Prior to their show at The Waiting Room on Halloween (see our preview inside!), we asked the horror/sci-fi obbsessed Chestburster to run down their top five Essential Halloween films.
This one goes without saying really, John Carpenters genre defining slasher movie is pretty much essential viewing every 31st October. On the Halloween night 1963, in the sleepy suburb of Haddonsfield, a 6 year old Michael Myers kills his sister and her boyfriend then committed to a mental hospital. 15 years later Myers escapes, returning to Haddonsfield to continue his killing spree, being pursued by Dr Sam Loomis played by horror legend Donald Pleasence. Halloween is a timeless classic, it pretty much defined the horror genre for years after, spawning a multitude of sequels and a pretty terrible remake. Most importantly it’s scary as hell, and it’s Halloween, were all entitled to one good scare!
You may have guessed from our band name that we are pretty big fans of Alien, Ridley Scotts terrifying 1979 sci-fi horror classic. Based on a script called Starbeast by Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Schusett, originally intended to be trashy, low budget b-movie it slowly changed into the film we know and love today. Full of iconic scenes, most notably the infamous Chestburster scene where an alien violently explodes out of John Hurts chest while he is having some dinner. Alien put a big dollop of grunge into sci-fi at a time where most sci-fi was very clean and safe. Letting John Hurt back on the ship with a alien clinging on to his face was a big mistake, ending in an awesome face off between the alien and Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley. Iconic, terrifying and absolutely brilliant
Return Of The Living Dead (1985)
Zombie films are pretty much ten a penny at the moment, they are also very po-faced and frankly miserable but Dan O’Bannon’s sort of sequel to George A Romero’s Night of The Living Dead brought a huge slab of tongue-in-cheek, self referential humour. A group of punk rockers go and meet their friend after his first shift at a medical supply warehouse, but during this first shift his boss accidently awakens a zombie that the military sent there by accident. A series of unfortunate events sees them cremating the dismembered zombie in the nearby crematorium, as you do, unleashing a toxic in to the atmosphere that turns the town residents to living dead brain munchers. As you could imagine chaos insures while the punks and the two old dudes Burt and Ernie (yes that is their names) avoid getting their brains eaten. Both hilarious and full of awesome gore Return of the Living Dead is a perfect Halloween film. Just remember to send more cops!
Evil Dead 2 (1987)
Like Return of the Living Dead, Evil Dead 2 is a gore soaked, giggle-fest. It’s almost like a Warner Brothers cartoon where people’s hands get chopped off and eye balls fly into people mouths. A part sequel/part remake of low budget masterpiece Evil Dead (obviously). Director Sam Raimi and star Bruce Campbell return upping the gore, pace and laughs tenfold. Ash and his girlfriend Linda, go on a romantic getaway at a remote cabin. But after finding an old mysterious book and a tape player that unleashes an ancient evil that posses Linda, forcing Ash to butcher her! After this it really kicks off in the best, most amazing way you could ever imagine! An absolutely mind splittingly well made film; it’s no wonder Sam Raimi went on to such big things in the early 2000’s! Arguably one of the best films ever made, perfect for Halloween, actually perfect for all year round! Who’s laughing now?
The Thing (1982)
A lot of horror film fans get extremely angry about remakes, but John Carpenters remake of Howard Hawks The Thing from Another World is a master class of how to make a scary film, let alone remake a classic. Antarctica, winter, 1982 and a mysterious Norwegian helicopter lands near an American base, the pilot mad, shooting at a dog and raving in some foreign language (Norwegian probably). After they shoot the raving Norwegian, the decide to keep the dog with their dogs, but it turns out that the dog has actually been assimilated by an alien, starts assimilating the other dogs and men, but no one knows who has been assimilated and who hasn’t. To me The Thing is a perfect horror film, tense and paranoid, you have no idea who the thing is during the film, you become one of the characters, second guessing everyone and trying figure out who has been assimilated and who hasn’t. Some of the best special effects ever committed to film and an amazing score (that outrageously was nominated for a Razzie when it was released!). Perfect Halloween horror!