Here at Karmaloop HQ, October is not, by nature, a scary month. Apple picking, Jack-O-Lantern carving, pie baking, and leaf jumping all fall into the category of harmless autumn New England activities. So what’s there to do for a KL Girl who wants to embrace the darker, spookier side of Halloween? Aside from a Salem, MA pilgrimage, we prescribe a classic horror film marathon to get you in the boot-quaking mood – and what better way to get you ready for All Hallows Eve than to scare yourself silly with one fright-tastic film each day leading up to the big night? It’s a daunting task, but we at Miss KL dare you to grab some hard cider, a comfortable blanket, and a few brave friends, and set out to conquer these eight tales of terror …
1. Psycho (1960): After watching this Alfred Hitchcock classic, the chances are high that you will never again be able to shower without a slight fear of sudden death. While en route to her boyfriend’s California home, Marion Crane makes the fatal choice to spend the night in the eerie Bates Motel, where – you guessed it! – she is murdered during the night. When her boyfriend and his sister travel to the Bates Motel to investigate her murder, they uncover the disturbing, Freudian history of its owners.
2. The Exorcist (1973): Frequently cited as the scariest movie of all time, The Exorcist tells the story of a young girl who is possessed by what she believes to be the Devil. As her single mother desperately looks for a solution to her daughter’s frightening transformation, she turns to two local priests, who attempt to excise the evil spirits from the girl’s body. Scary fact: there were frequent reports of theater-goers having physical reactions to the film (i.e. vomiting, and even a small number of heart attacks) when it was in theaters.
3. Silent Night, Bloody Night (1974): Although its name has not quite lived in infamy, Silent Night, Bloody Night is considered to be one of the most influential horror movies of all time. Hailed by The Boston Globe as “the movie that birthed the modern slasher flick,” SNBN essentially established the formula for contemporary horror movies (Haunted Location + Menacing Phone Calls + Mystery Killer = Terrified Audience).
4. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) – If you’re adverse to blood and gore, this is certainly not the film for you. While traveling through Texas with three friends, Sally and Franklin Hardesty decide to visit an old family homestead. Yet when they benevolently pick up a hitchhiker along the way, the slaughter suddenly begins.
5. The Shining (1980): Regarded as one of director Stanley Kubrick’s greatest accomplishment, this story of a father driven mad is a chillingly cerebral horror film. When Jack and Wendy accept the job as winter caretakers at the isolated Overlook Hotel, the supernatural forces that haunt the hotel’s Room 237 soon begin to overtake Jack, leaving his wife and son trapped in mortal danger.
6. Poltergeist (1982): Remember the children’s comedy Casper: The Friendly Ghost? This film is nothing like it. When The Freeling’s youngest daughter is abducted by the malevolent ghosts who haunt their home, the family hires a spiritual medium to help retrieve her. What they discover is beyond their wildest dreams.
7. The Ring (2002): Complete with haunted mansions, abandoned children, a plague of death, and inescapable nightmares, this decade-old film will leave you questioning the terrifying potential of entertainment and technology.
8. The Grudge (2004): Directed by acclaimed Japanese horror mastermind Takashi Shimizu, this film is not for the feint of heart. The Grudge is centered upon the idea that when an individual dies as the indirect result of rage or sorrow, a curse is created. This curse haunts the place where the person died, and is carried out by the deceased’s ghost. So what happens to the new tenants of a home in which an entire family was massacred? Hint: it’s bad.
So starting tomorrow, sit down and get ready to conquer your fear of the dark with these eight murderous movies! Pausing to stress-shop or grab some comfort food from the kitchen is acceptable (and encouraged) – frightened excitement for Halloween is the goal, not an anxiety attack.
– Jessie Burke