Another Halloween, another year of Spongebob costumes, rotten pumpkins, stale candy, and bratty trick-or-treaters egging our houses. Some of you may feel the need to revel in the candy, or if you’re older, revel in the bar and party scene, but for those of you who will decide to stay home this year, and avoid the grubby fingers of incognito freeloaders, be sure to at least check out some top notch horror films to ring in the holiday. And no, we’re not talking about whatever Halloween-themed marathon the different cable networks have put together, we’re talking about the best of the best in Halloween entertainment. We’re talking about Film Threat’s Top Films to Watch on Halloween! The staff of Film Threat has come together to offer up their top Halloween viewing picks and personal horror favorites for you, the discerning cinema-fan, to enjoy this Halloween. So get ready to jot down the choices and head out to the video store because the screaming starts NOW…
Wild Zero
Selected by Mark of Satan Bell
Zombies, alien invasions, punk rock, gunfights, ninja swords… this film has it all! Not just a favorite for Halloween viewing, this film featuring Japanese punk rock gods Guitar Wolf takes the zombie genre and infuses it with enough outright lunacy to make you wonder if you’re watching a splatterfest horror flick or a really dark comedy. Hell, there’s even a love story or two thrown in, each with their own unique spin (when was the last time a film showed two zombies in love, or had the main hero fall for a hermaphrodite). Watch Wild Zero this Halloween, and remember, “Love has no borders, nationalities, or genders!”

George A. Romero’s Dead Quadrilogy
Selected by Chris Evil to the Core Gore
Hardcore fans know Romero as not only a master of horror but also the creator of the zombie movie genre. In fact, he invented the rules of the zombie universe. And you know them all too well – zombies feed on living flesh, you must shoot them in the head to kill them, if bitten by a zombie, you will soon turn into one yourself… etc… But what sets his films apart is that each of his undead epics has a social message wrapped within. The 1968 original Night of the Living Dead is really about racial turmoil in the South during the 1960s. Dawn of the Dead has a particularly meaty subtext involving consumerism in the 1980s – the characters trapped in the mall have everything their hearts desire, money, clothes, guns, stuff, yet they are still unhappy. Day of the Dead is about an out of control military industrial complex. Romero’s most recent, Land of the Dead, explores issues involving the growing class war and immigration. He doesn’t hammer the audience over the head with these themes, which is why his Dead movies stand up to repeated viewings.

Kenny & Company
Selected by Eric The Creeper Campos
Pre-Phantasm Don Coscarelli brings the Halloween spirit with this 1976 tale of suburban pre-adolescence during the Season of the Witch. Actually, it’s not so much a tale Coscarelli offers us here, but rather a series of situations involving kids being kids – real kids. These aren’t fantasy movie kids, overly cute or mean. These kids were you and me when we were young. Picking on each other, getting into trouble, pulling Halloween pranks,many of our fun childhood activities are featured here. Being a film from the 70s, Kenny & Company is free of any politically correct filter, so the events here present a raw, and often touching, look at what it’s like to be a kid during our favorite time of the year. Not an October goes by that I don’t watch this movie and it gets better every time.

Rosemary’s Baby
Selected by Don of the Dead Lewis
While it’s certainly not the scariest film I’ve ever seen, I have to say there’s not a more fun, interesting and bizarre film than Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby. As a kid, the trailer scared the bejeezus outta me but when I finally got around to seeing it for the first time as a teen, I didn’t get it. Now I watch it every chance I get and Halloween is a perfect setting for this masterpiece.

Where do I even begin on what I love about this film? For starters, the cast is killer! John Cassavettes as Guy Woodhouse, a two-bit actor who can’t catch a break and Mia Farrow as his loopy wife Rosemary. Not to forget Ruth Gordon (who won an Oscar in the role) and Sidney Blackmer as the hilarious yet creepy Castavet’s.

Plus, there’s unforgettable scenes like the first time we see Rosemary after she cuts off all her hair or the severely undercooked meal she makes for herself and her “child.” Plus, the film has probably one of the funniest and strangest ending scenes ever. And that creepy lullaby music! Oh, yeah! What about the drug induced dream Rosemary has…when she’s on the boat and then in the Sistine Chapel!?! What does it all mean!? Rent Rosemary’s Baby this Halloween and then maybe you can tell me.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
Selected by Pete Vonder Helsing and
Demonic Doug Brunell
Pete’s take: To the horror aficionado, it goes without saying. To the uninitiated, this 30+ year-old Tobe Hooper classic is still capable of raising hackles and eliciting screams. The 1970s were, arguably, the greatest year for American cinema in general, and TCSM deserves a place of honor as one of the decade’s best films.

From Edwin Neal’s twitchy hitchhiker to the infamous hammer shot to Teri McMinn getting hung on a meat hook to Marilyn Burns’ rapidly advancing hysteria, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre went places no American horror movie had gone before. In spite of the fact the film features remarkably little gore (and only one person killed by the titular murder implement), it remains a must-see for any fan of the genre.

Doug’s take: The first film to really revel in nihilism. Fairy tale trappings, weird occult stuff, a documentary feel and some of the most twisted characters to show up on screen at that point make this one a must-see during the holiday season.

This film doesn’t rely on improbable monsters or threats from space to scare people. It uses people we’ve all come in contact with and combines them with one of the few remaining cultural taboos (cannibalism, in case you didn’t know), and works viewers into such a frenzy that by the end of it they can’t take much more. Going into the country never seemed so scary.

Check out even more staff picks in Part Two of Film Threat’s Film Threat’s Top Films to Watch on Halloween!>>>

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