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Halloween Essentials 2010
Happy Infiniween!


By: Infini Staff & Citizens

There's no better time to indulge in hours upon hours of horror films, and the staff and citizens of Infini-Tropolis would like to help out in making the toughest of decisions: which ones to watch! Our personal "Top 10 Halloween Essentials" lists for 2010 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 (or week!) marathon.

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

KamuiX's Essentials

Once again I've decided to go against the grain to keep this interesting for me since this is an annual staple of the site and do a theme. This year, I'm doing film's that I believe are sadly overlooked around this time of year in favor of other stock Halloween favorites. Nothing wrong with those, as I watch some (like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Shining) every year myself, but this is also a great time of year to discover some film's you may have never seen, let alone heard of. I know some of these will be familiar to many that check out the site regularly, but for those that aren't as well versed in cult and horror cinema may find some undiscovered gems on my list to flesh out their Halloween viewing.

10. Dead of Night (1945)
"Nightmares can come true..."

Before Trick ‘R Treat, before Creepshow, before even Night Gallery and The Twilight Zone, there was Dead of Night, one of the creepiest horror anthology films you’ll ever see. Not only is every tale compelling, they’re all well-developed and quite frankly pretty eerie. If you’re the type to get the willies whenever a not-so-lifeless doll appears on screen (and maybe even more-so when they’re in glorious black and white), keep the lights on when you check this out. Even if you’re not usually susceptible to frightening inanimate objects, you might find even you have an Achilles heel.

09. Scream of Fear (1961)
"The motion picture shocker of the year!"

In keeping the tradition of spotlighting a lesser-known Hammer film that I started last year (well it's only a tradition now since this is the second year I did it...), Scream of Fear is a Hitchcockian horror mystery that will keep you guessing until the end. It’s always nice to see a film like this that not only has a great buildup but an equally great conclusion, and Scream of Fear delivers from beginning to end.

08. Empire of Passion (1978)
"The ghost of love."

Not a standard horror film in any way, but one of the most twisted portraits of passion and lust ever put to celluloid. It’s frightening to see just how far not only someone will go for love, but how much they can be manipulated and how low obsession can drag one down. There’s murder, deception, hauntings, and mental anguish. In other words, perfect for a damp and dark October evening.

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

A more fitting tagline has rarely been assigned to a film. Anyone that has known me on the forums here and elsewhere will know I’ve talked about The Woman in Black ad-nauseam, and for good reason. It’s arguably the greatest ghost story ever told, and it’s for the reason a ghost story should be considered great: it’s fucking scary as all hell. I defy anyone to watch this film alone at night and not jump out of their skin at least twice. And even better, this is a ghost story that will haunt you long after the credits roll.

06. Lisa and the Devil (1974)
"Every corner of the soul is lost to the icy clutch of the supernatural!"

It’s hard to condemn people for overlooking this film, as it tends to be pushed to the side in favor of other Bava masterpieces such as Black Sunday, Black Sabbath, Blood and Black Lace and Bay of Blood, and I certainly can’t bitch, because all of these films are great. But as far as I’m concerned, Lisa and the Devil is just as good, and deserves to be lauded just as much. It’s a twisting tale that will mess with your head in the same way some of the greatest episodes of The Twilight Zone do. Just be sure to watch the Italian language version and not the English language re-cut The House of Exorcism, otherwise we’re not likely to hold the film in the same esteem.

05. Pin (1988)
"A plastic nightmare."

The perfect portrait of an introverted, mentally disturbed child whose journey through life is so harsh he has to confide in and fantasize that a medical dummy is his best friend, Pin is equally touching and downright hair-raising and damn nasty. Think of it as an even more twisted version of Psycho and you'll have a good idea what Pin has in store for you.

04. Who Can Kill a Child? (1976)
"They don’t know it yet, but their vacation paradise will be a nightmare."

I’m sure you’ve seen a ton of horror flicks with demonic, evil children. I’m also sure you’ve seen an equal amount of horror films that turn a nice vacation getaway to paradise into a living nightmare. Who Can Kill a Child not only combines the two, but handles both aspects better than pretty much any other film has. The reason the kids in this film are so damn blood-chilling is because they seem to be normal kids. They aren’t demonic, they aren’t brain-washed; this is just how they are. Yet they’re still children in the eyes of the victims, and children are the personification of innocence, which makes their ordeal all the more terrifying.

