Get your Monster Squad together, Supanova has rounded up some of the best nostalgic spooks of years gone by for your Halloween binge-watching pleasure.
The Monster Squad
Dracula walks toward a treehouse, a lit stick of dynamite in his hand. He lobs the dynamite through the window of said treehouse and walks away as it explodes. His scary, threatening, intimidating choice of words at this moment? “Meeting adjourned.”
This is The Monster Squad. Campy, hilarious and so very silly, but the whole time you’re watching it, you’re absolutely loving it. Released in 1987, The Monster Squad is an action-comedy that sees the classic Universal Monsters united to wreak havoc on… a small American town? Also, because of licensing issues, they’re technically not the Universal Monsters, just close enough copies.
The main “plot” is that The Mummy, The Wolfman, Creature From The Black Lagoon and Frankenstein, are awoken by Dracula after 100 years of hiding away from society and seek to rule the world. It’s then up to a group of kids to stop them.
This is a movie to watch with friends or family and just have a laugh at how cheesy it really is. Whether you love the classic monsters, or just want a good laugh at a b-grade movie, The Monster Squad is an uproariously good time.
What do you get when the director of The Thing and Big Trouble in Little China wants to give commentary on the rise of capitalism and the subjugation of the poor, working-class and disenfranchised by the wealthy? You get They Live, a pseudo-horror film directed by John Carpenter and released in 1988.
The movie follows a drifter, who finds a pair of sunglasses which allow him to see the world for what it really is. When he puts them on, billboards now read “Obey”, money says “This is your god” and ugly alien creatures pose as regular humans. At first, all of this confuses him, but it doesn’t take long for him to understand what’s happening. Earth has been taken over by a race of aliens hell-bent on enslaving humanity and oppressing the human race.
They Live isn’t a horror movie in the traditional sense, there aren’t any scary scenes, no jump-scares and the aliens don’t even look gross. The reason this movie is horror is that it will make you feel uncomfortable, possibly even nervous, as the movie shines a light into issues facing us every day.
Invasion Of The Body Snatchers
This is classic horror at its best; suspenseful and chilling, all the while putting the viewer in the shoes of the protagonist. This movie keeps the audience constantly questioning what’s real, and will make anyone watching scream in frustration as the main character struggles to make people believe him.
Released in 1956, Invasion of the Body Snatchers is based on 1954 novel The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney. The film follows Dr. Miles Bennell, a small-town physician, who discovers that all may not be what it seems in the sleepy borough of Santa Mira. The terror starts when Bennell examines two separate patients, both who claim their loved ones are imposters. While at first he doesn’t believe them, it soon becomes clear that there is something sinister at work.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers was filmed in 19 days, yet it is still one of the greatest horror movies of all time. Drawing audiences into its atmosphere and the fear of the main character, viewers themselves will feel like they’re slipping into madness as they watch Bennell desperately try to avoid being caught by the Body Snatchers. This is horror that doesn’t need blood and gore to make its point, it certainly puts forth a horrifying story through the use of suspense and evoking anxiety from its audience.
This isn’t a jump-scare film, it’s not going to scare its viewers with outlandish monsters or gory scenes, it will terrify people by being rooted in reality, making everyone question if those around them, are really who they claim to be.
The ’50s were a simpler time, when a sentient blob of goo from outer space was considered terrifying. This is seriously the plot of this movie – a small town is terrorised by a sentient blob of goo, which apparently kills 40+ people in the town, though this is rarely seen. The Blob was intended to be a serious film, though it’s not scary at all and the opening credits have a jazzy, boppy theme song. The other part of this film which is odd is Steve McQueen, who visibly looks like a grown man, playing a teenager.
Apart from these things, it is an enjoyable movie, one that you could watch with some friends and have a good chuckle about. It’s a fun and silly movie with surprisingly convincing special effects, especially considering it was made in the ’50s. The Blob itself looks pretty good, as far as silicone goo goes. This isn’t a movie where you’ll care that much for the characters or when they are in danger, but you’ll enjoy the adventure and the goofiness of the whole affair. It’s a charming, nostalgic trip back to a simpler time.
Every so often there comes a horror movie that doesn’t need to be over the top, in your face or graphically violent. The Innocents is this kind of film, a brilliant horror flick from 1961 starring Deborah Kerr, which tells the story of a governess sent to look after two orphaned children. The movie itself is pretty standard as far as horror movies go, having a single protagonist trapped in a haunted house, etc. Where this movie really shines is how it presents its horror aspect; it’s slow and nuanced, not in your face and obvious. This film plays with the viewer’s emotions by showing the protagonist’s distress gradually increasing.
The best part of the film is the kids that the whole plot centres around. They are so delightfully creepy, with their monotone voices and disturbingly adult behaviours. Kerr’s character is clearly concerned for them and you see it in the way she reacts to their bizarre antics. This film is everything that is right with horror. It’s definitely a movie to watch at night, with all the lights off, to become properly immersed in its terror.