Arts & Features Editor
Scary movies have been a staple of October for as long as most of us can remember. As we reach the latter half of the month, The Gatepost staff would like to take this opportunity to suggest some of our favorite spooky films. This week, we have seven classic horror movies everyone should watch to get into the spirit of Halloween. So curl up with your favorite autumnal blankets and a couple good friends and get ready for a scare! Check back next week as we bring you some of the best recent horror films.
Arts & Features Editor
Wes Craven’s “Scream” is a subversive deconstruction of the horror genre.
It’s witty, sly and also an effective slasher film. It’s a horror classic that makes fun of other horror films – but unlike the “Scary Movie” franchise, it’s still centered on horror, gore and making the viewer tense with anticipation.
The film makes fun of cliché horror tropes while also using them to its advantage – such as death by sin – and the characters point out horror flaws throughout the film.
The plot seems like that of any sterotypical horror film – a peaceful town brought to chaos by a killer who ends up stalking one of the main characters. However, there’s a twist that has you second-guessing every character, and even though it seems obvious, you aren’t quite sure who the killer is.
Sidney Prescott, played by Neve Campbell, is an iconic horror heroine whom you’re rooting for throughout the film – she breaks the “dumb heroine” trope and even points out at one part of the film that she hates dumb characters.
Craven’s knack for horror is still prevalent in this film, and just like the “Nightmare on Elm Street” series, “Scream” has its sequels – though the first film is definitely the best.
It reinvents the melodrama of horror, offers a new spin to the slice-and-dice antics, and serves as a biting commentary on slasher conventions.
The Evil Dead
Arts & Features Editor
Sam Rami’s 1981 horror classic, “The Evil Dead,” marked the beginning of one of cinema’s best trilogies.
Along with “Evil Dead II” and “Army of Darkness,” this film has garnered one of the most loyal cult followings of all time – and for good reason.
The plot is simple – five college students drive out to spend spring break in a cabin in the woods. There, they find an ancient book ,which causes them to release a hoard of demons.
While not necessarily the most terrifying horror movie, “The Evil Dead” shines in its cinematography, special effects, set design and characters.
Rami’s vision as writer and director is put on display throughout the entire film – from the ominous drive up to the cabin, to some truly surreal shots during the film’s climax.
Ash Williams, played by Bruce Campbell, is one of the strongest characters to come out of the horror genre. His arc throughout not just this film, but the entire trilogy and beyond is a joy to watch unfold.
After watching all three films, fans don’t have to worry because the ongoing STARZ series, “Ash vs. Evil Dead” is not quite on-par, but definitely won’t disappoint.
Asst. Arts & Features Editor
In 1980, director Stanley Kubrick debuted the film “The Shining,” which is based off the 1977 novel by Stephen King.
The film, which stars a young Jack Nicholson, is about an aspiring writer named Jack who takes the never-filled position as the caretaker for an off-season hotel and moves in with his wife Wendy and son Danny.
Since the movie is classified as horror, it is safe to say that there is a reason the hotel has not been able to obtain an off-season caretaker.
The plot, which follows a chilling descent into madness, was the start of a new wave of psychological horror.
It introduces Danny’s imaginary friend to represent “shining,” or the ability to see the hotel’s past. This ability, mixed with Jack’s decline, is what causes fear in the audience.
The movie is a classic because it proves that a horror film does not need jump scares to be terrifying.
While the film does have elevators full of blood and disturbing hallucinations, it does not have a high amount of gore – your stomach will be grateful.
The ultimate brilliance of “The Shining” is its rewatchability. There is always a new easter egg or nuance to discover, which makes the movie increasingly enjoyable the more times it is watched.
Asst. Arts & Features Editor
The 1996 teen-supernatural thriller “The Craft,” centers around four high school witches who invoke the spirit Menon, a fictional Wiccan God, creating chaos among the four – a vexatious girl-power-gone-wrong scenario.
The film, as a whole, pushes past the realms of reality using devilish imagery, all while incorporating real Wiccan practices.
