Ah, yes — it’s that time of the year again.
The ground is blanketed with a trifecta of red, green and yellow hues, the underlying earth heavy and damp with locked in moisture. The sky overhead is a canvas of white and grey, swirled strokes of the brush that’s never before displayed dismal intimations with such harmonic benevolence. The air, crisp and cool, with every breeze of October wind carrying with it the subtlety of decayed leaves and burning maple wood; the aroma conjures up a slideshow projected on a wall behind our eyes, one of fleeting childhood memories — when our carefree attitudes and unencumbered lives allowed us to swat away the existence of mortality, leaving fear behind (or rather faced it) as we trick-or-treated in a suburb crawling with plastic monsters and counterfeit superheroes.
The cider brews; the chili stews. Children laugh as they disembowel pumpkins, ripping out piles of fleshy orange guts; their too-eager, unsteady hands carve abstract faces into jack-o’-lanterns, whose horrifying expressions would compliment even the most veteran of plastic-surgery-goers. “Basic white girls” search-and-destroy through supermarket aisles, battle-ready with their UGG boots, quilted vests and sleek black leggings, hoping to nab the last batch of pumpkin spice candle wax cubes. Afterwards, they celebrate the spoils of war by damming up Tim Horton drive-thrus for the seasonal Pumpkin Spice Iced Capp. The reign of terror ends with them driving their Subarus into the setting sun, pumpkin spice spitting from the exhaust as they selfie that chic shit for Instagram.
But enough with the poetry.
What October’s really about is basic cable channels like AMC playing 24-hour horror blocks of all your favorite scary movies.
This list tries to honor both the classic and contemporary, and in no particular order because let’s face it — it’s a difficult feat all in itself to narrow things down like this, when so many commendable films hail from the dusty, cob-webbed Honorable Hall of Horror.
So without further ado, here’s Post-Creditz‘s Top 10 Chill ‘r Treat Halloween picks:
1. Evil Dead 2 (1987)
Arguably the best film of the cabin-horror subgenre, Evil Dead 2 is the highly acclaimed sequel to director Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead (1981).
You read that right — I said sequel. Let me say it again — SEQUEL. It’s a common misconception in the Evil Dead fan-base that the second installment in Raimi’s splat-stick horror/comedy trilogy is, in fact, a redo of the first film. The truth is that Raimi and his creative team were unable to use the scenes from the first to recap transpired events due to copyright issues. So they said the hell with it, opted to start from scratch, and refilmed the beginning altogether to show how Ash made it back to the cabin.
A major driving-force for the sequel’s (and original’s) possibility and success came in the unlikely form of literary horror master himself, Stephen King. After Raimi failed to acquire the funds to make his gore-filled follow-up, King made a few calls — because he’s an omnipotent guy like that — and pulled enough strings to get Raimi his money.
Even the original entry owes many thanks to the writer of renowned works such as IT and Salem’s Lot, because after King gave The Evil Dead some pretty stellar reviews at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival (quoted as saying it was the “most ferociously original film of the year”), it wasn’t long before word-of-mouth attracted the curiosity of critics. Shortly afterwards, New Line Cinema acquired the rights for domestic distribution — and everything that followed is cinematic history. The film cemented director Sam Raimi’s and star Bruce Campbell’s careers in Hollywood, leading to hits like the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man films. (Wait…you’re telling me there’s a THIRD Spider-Man? And it’s NOT a hit? Weird. I must have locked that memory up somewhere in the cellar with Henrietta for safekeeping.)
Why: A group of strangers trapped in a remote cabin in the dead-center (pun intended) of an inescapable forest. A ‘Book of the Dead’ that summons cackling, creepy-as-hell demon-zombie hybrids called Deadites. Practical effects alone that are enough to warrant multiple viewings within a 24-hour period.
See it. Love it. Get “groovy” with it.
2. Cabin in the Woods (2012)
Maybe I should just go ahead and address the group here: My name is D.J….and I have an addiction to cabin-horrors. There’s just something indisputable about their Halloween-friendly context — a weekend getaway meant to be a fun, cozied-up stay at a secluded cottage in the middle of nowhere; every crunch of twig and leaf amplified by mute, uninhabited surroundings. Anything can be out there, because the wilderness is a free reign for whatever person or creature slips between its trees — and you’re rendered a sitting duck, vulnerable to anything and everything that may be watching from just behind a hedgerow in the distance.
But indulge me a little — hear me out on this one.
