Moviebill's Favorite Halloween Movies
Last week, Moviebill ran an article about my top ten favorite scary movies as a relative newcomer to the genre. In the process of determining which would make the cut, conversation sparked in the office about everyone’s top picks. I went around both the Moviebill office and the adjacent Concourse Media to get some recommendations and to find out what makes those particular films so special to those that chose them. The next step was to watch them all! Considering I work with a bunch of movie buffs, it came as no surprise every pick was entertaining and very much worth watching.
Meet the team that keeps you up to date on all things movies and get some good suggestions for your spooky binging pleasure:
Oliver Barnett, Moviebill’s SVP of Distribution and Exhibitor Relations, is a true lover of horror. We all made personal top ten lists and he made a top fourteen, struggling to choose his absolute favorite. It wasn’t a surprise, though, when he placed Ridley Scott’s “Alien” as number one since extraterrestrial life seemed to be a common theme for him, and he has fond memories of seeing “Alien” in the theater.
I had already seen “Alien” before Barnett’s recommendation, so I knew it was a solid movie choice. Ellen Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver, and the rest of the team aboard the space ship Nostromo intercept a signal that they investigate. Soon, they’ve landed on a deserted moon and realize the signal was actually a warning. Unfortunately, something else returns to the ship with them and the scariest part about the movie is simply knowing that a terrifying creature is out there, lurking around any corner and keeping everyone — including the audience — on their toes.
“A Quiet Place”
David Bridgers, Moviebill’s Chief Design Officer, picked his number one film specifically because of the film’s unique and how he felt he would be able to handle it if it really happened. The tougher the situation is, the scarier the film is to him. That’s why John Krasinski‘s “A Quiet Place,” which forces survivors to keep silent in a world overrun by sound predators, is to him incredibly scary. If watched in the right setting — say, a dark room — any noise, even outside the film, feels like it will set the creatures off. It’s a story that’s not exactly likely to happen in real life, but it would be a serious predicament to have to stay that quiet all the time. You may even have a hard time trying not to scream when watching the movie.
Even though I grew up in the 90s, I had never seen “Scream,” the top choice of fellow Moviebill intern Josiah Brown. Watching Matthew Lillard as Stuart brought out intense feelings of nostalgia. Of all the scary movies I had to watch to write this piece, “Scream” may have been the scariest to me, mainly because Ghostface sneaks around so easily, disappearing and reappearing quickly. Then, when I found out who the killer was, it became all too probable an incident. Ghostface talks about scary movies as part of his scare tactic and, after watching so many of them this past month, that theme definitely got to me.
When I approached Concourse’s Director of Film Sales, Ryan Bury, about his favorite scary movie, he explained to me that is kind of horror movie expert. It’s doubly interesting, then, that the two guys in the office who had the most to say about horror films chose “Alien” as their favorite. Bury recommends “Alien” for it’s subtle horror and the way the tension constantly builds. Another good reason to add “Alien” to your viewing list.
Fellow Moviebill intern Amanda De Lany chose Jordan Peele‘s “Get Out” as her favorite. Not only had I already seen it, but I even included it on my original list. Her favorite part about “Get Out” — which may be the scariest part of all — is the hypnosis scene. The conspiracy in the film and the spooky hypnosis made me feel like I was trapped right alongside Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya). I said it in my last article, and I will say it again with De Lany by my side: “Get Out” is amazing.
Concourse’s Anthony Feole admits that he isn’t much of a scary movie person. When he does watch something from the genre, though, he says that he tends to pick films that attack society and human nature. After he gave me his list, he told me not to watch any of his recommendations if I was feeling discouraged about mankind. David Fincher’s “Se7en” immediately explained to me why. In it, Detective David Mills (Brad Pitt) and Detective Somerset (Morgan Freeman) are called to investigate a series of murders that all tie to the seven deadly sins.
“What Lies Beneath”
Moviebill CEO James Andrew Felts chose his top favorite because it is, in his words, “the real kind of scary.” The story picks up after Norman and Claire Spencer (Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer) see Claire’s daughter off to college. That leaves Claire home alone while Norman goes to work as a researcher at a nearby university. Claire begins to suspect something is off, but she can’t place exactly what it is. It is then revealed that a year prior Claire was in a damaging car accident which may have left her a little in the dark. Director Robert Zemeckis is able to play with backstory like that to craft a thrilling narrative that keeps you guessing.
Jeffrey Hawkins, Moviebill’s Creative Design Manager, is someone with whom I have discussed scary movies at length. Creature horrors, however, are the one subgenre that I have steered clear from, afraid that the creatures would then go on to star in my nightmares for weeks. John Carpenter’s version of “The Thing” boasts practical special effects that are truly out of this world. That’s the primary reason Hawkins likes it the most. Secondly, though, there’s an intense fear in not knowing who can be trusted among this small Arctic team.
If I’m ever in that kind of predicament, I want Kurt Russell there as MacReady leading the charge.
“Evil Dead 2”
Moviebill’s Senior Editor Silas Lesnick specified Sam Raimi’s second “Evil Dead” as his favorite because the handmade craft of it all just can’t be beat. Bruce Campbell’s return as Ashley “Ash” J. Williams delivers so many iconic horror scenes, several of them playing off himself.
Of all the movies I watched for this piece, I realize the ending of “Evil Dead 2” was my favorite. It may have been a tiny bit predictable, but it’s my type of predictable and makes me want to continue on to the third chapter, “Army of Darkness”.
Of all of the explanations and recommendations I received, CEO Matthew Shredder’s pick both surprised and worried me the most. His reasoning for Roman Polanski’s “Rosemary’s Baby” being his number one is because, “the set-up feels like it could happen to you.”
The film follows a young married couple, the Woodhouses, after they move into an expensive apartment in New York. When Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse (Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes) decide to try for a baby, Rosemary soon becomes pregnant. Their elderly neighbors become extremely involved in the Woodhouses’ lives, especially Rosemary’s pregnancy.
With satanic witchcraft and lots of other scary surprises, “Rosemary’s Baby” is a true horror classic that boasts amazing effects and an incredible musical score. Anyone looking to get into scary movies should definitely add “Rosemary’s Baby” to their queue.
Cheryl Bauder is a contributing intern at Moviebill. She studied English Literature at California State University, Long Beach and previous wrote for 22 West Magazine, specializing in movie reviews.