Five horror films for Halloween

Alexander Kohnstamm

The weekend of Halloween is upon us, so I felt it was necessary to assist those of you looking for truly terrifying weekends, and those who need help sifting through the thousands of horror movies out there. I present here a list of my personal top five horror films, along with some others to help. I’m not an expert on horror films – I’m actually more jumpy then most people – but I think I have come together with a good list of movies to watch this weekend.
“Psycho” (1960)
Norman, the crazed killer played by Anthony Perkins in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic thriller, may not have racked up a huge body count, but this character did spawn a large body of imitators. Janet Leigh’s blood-curdling scream in the infamous shower scene also inspired a genre standard. Interestingly, Hitchcock chose to film the movie in black and white for the pure reason that it would look too gory in color.
“Night of the Living Dead” (1968)
George Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead” brought fresh life to the horror genre with the introduction of mindless, cannibalistic zombies as movie monsters. The idea of a villain with no compassion or logic who would never stop until destroyed scared the heck out of both star Judy O’Dea and movie audiences.
“Alien” (1979)
“Alien” brought a new spin to the “haunted house” concept, but limited to the confines of space. Director Ridley Scott’s sci-fi thriller pitted a dwindling spaceship crew against the titular creature that’s stalking them onboard the ship. The movie made Sigourney Weaver a star and spawned the fantastic 1986 movie “Aliens.”
“Saw” (2004)
It is unfortunate that those behind this franchise got the idea in their head to churn out a new installment every year since the original, no matter what the quality. The series has gone up and down in its five sequels to date, but it all started with the original. “Saw” may have ushered in a briefly dumb era of “torture porn” type movies – “Hostel,” “Captivity,” etc. – but the original premise for the film was rock solid, and two men in a rotting bathroom armed only with hacksaws was a chilling setting for a film.
“28 Days Later” (2002) / “28 Weeks Later” (2007)
In my personal opinion, “28 Days Later” was responsible for bringing back some quality work to the horror genre. The story centers on one main character who awakens in a hospital, 28 days after a virus had broken out that turned humans into hyperactive, bloodthirsty zombie-like creatures that become known as “the infected.” It isn’t “Dawn of the Dead,” but great visuals – the most memorable being the haunting visual of a deserted London – and a fantastic storyline make this an excellent addition to the horror genre.
Other films to consider for this weekend: “Se7en” (1995), a twisted-psychological thriller directed by David Fincher, which tops the list on suspense; “Audition” (1999), directed by Japanese horror legend Takashi Miike; “The Ring” (2002), which gave evidence that there were some people in the film industry who actually cared about making new unique horror stories; and “Session 9” (2001), one of the best and most effective psychological thrillers that I’ve ever seen.