The movie’s cleverly crafted script hails from the combined minds of Joss Whedon (Firefly, The Avengers) and Drew Goddard (Marvel’s Daredevil, Cloverfield), the latter of which also directed the film. The story uses meta-textual commentary to simultaneously poke fun and pay homage to all of the cabin-horror subgenre films that precede it; the sheer multitude of tongue-in-cheek references to classic ’80s horror is enough to make even the most cynical movie-goer grin in delight. It plays less like a rulebook (a la Scream), and more like an interactive puzzle for horror enthusiasts to decode throughout its 95-minute runtime.
It’s that interactive part that makes it so unique and memorable. It uses every classic horror trope in existence for its arsenal of scares, by spreading them out on a table and asking the audience: “What’s it going to be next? Zombies? Werewolves? The dreaded MERMAN?” It’s a trivial playhouse for diehard genre fans, both entertaining and quick-witted in terms of narrative. It’s scary without being overbearing, and funny without delving too far into self-parody.
Why: Four unsuspecting horny college kids plan a boozy, drug-induced getaway at a remote cabin in — well, you get it by now. It’s a funhouse of horror (literally in its third act), with a light enough tone to boost the meta-movie’s rewatchability level into the grim, full-mooned sky above.
3. The Thing (1982)
Some of you are probably saying “Finally, a sci-fi/horror makes an appearance.” First — you need to take a step back and calm down with your hasty self, before I assume you’re hosting a parasitic extraterrestrial life-form. I warn you — I take no chances with that shit. Because, if you’re anything like myself, this film terrifies you as much as it does me.
The backdrop of the movie is set to the icy, remote, no-one-can-hear-you-scream tundra of Antarctica. It’s like Ridley Scott’s Alien, not only in the sense that both films utilize monsters with interdimensional origins, but that you’re helpless against whatever may be lurking around the corner. No one’s coming for you out here. It’s just you, the ‘thing,’ and if you’re lucky, a flamethrower or two — or seven. Preferably seven. Even then, your chances of survival are slim to none, as you’re not only battling some ungodly creature who perfectly imitates its host, but the sub-zero environment as well. All cards on deck read lose/lose. The only miniscule shred of positivity you can hold onto is that by the end of it all, you may be able to die as YOU.
Horror pioneer of the late ’70s and early ’80s, director John Carpenter crafted a remake of 1951’s The Thing from Another World that truly, in many people’s opinions, far surpassed the original. The organism that’s carried to the facility via an Alaskan Malamute in the beginning is a — thing — that replicates its host with one hundred percent accuracy.
In one sequence, American pilot R.J. MacReady (played by Kurt Russell) and the facility’s biologist discover the burned remains of a corpse. Not so weird, right? I mean, we’ve seen that kind of shtick before. Sure, it’s disturbing to see a charred human body and all, but — oh wait…did I say human? How silly of me. What I meant was humanoid — because this disturbing looking mothertrucker has two faces, as if one isn’t hair-raising enough. The corpse is later dissected, where they discover that everything — internal organs and all — have been perfectly duplicated.
The atmosphere throughout the movie is incredibly tense, with an eerie score by Ennio Morricone that only serves to exemplify that tension into a whole other plane of existence.
Why: Small group of people are sitting ducks as a parasitic organism tears through each of them, until the last remaining ones are driven to the brink of insanity with paranoia. This one, like Evil Dead 2, also gets major props for its impressive practical effects; especially for the disturbing transformation scenes alone. The Thing doesn’t just get under my skin because of its ruthless play on the human psyche; once the credits begin to roll, something about it leaves me with most bizarre urge to take a shower and scrub myself of its filth.
You know – in a good way.
4. Trick ‘r Treat (2007)
Michael Dougherty (who has since directed 2015’s holiday horror Krampus, and is slated to helm Godzilla: King of the Monsters in 2019) made his directorial debut with a little Halloween anthology flick, properly titled Trick ‘r Treat. It’s a deep and invigorating inhale of fresh air, especially in a world where modern horror revolves around familiar formulas and dime-a-dozen new-age tactics. There’s an unequivocal, high-class B-Movie feel to it, bringing to mind ’80s Joe Dante horror/comedy hits like Gremlins and The ‘Burbs.
The story centers around five interwoven tales of terror, each occurring on the same Halloween night. Wearing raggedy orange footie-pajamas and a brown burlap sack over his head, a mysterious little trick-or-treater named Sam helps to stitch together the film’s plot, showing up like a vengeful ghost of All Hallows’ Eve whenever a character breaks tradition. The result is a gory good time, chalked full of thrills, chills and internal organ spills.
