Mon. Jan 17th, 2022

I recently had a conversation with a good friend of mine who believes that the “Saw” series of “horror” movies is the second coming of Hitchcockian, fear-inducing cinema. He eagerly awaited the coming of “Saw VI” like every greedy little boy awaits Santa’s sleigh all year long. With Halloween just around the corner, any horror movie buff finds total bliss in front of the television set watching countless hours of classic horror films. Of course, in today’s era of slasher and gross-out thrillers the concept of a horror film has been perverted from what it was in the days of Hitchcock and monster flicks.

The most recent films that are considered to fall into the “horror” genre do not elicit the same emotions that the pioneers of horror gave their viewers. The concept of watching people tortured or killed in brutal fashion does not bring on the fear that directors like Polanski, Kubrick, Carpenter or Donner have been able to emote from the silver screen.

If any horror movie buff does not know where to start a potential movie marathon for October then the originals would most likely be a good start. With the recent pop culture boom for vampires like Edward Cullen and Lestat the orginal concept of the blood drinking undead has become a dulled down concept for the promotion of cliché, Hollywood love stories. These modern vampires are surely an inaccurate perversion from the original vampire Orlok in “Nosferatu.”

Originally released in 1922, F. W. Murnau created his own imagining of Bram Stoker’s novel “Dracula.” Without the benefit of intense digital effects and breath taking cinematography or even sound Murnau was able to create intense suspense with his dreary settings and eerie circumstances. What makes “Nosferatu” truly brilliant is the performance given by Max Schreck as Count Orlock. Schreck’s image is still iconic with his pointed ears and long fingernails. Though the film is incredibly difficult to find (only one negative was created with the original), any horror movie buff has to experience the brilliant performance that made Schreck a legend.

Other classic monster movies are great to watch on Halloween night. Some of the most classic costumes for trick-or-treaters remind us of the importance of some of these classics. Halloween night is an excellent chance to renew some of the classics like “Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1923), “Phantom of the Opera” (1925), “Frankenstein” (1931), and “The Mummy” (1932). Horror icons were born in some of these films, like Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi.

One of the most abstract and commonly repeated monsters in horror films is the living dead, the zombie. George Romero began the zombie boom in 1968 with one of the most important films in the horror genre “Night of the Living Dead.” This crucial film was before its time with Romero’s use of gore and Armageddon themes. It began the influx of “gore-shock” films that have grown steadily from Romero’s time on. Other great zombie films for movie buffs include “Hell of the Living Dead,” “Return of the Living Dead,” “Children of the Living Dead,” “Dawn of the Dead,” “Zombie,” as well as more recent use of the living dead in “Resident Evil” films and “28 Days Later.” Even parodies of the zombie-genre are worthy of Halloween movie status. Simon Pegg starred in “Shaun of the Dead,” a effect blending of horror movie scares as well as his own dry, British wit that has made the comedian successful.

If you are looking for more color in your Halloween movie’s then look for some classic slasher movies on Bravo or AMC. With the reimagining of the “Halloween” and “Friday the 13th” series it is important to remember the original versions that made names like Jason Vorhees and Michael Myers household names. Both were created around the same time (1978 and 1980). With Rob Zombie’s version of “Halloween” promoting more graphic sex and violence the original version, created by John Carpenter will be remembered for its violent murder scenes but more importantly, the epic moments of suspense and one of the most infamous piano melodies, created by Carpenter himself.

Joining Vorhees and Myers are some of the most famous slashers. Freddy Kruger (“Nightmare on Elm Street”), Chucky (“Child’s Play”), and Leatherface (“Texas Chainsaw Massacre”). With remakes of Texas Chainsaw Massacre already disappointing fans of the classic film, most fear what the reimagining of Nightmare on Elm Street will bring when it is released sometime in 2010.

Horror movies are not only chances to provide drama and scares but also a time to appreciate the humor of the “B Movie.” No one’s more successful at blending scares with slapstick comedy than Sam Raimi and his Evil Dead films. For anyone looking to provide a movie marathon for friends and family on Halloween night than the inclusion of Riami’s cult classics a must.

“Evil Dead,” “Evil Dead II,” and “Army of Darkness” star Bruce Campbell as Ash and chronicles his battles against the “deadites,” the minions of Necronomicon Ex-Mortis. The controversial trilogy has plenty of blood and gore for fans of brutal violence as well as black comedy for those looking for laughs.

The original “Evil Dead” also has the classic scene of “tree rape” that disturbed audiences and also forced a few laughs because of the ridiculous nature of the horror. A “theater of the absurd” type of horror film has become one of the greatest cult classics in horror history. In 2007 there was talks of a remake of the film but Raimi claimed that the concept was shot down because of an extremely negative fan reaction to the idea.

There is a plethora of horror films to make every Halloween become synonymous with a routine of classic scares. Though there is nothing wrong with the fans of the “Saw” series or “Hostel” films, the classics in the horror genre have withstood the test of time and deserve to be relived every Oct. 31.

Ken Schmidt is a fifth-year student majoring in English with a minor in Journalism. He can be reached at KS609536@wcupa.edu.

Author profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *