A Halloween anthology that draws inspiration from multiple sources, most notably John Carpenter’s slasher classic and the Stephen King/George A. Romero collaboration Creepshow. It serves up four intertwined vignettes in classic campfire-story style. Yet where Creepshow had five distinctly separate scenarios, Trick ‘r Treat weaves them intricately together into one non-linear fright-fest.
A sweet little gem from Czech filmmaker Jan Švankmajer that is short and to the point. At fifteen minutes, this wordless near-literal adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s Inquisition horror show conveys more dread and foreboding than most feature-length frights. Shot in stark black and white, enabling Švankmajer to take full advantage of shadows and light.
This superbly tragic ghost story is a chilling multi-mystery centering around an adopted and adoptive mother, Laura, and her torment as she sets about unraveling the fate of her son. Spanish director Juan Antonio Bayona has a keen understanding for the rhythms of classic horror, as well as the eye to create a chilling aura.
Superior to George A. Romero’s rather sloppy original, Breck Eisner’s follow-up to his underappreciated Sahara is a sharply edited, briskly paced fright that has its protagonists on the run for the duration of the film. As with Romero’s … of the Dead movies, this could easily serve as a parable of war, with strange, anonymous soldiers invading the small town and the locals turning on each other.
The timeless classic that effectively launched Ridley Scott’s career. Deservedly so. What starts as a quasi-ghost story eventually turns all-out monster movie, but sophomore director Scott is in no hurry to get there. The movie unfolds in layers, each one revealing and adding to the suspense. Scott paces the film in rhythmic ebbs and truly jarring crests.
I was never a fan of the original Exorcist. Bereft of any real terror, it instead opted for high-octane shocks, predicated mostly on the concept of a fourteen-year-old actress displaying hideously vulgar behavior. The less said about its even more absurd follow-up the better. Part three is the only one in the series worth noting.
Few living director’s can lay claim to inventing a movie genre, but that’s just what George A. Romero did with this unsettlingly lurid social commentary. Confining the action to a few rooms in an abandoned farmhouse, Romero creates a siege mentality meant to emulate the struggle in Vietnam at the time.