5 Must Watch Horror Films this Halloween

4 minutes reading time (898 words)

5 horror flicks to nurse post Halloween blues!

Watching horror flicks during the Halloween period has been a long standing tradition. For those groaning about having to wait yet another year to dress up as/ogle at slutty nurses and naughty school girls roaming the streets.

Here are 5 unique horror films that probably won't show up on the usual list. Forget the Saw and Final Destination franchises for your screaming fix because these are the 5 must-watch this weekend!

 

#1 Eraserhead (1977)

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A surrealist body horror film written and directed by David Lynch, it tells the story of Henry Spencer (above), who is left to care for his grossly deformed child in a desolate industrial landscape. Throughout the film, Spencer experiences dreams or hallucinations which feature his child and the Lady in the Radiator (a radiator in Henry's room with a lady living inside).

Most people think I'm nuts when I tell them this is one of my favorite films as the combination of terrifying noises, tasteless locations and insensible characters seem to be absurd. But I find Eraserhead to be so expansive that interpreting it is an emotional journey by itself. I acknowledge that surrealist films isn't for everybody but why not take a peek inside the twisted world of Eraserhead this Halloween? (Figure out why it is named as such yourself!)

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Surrealist imagery and sexual undercurrents are used as key thematic elements to great effect, drawing the viewer into another dimension where logic is non-existent. Personally I think the lady in the radiator represents death with the radiator itself representing the actual act of suicide. There is plenty of quirky symbolism in the film and one of my favorite scenes is where Henry encounters the lady in the radiator for the first time.

Fun fact: The unusual tendency of the film to revolve events around the number 13 (just one of the many oddities if you observe carefully).

 

#2 American Psycho (2000)

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Although technically a psychological thriller, I'm pretty sure a psychopathic ego-maniac pandering by chopping people up qualifies as scary. On the surface Patrick Bateman (above) is just another wealthy executive but within lurks a soulless monster leading a delusional existence. In a bid to gratify his immoral fantasies, he leads a secret life as a serial killer.

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Don't make the mistake of thinking this is just another slasher movie. In between the satirical black comedy and witty internal monologue, American Psycho remains one of the finest films I have seen.

One of the best scenes where Bateman gets a colleague drunk at a restaurant before killing him while expressing his love for Huey Lewis & The NewsReason? nicer name cards. (scene at 3min53s)

Fun fact: 8 other actors were initially considered for the role of Patrick Bateman, including Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, but it is undisputed that no one else would be able to embody the being of Bateman like Christian Bale did.

 

#3 Das Experiment (2001)

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Das Experiment is a German thriller film about a social experiment based on the infamous Stanford Prison Experiment of 1971. The gist of the experiment revolves around factors that cause good people to engage in evil actions. This is known as "The Lucifer Effect" as coined by the psychologist who carried out the original experiment, Philip Zimbardo.

The idea of cognitive dissonance being overpowered by situational influences and power from authority is extremely scary to me because it is so real. This might explain why many successful people are assholes.

Fun fact: The psychologist who conducted the experiment was also affected by The Lucifer Effect by allowing the abuse of prisoners to continue (although he did not realize it at the time). He stopped the experiment after just 6 days after his girlfriend convinced him she couldn't recognize him anymore. 

 

#4 Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1990)

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Based on the true story of Henry Lee Lucas, the world's most prolific serial killer. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer revolves around a nomadic serial killer who is living with a housemate (who would later become an accomplice). They operate with impunity and relish in killing over and over again.

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Be warned as there are some truly perverted scenes, among the most repugnant are where Henry videotapes his accomplice raping a women in front of her husband. Their son unknowingly returns home and the whole family is slaughtered. The pair would later watch the whole recording at their apartment to relive the moment over and over again. 

Fun fact: The film was shot on 16mm in 28 days with a budget of $110,000. It earnings was initially extremely limited but has since gone on to earn millions.

 

#5 The Elephant Man (1980)

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Based on the true story of Joseph Merrick, a severely deformed man dubbed "The Elephant Man" from the thick and lumpy growths on his skin. He makes a living the only way he is able to - as a side show freak. A Victorian doctor would later rescue him from mistreatment in the circus as he finds intelligence and sensitivity within the grotesque facade. 

This film is a timeless reflection on how society ostracizes individuals who are different with this being an extreme example. The poignant story of the elephant man will invoke conflicting emotions with utter disgust being remedied with compassion. 

Fun fact: Although the film was made more than 3 decades ago, John Merrick sounds frightfully similar to what modern day researches reproduced with cutting edge technology.

TSL Writer of the month September 2013
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