I'm sorry, but this post has nothing to do with Michael Myers from Halloween. Actually, Halloween isn't even on my list. Before you hunt me down like Michael Myers, I wanted to make a short list of movies that don't always get as much love as other horror classics.
Classics like Carrie, The Blair Witch Project, and The Exorcist always top annual lists celebrating scary movies. I love all four of the above mentioned titles, but here's a small sampling of other movies you could check out instead.
5. The Witches
Did The Witches scare the crap out of anyone else but me? I can't be the only one. Based on the Roald Dahl book, it revolves around a young Luke who is taught about witches by his grandmother, Helga. Early in the movie, she tells him this terrifying story about a young girl who is taken by a witch and put in a painting for the rest of her life. If that's not scary enough, she tells him the telltale signs to recognize witches. Witches have no toes, and children smell like dogs droppings to them. When a woman tries to lure Luke away with a chocolate bar and a snake, he sees she has purple eyes, and he calls for his grandmother. Yeah, Luke, like the purple eyes were the giveaway. How about that effing snake she pulled out of her effing purse?!?!?!
That's not even the scariest thing about The Witches. Luke and Helga go on a vacation to a seaside resort, and it just happens that a witch convention is happening at the same time. What are the odds! The Grand High Witch is played by Anjelica Huston in all her high cheeked boned glory. The scene where all the witches gather in a ballroom to discuss their master plan of getting rid of the world's children made me flee the room every time I watched it. Huston's plan was to make all the children eat sweets with Formula 86 in it. 86 turned children into mice, and then witches could stomp out the world's children. It's a pretty elaborate plan, if you ask me. Ambitious plots aside, things get creepy when Huston peels off her own face and the rest of the woman take off their shoes and wigs.
It may not be a Halloween movie, per se, but that scene is creepy as all get out! The rest of the movie is pretty fun, and Huston received a BAFTA nomination for her role. She's over the top and fabulous.
4. The Orphanage
Sometimes a movie can scare me just from the disturbing imagery. The Orphanage is one of those movies.
A woman named Laura returns to the orphanage she grew up in to reopen it with her husband, Carlos. Instead of an orphanage, Laura plans to make it a center for disabled children. Her son, Simon, begins drawing the image of another child with a sack on his face. A. Sack. On. His. Face. I'd be done right there. "Sorry, guys, the center is closed down. Kthanksbye."
At a party to celebrate the opening of the renewed orphanage, Simon and Laura get into a fight, and Simon runs away angry. While looking for him in the facility, she comes across a little boy with a sack on his face. A. Sack. On. His. Face. He shoves her into a locked room, and when Laura finally escapes, Simon is missing.
The thing that makes me mad about this movie is that people won't watch it because it's a foreign film. "I don't want to read when I go to a movie," they tell me. Really? It's creepy as all fuck. Watch it.
3. Stir of Echoes
I don't want to give too much away if you haven't see Stir of Echoes, because it's kind of a horror/mystery.
I remember seeing Echoes back in theaters the same day I saw Stigmata. That was a weird double feature, let me tell you! Kevin Bacon stars as Tom, a phone lineman living with his newly pregnant wife, Maggie, and their adorable son Jake. At a party, Maggie's sister, Lisa (oh, hey, Illeana Douglas), hypnotizes Tom on a dare. He doesn't really buy into her beliefs into the paranormal, and he doesn't think anything will happen. He sees a rapid-fire montage of ghastly images, and soon the door in his mind won't shut.
His home life turns completely upside down, and the closer he gets, the more desperate he gets. Maggie becomes incredibly concerned, and the people in his life might not be as friendly as he though. Did I mention that Jake can talk to ghosts? No biggie. Check out the trailer:
I think this might be my favorite Kevin Bacon performance. The movie as a whole is underrated.
2. Monster House
Monster House came out in 2006, and I totally loved it. I still do. I am a firm believer that kids' movies can be scary. I'm sorry, but I'm not sorry. Your child can see something that makes them do something other than giggle and smile. Don't put on The Exorcist, or anything, but I think movies targeted towards children are too glossy and simple. Monster House isn't one of those movies.
Twelve year old DJ is left home alone when his parents head out for a dentists' conference. His chubby best friend, Chowder, loses a basketball in the yard of DJ's crotchety neighbor, Mr. Nebbercracker. I snicker every time I hear that name, in case anyone was wondering. Nebbercracker comes running out, and, in his frantic ravings, drops dead from a heart attack. DJ, oddly wary of the actual house, has his theories confirmed when his sister's boneheaded boyfriend, Bones, disappears, and he and Chowder see the house rile, roar and spit.
DJ and Chowder team up with neighborhood overachiever Jenny Bennett, and the trio find out the history of the house across the street. I love this movie. It's fun, scary, and, believe it or not, a bit heartwarming.
Monster was mildly successful, but it did earn an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature. Anjelica Huston scared me in The Witches, The Wicked Witch of the West was terrifying, so why not a family friendly scary movie?
1. Hocus Pocus
Now before you all get in a huff about a very popular movie at the top spot, let me explain. I put this on the top of my list, because I am not sure that people younger than my generation really love it like me and my friends do. I am sure it plays on the Disney Channel, and I am sure some youngsters have caught it around Halloween. I struggle to accept the fact that people, say, 18 and under really love Hocus Pocus the way almost-30-year-olds do. Maybe I am totally wrong, and I should put a different, undiscovered gem in the top slot. This was the first movie I ever saw twice in the theater (well, once in the theater, once at the drive in with my parents), and it was one of the first movies I was truly obsessed with.
So, watch all other four, but make sure you catch The Sanderson Sisters. You know it's your favorite too.