Thursday, October 29, 2009

Flicks that Capture that Good Ol' Halloween Spirit - Miss War


What's that?


The leaves are changing.  The air is crisp (except for during solar flares).  The nights are longer, which means more time spent inside avoiding vamp attacks and snuggling up in front of the TV, or fire, or TV on fire.  And for those nights, nothing beats a cup of warm apple cider and a good old fashioned scary movie. Except maybe a cup of apple cider spiked with vodka.

When we think of Scary Movies, we too often think of a psycho on a murderous rampage with a big ass knife, wicked claws, or an evil set of torture games.  But Miss War (that'd be me!) is feeling uncharacteristically passive today, and I'd like to curl up with some of the best atmospherically brooding films that have ever captured the spirit that is HALLOWEEN!

1.     VERTIGO (1958)
The fog. The ghost stories. The betrayals.  The swirly hairdo.  Psycho may have the slash, but Vertigo has the class.  Hitchcock's masterful tale of possession and obsession tops this Horsewoman’s lists of atmospheric October chillers. 

2.     THE HAUNTING (1963)
This original ghost story gives us a house with an attitude and a night full of organic scares.  Made in the time before computer generated special effects, The Haunting had to trust it’s story telling and camera work to scare the crap out of you. And it still does.  I dare Rolland Emmeric to destroy the world with this kind of artistry using only lights, camera angles, and creepy music.  DARE!

      3.     SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE (2000)
We too often mistakenly credit his turn as the Green Goblin in SPIDERMAN with labeling Willhem Dafoe the “Creepiest Man Alive.” But all we have to do is look at this artsy Vamp flick to know that just ain't true.  Portraying a lonely, hungry, malnourished Vamp mistaken for an actor and cast as the Drac-knock off, Nosferatu, WD sends chills down your spine in every scene.

    4.     THE EXORCIST (1973)
      A priest, the Devil, and a lamppost walk into a bar.  Wait… no, wrong story.  This time they battle for the soul of a little pea-spewing, crab-walking girl in the classic 1973 film.

      5.     SLEEPY HOLLOW (1999)
No one understands Halloween QUITE like our good friend Tim Burton.  (The visually stunning and distinct milieu of Burton’s extensive body of work inspired us Horsewomen when we were designing the overall look and theme of our beloved apocalypse.  Can you tell?)  And nowhere does the Halloween atmosphere seep into your bones like it does in the small, damp, chilly town of Sleepy Hollow.  Annnnd, it’s got Johnny Depp.

      6.     THE SHINING (1980)
Yes, I know this technically features an “axe murderer” who “slashes” away at his family.  But I personally like The Shining for it’s uber psychotic empty hotel that sends us all slowly spiraling into insanity. Particularly the cold, stark red bathrooms.  When I found myself caught at the Standard Downtown immediately after the Apocalypse hit, THIS is the movie that I couldn’t get out of my head.  (Luckily Jack Nicholson was at a Zombie Lakers game that night.)

     7.     DONNIE DARKO (2001)
A trippy, bunny-induced count down to Halloween night all about time, space, life, death, fate, destiny, and love – and set to a rockin’ 80’s soundtrack!  Donnie Darko, we’d love you even more if you didn’t spawn a generation of “twee” movies that just won’t die.

      8.     POLTERGIEST (1982)
The only thing scarier than this television-obsessed child is the REAL LIFE curse behind the series. Check it out.

Part Halloween. Part Christmas. Tim Burton’s stop-animation fantasy is a classic that lasts from October through December.  Just ask Disneyland!

While modern zombie movies are more concerned with running from the virus at breakneck speed (28 Days Later), or poking fun at our brain-challenged friends (Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland, ahem), George Romaro’s classic masterpiece was about the quiet terror the characters experienced while WAITING for the zombies to arrive.  Just sittin' around, fighting, and filling their fortress house with tension.  Now THAT’s a brooding atmosphere you can really take a… bite… out of?

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