October is the month for all things spooky and, though TMP will be giving the season a proper “Halloweek” celebration starting next Tuesday, I thought I’d bring some cobwebs and ghosts and masked murderers to this edition of Collector’s Corner, too!
In the last Collector’s Corner we looked at a breakdown of my film collection by genre, and you may remember that horror wasn’t one of the most prominent genres featured. Still, there are many horror films I enjoy watching over and over again. Here are five I’m particularly glad to have in my collection, for repeated viewing!1. The Tingler (1959)
Before I developed a taste for Douglas Sirk melodramas or Barbara Stanwyck masterpieces, my classic film viewing fell largely into two categories: childhood favorites introduced to me by my grandparents, and spooky films. I had a particular affinity for spooky films starring Vincent Price. The Tingler became a favorite the first time I sat through that brilliant theater scene, watching the film on TV in a darkened room. I may not have had a Percepto device hooked to my couch, but William Castle sure worked his magic on me! This film was such a step in my development as a classic film fan (and as a lover of all things corny) that no other title could possibly take the number one spot on this list.
2. Halloween (1978)
Is it really Halloween if you don’t watch Halloween? Not for me, it isn’t. This genuine classic of the genre holds a special place in my heart because of my own history with it. My mom introduced my sister and I to it when we were probably a little too young for it. My sister (who, to be fair, is a tad older than me) laughed through it… and I spent just about the entire movie screaming! I enjoyed the heck out of it, though, and it became my first favorite horror film. I’ve continued watching it at least once a year ever since that first scream-filled viewing.
Can’t make a horror favorites list without including this film. It was my first introduction to Stephen King and, like Halloween, was one of my first favorite horror movies. Sissy Spacek is perfect, Piper Laurie is perfect, and the film is tense as hell. I loved it so much as a tween that I even rented the sequel (The Rage: Carrie 2) from Blockbuster, more than once, for double feature purposes. You may be shocked to learn that, despite all of the awful movies I own, The Rage isn’t one of them. Still, the original Carrie is iconic and worth endless re-watching. It’s another one in my yearly October rotation.
4. Village of the Damned (1960)
I own a double feature DVD of Village of the Damned and its 1963 sequel, Children of the Damned. If you like films involving creepy children, the glowing-eyed young’ns of these two flicks are sure to give you a fright. Both films are worth a watch for moderately-paced but very effective sci-fi/horror. I don’t re-watch them often, but had to include them here because the DVD was actually a blind purchase! One of my better impulse buys, I’d say.
Okay, so I’ve got a thing for ’70s horror. You can thank my mom for it! Along with Halloween and Carrie, this was a film she introduced to me. It’s one of the most iconic “haunted house” films of the decade (probably of all time). It’s got plenty of scares, and a great score from Lalo Schifrin. I can’t pass a quarter-moon window without thinking of Amityville — and there are several houses with them in my neighborhood, making for a delightfully spooky atmosphere once the leaves start turning! I’ve watched several film versions of this story, from the Ryan Reynolds version to documentaries and beyond, and this 1979 version remains the ultimate.
Honorable Mention: Get Out (2017)
This film follows a man visiting his girlfriend’s family for the first time. Soon after arriving, he discovers that something odd is going on at the family home, which may put his own life in danger. It’s too early to say whether I’ll get as much mileage as I hope out of this purchase, since the film just came out this year. It’s already had several spins from myself and movie-borrowing family members, however, so it’s worth a mention even if it doesn’t yet crack the top five.
This one’s just what it sounds like: aliens that look like clowns come to Earth and begin plucking people off, as their primary food source. This is more of a comedy to me than anything — a genuine Classic of the Corn, purely cheesy fun from its theme song to its cotton candy-spun victims. It gets an honorable mention here because that freakin’ theme song gets stuck in my head regularly (at least a few days a month), and it is one of my very favorite bargain bin finds.
For the (relatively tiny) full list of horror films I own, check out Letterboxd.