In the spirit of the Halloween Season, here are five excellent horror movies watched regularly at the Haunted Cabaret. I won't say all-time favorites, because all-time favorites change according to my mood and the phases of the moon. The exception is Psycho. Psycho is always number one with a butcher knife. The shower murder and dead stuffed mom in the basement are cool, but the best moment is the scene when Norman Bates stands looking out over the swamp that holds his victims, face in shadow, an image of darkness and evil more scary than Michael Myers and Jason combined. Alfred Hitchcock knew how to make a horror movie (His other scary classic is The Birds, a film that shares several themes in common with Psycho). Too bad he didn't make more of them!
Keeping Norman Bates and his dear dead mother company in this week's Five Great Scary Movies list are:
2) Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Original Version) Director Tobe Hooper's masterpiece. A perfect blend of physical horror and suggested terror. The film gets bonus points for Leatherface's chainsawing of the obnoxious guy in the wheelchair, an All Time Great horror movie moment!
3) The Hills Have Eyes (Remake): The original was good, the remake is better. A movie that starts off with radiation-suited environmental workers being killed by a pick-swinging mutant, and goes on to explore the delicate subjects of rape, mutant lactation-fetish, and crimes committed by the United States, as our nation prepared to fight a World War III that never happened. A nice twist on the America-as-Villain/Radiation is Bad horror sub-genre.
4) Phase IV: There is a recent lame-ass comedy-drama with the same title, but here of course I refer to the magnificent low-budget seventies science fiction/horror film, in which an alien intelligence decides that ants deserve to rule the earth instead of humans. I first saw this one years ago as an impressionable kid, and the scenes of evolved ants tunneling through human flesh warped my mind forever. It's nightmarish!
5) Suspiria: I recently had the pleasure of meeting one of Suspiria's cast members, who told me that behind the scenes the movie had big problems. Whatever those problems may have been (I didn't ask because I didn't feel like listening to the bitching), they certainly don't show in the finished product. Colors and sounds assault the senses. Razor wire, maggots, and hearts cut open in close-up provide the shocks. A gorgeous color palette and surreal sets provide the artistry. Director Dario Argento at his best. Enjoy.
I suggest watching these movies in the order I mentioned them. Following this advice will result in the viewer achieving a demented state of mind, perfect for listening to this week's edition of The Haunted Cabaret.