Despite having an extremely limited amount of public screenings, the film received mostly positive reviews from critics back in 2007. This is one of those rare Evil Dead situations, where word-of-mouth garnered the attention of a much wider audience, and thus — a cult-following was formed. In 2013, a sequel was announced to be in the works by the filmmakers, but has since grown quiet in the rumor-mill area.
Here’s to hoping that if we ever do get a sequel, Sam has matured into a less creepy, less murderous, and less —
You know what — never mind. Fuck that kid.
Why: What, mentioning that the movie captures the spirit of ’80s Joe Dante and packs enough blood to satiate even the most hardcore gore-fans isn’t enough for you? How about the title? No?
Easy now movie-goer — you never know when Sam might pop up and find your lack of faith very, very disturbing.
5. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Here we are — the film that took the unusual, real-life phenomenon dubbed ‘Asian Death Syndrome’ and gave it a face. If you feel your eyelids growing heavy on Elm Street, slipping ever so peacefully into a deep slumber – rest assured that Freddy’s sharpening his knives just on the other side. Because in the dream realm, Freddy Krueger rules. You’re helpless; nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. There’s absolutely nothing you can do. Because one-two…
“Freddy’s coming for you.”
Many sequels followed the Wes Craven directed Nightmare, but it should come as no surprise that none hold a candle to the original. It wasn’t until the later films that Freddy acquired his cheeky sense of black-humor, a trademark known to many contemporary fans of the franchise. In his 1981 debut, Freddy was written as a more traditional ’80s movie monster, a silent stalker in a similar vein to Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees. He swipes and slashes saying very little (if anything at all), and it makes his presence ever the more threatening.
Does this monster have a motive? Or is it just some kind of dream-demon, bent on using his victims’ minds as a torturous, soul-extracting playground? Rest easy (HA!) because Elm Street’s dark history eventually resurfaces, revealing the truth behind the sweater-wearing burn victim’s origins. The kids being hunted and slaughtered, like sleeping fish in a barrel, are paying for the sins of their parents — and they’re cashing out on that debt with their very own, short-lived lives. In what appears to be your everyday, run-of-the-mill suburban neighborhood in Springwood, Ohio — the past comes back to haunt in a frightening, exceptionally surreal way.
As horror junkies, we owe a major debt of gratitude to New Line Cinema, A Nightmare on Elm Street‘s distributor and financer; here’s a company that’s acted as a life raft for many amateur filmmakers, resulting in some of the most iconic faces of the genre we have today. But the early ’80s were a trying time for the independent New Line, as the company found itself in a severe financial meltdown. It was writer/director Wes Craven’s Nightmare that threw the life raft out this time. The film’s box-office success saved New Line from certain bankruptcy, so much so that the movie distributor is still, to this day, referred to as “The House that Freddy Built.”
Why: Horribly scarred child-murderer returns from the dead, exacting vengeance on the children of those who burnt him alive in a dank old boiler room. You know, when you look at it from a certain perspective, it’s almost…poetic…
But then the steak-knived glove gets whipped out, and all notions of poetry just scatter to the wind.
6. It Follows (2016)
This one right here is probably every budding teenager’s worst nightmare (didn’t we just talk about those?). The supernatural/psychological horror film is directed by newcomer David Robert Mitchell, and made its world premiere at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival where it was picked up by RADiUS-TWC for distribution. First hitting the public with a limited screening in 2015, the indie hit progressed to a wide release where it was universally applauded by critics.
The movie wastes no time in setting its pace, dropping us smack dab in the middle of something terrifying; we don’t know what that ‘something’ is, but we see the expression on young Annie Marshall’s face as she turns a petrified eye towards something that’s (cleverly) kept off-screen. It’s enough to assume that whatever it is, it’s close — and it’s getting closer by the second.
The opening sequence adopts the tactic of leaving the entity-in-question to the audience’s imagination, igniting a flurry of ‘what ifs” inside our heads, as the advancing doom closes in on both Annie and the audience. There’s also the crafty camera utilization; the shot rolls in wide swoops as Annie looks back, leaving us with the uneasy thought that the unspeakable creature could be making its way from the back of the very theater we sit in. It plays with that psychological aspect all throughout, burying under your skin and never easing up on its bone-chilling grip around your thudding heart.
