway) in The Private Eyes, and while that film is fun in its own right, Knotts’ original experience with a haunted house is the most charming and fun. Attaboy, Luther! 2. Sleepy Hollow (1999) Though it takes a few liberties with the original source material, no one can argue that this isn’t one of Tim Burton’s finest films. While the film has comic relief of various sorts, Burton shows that he is fully capable of directing horror. With an incredible cast made up of Christopher Lee, Johnny Depp, Christopher Walken, Michael Gough, Ian McDiarmid, Jeffrey Jones, Christina Ricci, Michael Gambon, Richard Griffiths, and Miranda Richardson, this is definitely the best Hammer movie that Hammer never made. If you still haven’t seen this movie, for whatever reason, track it down immediately. Halloween is the perfect time to become acquainted with this telling of the Headless Horseman story. 1. Carnival of Souls (1962) Such a haunting film! I’m not sure if it’s merely one of those “happy accident” films, but it’s a shame that director Herk Harvey never did another horror film after this one. He certainly showed audiences that he is a solid craftsman of the macabre with his atmospheric and eerie work in this highly underrated and nightmarish gem. Playing like an extended episode of The Twilight Zone, this film is the perfect movie for an evening filled with jack-o-lanterns and candy apples.