Netflix recommendations: Halloween

The Omen

Watching movies on Halloween > trick-or-treating > parties.

I was the kid who rushed through trick-or-treating to get back home to watch Goosebumps and Are You Afraid of the Dark? specials on YTV. I was the teen who watched the Wes Craven repertoire instead of going to the parties everyone attended (OK, I wasn’t invited to those).

Though a lot of classics are missing (Nightmare on Elm StreetRosemary’s Baby, Beetlejuice, Rocky Horror Picture Show), Netflix Canada has a good enough selection of movies to stream in the week leading up to All Hallows’ Eve.

NEW-ISH

Attack the Block: Written and directed by Joe Cornish, this UK film follows a teen gang as extra-terrestrial creatures land in their neighbourhood. The gang takes refuge in the apartment complex in which the members live; they are convinced they can take on the aliens and win. At 88 minutes, the sci-fi/comedy is one of few hidden gems on Netflix.

Contagion: Steven Soderbergh directs a Scott Z. Burns script and an ensemble cast that includes Marion Cotillard, Jude Law, Laurence Fishburne, Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Bryan Cranston and Gwyneth Paltrow. It’s a race against time to find a cure for a devastating new virus and to figure out how it all started.

The Walking Dead: The outstanding first season of the AMC zombie series, a total of six episodes, is among the most exciting and well paced TV action series I have seen. The episodes also feature great character introductions, though it’s a shame its second season was such a let-down. Frank Darabont developed the series based on the graphic novel and wrote and directed the pilot, “Days Gone By.” The series premiered on AMC on Halloween 2010.

NOT SO NEW

Let Me In: A great movie in its own right, though not nearly as spooky as the original Swedish film it is adapted from. The 2010 film tells the story of a mysterious girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) who moves in next door to a bullied boy (Kodi Smit-McPhee). The pair only meets at night in the playground of their building. Her guardian is a serial killer who drains his victims’ blood for the girl, who is a vampire. Dark and moody, the film is directed by Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, the upcoming Dawn of the Planet of the Apes).

Rob Zombie’s Halloween: The musician turned film director’s remake of the John Carpenter classic is a must-see, if only for its complete insanity. If you are familiar with Zombie’s House of 1,000 Corpses or The Devil’s Rejects (the latter is available on Netflix Canada), expect gore, craziness, unease and legitimate scares.

CLASSICS

The Omen: The original, 1976, Richard Donner-directed, Gregory Peck-starring one, not that remade mess with Julia Stiles. It’s an iconic movie featuring iconic scenes and deaths, like the one that happens just before the still pictured at the top of this post. After his wife Katherine has a stillborn child, Robert Thorn is approached by a priest who offers him the newborn of a woman who just died during childbirth. They name him Damien and raise him as their own. Problem children don’t have a thing on Damien: After a series of ominous events, Robert figures out that his son is the Antichrist.

Scream: The meta horror movie about horror movies and a serial killer who terrorizes a town’s young people is essential viewing. Directed by the master, Wes Craven, Scream also boasts one of the best opening scenes ever. Though incredibly violent and gory, Scream is fun and funny. The audience is in for the ride as Ghostface, one of the most playful movie killers since Freddy Krueger, messes with everyone.

I’LL BE WATCHING

Insidious: I’m into demonic children (see The Omen); I’ve yet to see it; I was really impressed with Patrick Wilson’s ability to pick a good horror script after seeing the terrifying and incredibly well made The Conjuringwhich James Wan directed (he also directed Insidious, so I am hoping for something along the same lines).

Clue: I remember watching Clue, but I don’t remember Clue at all. Based on the board game, the New York Post has named Clue “the ultimate cult Halloween classic.”  Who better to comment on camp and over-the-topness than the Post?

What will you be watching this Halloween?

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