Friday, October 17, 2014

Tony here:

Halloween Movies

It’s that time of year again. Time to get your wits scared out of you by some fright filled film. Five years ago, Michael and I began our annual October Horror Movie Festival. We would find 2 or 3 relatively obscure horror movies and watch them. The results have been somewhat mixed but overall pretty positive. So, if you are looking for something to watch to get into the Halloween spirit. Here are our suggestions:

The Best (in no particular order)

The Devil’s Backbone (Spanish w/ English sub-titles)

A terrific ghost story set in an orphanage during the Spanish Civil War seen through the eyes of a little boy.

The Orphanage (Spanish w/ English sub-titles)

Another great ghost story set in an orphanage (what is it about orphanages?)  The kid with the bag on his head is about the creepiest thing you will ever see.

Let the Right One In (Swedish w/ English sub-titles) Maybe the best vampire movie I have ever seen. The scene in the swimming pool still haunts me 5 years later. It also has children as main characters. Is there a theme developing here? There is a shot-for-shot English language remake titled "Let Me In" for those who may not want to tolerate the sub-titles.


A great take on the haunted house genre.  Two time lines, the present and 11 years ago, intersect and overlap as a brother and sister (the fantastic Karen Gillan) battle a possessed antique mirror. Very clever.

The Pact

Another clever haunted house movie.  A hidden room holds the secrets to a horrible past and the answers to the disappearance of two young women.

Honorable Mention:

The Cabin in the Woods

Josh Whedon’s very neat, subversive take on the whole “cabin in the woods” slasher movie cliche. Too satirical to be a true horror movie for my taste.  But very enjoyable nonetheless.

The Middle


Maybe more sci-fi than horror and definitely more mainstream than most of the movies on the list. Gene splicing goes awry and there is a scene between scientist Adrien Brody and the “creature” that is, well, just disturbing.


Two young girls are raised for years in a “cabin in the woods” by a mysterious figure. Some very creepy and memorable scenes.


A couple honeymoon in a …wait for it… “cabin in the woods” where unusual things begin to happen at night.

A Tale of Two Sisters (Korean w/ English sub-titles)

A psychological horror film about two sisters and their disturbing relationship with their step-mother.  The 2009 film, "The Uninvited" is an English language remake .

The Bottom

The Innkeepers 
Standard haunted house fare. Fairly forgettable.

Session 9

Another forgettable psychological horror movie.  You can see what the “surprise “ ending  will be half way through the film.

Attack the Block

I wanted to like this movie better than I did. A British horror/comedy  about an inner city gang battling alien monsters should be pretty good… right? It has a 90% positive on Rotten Tomatoes and apparently has achieved “cult” status. However, for a horror/comedy, I didn’t find it very funny or scary.

So here is the post-mortem (pun intended), if the movie has a cabin in the woods or an orphanage, and it has siblings in danger from a malevolent presence, well, then give it a shot

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