It’s pretty hard these days to create a new and interesting list of horror movies to enjoy during the Halloween season. There are only so many legitimately unsettling movies ever made, and most of those have been written about to death.
But for the record, here’s my own personal top thirteen (as of THIS Halloween), in chronological order:
1. Nosferatu (1922)
2. Freaks (1932)
3. Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954)
4. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
5. Night of The Living Dead (1968)
6. High Plains Drifter (1973)
7. Jaws (1975)
8. Halloween (1978)
9. An American Werewolf In
10. The Thing (1982)
11. Ghostbusters (1984)
12. Manhunter (1986)
13. Sleepy Hollow (1999)
I don’t think that a movie necessarily has to be scary to be watched around Halloween – a good, fun monster movie does the trick just as happily. Preferably after loading up on candy. But Halloween is a great time for vicarious, cinematic scares. And those may or may not be found primarily in quote-unquote horror movies. So along those lines, here’s my alternate list, in no particular order, of some of the most underrated horror characters and horrifying moments from all of movies [click on the provided links if you dare!]:
JA’s 31 Flavors of the Unnerving, Creepy, and Deeply Disturbing
Ø When Batman turns into a fucked-up monster in Batman Begins.
Ø Frank the Bunny in Donnie Darko.
Ø The guy in the dog (or bear) costume in The Shining.
Ø Whatever or whoever is in that mouse costume in the Laurel & Hardy perennial Christmas classic, March of the Wooden Soldiers.
Ø The alleyway that Jimmy tries to get Karen to walk down in Goodfellas.
Ø The man or thing in the alleyway behind the diner in Mulholland Drive.
Ø When Jaws bites the guy’s arm off at the beginning of Jaws 4.
Ø When Brundlefly pukes the guy’s arm off at the end of The Fly.
Ø That chick who played Gozer The Gozerian. (Busted!)
Ø J.F. Sebastian’s toy friends in Blade Runner.
Ø Large Marge.
Ø The Gimp.
Ø Robert Blake in Lost Highway.
Ø C. Thomas Howell as a supposed black guy in Soul Man.
Ø Martin Lawrence as Big Momma in Big Momma’s House. (Nia wept…)
Ø The Wayans Brothers in their makeup from White Chicks. (And the way that every other actor in the movie was forced, possibly at gunpoint, to pretend that this horrific makeup could be in any way convincing.)
Ø When the alien clown uses John Vernon as a ventriloquist’s dummy in Killer Klowns From Outer Space.
Ø The Basket Case. (Because there’s nothing as disturbing as an evil, hollering, telepathic creep who looks pretty much like a man’s ballsack.)
Ø Pretty much every character in that Rankin/Bass animated version of The Hobbit. (If Peter Jackson designed any of his actors this way for his Lord of The Rings trilogy, forget all them awards and rave reviews –
Ø The way that the Blind Dead can control the soundtrack and the slow-motion button, seemingly from inside the movie!, in Tombs of the Blind Dead.
Ø Eugene Levy’s assless chaps in Armed & Dangerous.
Ø John Candy dressed as a lady in Armed & Dangerous. (This unrelenting horror was unfortunately to be repeated at least twice more, in Who’s Harry Crumb? and Nothing But Trouble.)
Ø Rosie O’Donnell as Betty Rubble in that Flintstones movie.
Ø Louis Gossett Jr. as an alien giving birth in Enemy Mine. Runner-up: Mandy Patinkin as an alien giving birth in Alien Nation.
Ø The wall gnome in Cat’s Eye.
Ø The gremlin on the wing of the plane in Twilight Zone: The Movie.
Ø The terrifying way that Chevy Chase has aged. (From Ty Webb to Dick Cheney, in not nearly as many years as it should’ve taken.)
Ø Marky Mark’s prosthetic dork at the end of Boogie Nights.
Ø The box office results for The Passion Of The Christ.
Ø When Pookie’s head gets twisted around in
[Note: The preceding list is admittedly far from comprehensive. I encourage anyone to add their own favorite cold shudders, as I will probably come up with some more myself sometime in the future.]