Halloween City by Karl Pfieffer
Well, Halloween’s fast approaching and that means that it’s time for people to start thinking about what they’re going to watch on the big night.
Now, of course, you can always watch the old favorites, like Halloween or Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street (or any of their numerous sequels, remakes, and reboots). In fact, if you’re expecting a lot of trick-or-treaters, I can understand why you might want to go with the old dependables as opposed to trying to focus on something that you haven’t seen before.
However, if you’re looking for a new film to watch on Halloween, here are 6 good horror films that, sadly, don’t seem to be as well-known as they deserve to be. If any of these movies are new to you, October 31st might be just the day for you to experience them!
1. Strange Behavior (1981)
This is a horror film that I recommend to everyone. It’s a slightly satirical story about college students being turned into homicidal murderers. Along with all of the blood and the expected jump scenes, Strange Behavior is also a quirky portrait of life in a small town. It’s the type of film where a collection of 1940s character actors (including the great Charles Lane) share the screen with 70s character actors like Michael Murphy and they all try to figure out how a seemingly dead scientist is programming the town’s children to be murderers. The dialogue is frequently witty, the soundtrack is amazing, and there’s even an impromptu dance scene that comes out of nowhere!
2. Messiah of Evil (1973)
This is another film that I frequently recommend to my horror-loving friends. This is perhaps the most surreal zombie/vampire film ever made. A woman comes to a town to visit her father and she soon discovers that everyone in the town is acting strangely. This one features plenty of hippie action, a surprisingly large amount of clips from a Sammy Davis, Jr. film, an albino who eats rats and talks about how much he loves “Wagner” (which he pronounces with a “W” instead of a “V”), and some of the strangest imagery that you’ll eve see in a low-budget horror film.
3. The Possession of Joel Delaney (1972)
Shirley MacClaine is a spoiler socialite who discovers that her younger brother, Perry King, has been possessed by the spirit of a murderer. Though this film is often dismissed as being just another Exorcist clone, it actually came out before The Exorcist and, in many ways, it’s even more disturbing than the seminal shocker. The ending will give you nightmares.
4. Martin (1977)
George Romero takes on vampires and the end result is unlike any vampire film that you’ve seen. Martin thinks he’s a vampire. His grandfather thinks he’s a vampire. Is Martin really a vampire? In the end, the film suggests that it might not really matter. A disturbing and sad film that has unexpected moments of humor, Martin also features Romero himself in the role of a well-meaning priest.
5. The Grapes of Death (1978)
From the great Jean Rollin, it’s France’s first zombie film! In this one, people are being turned into zombies by contaminated wine. How many of your friends would become zombiefied as a result?
6. Mountaintop Motel Massacre (1983)
Finally, if you just have to watch a slasher this Halloween, why not check into the Mountaintop Motel? Evelyn will be more than happy to check you in and check you right back out.