Top 11 New Halloween Classics
October 14, 2014
(The Nostalgia-ween 2014 opening plays out)
NC: Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to! We all know the Halloween classics that we watch every year.
NC: (v/o) From the old Universal monsters like Dracula and Frankenstein, to the 80s slashers like Freddy and Jason, to even kids' specials like Charlie Brown and The Nightmare Before Christmas. But the great thing about Halloween is that we keep trying to push it further and further, and sure enough, over the years some new classics have evolved.
NC: (v/o) The criteria for them isn't super-specific. It doesn't have to be a certain time-frame, very well known, or even necessarily a good product beginning to end, but they do have to be drenched in something new, something unique, something you can look at and think one word: Halloween. We're counting down the all-time best new Halloween classics, and trust me when I say the best one doesn't disappoint.
NC: We're here to make the Top 11 Obscure Halloween films even less obscure! Why Top 11? Because I like to go one step beyond. So sit back and enjoy the Top 11 New Halloween Classics!
NC: (v/o) The Saw movies. I'm not going to lie, I'm not a fan of these films; even the first one, I didn't like so much. There's a million things that didn't make sense about it; you want more detail why go watch Cinema Sins. But that doesn't mean I don't see why these movies became a staple of Halloween. The concept of each film is that there's a killer known as Jigsaw, and he sets up death traps where, if you want to survive, you have to do something horrible; like kill another person, cut off a body part, or heck, even force a terrible American Accent.
(Cut to a scene of Lawrence Gordon and Adam Faulkner in the bathroom from Saw 1)
Lawrence: Technically speaking, he's not really a murderer.
NC: (v/o) Why, he sounds as American as Tommy Wiseau. The idea of torture horror certainly existed long before this film, but not only was this the one that made it mainstream, but it was also the one that people put themselves in the situation. "What would I do if I was there. Would I go through the terrible deed or would I rather let death take its toll? The film was so popular that the demand for sequels, every Halloween, was always met. For several years, there wasn't a Halloween without a Saw film. Hell, they even worked it into their advertising. Even if people thought the movie was going to suck, they had a tradition going and they always associated it with the holiday. Even if it was the number eight hundred-fifty billion, asking as the word Saw was in front of it, there would always going be an audience. The Jigsaw puppet (aka Billy) has also worked it's way into the lineup of Classic Halloween villains. Whenever you know that image, you know exactly who he is and what movie he came from. Whether you get wrapped up in the stories or not, there's no doubt about it that the Saw films have certainly left their mark, and chances are it's one that won't be healing anytime soon.
Jigsaw: (v/o on tape) You have given people the news that they are going to die soon. Now you, will be the cause of death.
NC: (v/o) Halloween III: The Season of the Witch. Many people hated this movie when it first came out, and I'm not going to lie, I did too. Not only does it have nothing to do with the first two Halloween movies, which was later revealed that he producers wanted each movie to be a different story; but if that was the case, how come the first two continued the same story?
NC: (v/o) But the film itself just seemed downright silly. We go from a story about a slasher to a story about witches...kind of...that use technology....kind of...that use spells....kind of...to kill kids cause....kind of no real reason. Yeah, it's a pretty nonsensible set up, even if you one to accept it as its own film, but as time went by, I did find myself thinking back to it a lot; I do remember the characters, I do remember the visuals, and who the hell could ever forget that god damn song?
Silver Shamrock song: Happy happy Halloween Halloween Halloween, happy happy Halloween, Silver Shamrock.
NC: (v/o) When I stopped trying to take it so seriously, In found it actually had its own strange unique charm to it. It's surrounded in eighties decor, has all sorts of broody atmosphere, and, by god, there is just Halloween stuff everywhere; I mean, everywhere. In a way, I associated this movie more with Halloween than I do the first Halloween, simply because Halloween is all over the place. It's nowhere near as good as the first film
NC: (v/o) The Paranormal Activity movies. Again, splitting a lot of audiences down the middle, the Paranormal Activity movies still manage to produce many creeps with little cost. While many see the (picture of) Blair Witch Project as the film that made the found footage genre popular, it was defenitely Paranormal Activity that kept it going. The film, about a couple whose house seems to be possessed by an evil entity, started out in very few theatres. But, word of mouth spread so fast that they actually worked into their advertising that people asked the movie theatre owners for it. Yeah, isn't that weird? A commercial for a movie that's actually asking you to demand the movie in your movie theatre. Can you remember another film commercial that's done that?
