In our house, the season of Halloween boils down to two things:
We've got tons of grandkids, with another on the way, so that partially explains the candy interest. In addition, I really like a good Milky Way, either milk chocolate or dark chocolate. I'm not picky.
2. Scary movies.
Even better this time of year than a bag of Milky Ways is a good horror movie, and I don't mind some humor and/or political satire intertwined with the blood, guts and gore.
When it comes to selecting scary movies, I prefer a good cross section of the genre. Here are my suggestions for viewing this month:
"An American Werewolf in London (1981)" is so much more than your run-of-the-mill film focusing on werewolves and full moons. David Naughton and Griffin Dunne bring some uncanny comic relief to what, at times, is also a terrifying tale. This film, directed by the legendary John Landis, also includes some landmark special effects.
"Dawn of the Dead (1979)" remains, I believe, the most compelling zombie apocalypse film ever made. Director George A. Romero's masterpiece effectively combines detailed elements of horror (be prepared for some serious squirming) with a perfect amount of dark humor spiced with social commentary. I first saw this in a theater 38 years ago, and remember the night as if it were yesterday.
Thinking man's horror
"The Blair Witch Project (1999)" provides one of the best surprises I've had in all my years of watching movies. This film proved the power of imagination can be twice as scary as any special effect-inspired ripping and shredding of human flesh. This low-budget cult classic does not need any sort of blood-and-guts disclaimer, but there's still an excellent chance you'll have trouble sleeping afterward.
Pure entertainment II
"Shaun of the Dead (2004)" could, I suppose, be called the "American Werewolf in London" of the zombie genre. Effective use of humor and satire are intertwined with your traditional -- and expected -- backdrop of zombie infestation. The first time I saw this movie I remember feeling guilty about laughing in the midst of a zombie attack I knew would not end well for the good guys.
No holds barred
"The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)" should be saved for Halloween night. There are few horror films more unsettling than this one, which made director Tobe Hooper a household name among those who enjoy being scared to death. Another low-budget cult classic, this movie is 43 years old and remains a strong conversation piece at any gathering of horror film fans.