‘Tis the season for Must-see Halloween classics

By: Sean Ray | the Duquesne Duke

As the nights grow longer and the wind starts to howl, it becomes clear that it’s time for Halloween, aka the perfect time for some horror movies. But which one should you watch this year? With so many, it can be hard to choose, since not everyone has friends willing to sit through the more horrifying movies. However, The Duquesne Duke is here to offer you a few suggestions, ranked from least scary to scariest.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Jack Skellington is a beloved celebrity in the village of “Halloween Town,” a place inhabited by monsters who do nothing but prepare for Halloween every year. However, Jack has grown bored by the constant chills and scares of Halloween and yearns for something new. Cue him stumbling upon Christmas town, which functions as Santa’s workshop in the North Pole. Excited by the absolute difference between the two holidays, Jack decides to throw Christmas himself.

A holiday classic for both the winter and autumnal seasons, The Nightmare Before Christmas is a great non-horror Halloween movie, and a musical to boot. Its songs range from fun, to sinister, to surprisingly emotional. Particular favorites are “Poor Jack” and “Kidnap Mr. Sandy Claws.” Featuring amazing music by Danny Elfman, very cool stop motion effects and miniature settings, The Nightmare Before Christmas stands out as a unique holiday movie. Plus, you can watch it twice a year.

Dracula (1931)
The age old tale of the original vampire portrays real estate agent Johnathan Harker traveling to the foreboding forests of Transylvania to complete a business transaction with the mysterious Count Dracula. However, Harker discovers the Count has more sinister motives, including pursuing Harker’s wife, Mina.

While not too scary by modern standards, Dracula delivers in atmosphere. Its dark crumbling castles, mist filled forests, and abandoned streets provided inspiration for many horror flicks. Bela Lugosi as Dracula is phenomenal and suave, yet menacing.

Hilariously, what scares me most about this movie is the soundtrack. Who would have ever guessed that “Swan Lake” had the potential to be an effective horror song? In an age of teenager vampire romances like Twilight, it’s good to remind oneself of the good old days. Vampires were the perfect blend of sexy and scary, and the original film does the blood-sucking creature justice.

Scream (1996)
The small town of Woodsboro is terrorized by a mysterious masked murderer who seems to know a little too much about horror movie trivia. At the center is Sydney Prescott, whose mother was allegedly murdered by a man who now walks free. As her friends are picked off one by one, Sydney must discover the identity of the murderer, before he comes for her next.

Scream is a shout out to horror fans everywhere. Playing up the clichés and tropes common in horror and subverting them, Scream is a must see for any fans of the slasher movie genre. Directed by Wes Craven of Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream delivers both humor and horror in equal measure, as well as an interesting mystery behind it.

Cabin in the Woods (2012)
A group of college students go out to a cabin in the woods to get drunk, have sex and all those other horror movie tropes. However, something more sinister is lurking behind the corners. Someone, or something is working behind the scenes.

And that’s all that can be said without spoiling the movie. Cabin in the Woods is built entirely around a great twist half way through the movie. It’s honestly a situation where one has to see it to fully enjoy Cabin in the Woods. It’s funny, scary and smart, with a plot that will leave you guessing what is going to happen next. Oh, and gore. Lots of gore. If you’re a long time horror movie fan, you cannot miss out on Cabin in the Woods.

Halloween (1978)
Michael Myers, an insane serial killer, escapes from the asylum he resided in for 15 years and returns to his home town of Haddonfield, Illinois. Pursued by his psychiatrist Dr. Loomis, Michael begins stalking a group of young teenage girls on Halloween night.

For a rather simplistic set up, Halloween changed the face of horror. Its soundtrack is the standard by which most horror movies are compared. It established the slasher genre, Michael Myers became a cultural icon, and it boosted the career of John Carpenter, one of the greatest horror directors of all time. The movie will leave you on the edge of your seat as you watch Laurie Strode, played by Jamie Lee Curtis (daughter of Janet Leigh of Psycho) fame, try every trick she has to escape the evil killer.