Best Halloween Movies?

So what are the best movies to watch during this Halloween season? I know a lot of people are fans of the big slasher films like Friday the 13th and Nightmare of Elm Street, and while those have their entertainment value, I’m not a huge fan. Mind you, I liked the "original" originals (Halloween was my personal favorite), but with so many sequels and ridiculous story lines I can’t say I have an interest in most of these anymore. As an aside, the Rob Zombie remake of Halloween was pretty good.

Putting the slashing films aside, what would you consider to be the best horror movies? They can be more subtle like the original Dracula or more blatant such as Saw. To get things started here are a few of my personal choices.

Saw and Saw II (the rest of the series is crap) – I thought these were both well done and offered something new. Very atmospheric and really played to the deception factor. Nothing was what it seemed. And the situations made you cringe and to me that was part of the thrill.

Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein (Kenneth Branagh, Robert De Niro) – This came across as a pretty good remake of the old tale. It’s not without flaws, but overall it had plenty of creepy moments and De Niro as the creature was kind and brutal as told in the original book. I’m actually a fan of this one.

The Others (Nicole Kidman) – Not everyone is a fan of hers, but I still liked this movie. It has a certain sense of oppression and gloom about it that works so well for the time period and the setting. Plus, giving the children a condition that makes them sensitive to light keeps the movie dark and moody. There’s plenty of twists, turns and deception. I really liked this one for the story and it’s misdirection.

Flatliners – Still a favorite of mine after all these years. The idea of exploring life after death is very intriguing. I think Oliver Platt is the most amusing character in the movie.

Shaun of the Dead (Simon Pegg) – A great parody (at least I think it’s a parody) of the zombie movies. Plenty of action, plenty of emotion, plenty of brains and plenty of hapless companions being eaten. It’s funny, gory and scary. An excellent combination.

Zombieland – Is this another parody? Hard to tell. Another funny, but gory and action packed deathmatch against the zombie horde. Hang on was this a documentary? A lost diary story?

The Exorcist – This movie is still creepy even after all these years. There’s plenty of exorcism movies out there, but this is the original. It’s a little dated but still has plenty to offer.

Paranormal Activity – I loved this movie until the final 5 minutes. I thought the ending was completely cheesy and awkward. But looking past that, it’s a good movie. The movie is subtle and uses simple techniques to get under your skin. I think the low budget aspect is part of the appeal.

Blair Witch Project – This gets an honorable mention for the technique used in making the movie. Unfortunately with so much hype (and bad sequels) there’s really no surprise factor or excitement to this movie anymore, but if you just accept it for what it is you can still have as much fun with it as Paranormal Activity. It’s cheap and simple and uses the classic techniques of confusion and misdirection.

The Village – I can already hear the boos and sighs. Come on now. For what it was, this wasn’t a bad movie. It wasn’t M. Night’s best work, but it wasn’t his worst either (that would be Signs). It does have some good moments and if you don’t pick it apart looking for the surprise ending there’s a lot to like. Again, this is another movie I like for the ambiance and mood.

The Shining – And not that remake, that was horrid. This is the one we all remember; Jack at the hotel, getting cabin fever, getting the axe and stalking the family. This one has plenty of mind games going on as well as straight on action. The axe in the door is classic! It’s a creepy and fun movie. Well, fun in the crazy guy with an axe sort of way.

Scream – For a quasi-parody, this has plenty of chills and kept you guessing. Some times it was hard to tell if you were supposed to laugh or be scared. Sadly, they ruined a pretty clever movie by creating a slew of third rate sequels.

So what am I missing? What are the other great Halloween/horror/scary movies out there? I’ve seen a lot of them but most are completely forgettable. What spine tingling, make you cringe, make you squirm movies can you recommend?

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