Thursday, November 14, 2013

50 Nights of Horror Challenge: Horror Movie Suggestions for the UnInitiated

Different holidays and seasonal events encourage different traditions and customs.On Easter we hide eggs and eat well.On Thanksgiving, we eat extremely well.On the 4th of July we drink and eat well and explode fireworks.And on Christmas, well, we do a ton of different things.But more than probably any time of the year, Halloween inspires thousands of people to break protocol and begin watching horror movies.Sure, there's trick or treating and decorating with macabre gags and carving pumpkins, but there's also the viewing of scary movies.

Whether the event happens in groups solemn and spooked or inebriated and rowdy, solo in shadows or in the background during other activities, watching horror movies is a keystone of the season.

I've witnessed the event occurs in several different settings:in groups (solemn and spooked or inebriated and rowdy), by myself (either spooked by the shadows or in the background during other activities).In any event, I've found that some movies just work better than others.As evidenced by many of my blog posts, some movies ought not be missed, and others ought.I've organized the lists of my favorites into different categories.Different persons will enjoy different movies...differently, so I recommend picking one from each category and doing one's best to catch one or two from each group.There's certainly no need to view all of them in one Halloween season, but if you do, please use this post as your guide.

FAMILY-FRIENDLY - These movies can be watched in large groups of mixed company, and though they're each spooky, they can be enjoyed by all.I remember fondly watching some of these movies with my own family.

* ParaNorman

* Frankenweenie

* Hocus Pocus

* Beetlejuice

* Addams Family

* The Nightmare Before Christmas

* Gremlins

* BONUS - Coraline

THE CLASSICS - This list doesn't refer to the Universal Pictures Classics monster movies of the 20s - 40s (Frankenstein, Dracula, Wolfman, etc.), rather some of the best, most influential entries into the horror genre.In several cases, these were early works of some very successful directors.And for the most part, these movies age very well.

* The Omen

* The Exorcist

* The Shining

* Carrie

* The Amityville Horror

* Rosemary's Baby

* Poltergeist

* Night of the Living Dead

* BONUS - The Birds

HORROR COMEDIES - Pretty self-explanatory, these movies are spooky, but they also provide enough laughs to keep the mood light.There are still some jumps and shrieks to let loose, but there are also some good gut-busters that can be enjoyed even by those that don't enjoy horror movies in general.

* I Sell The Dead

* Shaun of the Dead

* The Witches of Eastwick

* Ghostbusters

* Zombieland

* Dead Alive

* Jennifer's Body

* BONUS - Dead Snow

FRANCHISES - Each one of these movies was well-received enough that they spawned multiple sequels and earned millions of dollars.Say what you want, but that's meaningful.And if you've taken the time to sit through any one of these sequels, do yourself a favor and return to where it started.In every scenario, the original entry is the superior.

* Friday the 13th

* Halloween

* A Nightmare on Elm Street

* Child's Play

* Scream

* The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

* BONUS - Children of the Corn


* The Howling

* Fright Night

* Re-Animator

* The House on Haunted Hill

* Evil Dead (1 & 2)

* American Werewolf in London

* 28 Days Later

* It

* BONUS - Pet Semetary

HORROR ANTHOLOGIES - Another one of my favorite sub-genres of the season, these horror anthologies are smaller horror nuggets, usually encapsulated by one theme or narrator.These are usually entertaining, easy-to-watch affairs.It's not dissimilar from choosing between a novel and a collection of short stories.And many of them reference or pay homage to the horror comics of the 50s and 60s (Tale From the Crypt, House of Secrets, Tales to Astonish, etc.).

* Trilogy of Terror

* Tales from Beyond the Grave

* Trick r Treat

* Tales from the Darkside

* Creepshow

* Body Bags

* The House That Dripped Blood

* Black Sabbath

* BONUS - Twilight Zone: The Movie

RECENT ENTRIES - Made since I was in high school, these movies didn't see runs in grindhouses, and few were ever viewed in drive-in movie theaters.The internet has produced more buzz for these than for any movies of generations past.Accordingly, they've been made for smaller budgets and earned exponentially more money.Chances are you've seen these already, but some respect is owed them for what they've accomplished.

* The Descent

* Paranormal Activity

* Saw

* Drag Me To Hell

* Grave Encounters

* Insidious

* Cabin in the Woods

* The Mist

* The Sixth Sense

* Planet Terror

* The Blair Witch Project

* The Others

* BONUS - The Orphanage

PERSONAL FAVORITES - None of these movies really made any strides for the genre, and none were smash hits.They just found their way to my television, and I've designated them as something special that I anticipate watching multiple times for Halloweens to come.

* Night of the Creeps

* Night of the Demons

* Hell Night

* Visiting Hours

* House on Sorority Row

* Slaughter High

* Witchboard

* The Lost Boys

* The Burning

* The Fog

* Intruder

* The Prowler

* The Sentinel

* The Changeling

* Alone in the Dark

* BONUS - Terror Train
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