REVIEW: KICK-OFF HALLOWEEN WITH CORNY HORROR FILM CLASSICS

LIAM EASLEY, A&E EDITOR

The horror film history is full of controversy and blood. Horror flicks erupted in the grindhouse-era in the 1960s and 70s, while slasher maniacs governed the horror box office of the 80s. Halloween is a celebration of the macabre, a nod to the dark side of human nature, and this is heavily expressed through films.

“EVIL DEAD”

When asked what my favorite horror films are, there are too many to name. One film that always comes to mind is Sam Raimi’s “Evil Dead” from 1981.

The movie begins when five teens go to a cabin in the middle of the woods for a get-away. They uncover the Necronomicon, or the Book of the Dead. Bound in human skin, the pages contain incantations to summon ancient spirits that possess the living. As one might expect, it all goes downhill from there. With adrenaline-filled gore and cheesy special effects, this film is nothing short of a corny joyride.

“Evil Dead” can be streamed, along with its sequel, on Hulu and Showtime. It can also be found in the Vogel Library on Wartburg Campus.

“A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET”

Halloween is incomplete without slasher films, and one of the best in the genre is Wes Craven’s 1984 classic “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” Known for creativity and out-of-the-box thinking on the part of the film, the film is a testament to what the human mind can come up with in the realms of fantasy and gore.

Freddy Kruger, the antagonist of the classic franchise, is a serial killer who, like seemingly every slasher, preys on adolescents. What makes Kruger different, however, is he hunts in the dream world, meaning that every teenager on Elm Street is bound to stay up late, afraid to fall asleep and succumb to Kruger’s mind games.

“A Nightmare on Elm Street” will be shown at 10 p.m., Oct.17-19, at Crossroads Cinema in Waterloo, Iowa.

“DEEP RED”

What is Halloween without a little mystery? The perfect fit is Dario Argento’s 1975 classic “Deep Red.” Giallo films, which are classic Italian thrillers, are typically artistically acclaimed, and “Deep Red” is no exception. With a nice dose of gore and a wildly creative soundtrack by the progressive rock band Goblin, it is more noteworthy for visuals rather than suspense. Regardless, it will send chills down a spine.

The film is centered around a pianist who was caught up in a crime that involved a series of horrific murders. He sought to solve the mystery. With plenty of plot twists and cinematography acrobatics, the film created a story that is visually stunning and conceptually compelling.

“Deep Red” can be streamed on Amazon Prime and Shudder.

“I DRINK YOUR BLOOD”

Not every film needs to be a cinematic masterpiece, and that is when David E. Durston’s 1970 film “I Drink Your Blood” comes in. The film is known as the first horror film to be rated “X” for violence alone.

“I Drink Your Blood” is not hesitant to be cheesy. The film is about a group of “Satanic hippies” that visit a small town after their van breaks down. They had a disagreement with a young boy who injected dog rabies into the group’s food. Long story short, no one is safe from the havoc the rabies-driven hippies wreak on the town. The movie is filled to the brim with carnage, and it is sure to bring laughter due to the absolute corniness.

“I Drink Your Blood” can be streamed on Shudder.

“THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE” 

“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” directed by Tobe Hooper and released in 1974, was based on true events. It has been referred to by Quentin Tarantino as one of the greatest grindhouse films of all time.

Dabbling in creative cinematography, the movie created a menacing atmosphere and a feeling of loneliness, as the setting is remote and no one can heed the call for help. The ripping of the chainsaw shrieked in every drawn-out chase as the memorably macabre imagery burrows into the viewer’s your mind. The film is a thrilling feature.

“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” can be streamed on Shudder.

“RE-ANIMATOR”

Not all horror has to be serious such as director Stuart Gordon’s “Re-Animator,” a film rendition of the H.P. Lovecraft story, “Herbert West – Reanimator.”

Gory, yet lighthearted, the film is filled with pseudoscience. Based around a medical student named Herbert West, the film follows his controversial serum that resurrects the dead. However, the serum is faulty and resurrects the dead as maniacal, blood-driven freaks. With excellent cinematography and extraordinary special effects, the film is an undeniable classic in the splatter horror genre, and a perfect option for Halloween night.

“Re-Animator” can be streamed on Shudder and Showtime.

“NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD”

Zombie movies are staples in the horror genre, and George A. Romero created arguably the two most famous zombie films of all time: 1968’s “Night of the Living Dead” and the 1978 sequel, “Dawn of the Dead.” Recut by Dario Argento and equipped with a soundtrack by the band Goblin, “Dawn of the Dead” is worth mentioning. However, the prequel is much more horrifying.

“Night of the Living Dead” takes place in a small town after a virus infected the living to hunger for human flesh. The film followed the stories of a household of individuals that defended it from an onslaught of mindless walkers. With a twist of an ending, the film is very intriguing.

“Night of the Living Dead” can be streamed on Amazon Prime and Shudder.

“HALLOWEEN”

What would a Halloween movie night be without its namesake? John Carpenter’s slasher classic, “Halloween,” from 1978 is equipped with a gruesome story and an equally eerie soundtrack. The main theme song likely on every “Halloween Party Essentials” mixtape.

Jamie Lee Curtis played the main role as Michael Meyers’ target. Meyers, the antagonist, would not stop searching for his target, and nothing would get in his way. Like any other slasher film, the movie is built on endless killing before the major climax, but unlike other slasher films, it didn’t get old. Every motif and plot point was interesting, and the cinematography and score added to the horror.

“Halloween” can be streamed on Shudder, but it is also being shown at 10 p.m., Oct. 24-26, at Crossroads Cinema in Waterloo, Iowa.

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