Brandon's Top 5 Horror Films for Halloween


The horror genre is one which is quite special to me as it takes me back to treasured movie-going experiences with loved ones. Therefore seeing that today is Halloween and also the fact that horror films are synonymous with the holiday, I figured I'd go down the list of my Top 5 films to watch for your viewing pleasure today. Now, I will say that this list was incredibly hard for me as there are awesome classics out there, so there were instances in which some films received ties in some of the spots.

First, however, I will start with my 5 Honorable Mentions. Now, the reason for this list is due to the fact that I love all the films listed here, but - for one reason of another - have dropped out of my Top 5 in the genre (especially as a watch recommendation for Halloween).

 

HONORABLE MENTIONS

5. WISHMASTER

Premise: A demonic djinn attempts to grant its owner three wishes, which will allow him to summon his brethren to Earth.

In a world where the genie (to many) came in the form of a jolly entity voiced by Robin Williams, it was refreshing to come across this film which turned that idea on its head by making the entity more malevolent and sinister. Played terrifically by the frequently underrated Andrew Divoff, the sinister "spins" that his djinn character enacted on wishes were a sight to behold. With that said, this film is full of gory moments if you are a gore hound. Don't believe me? See "the casino scene" that acts as the film's climax!

4. EVENT HORIZON

Premise: A rescue crew investigates a spaceship that disappeared into a black hole and has now returned...with someone or something new on-board.

Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson (who would go on to direct the RESIDENT EVIL film franchise), the film for all intensive purposes is a haunted house story; however, instead of being in a house, it instead takes place on a space ship. Starring an all star cast that includes the likes of Laurence Fishbourne, Sam Neil (who will reappear on my list later), and Jason Isaacs, the film starts off as a slow burn horror story that makes great use of the isolation that could come with being on a large abandoned space ship. However, once it becomes clear to the crew - and us, the audience - what has happened to the ship in question (which I won't spoil), all bets are off as the gory & horrific moments are racheted up a great deal and never truly let up until the credits roll!

3. THE MIST

Premise: A freak storm unleashes a species of bloodthirsty creatures on a small town, where a small band of citizens hole up in a supermarket and fight for their lives.

I'll be honest, this film nearly made my Top 5 if it wasn't for the long-standing effect each of the other place holders (both in Honorables & in Top 5) have had on me in terms of their respective timelessness as a single entry or its body of work as a franchise. With that said, I can't say enough great things about this film. Based on Stephen King's novel of the same name, writer/director Frank Darabont crafted a film that pulls no punches and is full of nightmarish imagery (see spider creatures). Another fantastic element of this film that I've failed to mention is the acting, which is not something you hear as a highlight in horror films. Thanks to a ridiculously talented cast that includes Thomas Jane, Andre Braugher, Marcia Gay Harden, Toby Jones, and tons more, the horror is much effective as many of the characters are easily relatable and realistic - making it that much harder when s&%t starts to hit the fan. Lastly, in commenting further on Darabont's "pull no punches" approach to the film adaptation, the ending to the film will remain unforgettable to me as I remember being in the theater with my jaw-dropped watching its final moments.

Fun Fact - Since writer/director Frank Darabont was the original showrunner for AMC's The Walking Dead, many of the series alums (Laurie Holden, Jeffrey DeMunn, Melissa McBride)were cast in their roles on the show after Frank had worked with them in this film! In fact, Darabont originally sought to have actor Thomas Jane to be Frank Grimes.

2. SCREAM Franchise

Premise: A year after the murder of her mother, a teenage girl is terrorized by a new killer, who targets the girl and her friends by using horror films as part of a deadly game.

Another great film that has created a solid franchise overall (minus perhaps the fourth installment) is the SCREAM Franchise. It's dissection of common horror tropes was something not really seen when it came on the scene. Add to this, the opening scene of its first installment (in which a well known actress got killed in the film's opening), and you get a franchise that frequently and enjoyably broke what you came to expect from horror films.

1. HOCUS POCUS

Premise: A curious youngster moves to Salem, where he struggles to fit in before awakening a trio of diabolical witches that were executed in the 17th century.

Ok. I understand (for many) this would be in your Top 5, but thanks to the selections featured further down, it JUST got knocked out. Alright, so with that now out the way, this film is a childhood favorite of mine (and still fun) as it's full of memorable characters (Sanderson witches, the zombie Billy, the cat Thackery) and moments (see "I Put A Spell on You" song). Though it touches on some matures concepts (that upon further inspection are quite dark), it is Disney'ed down in such a way so that younger audiences are able to it. In other words, if you're trying to steer clear of super violent or gory material, this film is the way to go.

Alright, without further adieu, my Top 5.....Enjoy!

 

5. FINAL DESTINATION Franchise