Director Andrew Fleming hired Wicca consultant Pat Devin for the movie, who adapted real-life common Wiccan rituals and shaped the narratives of each character in the film, according to BuzzFeed. It also is stated that Fairuza Balk, who plays Nancy, one of the four witches, is a real-life Wiccan.
Nancy is quite unnerving. Coming from an abusive household, she acquires the power of Menon and casts her revenge upon one of the other three witches, Sarah, who she feels is threatening due to her natural magick ability. Balk perfectly portrays the villain with her dangerous unstable behavior and provocative charm.
The movie, although creepy, is abundant with dark humor, and can be compared to a horror version of “Mean Girls,” as the four witches ooze sex appeal.
Ultimately, “The Craft,” embodies humorous supernatural teenage angst that is enjoyable for even the weirdest of viewers.
The Silence Of The Lambs
“The Silence of the Lambs” is a thrilling movie that is centered around Clarice Starling, played by actress Jodie Foster, who gets sent to interview serial killer Hannibal Lecter while she’s still in training to become an FBI Agent.
Starling’s superior sends her to interview Lecter, with the motivation that she would be able to get information about an active serial killer, Buffalo Bill.
Lecter, portrayed by Anthony Hopkins, is as charming as he is chilling, and every scene between him and Agent Starling is enthralling. The two share a chemistry that you wouldn’t expect between an FBI Agent and a serial killer.
Agent Starling took the time to build rapport with Lecter, and the unsettling nature of their relationship helps build suspense throughout the movie.
It would be unjust to not go into further detail about Buffalo Bill, played by Ted Levine. Buffalo Bill and his crimes are central to the relationship between Agent Starling and Lecter, but Levine’s portrayal of this character stands alone.
Buffalo Bill is such a terrifying character because of how normal he can make himself appear, and how easy it is for him to capture his victims.
The final 20 minutes of this movie are undoubtedly the most frightening, but the buildup created by the complex relationships among the characters is just as essential to making “The Silence of the Lambs” a must-see creepy movie for this Halloween season.
“Alien,” directed by Ridley Scott, is an absolute must-watch this Halloween season.
It revolutionized the horror movie industry with its unique space setting, the first of its kind. The basic rundown is that an alien has made its way onto the spaceship Nostromo. The crew quickly learn they are in great peril against the “perfect organism” and must fight for their lives.
The element that really stands out in this movie is its use of special and practical effects. It still holds up 38 years later, which shows it really does stand the test of time.
The design of the Xenomorph is one of the best alien concepts to date, not to mention one of the most iconic movie monsters of all time.
The performances of the whole crew are absolutely exceptional, especially Sigourney Weaver. The crew is very natural and it is hard not to feel sympathetic for their situation.
The alien isn’t even on screen for that much time, but honestly this adds to the paranoia. There are no cheap jump scares, nor any horror tropes – all the action on screen has a purpose and feels fitting.
Ridley Scott’s use of small space really makes the audience feel claustrophobic, which adds even another level of horror.
This Alfred Hitchcock slasher/thriller is one of the most well-known horror movies of all time. Everyone knows of the film’s iconic shower scene, even if they haven’t seen it.
“Psycho” was the psychological horror movie that essentially defined the genre. The film is expertly made – just like all of Hitchcock’s films.
This film is the epitome of suspense. Every scene is full of tension and thrill. The scenes feel awkward and uneasy, in a way that keeps the audience’s interest.
This is achieved by actor Anthony Perkins in his role as Norman Bates. His scenes are downright bizarre. He’s portrayed at times as a rather polite individual, but there’s always something that’s clearly off.
The movie doesn’t rely on jump scares to send shivers down your spine. The film is filled with plot twists, full of surprises never seen in film before, and it’s executed in a way that holds up to this day.
If you want to get into classic cinema and iconic horror, this is a must watch. On top of that, the film spawned a five-season T.V. series that recently concluded on A&E called “Bates Motel.”