03. Slumber Party Massacre II (1987)
"Thrills, chills, and guitar drills!"

The obligatory “so bad it’s friggin’ awesome” pick of the year, Slumber Party Massacre II puts the original film to shame thanks to throwing out the formulaic slasher formula in favor of an incomprehensible plot, absurd situations, and a gonzo killer that has to be seen to be believed. The guy is so damn spectacular that I don’t know why he hasn’t become a cult icon over the years. Maybe no one had a sense of humor at the time of its release, but it screams to be re-discovered now. In an age where films like Troll 2 and The Room are worshipped, Slumber Party Massacre II is every bit the garbage masterpiece they are; hell, maybe even more-so.

02. Star of David (1979)
"A maniac goes hunting for beautiful girls."

Easily the most twisted film on my list, Star of David is Japan’s answer to Psycho and a pre-cursor to the legendary Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. As you can imagine, we not only get to see why our anti-hero has become what he has, we get to see him work his craft in some of the most unflinching situations put to film. Add to that the film is classy in every respect, from a classical score to amazing cinematography and lighting, Star of David is a feast for the eyes and ears while at the same time making you feel dirtier than the last time you took the town skank home from the bar.

01. At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul (1964)
"Coffin Joe is ready to reproduce…"

I know around these parts this isn’t particularly underappreciated, but at large I think the joys of Coffin Joe are rather unknown to the Average Joe (pun totally intended). Forget Freddy, Jason, Michael Myers, Jigsaw; Coffin Joe is not only among the original franchise horror icons, but he’s also one of the most memorable and devious and makes all the rest seem like pansies in comparison. Sort of like Pinhead, you can’t help but love and root for the guy even though he’s raping, killing and pillaging to his heart’s content. This film (as well as the entire series) is completely bizarre, very rough around the edges, and occasionally hard to follow, but like a good acid trip, sometimes you have to go through a rough patch or two on your magical journey. If you only have time to sit down and watch one film off of my list this year, make it At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul, a real treat (or maybe a trick depending on your outlook) for Halloween night.

Arto's Essentials

10. Slither (2006)
"What's gotten into you?"

I haven’t been too big a fan of contemporary horror. I feel like even when a decent one shows its face, it may wow the audience for that brief time in theater, but afterward no one really has any desire to revisit. Slither is one of those exceptions where you get a basic horror plot that has been done over and over so much it should be a crime to do it again, but this time it works in a disgustingly effective way. While many will argue that better horror movies have come out, Slither I predict will achieve cult status in the years to come. It’s loaded with everything horror fans want in all the right places, including the laughs, but it’s the disgusting, puss-induced gore that really steals the show. Those who are squeamish have been advised.

09. Phantasm II (1988)
"The ball is back!"

While my favorite era of horror would have to be the 60’s and 70’s, Halloween always seems like the best time of the year to watch 80’s horror. I really don’t know why. Maybe it ‘s from the nostalgia of my childhood, who knows, but when you want to watch one that is entertainingly ridiculous in all the right ways, look no further than Phantasm II. Often considered the best of the series, I personally don’t hold it on as high of a pantheon as other horror films, but this is a definitive watch for you and some friends and a case of beer come Halloween night. If only the DVD came with the Monstervision Joe Bob Briggs interludes from when it aired back in the day; oh, how I miss Saturday nights in the 90’s.

08. Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1983)
"The night no one comes home."

Ah, yes, the true movie of the franchise that divides horror fans. Many hate this film for their own reasons, but I honestly watch this more around Halloween than the original. It just has that something that gets the feel and spirit of the Hallow-day down so well. Plus I’d take this over all the bullshit sequels where Jason Voorhees returns wearing Michael Myers’ outfit. Besides, an 80’s horror movie set on Halloween, with megalomaniacal warlocks, snakes and bugs crawling out of a freshly destroyed child’s head, and Tom Atkins kicking ass, well, that makes it kind of hard to suck. I really believe if this movie were released with an alternate title people would have enjoyed it more. But fuck them; I call it Mandatory Halloween Marathon Material.

