Great Horror Movies
Eric S Brown
Every year at Halloween, I watch some of my favorite horror films. For those who don’t know much about horror, I thought I would suggest some great films.
If you’re into werewolves, Dog Soldiers (2002) is a must see. The movie centers around a squad of British soldiers on what they believe is a routine military exercise. Upon their arrival they discover the special ops unit they were to meet has been slaughtered. The film escalates into a night long, running battle between the squad of heavily armed soldiers and a family of werewolves. Dog Soldiers is military horror at its best, and a truly fun movie.
The original Dawn of the Dead (1978) remains the defining film of the genre. It picks up after the events of Night of the Living Dead as the human race is struggling to survive the zombie apocalypse. The movie’s main characters – two S.W.A.T. Team officers, a helicopter pilot, and a member of a TV station’s production crew – steal a helicopter and head south in search of somewhere to ride things out. They take shelter in a shopping mall and find peace there, deciding to stay, until a marauding biker gang shows up. The bikers break into the mall, letting the zombies inside with them. What sets Dawn apart is the sheer depth of its well developed characters. The movie does contain massive, over the top gore and violence, but also powerfully emotional scenes as well.
C.H.U.D. (1984) is an underrated cult classic. Light on the gore, the movie is as much a police procedural, detective film as it is horror. Daniel Stern plays a reformed crook running a soup kitchen for the homeless. His character gets caught up in the investigation of a wide spread series of disappearances. Stern is instantly likable in this role, and the chemistry between him and Christopher Curry’s gives C.H.U.D. a realistic feel. Together they discover that the cause of the disappearances are monsters living in the city’s sewers, and it is up to them to stop them before they venture out of the sewers onto the streets.
Dario Argento and Lamberto Bava’s film, Demons (1985), has all the hallmarks of a zombie apocalypse movie without actually being one. Ahead of its time, Demons tells the story of literal, supernatural demons entering our world through a horror movie. A group of movie goers find themselves trapped in a theater that becomes ground zero for the end of the world. They fight a desperate battle to stay alive and escape the theater only to find the demons have already spread into the world beyond its walls.
And lastly, Tobe Hooper’s Lifeforce (1985) is a masterful blend of science fiction and horror. It takes the vampire myth and twists it into something new and different. Vampires are shown to be aliens that have visited Earth before to feed on the human race. A space shuttle discovers three of them aboard a ship hidden in the tail of a comet. The shuttle’s crew unintentionally awakens one of them and transports all of them back to Earth. As the vampires are loosed upon the world, London burns and the hope of the entire human race rests with the sole survivor from the shuttle’s crew. Wonderfully shot and directed, Lifeforce is a true classic that any fan of end-of-the-world films should add to their watch list.