Where This Meets That
I have a low tolerance for blood & guts in most movies, and far too many “horror movies” mistake graphic gore for horror for me to consider myself a horror movie buff. However, I am a huge movie buff, and this time of year always gets me in the mood to turn the lights down for a good, spooky flick. Here are four movies that I think pair especially well with Halloween.
THE SIXTH SENSE
One of my favorite movies of any genre. Well acted, emotionally taut, and dripping with suspense, this film still induces goosebumps and boasts one of the all-time great twist endings in any movie. As soon as it’s over, you’ll want to watch it again to retrace the brilliantly paced steps. Every time I watch it, I want to hug the tortured character that Haley Joel Osment masterfully portrays. The film also marks career high points for Bruce Willis and M. Night Shyamalan.
Released in the aftermath of 9/11, Donnie Darko is the tale of a psychologically troubled teen and his manipulation at the hands of a 6-foot tall bunny rabbit named Frank. It humorously tickles American politics, suburban teen-angst, and the hypocrisies running amok in our society today. In parallel, it’s creepy as hell with a great cast spearheaded by young Jake Gyllenhaal and including Drew Barrymore, Patrick Swayze, and others. After your first viewing, you won’t understand it, but you also won’t be able to stop thinking about it.
Stylistically, very reminiscent of the next movie on my list. Paranormal Activity masterfully increases the chills factor as the movie progresses. Allegedly it spooked Steven Spielberg so bad that he thought the movie itself was possessed. The vulnerability of the main characters as they sleep hits the audience squarely in the comfort zone of home. We all sleep, but I know for a fact that none of that stuff goes on around me while I’m asleep. For a fact. And how dare you suggest otherwise!
BLAIR WITCH PROJECT
My brother-in-law had a film class with the makers of this film, and he said the professor laughed at them when they floated the concept of this movie in class. Ha-Ha. This film, which has grossed nearly $250M, is incredible in so many ways, from its astounding viral marketing campaign, including a separate faux-documentary that gave the film context, to the film itself. So simple and yet so richly convincing. So psychologically exhausting and primitively frightening. Blair Witch Project was an instant Halloween classic.