07. Salem's Lot (1979)
"The ultimate in terror!"

Quite possibly my favorite Stephen King epic novel comes to life in this once popular, now often overlooked 70’s made for television mini-series. Clocking in at almost three hours, Salem's Lot first act sets up the town and ensemble cast of characters as darkness slowly looms in. This buildup might make some grow weary, but those drawn in will find themselves rewarded as the plot thickens. Being such a huge fan of the book, of course I have my gripes with the way some aspects and characters were depicted, but it’s classic King storytelling: everyday yet flawed people pitted against extraordinary supernatural events while purposefully feeling like a contemporary Dracula. I’m not a fan of most Stephen King adaptations, and while there are a few I’d consider better than this, Salem’s Lot is still a frightfully worthwhile experience.

06. The Brides of Dracula (1960)
"The most evil Dracula of all!"

You can’t have a Halloween marathon without some Hammer Horror. I came close to picking Christopher Lee’s debut as the infamous Prince of Darkness, but aside from a somewhat rushed ending, I was really surprised to find just how redeeming this first sequel in Hammer’s Dracula series was even without his presence. It certainly helps to have a villain deceitful and sinister enough to fill in the void. Throw in an ever-pleasing Gothic backdrop, some of the period’s most beautiful women dolled up in vamp fashion, and Peter Cushing’s inimitable return as the definitive Van Helsing and you have what is, in my opinion, one of the better vampire films of that era.

05. Pulse (2001)
"Do you want to meet a ghost?"

Some say I’m picky with horror movies, but what I’m even pickier with is J-horror. There really is only a handful that truly worked for me, and Pulse is obviously one of those. Who would’ve thought a movie about the undead involving the Internet could be so convincingly unsettling and creepy? Director Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s minimal paced atmospheric backdrop of Tokyo makes it all the more feel like an urban gothic nightmare. With every shadow and dead-slow movement, the hair on my neck stands. The ending will probably divide viewers. I personally didn’t mind it and have found this to be one of the more genuinely scary horror films from this decade that’s honestly worth your time. And if this movie is too slow and boring for you, well…get fucked…and go watch Freddy vs Jason instead.

04. Night of the Creeps (1986)
"The good news is your date is here! The bad news is he's dead!"

One word best describes this movie: Essential. This movie is watched every Halloween in my household. I enforce that rule. Buy this movie. Own it. Love it. I think many horror movies, including the recent Slither, owe a lot to this 80’s horror milestone. Why director Fred Dekker’s career never flourished out of the decade is beyond me. While Cronenberg’s Shivers put parasitic zombie horror on the map, Night of the Creeps made a rock show out of it. This classic has all the right ingredients, from lampooning 50’s Sci-fi cheese to delivering an equally fun and disgusting story about alien slugs infecting and turning people into head-exploding zombies. And to top it off, it costars Tom “Fucking” Atkins, who pretty much steals the whole show with his arsenal of hilariously badass one-liners. Unless you have a stick pried up your ass, Night of the Creeps should be a fun, horror-filled time for all you creeps. Did I mention there are flamethrowers?

03. Grapes of Death (1978)
"When the wine flows, the terror begins..."

A perfect addition to the ultimate living dead marathon, Jean Rollin created what many considered to be the first official French splatter film. The story, style and overall atmosphere feel reminiscent of David Cronenberg’s early work, especially Shivers and Rabid (particularly the more grotesque segments) as well as Let Sleeping Corpses Lie and Tombs of the Blind Dead. Like those films, there is visible reason behind the zombie epidemic, but it still comes at you abruptly and without warning, which makes for a nice departure from typical zombie horror. There’s no build-up; it just happens. There’s just something so eerie about certain horror films in the era: the settings, the styles, and the minds behind them. Despite all of its gruesome imagery, it’s the mis-en-scène that truly ups the creep factor in a way that enlightens, entertains, and disturbs.

