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Hauntingly Halloween- The Search for Spooky Cinema, Edition 2

Welcome back to week two of my scary movie reviews. This week I delved into more horror movies, kicking it up a notch from the animated children’s films of last week. They mostly fall under the umbrella of cheesy older movies that are considered classics. Among those include Scream, Friday The 13th, and It (2017). But instead of choosing my favorites this week, I’m going to review three that, in my opinion, are underrated in their field and should be watched by more people.

The first movie I recommend is the original Halloween from 1978, directed by John Carpenter. I’m aware that it’s already a classic in the horror field, but when I asked many of my friends if they had seen it, half of them answered no and the other half asked if I was talking about the newer version – made in 2018. Many teenagers today view this movie as just another “scary” movie that their parents watched when they were young, but it still holds up as a great horror flick. The atmosphere Carpenter produces in this film is very unsettling. The scares in the movie are less about surprise and more concerned with developing anxiety and painful suspense. The audience is increasingly anxious that the killer could come at any moment. Halloween puts its viewers in our protagonist’s shoes. It also captures what it would truly be like to have a random psychopath come after you. My rating is 8/10

My next film is the 1976 horror drama Carrie, based on the novel by Stephen King. Directed by Brian De Palma, it focuses on teenager Carrie White and her troubles growing into womanhood while realizing she has psychic powers. The cinematography in this film gives it an eerie, enchanting feel as it crosses the lines between a girl’s coming of age story and one of betrayal and revenge. The story gives us every reason to hate the world Carrie inhabits: from the fact that everyone at her school makes fun of her, to her overly religious and abusive mother who condemns her for being a woman. Many people know this movie because of its climatic ending scene of Carrie killing her classmates during the school prom. We root for her at this moment because of the build up of horrible things that other people do to her. The score of Carrie also gives us amazing emotional cues, switching from sinister to serene in a matter of moments depending on what character is on screen. Overall I give this movie an 8.5/10.

The last movie on this list is Guillermo del Toro’s 2006 Pan’s Labyrinth: my personal favorite of this week. This film isn’t necessarily considered a classic horror movie, but I heard such great reviews of it that I decided to add it to the list. The plot mirrors that of a traditional fairy tale or hero’s quest that we’ve seen in many kids movies, but it changes it by adding horror elements and more than one antagonist. It centers on young Ofelia as she lives with her mother and new step-father in war-torn Spain. Her step-father is a fascist war general who tries to snuff out the rest of the rebel army while Ofelia goes on a magical expedition to regain her prophesied throne of the underworld. Many of the effects done in this movie are practical and there is little CGI – giving the film a more authentic look. Almost the entirety of the story is told from Ofelia’s perspective, something that makes us wonder by the end of the movie if she was really seeing and experiencing the things she did. We are shown repeatedly the magical aspects of this world, but only Ofelia seems to encounter them. Del Toro also includes many references to real world events and other fairy tales, as the movie is based around the real Spanish War. I would recommend this movie to anyone who appreciates fantasy movies and rate it a 9/10

As we delve further into this list, the movies will become scarier and more horrifying, which I, personally, am looking forward to. Once again, make sure to check my Letterboxd here for more information and my opinions on each movie.   

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