NC: (v/o) Having never been really asked that by our TV's before, audiences shrugged and said "why not". They demanded to see the film in their theatres l, and sure enough, it became a smash hit; resulting in sequel after sequel coming out. And, just like Saw; it came out every year during Halloween; but, unlike Saw, these films were much easier and faster to make because it relied on fewer production costs. If it looked like amateur film maker, that was fine, because it was suppose to look like amateur film making. It made it more realistic. And its point of view action made many audience members feel like they were right there, experiencing the scares as the characters were witnessing it. Now, are they all good? Even the most die hard fan would probably say no. Me personally, I think two is the only one that was actually great from beginning to end. But even at its worst, every movie has something new and innovative to offer. The first one had scary subtleties, the second one had brilliant editing, the third one had the slow reveal of the moving camera, the fourth one made a clever use of the household appliances, and the fifth one....
NC: (unsure) Uh, the acting was nice.
NC: (v/o) It's understandable if not everyone gets scared by these movies, but the new ways each movie delivers a new kind of scares is really something to admire. Even if you got to sit through a lot of repeated cliches to get to them. Always keeping the dread high, the Parnormal Activity films knew how to scare an awful lot with an awful little.
NC: (v/o) Cabin in the Woods. I've never seen a film that had such a devoted fanbase of people, who dedicated themselves to not spoiling the movie. It's amazing, anytime you talk to someone, they always say "I can't tell you anything about it; you just have to see it. And, in honour of that, I won't spoil it for you either. Though I do have to talk a little bit about it, but still we'll keep this mostly spoiler free.
NC: (v/o) This Joss Whedon written horror film relies much on surprise and twists. So like I said, I won't give too much away. What I can say is that on the surface, it looks like any other scary film. A bunch of college kids go to a cabin, and of course, some supernatural evil tries to destroy them. Sounds basic enough, but as the film progresses, you find out very quickly that this is a love letter to not one, but every kind of horror movie ever made, and in a way you probably never would have expected.
NC: (v/o) It tries everything to incorporate classic tropes through scares, humour, and dang clever writing. And honestly, to say any more would ruin the fun. And I think that's why so many people consider it a unique scary movie. It's a film you enjoy having revealed to you, and you get excited the more and more you figure it out. When you do figure out what it's up to, you realize you are having such fun with the concept, and realize that, not only is it paying homage to so many scary genres, but it's practically creating its own. I don't know; I can't think of other movies that have done specifically what this film has done, at least while still remaining a horror film. The discovery is too delicious to ruin, and I won't be the one to do it. So, let's just say it's a ton of fun if you know the secret, and it's even more fun if you don't. It works as both a great tick and treat on Halloween night.
NC: (v/o) Oculus. Yep, this film is not even a year old, but already, it has the makings of a classic. From it's advertising, it looks like any modern day horror film, but when you start to watch it, you realize how diabolically genius it is. A young man is released out of a mental institution where he is greeted by his sister. He was under the thought that a haunted mirror was responsible for the death of his parents, and was thus put away for it. Just as he's released, and he thinks he's gotten better, he discovers that the sister has found the mirror, and wishes to prove to the world that it is indeed haunted, murdering several people in the past including their folks.
NC: (v/o) What follows is an exercise in insanity, trying to figure out what's real and what's not. The idea of a haunted mirror is clever enough, but all throughout the movie, we have no idea if this thing is really possessed of if it's just our two heroes going crazy. The mirror apparently plays with your mental state, making you see one thing when something else is going on. The reason this is so ingenious is that the brother has spent years having it drilled into his head that it's not, and the sister had had spent years totally convinced that it is, and it literally devoting her life to proving it.
NC: (v/o) Both battle back and forth as we descend into the madness of the past, present, and even future of what's to come. We're seeing it literally as they're remembering it if they're even remembering it correctly. And they're constantly getting visions of what could happen to them or maybe will happen to them, but again, they have no idea of the cursed mirror is real, or if it's literally them sharing the exact same madness. Either way, they're both going crazier and crazier trying to figure it out. As such, we don't know what's going on either, and are terrified to see whether they'll make it out if this alive or continue to torture themselves both physically and mentally; maybe to the death.
NC: (v/o) You too, have a hard time trying to figure out what's real or even where you are half the time. The line is so blurred that you share in the insanity and the paranoia of what's going on. Constantly having to second guess everything, and keeping the suspense high. Even if you don't find it scary, it's a great psychological dive into the tortured mind of two siblings who don't know what's real anymore. Transitioning the battle from the internal to the external with great imagery, wonderful acting, and one hell of a great concept; Oculus may be recent, but I get the feeling it's staying ability is going to last for a long time.
NC: (v/o) Murder Party. You've probably never heard of this one, but trust me when I say it's worth the search. A low budget horror comedy, the film takes places on Halloween as a lonely nobody is given an invitation to a Murder party. He has no idea what it is, so he decides to get in costume and to attend anyway. Without giving too much away, he's led to a location of the most insecure and pretentiously psychotic people you'll ever meet in your life, and the rest of the film is just him trying to figure out a way to use their own stupidity as a means to escape them.
