By Cora Quigley
Halloween is just around the corner, and as the days get darker, colder and the is air filled with erratic explodey banger noises, one often gets the urge to watch films that will match the atmosphere. Sometimes it can be difficult to find a horror type film worth watching, or even just something beyond the typical Halloween fare that may have become somewhat stale at this stage. So here are a few alternative(ish) films to watch with pre-Halloween glee that will hopefully incite timely nightmares, or at least give you a giggle or two.
The Nightmare Before Christmas – Henry Selick (1993)
Is it a Halloween film? Is it a Christmas film?! Will we ever really know? This is possibly one of the most important questions of our time, and perhaps one of the most unanswerable. I like to watch it on Halloween though and since this is my list, what I say goes. If you ever went through a goth/emo/rocker phase as a teenager, this, as well as the rest of Burton’s filmography (since everyone thinks it’s directed by Tim Burton and stuff) is probably already a staple in your film collection. If not, you are in for a spooky, musical treat! The film tells the story of Jack Skellington, the king of Halloweentown, who is feeling rather sick of the celebrating Halloween year after year. He then discovers Christmas Town and is enamored by just how different to Halloween the event seems to be. Jack becomes obsessed with the holiday, much to the dismay of love interest, Sally and also Santa Claus himself. Danny Elfman penned musical chaos ensues, and you will surely sing “This is Halloween” repeatedly this Halloween and every Halloween yet to come, forever and always.
Drag Me to Hell – Sam Raimi (2009)
Following the questionable Spiderman 3, it seems that Raimi just wanted to return to his horror roots, and that he did by directing this spectacularly camp, spooky and gross feature. It follows loan officer, Christine Brown, who appears to be having a rather tough time lately with regards to her career and love life. In an attempt to appear to have a better grasp of her job, she refuses to extend a loan for customer, Mrs. Ganush, which results in the elderly woman being evicted from her home. It turns out this was basically the worst decision ever because in revenge, Mrs Ganush casts a curse upon the poor young woman, who spends the rest of the film trying desperately to avoid getting literally dragged to hell.
Vampire’s Kiss – Robert Bierman (1988)
This infinitely quotable and criminally underrated classic sees Nicolas Cage wonderfully portray a horrid yuppie type who has become convinced that he is vampire. That’s about it really, but it’s great. Trust me. Let’s face it, what’s more spooky than a vampire? More to the point, what’s more spooky than Nicolas Cage in the role of a wannabe vampire? But don’t take my word for it, just look at following video if you don’t believe me. You’re welcome.
The Cabin in the Woods – Drew Goddard (2011)
If you’re not sure what exactly you’re in the mood for, or even looking for something that basically tears apart the conventions and
stereotypes of your typical horror film, ‘The Cabin in the Woods’ is the film for you! The film centres around 5 college aged individuals heading off for a party filled weekend in – you guessed it – a cabin in the woods. Not long after they arrive, it becomes clear that all is not exactly right with this ominous cabin as the group slowly but surely begin acting not quite like themselves. Revealing anymore about the plot would pretty much spoil the film, but the turn of events is pretty unexpected.
Martyrs – Pascal Laugier (2008)
For those who may be inclined to point how this list has been lacking in films of the torture porn variety, fret no more! ‘Martyrs’ provides a multitude of violent scenes, and then some. It certainly isn’t for the faint of heart. That said, it isn’t a typical celebration of mindless violence either. Unlike many other films similar to this which could be argued to ultimately be pointless, ‘Martyrs’ does appear to have a message inherent in the gore. Figuring out that message is half the fun and part of what makes the film so interesting. It follows two childhood friends, Anna and Lucie, as Lucie seeks revenge on those who abused and tortured her as a child. However, this doesn’t exactly go according to plan. The film is haunting and relentless, in a way that is perhaps a far cry to your typical Halloween film.