The Masked Reviewer's Masktacular Halloween Movie Guide for Scary Movies
Halloween time is almost here, and who better to comment on Halloween than a man who wears a mask all year round? Many readers undoubtedly have questions like "What does the Masked Reviewer wear on Halloween?" But, this is a guide for Halloween Scary movies, not a fashion corner. So, without further ado (because frankly, we all have too much ado in our lives), the Masked Reviewer is happy to present The Masked Reviewer's Masktacular Halloween Movie Guide for Scary Movies.
First of all, you should decide what kind of scary movie do you want. The Masked Reviewer is a fan of the comedy-horror film, such as the Evil Dead films. If you like scary combined with funny, then here are the films you should absolutely check out (the links will take you to Amazon where you may buy them). These are the best horror movies and the best funny horror movies, or the best comedy horror movies.
The sequel to Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2 is more of a remake of Evil Dead than it is a sequel. Starring Bruce Campbell and directed by Spiderman helmer, Sam Raimi (brother of Ted Raimi). This also comes in the Evil Dead II (Special Edition) version, which has more cools stuff. This is one of the Masked Reviewer's favorite films, and any horror fan should definitely see it.
The Evil Dead
The classic low-budget horror/comedy. It's low-budget, but it's great. You may notice if you try to purchase this film that there are about four hundred versions. Another one is The Evil Dead. The coolest version is probably The Evil Dead (Book Of The Dead Limited Edition). It comes in a DVD holder based on a book made out of dead skin. Eew.
Part three of the Evil Dead trilogy. If you've never seen it on DVD, you should know about the truly excellent alternate ending. You should also know that Army of Darkness is also available.
Another early film by a director who would go on to be hugely successful...Lord of the Rings's'ss Peter Jackson. He made this film with his friends over several years. He did all the special effects, which are rather impressive. He even plays two roles in the film. Funny, gory fun. The Limited Edition includes a "making of" feature, which is a must-have for Peter Jackson fans.
Another film by Peter Jackson. Lots of blood, lots of fun. Wacky.
Here's a film that horror lovers need to see. But...there are several! Don't get all bent out-of-shape, you horror film purists. The Masked Reviewer did, in fact, list the remake of George Romero's classic first. It's a bit more contemporary and in color, and some people like to see their blood run red (well, not their blood, but the blood in the movies, you know). The film is directed by Tom Savini, who is one of the great special effects artists (he also appeared in From Dusk 'Til Dawn as "Sex Machine"). If you want a cheap thrill, you can find Romero's original film for under $6 on DVD many places, because it's in the public domain. That doesn't mean you should miss it. Night of the Living Dead is available on-line.
Now, you'll see many films that use "living dead" in their titles but the only ones in the original trilogy are Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead: The Original Director's Cut (which takes place in a mall), and Day of the Dead. These are all worth seeing.
A wacky film by the Chiodo brothers. Really, the title says it all.
Shaun of the Dead. One of the funniest horror movies ever made. If you like zombies and comedy, this should be near the top of your list. And on top of it all...it's British! Smashing!
28 Days Later is a must-see for any horror fan. Another low-budget film (done on digital video), if there's any criticism to be made of the film, it's that it borrows heavily from its influences. But, even though 28 Days Later presents many familiar scenarios, it does it in a way that is still fresh and exciting. The Masked Reviewer's full review is here.
Wrong Turn features a cast of relative unknowns (Eliza Dushku is the big name) who get lost in hillbilly country. It has a couple of good scares and a few good laughs, and might be worth renting. The Masked Reviewer's full review is here.
House of 1000 Corpses is another loving homage to the horror genre, this time by Rob Zombie. Aside from having the funniest menu, Sid Haig gives a great performance as Captain Spaulding. The Masked Reviewer saw it and forgot to review it at first, but there's a little bit of a review up now here.
Joy Ride (starring Steve Zahn, Paul Walker, and Leelee Sobieski) is worth mentioning because of an outstanding feature on the DVD. It has a really, really, really long alternate ending. A very different one. Not a great film, but if you've seen everything a million times, the alternate ending on the DVD certainly is an alternative. From a few years back, Final Destination might be worth a look if you missed it in theaters. It's one of those rare films that has a few moments that are truly brilliant, and worth the price of admission on those moments alone. Of course, there's also The Ring which is a remake of the Japanese film Ringu. You only need to see one or the other, the American remake is very similar to the original...both are kind of interesting and moderately scary. And, for a fun actiony/horrific flick, check out Battle Royale, a Japanese ultra-violent kid's movie. It's a kid's movie in that kids do the killing. Oh yeah.
NOW PLAYING (from 2003, so it's technically not playing now)
You may be able to find Freddy vs. Jason in theaters. You might even be able to find Jeepers Creepers 2 in theaters, though who knows why you'd want to? The current king of the box office is Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but the Masked Reviewer hasn't seen it because he can't bare the thought of watching poor helpless chainsaws getting massacred. Underworld is a fine vampire/werewolf (there! There wolf!) film, but it could hardly be less scary. And, if you haven't seen Kill Bill, there's a lot of blood and guts...not scary, but definitely worth seeing.
If you've seen all of these films, you may wonder why the Masked Reviewer's list is so short. "What about. THIS one? What about THAT one?" Well, sure, the Masked Reviewer has left off many top films. That's because he kind of forgot that Halloween was so soon. So, feel free to leave any important omissions in the Feedback section, and if the Masked Reviewer agrees that it's an all time classic, he'll put it up here. Of course, the Masked Reviewer does lean towards suspenseful and funny films, which is why you won't see a lot of 80's hack-n-slash flicks up here.
Happy viewing and happy Halloween!
Copyright 2003, Michael D. Lynn