NC (v/o): The whole film works as a messed up version of The Emperor's New Clothes, trying to use the second judgement of what's popular and what's not to try and gain superiority. But as the film goes on, you have no idea what each character's definition of superiority is or how far they are willing to go to get it. One by one we see a new level of idiocy revealed, and we, like our main character, try to figure out what degree these people are dangerous. Thus, he has to use his understanding of each person's moronic way so figure out how to best them; even though he, himself, is not particularly smart.
NC (v/o): Think of a conversation at the Mad Hatter's Tea party, except instead instead of sitting in the chair, you are tied to it; any reaction you make will either result in you living or dying. You're on the edge of your seat, laughing you ass off as you watch these totally insane people try to act like they are one step ahead of the curve. High on creativity, gore, and of course a shit load of laughs: Murder Party is an invitation you want to resist, but can't help but eagerly attend.
NC: (v/o) Coraline. It's funny what Tim Burton stared with the Nightmare Before Christmas. It seems every stop motion movie, though few they are, is trying to recreate that dark, yet child centred cult following, that turned into big bucks with Jack Skellington. But, instead of turning into something that's boring and tired, every single film has demonstrated something that's creative and new; and Coraline, is no exception. Directed by the same person, who did Nightmare before Christmas, Coraline focuses on a girl, who wishes she had a more interesting life. She finds a small door where, on the other end, seems to be exactly that. She has a new mother and father that seem just like the old ones, except they are nicer and better. But as she continues to visit this world, it only gets more and more psychotic, and all it becomes an attempt to escape from the clutches of an evil demon; it's pretty much as batshit insane as it sounds.
NC: (v/o) One of the joys of this family film, is that there really is no perfect character. Everyone is, at least, little bit selfish; even Coraline can be kind of mean spirited. But, at the same time, it's made clear when they realize they've gone too far, and when they realize who are the real monster's, and when they realize who are the ones they love. This is one of the few movies that actually warrants a PG13 rating, but I mean that in good away. It's not just a G film with a swear word, or a sneaky sex innuendo in there; it's definitely got some extreme imagery with some extreme scary ideas, especially for kids. But, at the same time, it still has the charm and timeless characters to make it completely watchable; characters that kids can easily relate to and enjoy viewing.
NC: (v/o) At a time of the year, when kids like to be scared, this is one to get them creeped out, without having to go too gory. In fact, it's not gory at all; it's just scary imagery. The whole film is filled with rich environments, creative landscapes, and strange creatures. The cold colours are perfect for being welcoming one moment, and terrifying the next; just what any little kid is looking for on Halloween. Intimidating and intense, but always coming back to the spirit of home; Coraline know how to create a fantasy world with a dark edge.
NC: (v/o) Hotel Transylvania.
NC: (v/o) Shaun of the Dead.
NC: (v/o) Paranorman.
NC: And the #1 greatest, fucking badass awesome new Halloween classic is...You know what, I should do a runners-up. I don't usually do it, but I like the subject; I think it deserves it this time.
NC: (v/o) The Ring: Okay, it doesn't hold up the best over time, but that creepy ending and that image of that girl in every single Halloween store is definitely worth mentioning.
The Halloween That Almost Wasn't: Pretty silly and awkward, but the performances from these hilarious actors totally makes it work.
The Halloween Tree: A lot of people wanted me to review this. I don't get why? It's creative, it's educational, it's Ray Bradbury, what's not to like?
Raggedy Ann and the Pumpkin that Couldn't Smile: Yeah sounds fake, and it is kind of slow, but the atmosphere is so laid back and drenched in Halloween, it's hard not to like.
The original (The) Haunting: Pretty well known, so I didn't include it, but a timeless classic all the same.
Trick 'r Treat: Kind of a hit and miss, but it might be the first film where the trick or treater is actually one of the villains. That alone is worth a honorable mention.
Exorcist 3: Practically an apology for Exorcist 2 with a much better story and scares.
Zombieland: A great comedy with great laughs, but I think Shaun of the Dead just did it a little better.
NC: And now on to number one, and I mean it when I say how awesome it is. It's nostalgic, it's funny, it's soaked in Halloween; let's get right to it!
NC (v/o): And the all time number one new Halloween classic is.....
NC: (thinking) You know what: This film is so awesome, and so cool; it deserves its own review. Yeah, so that's what I'm going to do. Tune in next week, guys, as I'm going to dedicate an entire review to this 80s bomb that became a fantastic, kick ass Halloween classic. I'm the Nostalgia Critic and I can't fucking wait.
He gets up from his chair to leave, but after a few seconds, he comes back into frame.
NC: But I probably shouldn't build it up that much.
He exits the frame only to return again
NC: Yes, I should, IT'S FUCKING AWESOME!
The credits roll