02. Frankenhooker (1990)
"A terrifying tale of sluts and bolts."

As much as I enjoyed director Frank Henenlotter’s previous efforts, I was walking into this one not expecting much, given the basic plot (wannabe Mad Scientist’s beloved dies, so he tries to bring her back from the dead). I don’t know what was wrong with me, I should’ve realized: IT’S HENENLOTTER! He could do a remake of Bambi and make it fucking insane. And that’s just what this movie is; more insane imagery from the guy that brought us Brain Damage and Basket Case; two of the wildest horror movies to come out of the 80’s. Well here is the less regarded effort and in all honesty, it may be my personal favorite of his. This reminds me more of Reanimator, but it still has all the grotesque ingredients that make it a Henenlotter film. Yes, there’s tons of gore. Yes, it’s loaded with dumb, wacky humor, but it all works. If this you kind of deranged horror is up your alley, then you owe it to yourself to check out this wild, fun and fucked ride come Halloween night.

01. Prince of Darkness (1987)
"It is evil. It is real. It is awakening"

Now here’s a John Carpenter film that really divides his fans. I’ve heard it called both one of his best and one of his worst. I’m in the former group, in fact, I think it might very well be my favorite film of his next to The Thing. There’s just something about it all. Honestly, everything in this movie gets under my skin. It begins with a slightly science fiction feel for the first part: A large group of scientists experiment with metaphysics on a tube of green stuff that supposedly contains Satan in liquid form. From then on out, the so-called science descends into abominable inner-city horror. The ugliness of the urban atmosphere takes over, awakening minions of Satan in the form of homeless derelicts. The end result is a drastic siege within a church amidst a subtle battle between Good vs Evil. I can't forget it; never again will I let go of the dark feeling Prince of Darkness put me in. This here is the true epitome of 80's Gothic Modern Horror.

Ferg's Essentials

10. Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead (2006)
"Humans...the other white meat."

Insanely violent, chicken-flavored film from Troma. It's a perfect companion to six beers and a platter of junk food...a perfect Halloween in, you might say!

09. The Descent: Part 2 (2009)
"Fear runs deep. Revenge runs deeper."

I've got a bit of a theme going with this year’s top 10: sequels. I've picked this one because it's a hell of a lot of fun. The cave dwelling creatures are back, this time after a rescue team is sent underground.

08. [Rec] 2 (2009)
"Do you have the courage to return?"

I can only recommend this if you've seen the first film. If you have; get this for Halloween night! It’s vicious, bloody and genuinely frightening. The best horror film I've seen this year and a guaranteed good time.

07. The Thing (1982)
"What you fear among you."

If you haven't seen this, then...I don't know what to say. One of the best horror films ever made.

06. Drag Me to Hell (2009)
"Even nice people can go to hell."

Sam Raimi's glorious return to horror! It’s as funny and as bloody as Evil Dead, with a memorable monster in Mrs. Ganesh; definitely one to check out this Halloween.

05. The House of the Devil (2009)
"Talk on the phone. Finish your homework. Watch T.V. DIE!"

A fantastic flick to watch, especially if you're home alone on October 31st. This is absolutely creepy stuff.

04. Trick 'R Treat (2007)
"Poison, drowning, claw of knife. So many ways to take a life."

It's nice to pop-in some Halloween themed flicks on the very night, so why not try Michael Dougherty's Trick 'R Treat? Told in 3 interlocking stories, the film is a tightly paced fright-fest; a very strong recommendation for this one.

03. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)
"After a decade of silence...the buzzzz is back!"

I may be one of the few that share the opinion that this is better than the original, but either way, seek this out. You’ll be treated to a fantastically over-the-top performance from the late, great Dennis Hopper and some cracking gore from effects maestro Tom Savini.

02. Evil Dead II (1987)
"Kiss your nerves goodbye!"

I'm going to assume if you're reading this then you have already seen Evil Dead II. Isn't it the mightiest, most hilariously violent film you've ever seen? Go on, watch it again. Better yet, start a new tradition. Every Halloween; Evil Dead II!

