Posts Tagged ‘Halloween’

Trick ‘r Treat

In Film on October 28, 2011 at 4:15 pm

This year, I decided to invite 9 friends, colleagues and heroes to pick their favorite horror film to round out a top ten list for this blog. Is this a self-marketing opportunity for a few people on my last-minute email blast, or pure laziness on my part to add content to a self-imposed albatross around my neck?  You decide. Happy Halloween.

Jeffrey Reddick


The original NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET is my favorite horror film of all time.  Creatively, it’s Wes Craven at his peak.  An original idea, imaginative direction, layered writing, ground breaking special fx, a strong heroine and iconic villain come together to create a brilliantly memorable film. This movie also led me to New Line Cinema, the company that made my first film.  So, my love of this film is personal and professional.

Adam Rockoff

Author, Going To Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film

THE WATCHER IN THE WOODS is the scariest movie I have ever seen.  And I don’t mean it’s the scariest Disney movie I’ve ever seen.  I mean it’s the scariest movie.  Period.  It’s still one of the three or four movies I’m unable to watch alone in my house with the lights off.  While nostalgia surely plays a role in my love for the film, I’m not prejudiced by having seen it at an impressionable age; when I first saw WATCHER, I had already seen HALLOWEENROSEMARY’S BABY, and THE EXORCIST.  THE WATCHER IN THE WOODS took all of my adolescent fears—the fear of being kidnapped, the “Bloody Mary” legend, cults and strange rituals—and crystallized them into a single haunting image of a blindfolded, beautiful blonde girl reaching out from another dimension and beseeching anyone, anyone at all, to “Help Me!”

Michael R. Felsher

Director/Producer Red Shirt Pictures

I am going to choose an unheralded (for the most part) gem called EXORCIST III, which despite some obvious studio mandated malarkey is one of the most richly textured and intelligently written horror films I’ve ever seen.  With a veteran cast (most of whom are sadly no longer with us) headed by George C. Scott, Jason Miller, Ed Flanders, and featuring a volcanic performance from Brad Dourif, EXORCIST III stands on its own as a deeply creepy and unsettling look at the nature of evil.  Not to mention it contains one of the most memorable “jump out of your seat” scares of all time that could teach most of our new generation of fear filmmakers a thing or two.

Jeremy Kasten


I love the original PHANTOM OF THE OPERA for sheer scariness and a clear sense of gothic horror. I mean, Paris, Opera house, spinning ballet dancers and a guy whose face is really ugly, but not from an accident… but really from just looking like a skeleton. It’s the ultimate romantic monster theme movie because, unlike Beauty and the Beast, the monster is not furry and safe. Plus he’s crazy and wants to trap her underground and make her sing. Which is sexy and weird.

Staci Lane Wilson

Writer, film critic and director of THE KEY TO ANNABEL LEE

I could not possibly choose a horror film that’s a favorite, but here is a recent discovery: Robert Altman’s IMAGES (1972). Can’t believe I never saw, or even heard of, this movie before now. If you enjoy tense, psychological thrillers of the 70s like Roman Polankski’s THE TENANT, Nicholas Roeg’s DON’T LOOK NOW, Paul Wendkos’ THE MEPHISTO WALTZ, or Lucio Fulci’s THE PSYCHIC, then you must seek out IMAGES!

John Landis

Director of AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, ANIMAL HOUSE and author of Monsters In The Movies.

This question again?! I can never narrow it down to one: ISLAND OF LOST SOULS, FRANKENSTEIN, BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, RE-ANIMATORTHE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, KING KONG (original), NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (original), FREAKS, both versions of THE THING, Cronenberg’s remake of THE FLY, DEAD RINGERS, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (original), KWAIDAN and  PSYCHO.

Eddie Muller

Founder and President of The Film Noir Foundation, writer, filmmaker and Cultural Archeologist.

DON’T LOOK NOW. Although it’s more an eerie psychological suspense film, rather than straight horror film, Nicholas Roeg’s Venetian creep-fest had a profound effect on me when I first saw it as a teenager, and it maintains that stunning impact every time I watch it. Donald Sutherland’s desire to believe in the supernatural—that his dead daughter is trying to reach him—causes him to misinterpret everything happening around him, a truly horrifying idea. His mistake eventually destroys him in what is, to me, the most terrifying, gut-wrenching climatic montage I’ve ever seen in a film.

Jeffrey Schwarz

CEO of Automat Pictures, producer/director of SPINE TINGLER: THE WILLIAM CASTLE STORY and VITO.

FREAKS is a movie that continues to fascinate. The fact that Tod Browning was able to get that film made within the studio system is still remarkable, and he populated it with actual sideshow performers that he’d worked with in his carnival days. It definitely resonates by showing how the outsiders band together when crossed. It’s also completely perverse – you see a Siamese twin getting off as her sister is kissed, a midget lusting after a full-grown trapeze artist, the half man/half woman confounding the “normals,” and so much more. “Gooble, gobble, one of us! One of us!” might was well be a call to arms for all the freaks in the audience.

Lianne Spiderbaby

Writer for Fangoria, author of the upcoming book Grindhouse Girls: Cinema’s Hardest Working Women  and host of Fright Bytes.

This is the most difficult question in the world for me to answer, but (lately) my favorite (modern/post 1980) horror film is Ti West’s THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL.  This film blew my mind – it was so original, the rawness of it, and the ultra creepy feeling of the mansion where the whole story takes place.  The characters were genuine and authentic, and you don’t know who you can trust until they either end up dead, or show their true (devilish, cult-like) colors!  I highly recommend this film to anyone who hasn’t seen it this Halloween, and please, do yourself a favor and DO NOT read reviews or any plot spoilers before viewing.  Also, watch for a stellar lonely babysitter dance to the 80s hit, “One Thing Leads To Another” by The Fixx.  Order some pizza and treat yourself to THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL. It will scare you to death.

Elijah Drenner

Producer/Director of AMERICAN GRINDHOUSE and crotchety proprietor of this blog. Now get off my lawn.

Fresh in my mind is Paul Bartel’s deliciously perverse, PRIVATE PARTS. Produced by Gene Corman in 1972, this low-budget thriller is obviously inspired by PSYCHO (even the trailer make fine use of Hithcock’s favorite composer Bernard Herrmann’s exquisite soundtrack from THE NIGHT DIGGER) but it still has the power to surprise even the most jaded, seen-it-all-before contemporary film goer today. This particular horror film remains dear to me for one sole reason; I actually live about a mile from the King Edward Hotel, where the film takes place, in downtown Los Angeles and I walk by it almost once a week. Still fully operational, the building is located on the corner of Los Angeles St. and 5th Ave in the heart of Skid Row. The building and surrounding architecture still looks the same nearly 40s years later. One of these days, I’ll sneak inside and give myself a tour…