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Not your Mother's Halloween movie list

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OKLAHOMA CITY- The stores are lined with fall-colored candies and costumes, ranging from the creepiest ghoul and goblin to a trendy pop-culture icon.

Whether you agree or disagree, one cannot deny the relevance of a tradition on a holiday that is widely practiced. It allows for those who might not be included to feel as though they belong.

In my life, each moment in my life can be associated with a movie or two. It’s more of a product of the fact that movies have always been something that I’ve been drawn towards. The stories, the thrills and chills and the moments that grab your imagination and don’t let go until the next one; it’s addictive.

So here is Halloween and you want a relaxing night with your significant other or a group of friends and family. As people gather with their food and drinks, you know you need to entertain.

With the idea of Halloween in mind, an ensemble of holiday films goes through your head. It’s the films that you’ve seen over a hundred times and even the liveliest party can die down.

As a film fanatic and horror film snob, I’ve got your back.

Word to the warning wise, these movies might feature a classic or two but be rest assured, this isn’t your Mom’s Halloween movie list. If you’re looking for Charlie Brown’s It’s the Great Pumpkin, it’s down Elm Street running for its life.

This list is not in any particular order so enjoy at your leisure.

5.) The Strangers (2008)

This movie is one of the first and only movies that made me scream and fear the dark for more than a few weeks.

The story follows a California couple in 1969 that go to a cabin after their friend’s wedding reception. James, the boyfriend, is irritable towards Kristen, the girlfriend, due to a failed marriage proposal.

James planned to spend the weekend with his intended fiancé in his childhood summer home. Because Kristen rejected him, James wants nothing more than to leave.

That’s when there’s a knock on the door.

A blonde-haired woman stands on the porch and asks for a woman named Tamara. After being told that she must have the wrong house, she replies, “I’ll see them later.”

James cannot take the tension building in the cabin. He makes a fire in the fireplace and then steps out to go for a drive to pick up a pack of cigarettes.

After the smoke alarm blares, Kristen attempts to silence the alarm.

Another, harder knock raps at the door.

When Kristen runs to the bedroom, she attempts to call James only to realize the house lines were cut. It was in this realization that she notices that the sound of the alarm had stopped.

The events of the movie are based on the real-life event called the Manson family Tate murders.

The movie features Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman and is directed by Bryan Bertino. Though Bertino’s other movies are less than reputable, it’s this movie that should be considered his crowning achievement.

If you’re willing to go to a cabin on the outskirts of society after this, you’re braver than I.

4.) Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

Let’s do the time warp again!

This 1975 cult classic wouldn’t be caught off this list. Rocky Horror Picture Show was a British best-selling play written by Great-Britain’s Richard O’Brien.

The story follows Brad Majors and Janet Weiss shortly after their engagement to one another in the wake of their friend’s marriage. Once she said yes, Brad says, “Dammit Janet” and they’re off on the road to find Dr. Scott, their old science teacher, to ask for his approval.

On a dark, stormy night, the young couple passes a castle on a hill before their tire blows out. In the torrential rain, the two approach the cob-webbed covered castle. It’s inside that they meet the servants of the home, Riff-Raff and Magenta.

Oh, did I forget to mention this is a musical?

This psychedelic musical has hits called “The Time Warp”, “Sweet Transvestite” and “Hot Patootie (Bless my soul) which features actors like Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon and singer Meatloaf.

Feel free to explore the urge to let your freak flag fly while watching this movie. It explores transsexuality as well as drugs with one of the best soundtracks put to film.

It is considered a Halloween movie due to b-horror film features but, make no mistake, this film is great all-year around.

3.) Devil’s Rejects (2005)

Say what you will about the rocker and director Rob Zombie, this movie is bound to scare and entice you.

Devil’s Rejects was made in 2005, this film pays homage to the creepy cults that plague the boroughs that we dare not peek into. Written and directed by Rob Zombie, the story is set in the late-1970’s in south Texas on route to kill a family of murderous people painted in clown war paint.

Texas Sherriff John Wydell and his posse is marching on the Firefly family. Over the past 75 years, the family has killed over 75 people and is held up in a little home.

 The family is made up of Mother Firefly, Rufus, Otis and Baby.

By the time the police show, the family has armed themselves with rifles and they open fire on the incoming officers. Rufus is killed in the firefight and Mother is arrested. It’s only Otis and Baby that are able to escape to a small, run-down motel called the Kahiki Palms.

A band called Banjo and Sullivan are taken hostage by the runaway murderers dressed in clown makeup. Through different attempts, each member tries to escape their captors. As the remainder of the Firefly family tries to quell the chaos, they make some of their own by killing those who oppose them.

This movie is made to scare the living hell out of those scared of murderous clowns and the occasional run-down, cheap motel.

Five days ago, Zombie announced that he would be making a sequel to the cult classic horror film.

2.) Zodiac (2007)

There is nothing more terrifying than something that could, and did, happen.

At least with movies like The Blob and The Thing, you can suspend belief for a few hours and enjoy it for what it offers.

Reality has a knack for scratching the parts of the psyche that are often left unaltered. That’s why David Fincher’s Zodiac scares the living hell out of me.

The movie is based on the multiple homicides in California from the 1960’s and 1970’s that remains unsolved to this day. It opens with a young couple parked in the darkness of a summer night overlooking the city. As romance builds, a car pulls up behind them.

Gun shots ring in the California valley.

Political cartoonist Robert Graysmith and Paul Avery eventually work together to attempt to find the killer who taunts the police force and has called himself, the Zodiac killer.

Twists and turns ensue yet the body count piles up to a serial killer level. Though there are five confirmed dead, it is reported that there are over 30 deaths  that have yet to be accounted for.

What this film does is something that many horror films have not been able to figure out: they leave you scared long after the scene has left.

Though the Zodiac isn’t considered a horror film, it might as well be. It’s use of suspense and its ability to let the audience ask what lies in the darkness of man and in the darkness of society is what will let this film long after we’re gone.

And here’s the thing: Fear is ageless.

1.) The Shining (1980)

It is said that sometimes the most obvious answer is the one that’s the most accurate.

Stanley Kubrick’s classic is no exception to this exception.

Based off Stephen King’s best-selling classic novel, Kubrick takes his own spin on the story and terrorizes them for just about 150 minutes.

The story follows Jack Torrance, an ex-English teacher and failed writer with his wife Wendy and his telepathic son Danny. Jack arrives at the Overlook Hotel just before the winter season to get the job as care-taker.

It’s in mountain-bordered hotel that isolation and insanity kicks into hyper-drive.

The family is given two rules: Take care of the hotel and don’t go into room 237.

As chance would have it, both rules are broken by the end of the film. The film features famous actors like Jack Nicholson and Shelly Duvall but it doesn’t matter who’s in this movie because they become unrecognizable by the madness of it all.

Take a quiet, haunted hotel, add ghost twin sisters with monotone voices, an axe and a wall pouring with blood and you have nightmares for nights.

This movie is a considered a classic by many standards but Kubrick turns to the most primal motivation: fear.

Kubrick’s use of the unknown and the monster lying next to you is enough to send chills down your side and question your own sanity throughout the movie.

Also, if you happen to have a definitive answer as to what the hell the end of the movie means, let me know.

You’re guaranteed to have a scary good time with the movies and a few friends and family. In the season of the freaky and unknown, step out of your comfort zone and embrace the dark.

Happy Halloween!


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About the Author

Brandon King

Brandon King is a journalism student at OCCC, working towards becoming a professional writer....

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