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

Another absolute classic. There's not much to say about this one. JUST WATCH IT.

Old Dirty Pink Sock's Essentials

10. The Thing (1982)
"Man is the warmest place to hide."

This is how you start a marathon off. The Thing has everything you could possibly need, all in one convenient film; the eerie, thumping soundtrack, gore, atmosphere, a kick ass monster, and Wilford Brimley checking his diabetes. This Halloween, throw The Thing in your DVD player, sit back, and take solace in the fact that your job doesn’t suck as bad as theirs.

09. Feast (2005)
"They're hungry. You're dinner."

With The Thing wetting your appetite, it’s time to kick up the gore, and throw in some comedy. Feast is just the right length to turn your brain off, and enjoy what’s on the screen. No thought required.

08. Re-Animator (1985)
"Herbert West has a good head on his shoulders…and another one on his desk."

Moving right a long, it’s time to up the comedy and the gore, as Herbert West shows the world the dangers of bringing the dead back to life. Is it still necrophilia if the body is brought back? I guess you will have to wait and see.

07. Haute Tension (2003)
"Hearts will bleed."

Let’s shift gears a bit, and jump into the world of a crazy lady; a very strong, delusional, crazy lady. Haute Tension is one of those films where the ride is as fun as the payoff, so even if you know how it ends, you still enjoy trip.

06. The Wicker Man (1973)
"Flesh to touch...Flesh to burn! Don't keep the Wicker Man waiting!"

While a lot films chose to show you the grave dangers of losing your virginity, The Wicker Man set to remind you of what happens, not only if your remain a prude, but if you chose to visit small islands that celebrate strange holidays. The Wicker Man is an interesting film to say the least, and Christopher Lee is masterful, as always.

05. Shutter (2004)
"The most terrifying images are the ones that are real."

Shutter is a harrowing tale that shouldn’t be passed up if you’ve got the chance to squeeze it in. This is creepy Asian horror at its best. Just leave the Polaroid at home, and hope you never find those shadows in your photos.

04. Paranormal Activity (2007)
"What happens when you sleep?"

Paranormal Activity is atmospheric, fun, and genuinely freaky. The documentary style comes across as cheesy, and lazy in a lot of films, but works perfectly in Paranormal Activity. Between this and Shutter, you might want to invest in a night light.

03. Troll 2 (1990)
"The original boogeyman is back!"

Sometimes you just want to hang out with your buds and get drunk. This Halloween, let Troll 2 be your entertainment. This film is so bad, it’s hilarious, and alcohol only serves to reinforce that point.

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

Mario Bava was masterful behind the camera, and Black Sunday does more than prove it. If you are looking for a moody, artistic, gothic horror film, look no further. It was the best horror film of it’s time, and you would be hard pressed to find anything that surpasses it today.

01. Suspiria (1977)
"Once you've seen it, you will never again feel safe in the dark."

The number one film on this list is one that is a never fail, always works, a go-to Halloween night film. Dario Argento’s masterpiece proves that sometimes, style over substance is all that is needed for a truly great film experience. This Halloween, do not pass up the chance to experience one of the more interesting films out there.

dead breed's Essentials

10. Hocus Pocus (1993)
"It's just a bunch of hocus pocus!"

The first time I watched this one I was 6 years old. Now I'm 23 and still watching it.

09. Sleepy Hollow (1999)
"Watch your head!"

Christopher Walken is the fucking man…enough said! In all seriousness folks, this is another guilty pleasure of mine.

08. Ravenous (1999)
"You are who you eat."

Underrated movie, in my top 5 of the 90's. Excellent flick to watch on Halloween or a cold winter’s night.

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

This is my favorite Universal Horror film. The scenes in the forest are thick with atmosphere; great for a dark Halloween night.

06. The Exorcist III (1990)
"Do you dare walk these steps again?"

Call me a fool but I enjoy this little gem more then the original. One of the few modern horror movies that can still give me chills.

05. City of the Living Dead (1980)
"From the bowels of the earth they came to collect the living..."

My favorite Fulci film, this flick has everything from a drill to the head to a female victim coughing up all of her insides. What more could you ask for?

