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Halloween 2008 Essentials
The perfect films to spend your Halloween with

Infini Pumpkin

By: The Infini Staff

It's just about that time of year again, where any self respecting horror fan feels like vegetating on the couch and revisiting some of their favorite horror classics. There's a lot of choices out there though, and the staff here at Infini-Tropolis would like to help out!! Our personal "10 Halloween Essentials" lists are below. Keep in mind, there will be some duplicates, and these aren't our personal favorite top-10 horror films of all time. It's just a list of 10 films that each of us felt would fill out the perfect Halloween day marathon.

Click the images on the right to jump to a specific list!

Nakadai's Essentials

10. Re-Animator (1988)
"Death is just the beginning..."

A modern day retelling of the classic mad scientist inspired by the works of H.P Lovecraft, cheesy gory fun in the spirit of ludicrousness, and an enjoyably great way to liven up the Halloween festivities.

09. Halloween (1978)
"The night HE came home!"

The quintessential Halloween flick, John Carpenter's masterful tribute to the season we all know and love. While my interest in the film has dwindled over the years stemming from an endless onslaught of repeated viewings, no Halloween would feel complete without it running somewhere in the background at some point towards the end of October.

08. Black Sunday (1960)
"The undead demons of hell terrorize the world in an orgy of stark horror!"

A dark and dreary smearing of black and white beauty, crafted by none other than the Maestro of the Macabre himself Mario Bava. With a spooky atmosphere reminiscent of a now distant wonder and apprehension from childhood Halloweens past, this is a great way to recapture a minuscule piece of what once was.

07. Phantasm (1979)
"If this one doesn't scare you, you're already dead!"

One of my earliest introductions to horror, and i've never come across anything else quite like it. The foreboding presence of the Tallman and his flying balls of death lend themselves perfectly to the Halloween spirit; a rather dubious way to ensure that any mischievous trick or treater steers clear of the local cemetery.

06. The Wolf Man (1941)
"His hideous howl a dirge of death!"

You’d be hard pressed faulting any of the Universal monster staples as Halloween requirements; each has its own quirks and charms that make it a beloved and welcomed favorite of the season. While Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein remain my preferred universal films, my fondest universal Halloween memories reside with watching The Wolf Man. Something about that transformation sequence and encumbering fog always lent itself perfectly to this time of year...

05. The Return of the Living Dead (1985)
"They're back from the grave and ready to party!"

An epic horror party flick if ever there was one, this is the perfect setting for any group of friends, food, booze and debauchery.

04. The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)
"Revenge is the best medicine."

Vincent Price is THE Halloween actor, I can think of no other that embodies the Halloween spirit better than he. His filmography on its own reads as essential Halloween viewing but if I had to choose, The Abominable Dr. Phibes would ever so slightly take the pole position due to its vast originality and overblown theatrics.

03. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
"They keep coming back in a bloodthirsty lust for HUMAN FLESH!"

Arguably the greatest, no fuck that… THE greatest zombie film ever to grace the screen. How could any Halloween be complete without it? Well you my friend would have to suck HARD, that’s how.

02. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
"What happened is true. Now the motion picture that's just as real."

A film of raw emotion and sheer terror, not only essential horror or Halloween viewing but essential viewing period… Until recently I don’t recall ever being fortunate enough to catch this one on television, but I do remember clearly renting it several Halloweens in a row before purchasing my own VHS copy.

01. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
"Jason's back, and this is the one you've been screaming for."

My earliest Halloween tradition aside from wrangling candy, came in the form of searching out anything from the Friday the 13th series on cable television and leaving it on in the background all night long. Honestly 1-7 are all among my preferred Halloween watches, but I feel The Final Chapter embodies the best of what has made Jason the horror icon that he is today.

KamuiX's Essentials

10. Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror (1981)
"When the moon turns red, the dead shall rise!"

What better way to kick off your Halloween viewing festivities than with some unintentional hilarity? Burial Ground is one of the most entertaining zombie films I've ever experienced, but for all the wrong reasons. Your life just won't be complete until you see a 25+ year old man-boy staring lustfully at his mothers tits. Rarely does something this wrong feel so right.

09. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
"The most amazing story ever screened."

