More often than not, horror movies are a waste of time. With the help of friends, I’ve compiled a list of easily accessible DVDs that you can check out to watch with friends this Halloween. Forget The Ring, Prom Night, and every other PG-13 scary movie. In no specific order, here is my list of creepy R-rated flicks sure to give you goose bumps, keep you up at night, make you never want to be home alone again, and return your fear of the dark.
The Strangers (2008)
There is something universally frightening about home invasions, especially in this case, with it being a secluded house. Everyone fears it, from childhood to adulthood. Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman star as a failing couple being taunted and tortured by masked figures. The Strangers claims to be based on actual events.
The Hills Have Eyes (2006)
What happens when you mix a dysfunctional family and mutated hillbillies in a trapped desert setting? Anything and everything. You’ll see dogs get killed and eaten, babies kidnapped, people pickaxed, mild molestation and even mutant breastfeeding. Nowhere is safe. Nothing is sacred. You’ll think twice before going on a desert drive.
The Ruins (2008)
Sometimes, a good scary movie will ask you the question, which is worse: a supernatural threat, or the way the surrounding humans act because of the situation? In The Ruins, a group of tourist 20-somethings find themselves stuck on the top of South American temple ruins, trapped by the armed natives below. When another threat atop and within the ruins becomes evident, the group is left in the worst position — deciding to die in their current locale or on the ground.
Everyone forgets that the first installment of the currently washed up and burned out horror franchise was actually good (though the acting was horrendous). It was a Sundance movie where a bad guy puts bad people in bad situations to help them get over their vices. Nobody can predict the ending to this bloody tale that I give credit to for starting the over-the-top torture movie craze.
The Shining (1980)
How many iconic moments are in this film? Seeing Jack Nicholson’s face appear through a busted door yelling, “Here’s Johnny,” the creepy twins in the hallway and an old dead nude woman are just a few. If you’ve never seen this Stephen King/Stanley Kubrick classic, give it a shot. If you haven’t seen it in a while, it’s always worth revisiting.
The Orphanage (2007)
You usually feel bad when you think of orphans. After seeing this film, they’ll scare the hell out of you. You’ll fear them. When her son mysteriously disappears, a woman, who was an orphan herself, believes that to get him back she must communicate with the spirit of a deceased orphan friend she had as a child. Though it’s a subtitled foreign film, it’ll freak you out like no other.
Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Until Anton Chigurh in No Country For Old Men, Hannibal Lecter was the creepiest villain of all time, always eating his victims. This movie not only qualifies as being a great, disturbing, scary one, but it’s also a very good suspense crime thriller. Because of it, every time I’m in a dark basement, I fear a skin-suit-wearing psychopath is watching me through night vision goggles.
The Mist (2007)
Though this monster movie didn’t look very appealing in its theatrical trailers, there’s a special draw to it on DVD. This unpredictable horror film was shot to be converted into grayscale black and white. The studio wanted it in color. So the black and white version was saved for the special two-disc DVD. The new tone that it gives the film makes it feel even more frightening, giving the unforgettable ending even more of an oomph.
28 Days Later (2002)
This zombie movie is in my top 10 films of all time (though the “zombies” are never referred to as “zombies,” rather “infected”). Jim wakes up from a 28-day coma to find London completely emptied of living people. Other than a few other survivors, all he can find are living dead, those infected with the rage virus. The tale that ensues is one of survival, one again posing the moral question, what’s worse: the living dead, or the way the other humans act as a result of the situation?