Happy Halloween! There’s no better time to wrap up my annual Hoop-Tober horror marathon than by re-visiting some old classics and just marveling at how the masters of the genre did it bigger and better all those years ago. The first two entries in the Friday the 13th series may have done more damage than good in the sheer glut of poor copycat films that came after, but they’re still a rip to watch. John Carpenter’s original Halloween still stands as a singular achievement in pacing and streamlined storytelling. Wes Craven brings the horror a gleefully evil personality for the first time in the original and best A Nightmare on Elm Street. And to this day there is still no terror like the slam of a steel door signalling you’re trapped in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
Step inside and let’s end this thing in style…
Cashing in on the success of Halloween made two years earlier, Friday the 13th, for all it’s lapses in continuity and logic, works in a very cheery and enthusiastic way. The score, “borrowed” from Psycho, works to add tension to the various chases and death scenes and the cast, while obviously inexperienced, nonetheless seem sincere and game for the mayhem to come. (full review here)
Five years may have elapsed since people last set foot in Camp Crystal Lake, but it only took a year in the real world for Paramount to capitalize on the success of Friday the 13th and launch a sequel. Working on the same things that made the first such a success (scantily clad women, gory and gruesome deaths involving creating uses of various tools), Friday the 13th part 2 is a prime example of what’s become a sort of staple for horror sequels: namely, “second verse, same as the first.” (full review here)
So much has been said about John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN and its place in modern horror history that it seems ridiculous to write a new review, especially after having visited it so many times, both in this form, its remakes, and its countless imitators. So instead I’ll stick to some brief thoughts about what I liked as I watched. (full review here)
Having watched the other two staples of modern Hollywood horror over the past few days, my appreciation for Wes Craven’s A Nihhtmare on Elm Street has increased even more. Craven took the monster out of the woods, off of our street, and put him in the one place we can’t escape from – our dreams. (full review here)
Every time I watch it I am scared like few films can come close to doing. I want to hit the PAUSE button to break the steady stream of fear that permeates every frame. And 40 years after its release, nothing can touch the pure Gothic horror of Tobe Hooper’s masterpiece The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. (full review here)
In case it hasn’t been obvious, horror has always been near and dear to my heart. I hope you caught something in these updates you haven’t seen before that you now want to, or at the very least you joined in for the ritualistic viewing of gore and death that serves as my own personal celebration of this holiday every year.
Either way, keep it spooky, keep it frightening, but most of all keep it Blood Red…