Halloween is the perfect time to school yourself on the origins of the horror genre, and you really can't do much better than with Robert Wiene's silent masterpiece. The film is a true marvel, featuring wildly unique set designs that most directors still can't recreate today. While Murnau's Nosferatu may be the more well-known of the early horror films, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is where it all started, and you couldn't ask for a better start.

08. Session 9 (2001)
"Fear is a place."

By 2001, I was over 20 and very little creeped me out. Discovering the wonders of Asian horror was right around the corner, but my first viewing of Session 9 was one of the creepiest experiences I had had in quite some time. To this day, the film has an air about it that gives me an uneasy feeling, and the ending is amazingly bleak. This is what horror films are supposed to be.

07. Basket Case (1982)
"The tenant in room 7 is very small, very twisted, and very mad."

I can always make some room for trash, and Basket Case is one of the finest trash films of all time. It completely embodies the rebel spirit of 80's cult cinema, and has an absurd, yet oddly endearing premise. More shocking than everything else however is the fact that a film about a grossly deformed and homicidal siamese twin that's kept in a box actually works...and works well. In an era where films about killer Gingerbread Men are laughed at (and rightfully so), Basket Case proves that even the most inane of ideas can work if the people behind them are passionate and talented enough.

06. The Woman in Black (1989)
"A spine-chilling ghost story."

Without question the most frightening ghost story ever filmed, it's a shame that so few people have experienced this film. It has an overbearingly dark atmosphere, and it features the most jarring scene I've ever witnessed in a horror film. I defy anyone to watch this film for the first time, alone, and not jump 10 feet off the couch. The good news is this OOP DVD can be had for a lot less these days than the exorbitant prices it was going for a couple years back, so there's never been a better chance to seek this out. You won't be disappointed, but you may experience a sleepless night.

05. Theatre of Blood (1973)
"It's curtains for his critics!"

Halloween wouldn't be complete without one of the biggest legends of the genre, Vincent Price. There's really a treasure trove of films to choose from, but Theatre of Blood may very well be Mr. Price's shining achievement. Mixing Shakespeare with horror is actually a decent idea, considering the tragic and violent end many of his characters meet, and when you add in a wicked sense of humor and Price at the top of his game, you really can't go wrong. The film is a complete blast, and a perfect example of why Vincent Price is so revered to this day.

04. Black Sabbath (1963)
"The most gruesome day in the calendar!"

Anthologies are a staple of the horror genre, and Mario Bava's Black Sabbath may be the most suitable for the season. You'll get frightening phone calls, 19th century vampires, and a vengeful corpse with a demonic scowl. Add in the fact that this was Bava's first horror film to showcase his incredible lighting techniques that would go on to inspire a generation, and Black Sabbath is a horrifically fun ride.

03. Tombs of the Blind Dead (1971)
"Who are these unholy savages who hunt out their victims by sound alone?"

A powerhouse of brooding atmosphere and gothic scenery, the undead Templars are easily the most stylish zombies to ever grace the screen. Seriously, how fucking awesome are cloaked zombies riding on horseback?! It's also damn fun to watch the hapless victims stare in horror for full minutes before reacting as the Templars slowly dig their way out of the ground. Tombs also features one of the best endings to a horror film ever. If you disagree,'re wrong.

02. The Monster Squad (1987)
"The end of the world starts at midnight."

Fuck The Goonies...The Monster Squad was my childhood adventure/fantasy of choice. It's pretty much the reason I became such a horror fan, and it's the perfect monster mash for Halloween. It made me a junkie for old monster movies, making me the weird friend of the group that would rather sit in the house and watch some old black and white horror flick than go see the latest blockbuster at the multiplex. More than that, this is one of the few favorable childhood film memories of mine that still stands up to this day. If I ever have my own little hellspawn, you'll be pleased to know he'll be fed a healthy dose of The Monster Squad during his early years.

01. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
"The idyllic summer's day that became a nightmare of fear and blood..."

I've watched this film every Halloween for over 10 years, and nothing is going to change that now. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is the perfect horror film; a harrowing portrait of raw and unrelenting terror that will grab you by the balls and hold on until the final frame. This Halloween will be the most special yet, as I'll be viewing the film for the first time ever on Blu-Ray. No matter the format, there's no better way to enjoy Halloween than a viewing of this seminal classic.

