Halloween rules. Period.
When you finally finish the trick-or-treat marathon walk and the kids have come down from their "sugar highs" and are fast asleep, pop some popcorn, grab a quilt and curl up on the couch for a good ol' fashion scare fest. I have comprised a short list of films (some old, some new) that will be sure make you close the closet door or give a quick peek under the bed before retiring for the night. Who knows, maybe you've seen one or two of them a long time ago and it's time for a revisit . I hope you enjoy the picks and get a quick reminder why we are all still afraid of the dark...
1. THE EXORCIST (1973) Director: William Friedkin
Writers: William Peter Blatty (written for the screen by), William Peter Blatty (novel)
Stars:Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow and Linda Blair
The benchmark of all demonic possession flicks. Blair received most of the undeserved acclaim for this horror masterpiece, but von Sydow (Minority Report, Needful Things) steals the show with the sub-plot of two old adversaries in their final showdown. "May the power of Christ compel you!"
2. ROSEMARY'S BABY (1968) Director: Roman Polanski Writers: Ira Levin (novel), Roman Polanski (screenplay) Stars:Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes and Ruth Gordon
I wouldn't let him babysat my kid, but Polanski made one helluva film without relying on special effects or gore. Just the power of suggestion and aiming it at our basic deep rooted fear of the Devil. Hat's off to Ruth Gordon who won best supporting actress, and what a well deserved win it was!
3. 28 DAYS LATER (2002) Director: Danny Boyle Writer: Alex Garland Stars:Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris and Christopher Eccleston
When a good deed goes terribly wrong should be the theme to this near-perfect film. Danny Boyle's vision of new-age zombies is sure to fill your shock-n-scare cravings. When I saw this the first time I expected to infected to be stumbling around like the stereotypical undead. No one told me these beasts were as fast as Hussein Bolt.
4. SAW (2004) Director: James Wan Writers: Leigh Whannell, James Wan (story) Stars:Cary Elwes, Leigh Whannell and Danny Glover
I have to pay homage to the 7 film series by recommending you go back and re-watch the first one...Where it all began. Smart, stylish and a GREAT hook to close out this psychological thriller. It was tough for me to get used to watching Glover as a cop and not yell "YO, RIGGS!" fifty times.
5. HALLOWEEN (1978) Director: John Carpenter Writers: John Carpenter (screenplay), Debra Hill (screenplay) Stars:Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis and Tony Moran
I know, Captain Obvious. 32 years later, it still holds it's weight as one of the most influential films of it's genre and it's still pretty damn scary. Thumbs up to Pleasence for the over-the top portrayal of Dr. Loomis. Did you know: During the filming, Carpenter ran out of money and had to choose between Captain Kirk or Johnny Cash ( in choosing the infamous mask, that is). He sided with the Kirk mask not for the reason you may think. If the picture bombed, he didn't want to disrespect Johnny Cash like that. Pretty cool.
Honorable mention: Paranormal Activity, The Shining, Burnt Offerings, and the new Justin Bieber flick. Look for these flicks at your local Blockbuster, at Netflix, and at Redbox.