Matt: “The Shining”
Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 horror flick isn’t just one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen. It’s one of my favorite films, period. Jack Nicholson is over-the-top in the most terrifyingly wonderful way possible as Jack Torrance, the writer and father driven to murderous insanity by his past, his writing struggles and the ghosts haunting the hotel he’s managing. What makes the movie so mesmerizingly chilling, though, is Kubrick’s direction. The legendary director never lets the audience feel comfortable, either with his perfectly paced editing or his brilliant combination of creepy imagery and music.
The rumor is this take on Stephen King’s 1971 novel is one of the few film adaptations the author remembers hating. If that’s the case, King has terrible taste in movies.
Erin: “Let the Right One In”
I watched this for the first time knowing exactly two things: It’s on Netflix instant, and it’s Swedish, two facts that made it watchable in my book. But it turned out to be amazing. It does what all my favorite horror movies do. It seeps into you. Its images linger, and you stay suspended in its atmosphere for hours after the ending credits. I don’t mean that in an “I can’t sleep” kind of way, but in the thought provoking, memorable way.
The film follows two lonely children, one of whom has a terrible secret. They both commit terrifying acts, yet all the while they are still forming an eerily tender bond. It is sort of an anomaly. “Let the Right One In” manages to be disturbing yet poignant; it has a vampire in it but defies predictability. For those who are weary of subtitles, there is also a very (not quite as) good American remake called “Let Me In,” which loses some of the Scandinavian moodiness of the original but does feature wonderful performances from its leads, including Chloë Grace Moretz from “Hugo” and “Kick-Ass.”
Eva: “The Orphanage”
I picked up “The Orphanage” on a whim one Halloween weekend when my friends needed another movie for their marathon. The 2007 Spanish horror film centers around Laura and her husband, Carlos, who return to the orphanage where Laura grew up. Laura and Carlos have an adopted child, Simon, who believes he has an imaginary friend called Tomas. Eventually Simon goes disappears. It’s a horror movie in which a kid goes missing in an abandoned orphanage. Doesn’t that sound creepy enough already? The film is spooky from beginning to end and doesn’t rely on horror clichés to scare the audience. When the credits roll, the film sparks the “What just happened?” discussion that’ll probably prevent you from continuing your marathon. But it’s OK, because the conversation to be had is probably more interesting than the “Friday the 13th” remake.
Maddy: “The Woman in Black”
Do not be deceived by the film’s ex-wizard star. Any movie featuring screeching ghosts, demonic dolls and singing children is sure to make even the most hard-core horror fanatic toss and turn at night. “The Woman in Black” stars Daniel Radcliffe as young widowed lawyer Arthur Kipps, who travels to a small town in the English countryside to settle the estate of Alice Drablow. But this isn’t your average summer home on the beach. It is a large deserted mansion, complete with family graveyard, large marsh, possessed china doll collection and no neighbors for miles. Let the nightmares begin. As Kipps explores the house and the town it haunts, he uncovers the horrifying tale of the Woman in Black. The result is a terrifying discovery of murder, deception and a haunting not to be forgotten.
Peter: “Sweeney Todd”
My favorite horror film has got to be “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” The film, adapted from Stephen Sondheim’s 1979 musical, is directed by Tim Burton and stars Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd, a barber and serial killer who murders his customers with his helper, Ms. Lovett, played by Helena Bonham Carter.
The reason I love this film is its combination of horror with another of my favorite genres: the musical. The film has a great soundtrack, and even though Johnny Depp isn’t particularly good at singing, his voice and acting fit the part perfectly. His musical inadequacies actually contribute positively to his characterization of Todd. Sure, there is a lot of spewing blood and grotesque images of human corpses, but the images contribute to the storyline fittingly. Nothing gets so disgusting so that one must avert their eyes. Tim Burton and Johnny Depp are quite the dynamic duo, and this film is no exception to their excellent partnership. If you like Victorian England, horror and great music, Sweeney Todd is a great, high-quality film to watch.