WesFierce's Essentials

10. Halloween 5 (1989)
"Michael lives, and this time they're ready!"

Okay so my list doesnt necessarily comprise of "essentials", but I'm duct taping my horror elitist self to a chair this year so I can post a fun Halloween list without feeling guilty, lol. What could be a better way to make it feel like Halloween than watching a bunch of horror movies that take place on Halloween and even include a Halloween party? (Well, other than actually going to a Halloween party.) The devil himself is right on time yet again, and this time not only is he on time, but he's at the Halloween party of the year! Who knew M&M was the life(taker) of the party??

09. Hell Night (1981)
"Pray for day!"

Hey, even if the costume party isnt taking place on Halloween, you can still pretend it is. Just like you're pretending it's Halloween by watching movies about Halloween even if you're not watching them on the 31st! Also, Linda Blair is all grown up and hot!

08. Urban Legend (1998)
"It happened to someone who knows someone you know...You're next!"

Before you roll your eyes and try to punch me in the face through your computer monitor, think of it this way: The killer has definitely got the Halloween spirit. He's going to great lengths to put the college campus in the right mood, setting up elaborate kills all around campus like an interactive haunted college you would pay $10 to go to on Halloween on some abandoned college campus! What's more, he's even timed it to coincide with the campus Halloween party!

07. Terror Train (1980)
"The boys and girls of Sigma Phi. Some will live. Some will die."

Remember how we are pretending non-Halloween costume party horror movies are actually taking place on Halloween? It also applies here. These kids love costume parties so much they're not going to let the fact that it's not Halloween stop them. They even take it a step further by throwing the party on a train! With a serial killer! When was the last time you went to a party that awesome???

06. Ginger Snaps (2000)
"She's got the curse."

Throw all your stupid metaphor interpretations out the window. It's Halloween night, the shit has hit the fan around your neighborhood in the days leading up, your sibling is using her werewolfism as a disguise to get into your high schools Halloween costume party so she can eat people, and it's up to you to save the day. This is a Halloween with a purpose.

05. Idle Hands (1999)
"The touching story of a boy and his right hand."

Tired of Halloween party themed movies yet? No? Good! Now forget the fact that there is a serial killer on the loose in your town, or the fact that you just found out your parents are two of the victims... you're going to a Halloween party with Seth Green and Jessica Alba to see The Offspring!!

04. Donnie Darko (2001)
"Life is one long insane trip. Some people just have better directions."

So this technically isn't a horror movie, but it undoubtedly is at its core. Anything crazy that happens in October can make the season feel more like Halloween. Here, all kinds of crazy stuff goes down leading up to a smashingly frightening Halloween party that defies time itself.

03. Murder Party (2007)
"Everybody dies!"

Oh man, this movie is awesome. Very few movies live up to the awesomeness of its movie poster, but this one does! What if you didn't have anything to do for Halloween? Sound familiar? What if you got an invitation to a party right at the last minute, you got all excited, threw together a kick ass costume, and then showed up at the party only to discover that the point of the party wasnt to celebrate Halloween, but it was so everyone could take turns killing you? Yeah it's that awesome. And it gets even better. *Much* better.

02. Night of the Demons (1988)
"Angela is having a party, Jason and Freddy are too scared to come. But you'll have a hell of a time."

Alright, not only do we have a Halloween party, and not only is it on Halloween, but a haunted house is the venue! Plus, Linnea Quigley is gonna be there! And after the party is over, there are going to be two more parties, one of which Christine Taylor will be at, before a remake with a c-list cast comes along! High fucking five!

01. Trick 'r Treat (2007)
"Poison, Drowning, Claw, or Knife. So many ways to take a life."

No, I'm not talking about the one with Gene & Ozzy. I'm talking about the one that has the potential to be the ultimate Halloween movie. I haven't even seen it yet, and odds are you're not going to either unless you're going to a special screening this month. Until the DVD anyway. Then it will be awesome! Mark my words. Once it's officially released, this will be my Halloween movie staple. My friends and I will be watching this on Halloween night every year as a tradition. Even if they have to be duct taped to chairs long enough for the movie to play. They can sit right next to my elitist self!!

