Four horror movies for Halloween 2016

Halloween is approaching, and I watched a few horror movies recently to enjoy the atmosphere of the October. Spoilers follow – be careful about going into the woods.

It doesn’t change into autumn, where I’m from, in early October, but the atmosphere does change a bit, and the nights are still cold.

I saw 4 horror movie recently in the lead up to Halloween 2016. Here’s my thoughts and ideas on them:

The Gallows (2013) Metacritic score of 30 – I thought it was a bit better than 30/100, with some great atmosphere and setting. Definitely suitable for Halloween watching if you don’t mind the found footage genre or unlikeable protagonists.

Back in the early 1990’s a high school put on a play that ended in a terrible accident, but twenty years later, a drama student named Pfeiffer pushes the drama department to try the play again, and maybe try and redeem it.

Unfortunately, the lead actor can’t project, and his best friend is a Jerk. They decided to sneak into school at night to destroy the set and stop the play.

Starting as a found footage movie, this film shifts gear into a supernatural team slasher.

The characters are misanthropic vandals. I didn’t like any of them, but unlikeable protagonists is a big part of some horror films.

Theatres and schools both have a certain chilling atmosphere at night when they’re empty and quiet, and this film certainly delivers on atmosphere. The supernatural special effects are also suitably scary, without relying on jump scares too heavily.

Chernobyl Diaries (2012) Metacritic score of 32 – I thought this was accurate. The film started well, but was not coherent all the way through, with less then memorable characters (Except for Nathan Philips). Not really good Halloween viewing.

A group of daredevil tourists go on an extreme adventure into Chernobyl. Everything goes wrong. Something about zombie mutants.

I completed a cursory search about the film, and it received criticism for disrespect toward those that died in the Chernobyl reactor explosion.

Nathan Philips appears playing adventurous Australian tourist Michael, which was a highlight. Apart from the fighting between Chris and his daredevil brother, and the stoic ex-soldier Yuri, The other characters did not stand out.

The Witches of Eastwick (1987) Metacritic score of 68 – I thought slightly higher than 68/100, this film stars Cher, Jack Nicholson, and Susan Sarandon (several academy award winners). Content warning for some misogyny in the third act of the film. A good movie, regardless if it is Halloween or not.

A film that might be more of a fantasy than a horror movie, the depiction of fantasy elements as a metaphor for relationships turned from full filling to horrendous makes The Witches of Eastwick a thoughtful fantasy.

The phrase “Be careful what you wish for” plays out here, as three women wish for the perfect man, and Jack Nicholson arrives. He may or may not be an incarnation of the devil.

Blair Witch (2016) Metacritic score of 47 – The film largely copies the first film but tinkers around with the perception of time and illusions in the Blair Witch’s forest. A decent Halloween movie, but consider The Blair Witch Project (1994)

I had several problems with Blair Witch.  Overall, scenes with images of trees and scrub bushes rushing past the camera while an actor screams were borrowed directly from The Blair Witch Project. This was a let-down.

Settling into a good, slow build is dropped for this sequel (or soft reboot). The characters are barely in the forest for two nights before the film reaches it’s end. Playing out the long ordeal of being stranded on a interminable camping trip built tension in the first film.

To it’s credit, Blair Witch tinkers the perception of time, adding something to the folklore. Perhaps the force behind the Blair Witch’s forest can create illusions, adjust time, and amend space.

What are some of your Halloween films? Let me know in the comments.

Other Good Movies: The Conjuring, and The Conjuring 2 plus Insidious are both excellent (from Director James Wan). The VVitch is a painstakingly researched New England folktale on witches in the forest, and Cabin in the Woods is great for a more intricate and complex (less scary) Horror film.

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3 thoughts on “Four horror movies for Halloween 2016

  1. Carpenters Halloween is a must see around Halloween, I like The Fog as well, great spooky movie!

    • Having directed The Thing, Carpenter knows how to create a spooky atmosphere. I’ll have to checkout the original Fog. I have seen the remake with Tom Welling only.

      • Yes, Halloween and the Thing are great Carpenter films, and I’d certainly recommend the original The Fog, its so much better than the remake. Sure you’ll like it, you’ll have to let me know what you think when you do.

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