Genre defining, time-tested horror films

Photo provided by cinemasalem.com
Photo provided by cinemasalem.com

The leaves are changing, flannel is everywhere, pumpkin spice beer and the best part of it all? Classic horror flicks. Here are some pre-millennium horror films. These movies were selected based on their role in creating horror clichés and overall originality. If you’re in for a classic scare, these are the films to watch.

John Carpenter’s film “Halloween” (1978) was, believe it or not, one of the highest grossing independent horror movies ever with an estimated budget of $300,000, according to the Internet Movie Database, and grossed an estimated $70 million worldwide. The film was an instant success and was also the first film that Jamie Lee Curtis (“Veronica Mars”) played a part in.

The classic horror film is about an institutionalized murderer that escapes from the mental asylum the night before Halloween he goes back to the street where his horrific act was committed to wreak havoc on the young teenagers that live on the street. This movie started the whole cliché in horror movies where the home-alone teenaged couple who is going at it on the couch are killed. The film’s main character, Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasaence, “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers”) is the doctor that looked after Michael while he was in the asylum. He is the only one that knows of Michael’s true murderous potential, while everyone believes it is all an urban legend.

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Photo provided by doublefeatureshow.com

“From Dusk Till Dawn” (1996) maybe one of the most underrated and violent horror films ever. Starring George Clooney (“The Monuments Men”) and Quentin Tarantino (“Django Unchained”), two brothers flee a bank robbery that went sour and try to get to a bar in Mexico by dawn the next day. They make it to the bar, but little do they know (quelle plot twist!) the bar is full of blood-sucking vampires. They must fight for their lives from dusk till dawn. The director, Robert Rodriguez (“Sin City: A Dame to Kill For”) opted to use green blood for all the vampires rather than red, allowing the film to receive an “R” rating from the Motion Picture Association of America rather than an “X” rating. Rodriguez, with the help of Tarantino, made the film follow a gruesome yet suspenseful rollercoaster of a movie—think “Pulp Fiction” collides with the Blade Trilogy.

Photo provided by obsessedwithskulls.com
Photo provided by obsessedwithskulls.com

Finally, we have the 1992 Peter Jackson (“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”) film “Dead Alive.” This is without a doubt the “bloodiest” movie ever made. You can easily tell that the blood is fake in the movie. The final scene in the movie involved a lawn mower and used more than eighty gallons of fake blood. When it comes to cheesy movies in horror, this one takes the cake. The spoil-free plotline is basically that the main character’s mother is bitten by a rat-monkey (yes, rat-monkey) then is infected with a zombie-like infection. When she passes, she comes back to life and goes after anyone in her reach. The film’s hero is the mother’s son who at the end of the film has an epic battle with a town full of infected zombies. Sure this film may be cheesy and takes an unintended comical route, but it does have its gross and scary moments.