It’s never too early to get ready for Halloween, maybe with movies that are both scary and fun to please a little bit of everyone in the house.
Like any holiday, we all look for an excuse to reunite and spend time with our family and friends.
However, since the day’s topic is undoubtedly the horror theme, let’s adapt to organize an evening accordingly.
This universe is rich in stories and characters with a thousand varieties and nuances, for one of the oldest film genres of all time.
Therefore, we can have fun in choosing from the vast horror catalog, so extensive that it is impossible to enclose in a single sentence.
This genre started in the early 1900s with the cinema, and it contains the worst movies ever seen in theaters and some of the immortal masterpieces of history.
From the modern and silly telenovela vampires of Twilight, we can go back to the 1920s with the magnificent Nosferatu by Murnau, one of the most extraordinary talents of his era.
Of course, in between, we can explore an infinity of Halloween movies about scary monsters, fun ghosts, serial killers who can be, on the one hand, as frightening as they are funny.
Enough with the delays now, and let’s dive headfirst into the vast, bloody pool of a genre most loved by audiences young and old.
1- What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
Let’s start this Halloween with a movie that’s both my favorite horror and comedy of recent times.
It is a beautiful tale of friendship about four men who live together in the suburbs of a small New Zealand town.
There’s the minor detail that they’re all vampires who met during their travels and adventures over the centuries.
They live together peacefully in their way, arguing like ordinary people about who should do daily tasks such as cleaning the house or washing the dishes.
However, we should not forget that they’re vampires, and therefore they must drink blood to survive.
They then have a human servant at their service, who helps them in the hope of becoming immortal beings as a reward.
Thus, she brings guests to them who end up each time, inevitably, as a meal to feed these age-old beings.
One of them, though, manages to escape their special dinners and becomes a vampire himself.
The man cannot live alone, not knowing his new nature, so he ends up joining the group and living in their house.
While a television crew documents each moment of their day, they prepare for an upcoming big event.
A fancy masquerade ball happens every year, bringing together all the nearby beings in a cheerful supernatural party.
The ordinary routine of extraordinary beings
This film is Taika Waititi‘s directorial debut, which paved his way to Hollywood and high-budget productions.
An ascent that then led him to direct Thor: Ragnarok, one of the most entertaining episodes of the Marvel universe.
However, I much prefer this first work that he made together with his screenwriter friend Jemaine Clement.
They are also present as actors, playing two of the vampires in the New Zealand little house.
The fauna of immortals is the strong point of the plot, with some memorably silly, scary, and fun characters.
So we get a squeamish English dandy, a loudmouth ex-Nazi, a perverse nobleman torturer, and an ancient, tired vampire who lies in a coffin all day.
Equally hilarious are a group of werewolves they occasionally encounter across the city, rivaling each other as two demented street gangs.
The movie is essentially one series of gags after another, in the guise of a mock documentary, alternating daily moments with short private interviews.
Then for once, it is great seeing a little home-grown story, rather than the usual battle to conquer or save humanity from so many other Halloween movies.
In conclusion, a terrific little production sure to please horror lovers and demythologize the genre without being silly or trite.
2- Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010)
Tucker and Dale are two rustic but harmless southern folks and lifelong friends who decide to spend a weekend together in the woods of West Virginia.
They have inherited a rundown old cabin they wish to restore together for their hunting and fishing excursions.
Meanwhile, a party of students is vacationing in the same place, wondering about a serial killer’s old stories long ago.
The first night a girl in the group has an accident, falling into the river.
But the two uncouth friends manage to save her in time, taking her back to their cabin.
However, her friends misinterpret the events, mistaking them for two dangerous killers that want to harm the girl.
They decide not to alert the police and try to save her personally, surrounding the hut and preparing to battle.
Their plan, however, very soon ends in tragedy, and most of them die in a way that is as bloody as it is stupid.
But among the few left, someone goes crazy, becoming a dangerous and bloodthirsty killing machine.
In a hysterical final duel, they discover how their weekend is disturbingly close to the local urban legend.
Appearances are sometimes deceiving
Tucker and Dale vs. Evil is a pretty good misunderstanding comedy that mixes it up with some fun and scary, bloody splatter moments at once.
Finally, we have a more relaxed portrait of southern U.S. inhabitants, often labeled vulgar and ignorant psychopaths.
Their first encounter with the young and well-dressed students is exhilarating yet sad because they judge them at first sight.
Unawares, their rough and dirty appearance makes the boys think they are dangerous miscreants while they are harmless grown children.
Indeed, the actual killer will be among the sleek students, deeply despising rednecks at first glance.
However, because of the blonde Katrina Bowden, the two vacation groups become warring against each other without realizing it.
Eli Craig manages great rhythm and irony, directing a Halloween movie that refers to Evil Dead by Sam Raimi.
This type of horror is sometimes a little too much put aside.
Indeed, it is a rare opportunity to see scary and fun moments without burdening neither one nor the other.
In conclusion, this is a perfect pastime for all occasions and, in this case, perfect for Halloween night.
3- Sinister (2010)
And now, after two fun and pleasant movies, we come to much more classic and scary horror.
Although the local people and police do not positively greet an ordinary family moves to a new house.
Indeed, the father is a famous writer specializing in writing novels about real tragedies over the years.
The mother and children don’t initially understand the small town’s hostility, although they don’t take long to discover the truth.
Their new home was the site of an entire family’s brutal hanging not long before, and their only little girl disappeared without a single trace.
The mother then becomes furious and immediately worries about her little girl, fearing the same fate.
Before the writer starts researching and documenting his book, he finds an exciting gift in the attic.
A set of slides in the ancient Super 8 format contains a sequence of family massacres, including the one in their new home.
Meanwhile, every night he gets the unpleasant feeling of an evil force controlling every move he makes.
The feeling becomes an absolute certainty of danger as he investigates the slides, murder after murder.
Once that happens, resolving the puzzle will be the only hope of salvation for himself and his loved ones.
Bogeyman child kidnapper work all the time
Sinister is an old-school horror film that relies on tension and anticipation rather than the continuous jumpscare of most of today’s movies.
It’s something that many movie lovers miss, and other productions replace it with sudden chair jumps on total volume.
Scott Derrickson perfectly manages the times with which to scare and the various points to reveal the plot.
He achieves it through the easy system of the writer watching the slides and the creepy atmosphere around the house.
The relationship between the various family members is also a point of interest.
It is far from the happy family stereotype in a supernatural situation, with more human and complex interactions.
Unfortunately, once part of the Hollywood system, the director gave up the horror to direct superhero action like Doctor Strange.
Don’t get me wrong; the Marvel Universe movies are generally exciting and well-done fantasy stories.
But, on the other hand, it takes away from his ability to create suspense like in this film masterfully.
Ethan Hawke is equally good in the lead role, holding up most of the scenes alone in a convincing way.
The actor, already known to us for his Before Trilogy, proves his versatility to play every movie genre once again.
In conclusion, Sinister is one of the best horror movies of this generation, almost perfect for Halloween Night.
Perhaps we can’t remember it as an unforgettable masterpiece in time, but it certainly does its job without disappointment.