Halloween is Thursday, and as expected, the decision has arrived as to what film will get one in the proper mood for candy munching long into the witching hours as jack-o’-lanterns flicker.
Here is a list of films that will guarantee a good night in.
6. “Rosemary’s Baby” (1968)
Roman Polanski’s first American film, and one of a handful of films that ushered in a new era of filmmaking known as the Hollywood Renaissance. Mia Farrow plays Rosemary Woodhouse, a woman whose pregnancy is just as weird as her Satan-worshiping neighbors. Polanski’s European temperament brings what appears to be on paper grind house material, into an urbane piece of film.
5. “Halloween” (1978)
If Alfred Hitchcock invented the slasher film genre with “Psycho,” then John Carpenter elevated the genre to new heights in a post-Vietnam era, and created one of the most iconic and terrifying villains in cinematic history with Michael Myers.
Notice the movie Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is watching on Halloween night: It is the 1951 science fiction classic “The Thing from Another World,” a film Carpenter would remake as “The Thing” in 1982.
4. “Night of the Living Dead” (1968)
Before “The Walking Dead” and Brad Pitt globe-trotting across the world battling comatose humans in “World War Z,” George Romero strapped his 16 mm camera across rural Pennsylvania and single handily invented a genre. It is a film that still shocks and astounds 45 years later with its potent and disturbing images.
3. “Ed Wood” (1994)
Tim Burton’s best film may also be Johnny Depp’s best as well.
Based on the true story of famed cult director, Depp plays the title character in a story about a man’s quest for Hollywood glory that ultimately eludes him during his lifetime. Martin Landau plays horror-icon Bela Lugosi, who in his years of decline, starred in Wood’s films such as “Bride of the Monster” and “Plan 9 From Outer Space” (both available to view for free on Hulu and YouTube).
Landau won a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his role. The film is a nice alternative for those wishing to stay away from the usual screams, and will make a great double feature with another Burton and Depp film made five years later in “Sleepy Hollow.”
2A. “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” (1992)
Francis Ford Coppola displayed brief flashes of his brilliance that was so prevalent in the 1970s with this film. Gary Oldman plays the Count, and turns the bloodsucker into a sympathetic and tortured character. Neo, aka, “The One,” aka, Keanu Reeves plays the comb-over Jonathan Harker.
2B. “Horror of Dracula” (1958)
This film brought Hammer Film Productions in England to worldwide fame. Christopher Lee’s Dracula is creepy and cheesy all at the same time. Watch the film in HD to really experience the eye candy of colors and fog-heavy atmosphere.
1. “The Wolf Man” (1941)
During the glory years of the Hollywood star system, Universal Studios was known for one thing: the monster film. Lon Chaney Jr. plays the doomed Larry Talbot, a man bitten by a wolf. It is 70 minutes of sheer joy, a fine example of makeup artist Jack Pierce’s brilliance and a film that changed the way we look at full moons.