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Frightening films to fill your Halloween weekend

Originally published in the October 29, 2010 issue

If dressing up isn’t your thing, there’s a good chance you’re more the scary movie type, someone who devotes the entire weekend to a marathon of all things chilling and evil. But sorting through the massive amounts of wannabes, remakes and sequels that are out there is a far scarier task than watching the movies themselves. Even if you get scared at the thought of seeing a horror flick, there is a pick for you.

“The Exorcism”
The idea of kids is scary in and of itself, so it is an entirely different story when they are intentionally haunting. Throw in epic amounts of vomit, the idea of devil possession and a seemingly cursed set, and you get a classic.

Back when it was released in 1973, the controversy surrounding it might have overpowered the fear behind it, but nowadays, it’s hard to ignore how frightening it actually is.

“Friday the 13th”
For our generation, the “Friday the 13th” franchise is essentially a joke. After a ridiculous amount of remakes, sequels and re-imaginings with a pretty yet terrible cast, the idea of “Friday the 13th” being scary seems absurd.

Like with most movies, returning to the original is always a good idea, and this is no exception. From the moments that terrifying yet iconic noise emerges from the speakers, sleep-away camp was never the same.

“Hocus Pocus”
Being one of the two best Disney Halloween movies (“Halloweentown” being the other), this classic could not go unmentioned.

Before there were vampires taking over our lives, there were witches with their good old-fashioned spell books and boiling cauldrons of goo. “Hocus Pocus” is one of those movies with a ridiculous plot line, so ridiculous that you have to love it.

Three witch sisters (Sarah Jessica Parker, Bette Midler and Kathy Najimy) with bursting personalities spend Halloween night chasing innocent teenage Max, who is already having a hard enough Halloween with his pesky little sister.

With a talking cat and witches riding vacuums as brooms, this movie creates suspense and laughter, providing entertainment for all ages. With this all-star cast and musical medleys like “I Put a Spell on You,” it clearly has all the makings of an amazing holiday tradition.

If we had a nickel for every time we’ve seen one of those washed-out, blank Michael Myer’s masks, I would be a rich woman. This movie has been remade and added onto so many times, it surely has changed the face of American cult culture for good. There is just something about that faceless, voiceless character that strikes fear in the hearts of cryptic movie fans everywhere.

Maybe it’s the notion that everyone can see someone they know behind that mask, someone with a slightly less than satisfactory childhood who will one day snap and wreak havoc on the lives of those close to them. Note to self: You know that socially awkward genius in your chem class? Might want to stay on his good side . . .

In the years following Alfred Hitchcock’s film reign, many have tried – and failed, most miserably – at replicating even half the level of tension and suspension that he created in any movie. Even knowing the entire plot, twist and all, “Psycho” still manages to elicit unsettling emotions. It isn’t a fearful feeling, more like a giant unnerving knot sitting at the bottom of your stomach.

For “Psycho,” the art of the film, the details and skill behind it, are what make it the perfect Halloween movie. It is even better if you have somehow managed to avoid the plot twists all these years, and must be watched immediately.

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