In SVB Halloween Theater, we asked various musicians and fellow bloggers to talk about some of their favorite horror films.
Michael Bielenda Jr. – Boreworm
The Thing (1982)
Not many movies capture that horrific feeling of isolation and hopelessness as John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’. From the droning opening synth and lingering shots of arctic expanses the film lulls you into the same monotonous mindset of our main characters before unraveling its insidious plot, to pummel the audience with increasingly grotesque and unsettling special effects, violent paranoia, and pitch perfect tone. Solid acting and surgically edited misdirects never fail to catch you off guard for the big reveals and the transformations of the creature are some of the most unnerving practical effects in film history.
Evil Dead 2 (1987)
It’s everything horror fans wanted more of after Sam Raimi’s cult hit ‘Evil Dead’, except this time everything is cranked up to 11. More ridiculous cartoonish demons, more inventive and memorable camera work, more blood, more off-color humor and slapstick, and more of that Bruce Campbell charm that horror fans flock to at comic-cons every year. You can literally watch Bruce find his character on screen in this and by the time he’s strapping that chainsaw to his stump you’re right there for the ride.
The Fly (1986)
Jeff Goldblum’s performance as an eccentric scientist anchors David Cronenberg’s science fiction horror nightmare with humanity and realism as you follow him down into the pits of skin crawling body horror. After his teleportation mishap its impossible not to cringe and squirm as his transformation into a six foot tall gene-spliced fly unfolds. Truly disgusting effects and the monolithic film score are sure to leave you feeling uncomfortable in your own skin after it ramps up to it’s uncompromising finale.
Not many real scares or horror in this one, but rather a masterclass in set-up / payoff screenwriting and character development framing every scene of this somewhat forgotten B-movie. Great characters, delightfully fun monster effects and probably the tightest script ever written, almost every line of dialogue has a purpose and a payoff. Sure to give a fun replacement to any game of the floor is lava, and plenty of new catch phrases.
The Shining (1980)
One of the best acting performances ever from Jack Nicholson, and one of Stanley Kubrick’s most direct and accessible works still leaves people reaching for blankets to cover their faces when the witch crawls out of the tub or when Danny rounds that hallway corner. Completely chilling sound design and score make sure you feel the tension and fear the whole way through. Guaranteed to leave it’s hypnotic visuals burned in your eyes when you sleep and another film that truly sticks with you. Stephen King may have hated this adaptation but there’s a reason it never leaves top ten lists for films year after year.