I love Halloween. I don't really do too much to celebrate it, but I love seeing what everyone else is doing. It is my firm belief that everyone is entitled to at least one good scare during this time of ghosts, goblins, witches and demons. And there's no better way to get that scare than a horror film. Although sneaking up behind someone and shouting "Boo!" can work just as well, as I'm wont to do.
As I grow older, I've noticed that my taste for scary movies has somewhat diminished. I still like them, but I don't seek them out as actively as I did when I was younger.
For example, when I was around the age of 11 or 12 (I can't remember when exactly) I was desperate to see Wes Craven's "The Last House on the Left." After all that I had read about it, it seemed like a movie that could completely destroy me on a psychological level. I called around to all the local video stores to see if they carried it. At that time, Escanaba had much more than just a Family Video from which to rent movies. I finally found it at Front Row Video in Gladstone. I rented it with much glee and anticipation ... but then I found myself too scared to actually watch it. I couldn't bring myself to do it. But I eventually mustered up the courage and popped the VHS tape into my VCR. I was, in a word, disappointed. Was it graphic? Yeah, a little. But it just didn't live up to all the hype that had surrounded it. This was a movie that been banned in the U.K. for some time. I expected it to completely change my view of horror films, but it didn't.
That wouldn't come until a couple of years later when another Wes Craven film came out: "Scream." At the time, my Mom had a strict policy regarding R-rated movies, which is that I couldn't watch them if they contained any nudity. She didn't seem to mind the violence or strong language, but sexuality was a no-no. To my delight, I found the film was rated R only for language and violence. I had my Mom buy me a ticket and sat in the theater enjoying every minute of it. Now this was a movie that completely changed how I viewed horror films. They could be fun, funny, self-referential and endlessly reward the viewer for their knowledge of scary movies. I eventually saw the movie three times in the theater. Sometimes I can still get a whiff of how it smelled in there. When it came out on VHS, it was all I rented.
Fortunately, there's Halloween to allow us to revisit the horror films we've come to love. Just the other day SyFy was showing films from the "Nightmare on Elm Street" series. Out of all the cinematic horror villains, Freddy Krueger is by far my favorite. Yeah, he became more of a jokester over the years, but it just made him a lot more fun than Jason or Michael Myers were. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Krueger. Although the films don't scare me like they did when I was a kid, it's still fun to rewatch them.
One movie that I especially like to watch during this time is the somewhat little known film "Trick 'r Treat." It's an anthology film much in the vein of "Creepshow," but all the stories intertwine. It's very clever and well-constructed. And it did that I've been wanting horror films to do for quite some time:?treat kids as adult and not just have them there as untouchable victims.
Of course, there's the grandfather of these films, "Halloween." I like the first, second and seventh as a trilogy, but the rest are just kind of awful. I'm not including here "Halloween 3: Season of the Witch," which had nothing to do with Michael Myers, but was an offshoot of the "Halloween" franchise.
Then there's that little doll that everyone loves to hate: Chucky. I never found Chucky that scary. It always seemed that you could just give him a well placed kick and he would go flying out a window. Although there's a special place in my heart for the original film, as it's the first R-rated movie my mom let me watch when I was a kid.
Whatever movie you decide to watch, make sure it's something that will truly frighten you and give you the best Halloween ever.