To those who are staying in for Halloween—I know, we had plans too!—having a horror movie marathon with family and friends is customary. In our household, the schlockier the films, the better. But because we like it meta, we mostly just marathon the Halloween series. Some years, though, call for different flavors, which in my book is the point of the holiday: all is well and good, regardless of which films make up your jam.
This year, I’m looking at a night with David Lynch’s films. Everything he does has a distinct freakishness about them: even his Bonnie and Clyde-esque road trip-drama Wild at Heart (1990), a film of which I’m becoming more and more appreciative, gets right under your skin. I might marathon Shake Rattle and Roll if I’m feeling fancy, and if at one point, I get crazy enough, trace other genre films from Mike De Leon, Ishmael Bernal, Peque Gallaga.
These don’t exactly make you a decent list, so I sought help from filmmakers and critics, asked what horror films they always return to. Think of what will follow as a pool of horror film recommendations.
Carl Joseph Papa
Filmmaker, Ang ‘Di Paglimot ng mga Alaala; Manang Biring
My picks are quite populist choices: The Exorcist by William Friedkin is still my favorite horror film of all time. I also love David Lynch‘s categorically horror films such as Inland Empire and Mulholland Dr. As for recent films, I loved The Others, [REC] and Fear of the Dark.
Halloween is a lot of crazy fun so my go-to horror films would include Wes Craven‘s A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream. You watch these with friends and you spend half the time covering your eyes and the other half covering your ears because of all the screaming!
My go-to horror films: New French Extremity like Pascal Laugier‘sMartyrs and Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo‘s Insideif you want pure violence. If you want to go classic, go for Roman Polanski‘s Rosemary’s Baby (1968); if you want a classic horror art film, watch Nobuhiko Obuyashi‘s House (Hausu). Among recent titles, I recommend Jennifer Kent‘s The Babadook, and GuillermoDel Toro classics Pan’s Labyrinth and The Devil’s Backbone.
When it comes to horror, I have two films in mind: This Transient Life by Akio Jissoji and Outer Space by Peter Tscherkassky for re-inventing the idea of ‘the horrific’. But what can be more horrific than Alain Resnais‘ Night and Fog. It’s the edge of body horror! I remember feeling quite scared with Philippe Grandrieux‘s A New Life and its reinvention of the body and Resnais’ Last Year at Marienbad for leaving us with almost nothing.
Filmmaker, Patayin sa Syokot si Remington
One film I’ve seen a hundred times since I was a kid is Alfred Hitchcock‘sPsycho (1960). Sorry if that’s an obvious choice. It’s just filled with moments that are endlessly rewatchable, from the opening deranged music with deranged titles (my absolute favorite opening of any movie ever) to a train of thrills, death, scandal, humor, and artfulness. And I get a different kind of pleasure depending on what age I am when I see it.
Filmmaker, Isang lalaking may mumurahing kamera
Nightmare Detective (Part 1, 2007; Part 2, 2008) has always been one of my horror recommendations. Every other typical J-Horror suggestion follows (Kairo, Cure, Ringu, Ju-on, One Missed Call).
Filmmaker, Hand in the Glove
I’m a big coward. When I see a horror film, I always make certainI’m with someone, thinking I’m safe when I’m not alone. That’s before I saw Takashi Miike‘s One Missed Call. The film is so innovative; the characters in it are killed when they are with someone or are in crowded place.
Film critic; Filmmaker, Violator (sounding very apologetic for some reason; let’s all give him virtual hugs?)
Few films have a leg up on E. Elias Merhige‘s Begotten for pure unease. Kiyoshi’s Cure or Lynch’s Inland Empire come close, sure. I also push “Blink” to a lot of people. Not a film but an episode of Doctor Who. Scarier than most horror films. Also, horror filmmakers should watch the web series “Marble Hornets,” it gets the genre right more than most of them do. Shit. That’s five. I cheated. Sorry.
There it is, folks. Have a happy Halloween. And remember that you owe me. *evil glare*