Schools should just throw out all the dusty, outdated VHS tapes that drone on and on about all the risks associated with sexual intercourse — because this film is sure to make any angsty teenage middle-schooler forsake all notions of intimacy. At least until those hormones dial it up a notch.
What this thing boils down to is a STD. No, not a sexually transmitted disease — a sexually transmitted demon. As funny as that sounds, it’s anything but in the film. As explained by the guy who passes the demon on to an unsuspecting Jay (played by Maika Monroe), the creature will find you wherever you are. It may take its leisurely time and track you at a walking pace — but it’s constantly making its way toward you, so you’re left with a life that consists of endlessly looking over your shoulder. Keep running and avoid a gruesome death, or succumb to the tiresome act of perpetual evasion. Or option three — give someone a night to remember, and pass that shit on quicker than chlamydia at a college frat party. Because if you don’t, no matter where you go or what you do — it follows.
Why: STD (that’s sexually transmitted demon); beautiful wide-angle shots that work to add an extra layer of suspense to the dread-filled 100-minute runtime; a synth-based soundtrack that, coupled with the simple premise of a monster that pursues at a plodding pace, harkens back to classic ’80s horror films. Which I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but — I kinda dig ’em.
7. The Return of the Living Dead (1985)
There’s probably going to be a lot of pissed off Romero fans, because none of his zombie flicks made this list. Believe me, it was a tough call — and I don’t use the word ‘tough’ lightly. Drawing upon inspiration from Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel I Am Legend, Romero reinvented the zombie genre, becoming one of those rare visionaries in cinema history who changes the game forever. Without him, we’d be out of a deal that consists of many undead fan-favorites, namely AMC’s The Walking Dead. The comic’s creator, Robert Kirkman, was directly influenced by Romero, having said this in regards to the late filmmaker’s ‘of the Dead’ legacy he left behind:
They’re the true north of what I’ve done in this series. The Walking Dead simply doesn’t exist without George A. Romero doing his movies first.
But Romero didn’t work alone.
John Russo co-wrote the screenplay for Night of the Living Dead with Romero, while also serving as producer on the 1968 cultural phenomenon. Both men parted ways after the completion of the film and Russo reserved the rights for any future films that featured ‘Living Dead‘ in the title — and so Return of the Living Dead clawed its way from the grave.
Oddly enough, Russo’s screenplay for the movie was being written while Romero worked on the second installment of his own separate franchise. Russo completed his script and the project nabbed Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) to direct, but Hooper dropped out in favor of working on another film — that other film being Lifeforce, which was ironically written by Dan O’Bannon, the man who would end up replacing Hooper in the director’s chair on Return of the Living Dead. When the scrambling studio nabbed O’Bannon, he agreed to helm the film on one condition: that he would be given the freedom to rewrite Russo’s story. According to O’Bannon, the script read like a serious sequel to Night of the Living Dead, and he didn’t want to “intrude so directly on Romero’s turf.”
The result was a new script that boasted a radical change from the original, injecting humor and splat-stick elements that gave the movie an entire new identity altogether. Unlike the zombies of the Romero films (which were never actually called zombies, but ghouls), the zombies in the Return of the Living Dead franchise feed only on their victims’ brains; it’s a signature of the series for them to aimlessly trudge around moaning “Braaaaains.” This was parodied in a season 11 South Park episode titled “Night of the Living Homeless,” where the poverty-stricken residents of South Park wailed “Chaaaaange.”
All in all, Return of the Living Dead is a much less serious version of a Romero film; which are great and everything (I feel like I’m saying this while holding off the advances of a violent mob with a pitchfork), but sometimes it just feels refreshing to watch a horror/comedy where the film only sets out to entertain, rather than provide underlying social and political commentary. It knows exactly what it is, setting out to be nothing more than a gory and explicitly bloody good time. Romero’s films will always be the pinnacle, there’s no denying that — but every now and then, you have to let the little guy eat his cake.
Or — his brains? Anyway…
Why: Heavy on both the humor and the brain-eating, with a freaky looking half-skeleton/half-corpse named “Tarman,” Return of the Living Dead is a perfect addition to anyone’s Halloween horror block. Oh and I almost forgot — the graveyard dance number with one of the punk-rockers named “Trash.” If you don’t know what I’m talking about — just watch it and thank me later.
8. Drag Me to Hell (2009)
Well would you look at that, Sam Raimi swings right back around for an unprecedented return — and in more ways than one.
