Quick Cuts Presents: Movie Ideas for HALLOWEEN NIGHT!
QUICK CUTS: Halloween Movies
With Michael Arruda, L. L. Soares, Sheri Sebastian-Gabriel, Paul McMahon, and Mark Onspaugh
What are you watching this Halloween night?
Specifically, if you could line up a triple feature this Halloween, which movies would you be watching?
This Halloween, I would highly recommend a trio from Hammer Films. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for the over-the-top camp of Hammer productions.
I would start out my Halloween triple feature with a viewing of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1962). Herbert Lom, who played the Phantom in this exceptional version of the Gaston Leroux novel, died earlier this year. This makes the film even more poignant to me. Andrew Lloyd Webber this is not. Lom’s phantom is genuinely frightening, a menacing killer. The film gives us an added bonus with Michael Gough, who went on to play Alfred Pennyworth in Tim Burton’s BATMAN (1989), playing a truly nasty fellow.
PARANOIAC (1963) would be the meat in my Hammer sandwich. This film is a solid example of British psychological horror. Call it Hitchcock Light. Oliver Reed portrays a drunken, bitter aristocrat with ease. It’s the role he was born to play. If you’re looking for a gripping break from creature features, this one will satisfy.
I would round it all out with THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957). I’m a huge fan of Peter Cushing. I do love his heroic roles, but it’s nice to see him play a villain. In this case, he portrays Baron Victor Frankenstein, a cold, obsessed scientist who will stop at nothing to bring a creature comprised of the best parts from corpses back to life. The plan goes horribly wrong when the brain he intended to use is damaged, and the monster escapes. Christopher Lee plays a chilling, disturbing monster, a true original even for those who have seen Universal’s FRANKENSTEIN (1931).
My Halloween triple-feature is a feast of monster movies from the “S” column.
First is SLUGS (1988) based on the Shaun Hutson novel.
I’m following that up with 2006’s SLITHER, directed by James Gunn.
Closing things out will be the creepily unusual SPLINTER (2008) directed by Toby Wilkins.
I’d like to cheat a little bit and offer two classics as an appetizer—THE WASP WOMAN (1959) by Roger Corman and William Castle’s THE TINGLER (1959) — if had to choose just one, I’d keep THE TINGLER because you’ve got to have Vincent Price on Halloween.
I LOVE all the Universal monsters, but they’re more like old friends at this point and I want to feel uneasy—So next up would either be Cronenberg’s THE BROOD (1979) or (if that weren’t available) THE CHILDREN, that 1980 oddity where kids exposed to a toxic cloud get black nails and a lethal touch—and people cut their hands off! Dang!
Finally, BURNT OFFERINGS (1976), because it still creeps me out.
Happy Halloween, ev’rybody!
Well, first off, I’d choose Roman Polanski’s ROSEMARY’S BABY (1968). Why? Because it just got a special release from The Criterion Collection on DVD and Blu-Ray. No matter what you think of Polanski, ROSEMARY is a movie all horror fans should see at least once, because it’s an amazingly well-made flick, with a great cast, very strong atmosphere, and even some scares. In it, an innocent woman (Mia Farrow) learns she may be carrying the child of the devil. You won’t soon forget this one. Check out the brand new edition(s) with tons of the usual Criterion extras.
Keeping with the theme of horrific children, I’d continue with Larry Cohen’s mutant baby classic, IT’S ALIVE (1974). This time a woman gives birth to a man-eating monstrosity. I remember the TV commercial for this one being even scarier than the movie (back in the 70s, they knew how to make movie trailers that scared the hell out of you). You can even get this one on a “Triple-feature DVD” with its sequels IT LIVES AGAIN (1978) and IT’S ALIVE III: ISLAND OF THE ALIVE (1987). And if you get that DVD set, then you’d already have a Halloween triple feature in one box.
And you can top the night off with the Spanish classic, WHO CAN KILL A CHILD? (1976) where a couple find themselves on an island full of homicidal children. Can they bring themselves to fight back? This one will send shivers through your spine.
And, of course, any of these are interchangeable with William Friedkin’s mega-classic THE EXORCIST (1973), with Linda Blair as the ultimate child possessed by the devil, or David Cronenberg’s monster-kid masterpiece, THE BROOD (1979).
This year I’m in the mood for some 80s horror. So, my triple feature would kick off with HELLRAISER (1987), written and directed by Clive Barker.
Next up, David Croneberg’s THE FLY (1986), one of those rare instances where the remake is better than the original. Featuring Jeff Goldblum’s finest performance.
And to finish things off, I’d go with CREEPSHOW (1982), directed by George Romero, written by Stephen King, and with Leslie Nielson in the cast, good for some laughs as well as some chills.
Happy Halloween, Everyone, from all of us here at Cinema Knife Fight!
© Copyright 2012 by Michael Arruda, L.L. Soares, Sheri Sebastian-Gabriel, Paul McMahon and Mark Onspaugh