Halloween's double feature picks

Connect2Mason reporter Alex Dodson provides readers with a list of his top Halloween themed movie picks if you're too old for trick-or-treating (photo courtesty of http://horrormoviesthisyear.blogspot.com/).
Connect2Mason reporter Alex Dodson provides readers with a list of his top Halloween themed movie picks if you're too old for trick-or-treating (photo courtesty of http://horrormoviesthisyear.blogspot.com/).

In the aftermath of the Frankenstorm, many residents of the East Coast will be more than happy to be able to walk around outside, breathe the crisp autumn air, and Trick-or-Treat until their bags are bursting with candy this Halloween. Another vital tradition to the holiday spirit is watching your favorite Halloween movies as you give out candy. 

Naturally, everybody has different tastes when it comes to what genre of horror film is acceptable to watch. Some people are terrified of ghosts, but love to watch the heroes triumph over the zombie apocalypse. Some people get a kick out of the old make-up used in classic monster movies, but can’t stand the sight of blood. Connect2Mason reporter Alex Dodson provides some suggestions for movie fans of all genres.

Kid Friendly
Halloween Town (1998) and Hocus Pocus (1993)
Are the little ones in your family not a fan of going door-to-door and begging for candy dressed in a crazy outfit? Instead, try a kiddie-themed Halloween movie marathon! It will surely keep the kids interested in one of the most elaborately celebrated holidays in the American culture. Pulled directly from the kid-friendly Disney channel “Halloween Town” is a perfect match to “Hocus Pocus” which has achieved a cult following in its continued broadcast on ABC Family’s “Thirteen Nights of Halloween.” Throw these two spooky comedies into a cauldron and you’ve got yourself a lasting family tradition.

Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Zombieland (2009)
If you’re not a fan of jumping out of your skin in terror but still love the atmospheres and environments of a traditional horror film, horror-comedies will surely whet your appetite. Comedy is often used as a release of nervous energy, so laughing at something that usually makes you scream is quite the experience. Zombies seem to be the popular horror element to spoof these days, but old comedians like Abbot and Costello made some great comedies with the Universal Monsters like  “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein” (1948) and “Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man” (1951).

Evil Dead 2 (1987) and Cabin in the Woods (2012)
Equal parts homage and critique of the genre, this self-effacing type of horror film combines the scares with the laughs. The scares provide the credibility needed for acceptance into the genre while the laughs are often at the tail end of a critique. The self-referential aspects of the films keep its characters in mortal danger, but provide jovial entertainment for its audience.

The Thing (1982) and Alien (1979)
The vastness of space is unsettling enough to ponder, but what could come from the endless expanses is what we should be worrying about on Halloween. Featuring the two best horror films on this list, both “The Thing” and “Alien” will leave you on the edge of your seat… until you jump back in terror. The waiting is what really makes you sweat in both films. In “The Thing,” the horror comes from not being able to trust anybody around you, but it’s the monster that makes you scream in “Alien.”

Halloween (1978) and A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
The straightforward, psychopathic killer tale became a staple of the slasher subgenre as both of these films have gone on to inspire countless sequels and even remakes in the years that followed. The public has taken a following to the adventures of Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger, and even Jason Voorhees from the “Friday the 13th” and Leatherface from the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” franchises.

28 Days Later… (2002) and Dawn of the Dead (2004)
The zombie revolution has taken a firm grip of the horror genre recently and doesn’t seem to be letting go. Starting back in 1968 with the zombie king George A. Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead,” this type of psychological horror deals with humanity’s fears of apocalyptic events and exploits predominantly non-living gore onscreen. The rapid advancement of special effects in the past couple of years has made this once cheesy-looking monster into a thoroughbred fear monger.

Casper (1995) and Paranormal Activity (2009)
This combination is kind of sick and twisted, but in the spirit of Halloween I like the irony. This could be one of those comparison memes which reads, “How you think you would react to a ghost in your house” and “How you would actually react to a ghost in your house.” Nonetheless, “Casper” is a classic, Spielberg produced, ghost flick who has got the word “Friendly” in his name. On the other end of the spectrum, you’ve got the ultimate shock-value, found-footage ghost tale with a ghost who you wouldn’t call friendly.

Dracula (1931) and The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
For the true horror junkies out there, this one’s for you. The Universal Monsters collection of horror films, ranging from 1923 to 1960, is a hallmark of the genre that is an inspiration for all things scary. Now considered to be slow, hokey or silly by many, we must all take the time and effort to appreciate our origins and what was once considered the best of its kind. All of our fallback costume ideas, the classics, come from these very films.

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