After the abysmal atrocity that was Spider-Man 3 (though Raimi can be forgiven for this, since it’s been established that Sony became major, micro-managing dicks for the trilogy’s final outing), Raimi decided to revisit his horror/comedy, splat-stick roots. Alison Lohman stars in the film as a young loan officer who gets a good ‘ol gypsy curse slapped on her life, after refusing an elderly woman’s plea for an extension on her house mortgage.
After Christine (Lohman) refuses the woman’s appeal, she’s violently confronted by the craggy old loogie-machine in a parking garage, in what’s one of the many horrific highlights of the film. Even more terrifying than the initial confrontation though, is the scene that immediately precedes it; no movie in existence masterfully builds dread with the simplicity of a drifting handkerchief quite like this one. It’s a one-two wind up punch, knocking you out of your seat and leaving you reeling throughout the remainder of its gleefully wicked runtime.
And would you believe that’s just the beginning?
Things really kick up a notch once the demonic Lamia comes into play. Raimi’s idea for the hellish beast derives from an old Greek tale, one that parents told their children in order to get them tucked in for bedtime; basically if the kids weren’t asleep, the horned-and-hooved Lamia would eat them alive. I ask you — whatever happened to the good ‘ol days? You know, when you could just scare your children to sleep without being labeled some kind of character-sabotaging monster?
The Lamia is relentless in its torment of Christine, driving her to the brink of insanity with a terror-filled, three-day sabotage on her mortal soul — and that’s not even the worst part of it all. After allowing her to marinate in a warm batch of anomalous dread, the demon will appear one last time — to open up a direct portal to Hell, and drag Christine into its fiery embrace to smolder for all of eternity.
I mean, when you look at it from a certain point of view, it’s really just a lighthearted little reminder to never miss the chance to give gypsies what they want. Because they will fuck your life up…and steal your car tires afterwards.
The movie was welcomed with open arms by critics and audience members alike, calling it a return to form for Raimi, and a stage-setting redemptive arc after the craterous cavity created by the Spider-Man 3 bombshell.
Plot twist: Oz the Great and Powerful.
Kidding of course; I love my boy Raimi. No one in Hollywood can have a perfect cinematic clean streak. (In a pub somewhere in the UK, Christopher Nolan is dramatically shifting around on his bar stool to raise his glass and wink at the camera.)
Why: Gypsies, demons and a possessed talking goat. You heard me right…a talking goat. It sounds funny (which it is), but it’s simultaneously disturbing as hell to watch. For all you Evil Deadites out there, the film boasts plenty of references to the Bruce Campbell cult-hits of the ’80s — including the appearance of a certain ’73 Oldsmobile Delta 88.
Plus it’s Sam Raimi. That’s all the convincing I need. You tell me Raimi’s directing something, I’ll respond properly with a quote from the cursed Christine herself: “I’m gonna get some.”
9. Scream (1996)
Yep, Sam Raimi’s just one of three masters of horror who share two slots on this list. Like their diabolical creations, they refuse to lie down without having their “one last scare.”
Well, Billy Loomis got that final little hurrah — and then he took a bullet between the eyes from Neve Campbell’s unyielding heroine, and Scream‘s central character, Sidney Prescott. “Movies don’t create psychos; movies make psychos more creative!” Oh Billy boy — you had the psycho thing down, but the whole creative part could’ve used some definite fine-tuning.
The mid-’90s satirical slasher, directed by horror auteur Wes Craven, wasn’t just an innovative addition to the cinematic world of chillers upon its release — it completely revamped the genre, which for some time, had been bogged down by an endless array of direct-to-video sequels of established franchises like Friday the 13th, and Wes Craven’s own original creation, A Nightmare on Elm Street.
Scream swooped into theaters with radical resolve, introducing another generation of movie-goers to a brand new countenance of horror in the form of the very mortal Ghostface. Not a supernatural dream-stalker; not an invulnerable campsite killer with superhuman strength. Just a man (or is it men?) in a cheap store-bought Halloween mask, who gets a rise out of quizzing his victims on horror-movie trivia before slicing and dicing them with a modified Buck-120 hunting knife.
Scream takes place in the real world (aside from the fact it’s fictional), where all the ’80s horror hits serve as a comprehensive rulebook for “what not to do” throughout the entirety of the film. The clever tongue-in-cheek script, penned by Kevin Williamson (The Faculty), sees the characters flipping through numerous pages of genre clichés, subverting every one of them with witty dialogue and cheeky fourth-wall-breaking.
The movie became an instant cult-hit, spawning a few sequels that never quite touched upon the lightning-in-a-bottle magic of the first.
