It’s October again which can only mean one thing...you’re probably feeling a sense of dread-soaked nostalgia that’s leading you to feel like you should be excited for the Halloween season, yet you sit there and ponder. Why can’t you feel the love for this season that you used to as a kid or even in your early twenties? What did time do to you that left you such an empty husk of a human being? What happened to the person who had fun during Halloween? Did you destroy them or were they never really there? Have you lost so much of who you are that you let the best parts of your soul slip away without you even caring? And is a pumpkin-spice Mike’s Hard Lemonade really gonna help dig you out of that hole?...I don’t fuckin know - sounds like a you problem. Anyway here are 5 horror movies I recommend ‘cause why not!
1. The Fly (1986)
When horror movie savants talk about the best of “body horror” films, they tend to bring up this film; often directly before going on a sexually frustrated tangent about their minimum wage job at Party City. Regardless, this movie does, in fact, actually bang. Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis genuinely give great performances in this movie and the story progresses in a very slow and creeping way. I don’t want to give too much away about it, but trust me when I say this film has some of the most impressive practical effects I have ever seen in a horror film. Seriously, it’s still that good (especially at the end). I recommend watching this film with as many family members directly next to you as possible. It really is a wholesome film that even nanna is sure to love. And hey, if nanna starts complaining about it, just threaten to convert the entire family to scientology and she’ll probably leave you alone.
2. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
I had a dream two nights ago where I was in like a mall or something. This wasn’t a real mall I had been in before but it seemed like somewhere I had seen a picture of once. I was carrying a bucket of this thick, creamy, yellow substance to a store at the end of the hallway. In this store laid a giant pile of this same cream in my bucket. But for some reason - this pile of cream had a face! It had the face of my 8th grade homeroom teacher Mrs. [REDACTED]. Then just from pure instinct - I poured the bucket on the pile and sure enough, it grew bigger. For the record, this has absolutely nothing to do with the movie - I’m just wondering if any psychiatrist out there can tell me what that means. Anyway yeah - this is a very fun, spooky romp with great characters and set pieces. I think it’s one of the most fun horror movies ever but that's just my opinion. Act on it or don't...dickhead.
3. Halloween II (1981)
People that are familiar with the entire Halloween franchise will tell you that the only truly good film in the series is the first one...and they’re right. BUT, we’re operating with horror movies here. They don’t necessarily have to be GOOD to be good...wait, that doesn’t make sense. Point being, out of all 10 sequels to the John Carpenter classic - this is not only the best by far, but it also holds the spirit of the original the closest. Believe me, it’s far from an amazing film. There’s a scene where a kid in a Michael Myers costume gets hit by a car that explodes on impact. Yes, it is as funny as it sounds. Not to mention that the film takes place during the same night as the first movie. Which makes me wonder how in the fuck there was a kid dressed the exact same way as Mikey-boy. But it’s also a good example of the kind of hokeyness to expect from this movie. Despite that, it provides at least a fun and spooky enough distraction for a few hours. That’s a very condescending compliment, but I do like this movie.
4. The Cat in the Hat (2003)
Now hold on a second, I know what you’re about to say. But let me tell you, genre is a construct. It’s imaginary. And in the same way a bad dramatic film can become a comedy, this is a bad comedy that became an experimental horror film. Level with me: if you interpret this film as a story of two kids being terrorized by a Kandarian demon man - it becomes much more engaging off the bat. I have seen this movie so many fucking times that I have lost track on whether I do it ironically or not. This is bar-none one of the weirdest film adaptations I have ever seen. The decisions made with this film and this character baffle me more than any bullshit riddle could. Here’s an easy joke for ya, this is the second movie I’ve mentioned that stars Mike Myers (insert rimshot). Yeah, that’s low hanging fruit but what did you expect? You wanted some kind of Roger Ebert level film analysis? Buddy, you’re on “Where’s The Remote” dot com. Ya get ME. And ya get this movie as a horror rec cause I’m not a goddamn sellout that’ll just shove The Exorcist down your throat. Don’t @ me.
5. The Toxic Avenger (1984)
Now this is a horror film that hit close to home...literally. They filmed a lot of it like 10 minutes from my house. And to this day, that is still the most noteworthy thing about my hometown. Regardless, The Toxic Avenger is the most popular film/character to come out of the infamous TROMA production company. If you aren’t aware, TROMA specializes in these very cheap, trashy, offensive and gorey movies specifically designed to make you have a brain hemorrhage. That may come off as kind of harsh, but I actually have a good amount of respect for this company. They know exactly the kinds of movies they’re making and they’re having as much fun as they can with it. This movie, as well as most TROMA films, is so stupid, ridiculous, over-the-top and in such aggressively bad taste that you can’t help but watch it in awe. Like it or not, this movie knows exactly what it is and it doesn’t give even the slightest fuck what you think of it. It’s insane to me that Toxie became such an icon of a main character that they made 3 sequels and a Saturday morning cartoon show out of him. It’s even more crazy that for some reason, I’ve seen all of them. If you want to watch a movie that will just shock you for an hour and a half, this is definitely the way to go. And honestly the sequels are basically the same idea, although the fourth one (Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV) in particular is pretty insane.
So what did we learn here today? Horror is by far the most hit or miss genre in film in my opinion. When they miss, they miss hard and when they’re good, they’re some of the best media out there. But hopefully I’ve recommended at least one hitter for you to turn your brain off to. Because we’re in complicated times, and seeing fake horrors on screen can be a cathartic way to distract ourselves from the horrors in our real life. And if any of these films give you even that much peace, than I’ve done my job.