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Scary Movies Old and New

Peter Barell
Staff Writer

Fall is upon us. Halloween is right around the corner. Scantily clad pirates, football-players-turned-zombies, and ghoulish college professors will become a normal thing for that small window of time that we endure every year. But we have a bit of sand left in the hourglass left before that transformation is complete. What are we to do as we wait? Why not watch some pulpy horror flicks?

Let’s start with a word we all (kidding) love: vampires. These pale-skinned blood-sucking folk have endured decades of change. There are countless variations of vampires in movies ranging from the sparkling Cullen to gore-loving monsters. With that in mind here are tops picks for the genre.

Let the Right One In (2008) is a Swedish story (yes, it has subtitles) and refreshing take on the genre, chronicling the relationship between a bullied little boy named Oscar and his newfound love, a girl named Eli who happens to be a vicious killer and vampire. Filled with mystery and lots of blood, this movie definitely stands out for its characters, who are darkly written into a world of long nights and strange romance. If you don’t have the patience for subtitles (shame on you!) there is also an American remake Let Me In (2010).

Other notable mentions for the vampire genre are revolutionary oldies such as Nosferatu (1922), Dracula (1931), and Vampyr (1932). Those akin to modern fare may enjoy Cronos (1993), Daybreakers (2009), or 30 Days of Night (2007) as well as franchise starters Under¬world (2003) and Blade (1998).

The «slasher» genre essentially started with the staccato strings and chocolate syrup blood of Alfred Hitchcock›s Psycho (1960) but lives (or kills?) on today as a somewhat spotty platform for cheap thrills. That being said there are also some interesting slasher fish in the sea of blood (mostly from college students on road trips, yikes!). Several films that defined the slasher, like Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Halloween (1978), and My Bloody Valentine (1981) maintain remakes and sequels galore. Check out the old versions before you write off these titles, you may be surprised. Recent films of interest include The Strangers (2008), Last House on the Left (2009), and the genre-bending Cabin in the Woods (2012).

Ghost flicks include Insidious (2010), The Others (2001) and the mystery-thriller The Sixth Sense (1999) in it’s roster. Poltergeist (1982), The Shining (1980), and the original Amityville Horror (1979) paved the way for the paranormal, while foreign forces like The Orphanage (2004) from Spain send chills from across the Atlantic.

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