04. Trick 'R Treat (2007)
"If you don't follow the rules tonight, you won't live to see tomorrow."

Trick 'R Treat captures the Halloween spirit and is a must see for horror movie enthusiasts. This movie will be a Halloween tradition at the dead breed household for many years to come.

03. The Evil Dead (1981)
"The ultimate experience in grueling terror!"

This movie is in my top 3, it never gets old. I could watch this one every day and still have a great time. Most horror movies could learn a thing or two from this gory, demon filled adventure. Also, it was the first time I witnessed tree rape; a truly religious experience.

02. Halloween II (1981)
"The nightmare isn't over."

I watch this one every Halloween, it's my favorite of the series. Watch this one back to back with the original and you'll have yourself a good time.

01. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
"They won't stay dead."

The ultimate horror film…what more needs to be said?

Disturbed Dan's Essentials

10. Family (2006)
"Just another beautiful day in suburbia..."

When it comes to the Masters of Horror series, there was quite a bit of disappointment. I’d say maybe a handful of the episodes at best were good. Not many of them I would even desire watching again. Cigarette Burns is regarded as the best of both seasons but if there is one to slip right behind it, look no further than this John Landis entry from season 2. This is proof how underrated and underused George Wendt is, he's more than just a TV drunk.

09. Mother's Day (1980)
"I'm so proud of my boys. They never forget about their momma"

Troma, please take an early entry into this essentials list and not in the form of Toxie. Instead cheesy sleazy stupid fun is what Mother’s Day will bring on Halloween. Something I recommend watching with friends and family. The kids will love it.

08. Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
"...and now the earth will run with blood again!"

Yeah we all know, this is a very under appreciated classic. People ignore it was a great movie and focus more on hating because it was missing the asshole in the mask. Little do people know, all you need is a heavily intoxicated Tom Atkins, who puts his medical license on the shelf for a week to do some detective work. Plus, with such a catchy jingle to anchor it, the hate for this movie is abysmal.

07. Candyman (1992)
"We dare you to say his name five times!"

You know what, I'm not sure exactly what I love about the movie. Maybe it's the music, the ghetto setting, Tony Todd spewing bees from his mouth, Virginia Madsen in the tub, random Ted Raimi, etc.... It’s probably Madsen's boobs and maybe the bees. Yeah.

06. Castle of Blood (1964)
"The living and the dead change places in an orgy of terror!"

Some beautiful Steele in this one. Not to mention some nice black and white cinematography. Most of the ghost movies I prefer are just like this. Except this is a nice scary tale and does something different from your usual ghost affair.

05. Carnival of Souls (1962)
"She was a stranger among the living."

One of those films that really leaves you scratching your head. You may be slightly confused on what is going on because it's one hell of a strange flick. Creepy, tons of atmosphere, and a pretty haunting score. You may not hide under a sheet in fear but you will definitely get that uneasy feeling.

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

You can't really experience Halloween without some Henenlotter somewhere in your October. Any of his films could easily top my list off but it started with Basket Case and that's surely what I will be drawn to this season.

03. The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)
"Love means never having to say you're ugly."

No worries, there is some Vincent Price in here. Out of all the stuff he did, I still believe this is the one that stands out the most. If you’ve seen it, you know particularity one of the most gruesome things about it. The man has no actual facial skin; he can survive rather nicely with an exposed skull. Sure I may have spoiled a little, but these were awesome makeup effects for it's time.

02. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
"Pits the dead against the living in a struggle for survival!"

I can't rank this as number one but since it is the first horror movie I ever saw, it deserves at least the second spot on my list. Honestly this and Day of the Dead are the only two of the trilogy I can't get tired of.

01. They Live (1988)
"Who are they? And what do they want?"

A Carpenter film at number one that isn't Halloween or even The Fog. Damn right I did it! Carpenter had balls, sticking a pro wrestler in the main role and for that I bow to him.

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

KamuiX's Essentials
Arto's Essentials
Ferg's Essentials
Old Dirty Pink Sock's Essentials
Dead Breed's Essentials
Disturbed Dan's Essentials

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