With all their missteps lately (a price hike of up to 60% per customer, the announcement then immediate abandonment of Qwikster and CEO Reed Hastings arrogant public proclamations) it’s easy to forget what a great service Netflix provides. If for no other reason, I’m grateful that the Instant Watch feature means I’ll never have to sit through a schlocky SyFy original film or the same five films in AMC’s lame Monstervision rotation when every DVD on the shelf has been watched, rewatched and picked over.
With Halloween just around the bend and Mother Nature playing a cruel “Christmas Came Early” joke by threatening to dump six inches of snow in our laps, this weekend is the perfect opportunity for a retrospective on one of the true masters of horror. His name is synonymous with the holiday and one could make an argument that no genre director strung together more quality films over the course of a decade than John Carpenter did through the late 70’s continuing through the 80’s. Ironically, the film that made him a household name, Halloween, isn’t available for streaming (though Hulu & Hulu+ users can stream it) all of Carpenter’s classic are available at the push of a button. If you’re looking for five movies to set the Halloween tone this weekend you could do a lot worse than these selections:
One day my dear, sweet little Ada will toddle over to me while I lounge on the couch, hop up and sit on my knee, look me in the eyes and ask "Daddy, what's a horror movie?". On that day I'll smile, kiss her forehead, pop some Orville Redenbacher and pop my blu ray of this film on for her. I'll then make sure to hit the road for a long spell of travel for work and leave my wife to deal with the sure-to-follow nightmares. If for some bizarre reason this movie isn't in your collection, kick yourself then immediately close this article and queue this movie up.
I'm not going to lie-from a narrative standpoint, this tale about a group of scientific students doing battle with the devil in ectoplasmic form still doesn't make a lick of sense to me even after a half dozen viewings. But the ingenious imagery, stomach turning gore, disturbing visuals and atmosphere this film earns a place on the list of his best films.
The finale in what Carpenter calls his "Apocalypse" trilogy, this may be his last masterpiece. It depicts a worls of fever induced nightmares where a Steven King-like author's imaginative world proves all too real.
Michael Myers might be the first name that pops into fans' heads, but in terms of atmosphere and setting, no other film might nail the spirit of Halloween better than Carpenter's tale of vengeful ghosts that exact revenge on an unsuspecting town. Plus it has Tom Atkins doing what Ben Tramer couldn't by getting Jaime Lee Curtis between the sheets. Before Ron Swanson, ladies swooned for the Atkins 'stache.
The Roddy Piper vs. Keith David throw down. OBEY. Chewing bubblegum and kicking ass. Yep.
and as an added bonus movie....
Carpenter's latest film is by no means his finest. It's clear he was a director for hire on the project. But after a decade away from stepping behind the camera, I'd like to think of this as his rehab start, and he's getting ready to make his comeback throwing some real heat.