Why: Because you’re bored at home on one uneventful Halloween night. Nothing to do, no friends in town. You start popping some popcorn, throw a classic slasher on the TV — and then the phone rings. Thinking it’s someone you know, maybe one of your buddies whose plans have changed, you answer —
10. Halloween (1978)
Come on, you know you’re not surprised. Original Halloween helmer John Carpenter is indeed the third and final filmmaker to take his second bow on this list.
Halloween is accredited with reigniting the slasher-horror genre, drawing inspiration from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 cultural phenomenon, Psycho. Another direct link between the two films lies with their female leads. Janet Leigh — who plays the runaway real-estate secretary that’s fatefully butchered in Psycho‘s iconic shower scene — is, in fact, the mother of Jamie Lee Curtis, who depicts Halloween heroine Laurie Strode. This wasn’t entirely by accident, as director John Carpenter viewed the casting choice as an ultimate form of praise for the legendary Hitchcock, who died only two years later in 1980.
The premise follows an escaped patient from the fictional Smith’s Grove Sanitarium, a psychiatric hospital that lies about one hundred and fifty miles north of Haddonfield, Illinois, Halloween‘s focal backdrop. The patient’s name is Michael Myers — and he’s returning to his midwestern hometown of Haddonfield to stalk and kill his only living relative.
Michael Myers’ reign of terror began when he was just six-years-old, while wearing a clown costume and armed with a butcher knife, which would later become his trademark killing utensil. His first victim was his very own sister, Judith Myers, who the blank-faced “boogeyman” repeatedly gored after she had partaken in a few lustful activities with her boyfriend. Child psychiatrist, and one of Michael’s prime adversaries, Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence) is tasked with daily therapeutic sessions with the newly minted murderer, where he soon draws the conclusion that the disturbed child is an incarnation of pure evil itself. Labeled as catatonic and having exhibited comatose behavior, Smith’s Grove Sanitarium brushes Michael off as just another nut occupying the nut-house — but Dr. Loomis is convinced otherwise.
“I met him fifteen years ago, I was told there was nothing left; no reason, no conscience, no understanding in even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, of good or evil, right or wrong. I met this…six-year-old child with this blank, pale, emotionless face, and…the blackest eyes — the devil’s eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized that what was living behind that boy’s eyes was purely and simply…evil.”
Viewing Michael’s vacant behavior as a ruse employed to conceal the evil within, Loomis futilely tries to persuade the mental facility to transfer Michael to a maximum-security ward close by. When that fails, and Michael breaks free during a stormy night on October 30th — one day before Halloween — Loomis pursues the unhinged psychopath back to where it all began; and so commences the 1978 massacre of Haddonfield, Illinois. After stealing his signature white mask (actually a painted William Shatner face) from a convenience store, and a dirty blue jumpsuit from an unfortunate mechanic, the hunt is on — and 17-year-old Laurie Strode stands directly in Michael’s crosshairs.
Laurie Strode (Curtis), Michael’s sister and prime target (though we don’t discover the blood relation until the sequel), survives the carnage thanks to the ever vigilant Dr. Loomis. Michael’s former psychiatrist arrives just in the knick of time to fire off six bullets into Michael’s chest, sending him reeling backwards over the second story balcony. Now it’s all butterlfies and rainbows, because the killer is dead and the madness is over — right? Cue that all too familiar piano tune maestro, because Micheal is GONE.
Halloween was a trend setter, accredited with ushering forth the modern slasher. Many films tried to imitate it (namely Friday the 13th), but none came close to grazing the turf owned by the manifestation of evil, Michael Myers. Not to mention it was made on a shoestring budget and managed to be one of the most profitable independent films of all time. Plus, get this — there’s little to no blood in the movie, and yet the substantial impact it had on society is undeniable. “The killer dies and comes back again” trope? Yeah — that started here; along with a few other horror clichés you see in the modern multiplex. It’s held in such high-esteem that the United States National Film Registry selected the movie for preservation, due to it being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” It joined its parent-film Psycho in this regard, as the Hitchcock horror was also snatched up for safekeeping.
After all of that — do you really even need a Why?
Fine, here’s something: “It’s Halloween. Everyone’s entitled to one good scare.”
The Exorcist (1973)
The Conjuring 1&2 (2013/2016)
An American Werewolf in London (1981)
The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)
The Shining (1980)
The Witch (2015)
Day of the Dead (1985)
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
The Haunting (1963)
28 Days Later (2002)