Bummed at how the horror genre has gotten so grim lately? Trying to avoid torture porn that amounts to nothing more than nihilism and lost limbs? Looking for something fun to watch this Halloween? You’re in the right place then. Big Evil has composed a list of flicks from the last few years that should remind you Halloween is all about the joy of horror. I’d suggest you watch them in the order I’m presenting them, starting with…
THE FINAL GIRLS— Here’s a flick about a bunch of millennials that get stuck in an 80s horror movie and try to survive so they can get out. Sure, it’s meta, but it’s meta lite, and I’d suggest you focus on the goofy fun. There’s also a subplot about a depressed daughter grieving over the death of her mother, but that shouldn’t depress you, even if it made me cry. If the tease for a sequel at the end had played out, it’d be # 2 on this list, but alas, we’ll have to wait til a future list for that one.
THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE—I love a “things that go bump in the night” horror flick, and this is the best I’ve seen in years. The father-son medical examiner team come across a body that acts as a supernatural puzzle, and there are all sorts of old fashioned scares. The family bond adds some gravitas to the fun. And clearly I have to call my dad and wish him a Happy Halloween, given my first two choices.
SINISTER—This is the best horror film I’ve seen in the last five years. Grounded by Ethan Hawke as faded true crime author Ellison Oswalt, it follows the creepy influence of Bughuul, an otherworldly demon who has fun with an old 8mm camera as he delights to the slaughter of families. It’s an even better “things that go bump in the night” flick that hits all the bumps just right.
KRISTY—When a college gal on scholarship can’t get home to her family for Thanksgiving (wow, I clearly have some family stuff kicking around in my heart), she ends up the target of a cult intent on stalking and slashing her across a barren campus. It greatly helps that super sexy Ashley Greene is not on Team Kristy. Ashley Greene. Now there’s some sweet Halloween candy.
HOUSEBOUND— A little New Zealand horror comedy about an inept thief who’s confined with her family in what may be a haunted house. There’s plenty of laughs here, and some unexpected twists. It pairs nicely with the next flick on this list.
DEATHGASM—Once I got past the silly title and the lame trailer, I found heavy metal and Peter Jackson style splatter horror make a fine mix. The Jackson influence gets to be a little too much in the last act, but Milo Cawthorne is awesome, even as he sits on a park bench in black metal face paint and spikes, eating an ice cream cone.
THE BABYSITTER—Hot babysitter Bee who’s cool as a cucumber watches nerdy Cole for the night. When Cole’s cutey neighbor suggests he check out what Bee and her teen friends are doing, all Hell breaks loose. This one really drags after the 60 minute point, but stay for the car flip. You won’t regret it. Wow, this is all because the parents left him alone for the night. Those goddamn family issues of mine…
THE BLACK ROOM—Lin Shaye. Gorgeous Natasha Henstridge holding her own against demonic forces. Ultra-talented phenom actor Lukas Hassel playing a family man, and then getting to have fun playing his unrestrained, sexy demon side. What more can a horror fan ask for? My friend Natasha is moving out of her apartment this week. I can only hope she doesn’t find a black room in her new place!
CURSE OF CHUCKY— When wheelchair bound Nica’s mother dies under strange circumstances and the family… oh dear, not this again… comes to sort things out, Charles Lee Ray gets another stab at running around, causing havoc and quipping all along the way. I’m not a CHILD’S PLAY franchise fan, but this one is a lot of fun, and brings things right back to the beginning, especially if you watch the edition with the end credits sequence.
THE SHALLOWS— Trying to escape her feelings about the loss of her mother… okay, I officially give up… a med student searches down a secluded beach with the world’s greatest waves, and the ocean’s most persistent shark. It’s not JAWS, but it doesn’t have to be. But it is great fun. It’s also a perfect way to end a Halloween marathon of flicks that will have you smiling instead of calling the Suicide Prevention Hotline.
Ok, go grab your bowl of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (you know, the secret stash that never makes it to the kids’ baskets), plump yourself down on your comfy chair with a Diet Coke and a candy apple, and let those trick-or-treaters know the trick is on them if they think horror is all grim and no fun, secure in the knowledge that every flick on this list is a treat just for you.