Arto's Essentials

10. [REC] (2007)
"One witness. One camera."

Forget The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield, co-directors Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza blew me away with this chilling take on the horror-mockumentary sub-genre. This is easily one of the scariest films of the decade. Imagine walking down an almost pitch black hallway where you know something bad is going to happen, you just don't know when. That pretty much sums up the terror this film unloads throughout.

09. The Fog (1980)
"What you can't see won't hurt you... it'll kill you!"

This isn't exactly one of my favorite John Carpenter films, but it's nonetheless entertaining and has a solid cast to back it up. The Fog just feels like such a right film to watch on Halloween. The actual fog itself and the ghostly villains it cloaks provide the creepy atmosphere to one frightening night in an unfortunate Northern California fishing town.

08. Night of the Demons (1988)
"Angela is having a party, Jason and Freddy are too scared to come. But you'll have a hell of a time."

This is one film I can't recommend enough to add to anyone's Halloween marathon list. Sure, there's hardly anything original about it, but it's still quintessential viewing for fans of 80's nostalgic horror and besides, it's a horror movie that takes place on Halloween. I'd say it's the kind of horror film you drink beer to with your friends.

07. The Legend of Hell House (1973)
"For the sake of your sanity, pray it isn't true!"

When it comes to finding a good film about evil spirits haunting mansions, this one is absolutely triumphant in being relentless in terror. This certainly is a perfect reminder to us all that they just don't make them like they used to. It is easily one of the scariest films ever regarding the disastrous effects of supernatural evil upon the human mind.

06. The Exorcist (1973)
"A spine-chilling ghost story."

For me, this is when the genre really began to open some truly horrifying doors (especially amidst the mainstream). The Exorcist shocked the world upon its release and is arguably the most disturbing film ever made. It certainly is a perk to have a terrific cast with fantastic direction. To this day, it still scares and equally shocks viewers across the world. I can't think of a better time of the year to watch it.

05. Kwaidan (1964)
"The ultimate in ghost stories!"

A three-hour anthology of some of the most atmospheric, spectacularly shot horror stories, Kwaidan is a truly unbelievable experience that will stay with you forever. Art-house lovers will appreciate this one very much. If you're in search of something truly different from the typical American horror film, then look no further.

04. Hellraiser (1987)
"He'll tear your soul apart."

In this day and age, Hellraiser is one of those films that must be seen by any self-respecting horror fan. It has one of the genre's most unique plots, along with a memorable group of antagonists and masterful direction from Clive Barker. This milestone will forever be remembered for pushing the concepts of sadomasochism and Hell far beyond our own limits.

03. Carnival of Souls (1962)
"A story so unusual it will burn itself into your mind."

Herk Harvey's groundbreaking cult classic combines an enigmatic tale of the passageway between the living and dead with a chilling mood to create one of the creepiest, most confounding horror films of the all time. The hypnotic organ soundtrack alone will haunt you long after it's over.

02. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
"You'll never close your eyes again."

Within two hours, director Philip Kaufman does what so many zombie/invasion/apocalyptic films have tried and failed to pull off. This urban tale of science fiction horror features the Pod People: alien life forms launching a silent invasion right under humanity's nose. They are hands down, some of the most demoralizing antagonists in cinema, and easily cause the main characters to grow on you. Along with a haunting score and a shocking ending that will linger long after the credits roll, Invasion of the Body Snatchers is essential and a worthy film to check out this Hallow-day.

01. The Shining (1980)
"A masterpiece of modern horror."

In 1980, master filmmaker Stanley Kubrick not only reinvented gothic horror, he completely changed the way the viewer would look at film as a horror movie-medium. What many consider to be the best feature based on a story from Stephen King, is also one of, if not the greatest horror film ever made. Like an orchestrated masterwork, The Shining treads slowly and methodically as the tension continues to build up, scene after scene, until finally, the bang erupts a pay-off that is literally insane. Kubrick manages to succeed in scaring the hell out of generations of audiences in a disturbingly unique way: by using the power of our own minds.

Please feel free to post your own Halloween Essentials lists here, in our forums!

Nakadai's Essentials
KamuiX's Essentials
Wes Fierce's Essentials
Arto's Essentials

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