First Timer Watches “Classic” Horror for Spooky Season

I’ve finally embarked on a journey I’ve put off for quite a few Halloweens now: watching horror movies and franchises from decades gone during October.

For this go round, I decided to watch the first and second films in each of the Halloween, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Child’s Play, and Scream franchises. I’m sure some of these don’t necessarily count as “classic” but I based this first run on movies that even I, generally a non-horror fan, simultaneously had heard of and were interested in. There are plenty of others I discovered in the lead up to this and many of those made the shortlist for future Halloween first time viewings but these are the ones I went for this one. I also had to condense the list because I meant to start October 1st but was, as you can see, delayed.

I’ll be posting my detailed thoughts on each one as I go. Feel free to join in and discuss and/or watch a horror film for the first time and post it here and/or suggest films and franchises. I do plan on watching more next year so I’ll eventually need ideas. Just, no spoilers if you can help it, though I do already know a few things about some of these. I want to be as blind as possible.

First up, Halloween (1978).

To start off, the atmosphere is fantastic! It looks and feels like fall and Halloween; I could almost taste and smell it. The camera work is insane. I love most of the angles and shots and a lot of them help create the aforementioned atmosphere.

Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Pleasence are far and away the best of the cast. Curtis makes Laurie just about likable and Pleasence gives the doctor a gravitas that none of the other characters have, even Michael.

As for the rest of it? Eh. I’m sure I would have reacted differently if I saw it in a theater and/or on 1978 but, as it is, I watched it on my laptop and it didn’t really do it for me. For a malevolent force of pure evil, Mikey boy had quite the proclivity for avoiding situations where he had a numerical disadvantage and direct confrontation. Though, I suppose how he fared when he entered a direct conflict with Laurie goes a ways to explaining why. Either that, or, being a final girl, she had massive plot armor. Either way, he kind of turned into a chump in that final fight.

On the character front, Laurie was the only character that wasn’t completely insufferable. I know it’s a slasher and, by the standards of the time, even looking at a member of the other sex could warrant a brutal death penalty but it’s almost like the movie WANTS the audience to want Michael to mercilessly slaughter everyone EXCEPT Laurie. Special shout-out to the boy Laurie babysits for making me want to drop kick him over a fence and to the doctor for being almost completely useless while also diverting police attention away from several murders.

The kills were fairly creative, especially considering Michael pretty much solely used a knife AND they used essentially no blood or gore. Other than that, there was no sense of time or scale to Haddonfield; Laurie and friends seem to have to drive for miles to get to their charges (and it gets dark in the blink of an eye/snap of the fingers) while the doctor seems to walk to the house Laurie and Michael are fighting in in a matter of minutes. :man_shrugging:

Anyway, it was alright but, based on what I’ve heard of the franchise, it appears it’s mostly downhill from here, so… :grimacing:

On to Camp Crystal Lake!

PS: I’ll never understand where, when, or how Michael learned how to drive

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I’m not even sure some of those count as “horror”. :wink:

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No one knows how Michael learned to drive, but the general consensus is that he watched other people drive while transporting him around until he got the basics memorized and just went from there.

While Jason is my favorite of the silent masked slashers, Michael is definitely the scariest and most interesting of that bunch.

I’d recommend you add Phantasm to that list.

:joy: they’re the biggest ones I know and I think I know which ones you’re referring to

It either already is or I was thinking about it, or I can’t remember off hand

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They’re still worth watching, regardless.

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Add The Conjuring to your list. That’s a great haunted house movie that made my flesh literally crawl when I first watched it. Extremely effective modern horror that has minimal jumpscares and a lot of tension with an unsavory atmosphere. Definitely one of the best “Mainstream” horrors in recent decades. The sequels aren’t that great though.

Also, you may as well watch The Texas Chain Saw Massacre since you’re watching classics - That pre-dates Halloween by 4 years!

I’ve actually seen Conjuring 2 and I liked it (but that’s with no comparisons or context available). I have been interested in watching the first one but none of the others have really grabbed my attention.

As for the chainsaw boy, I’m not sure how interested I am. That’s the other really big “classic” name I heard going in and I’ve been back and forth MANY times on whether or not I want to watch it. Right now, it’s on the outside looking in but that could change (and change again and again) in the future.

Ugh, that movie was awful. Big letdown when I finally saw it, so overrated. The only scary part is in the woods at night when Learherface just pops up, and that’s also the only time when he kills someone with a chainsaw, making the title misleading since there’s no actual massacre with the chainsaw. And the entire last half hour of the film was literally non-stop screaming. I guess it may have been pretty shocking at the time, but why this is held up as a horror great is beyond me. I actually prefer the remake and it’s prequel.

I disagree with you on basically every point. The movie is absolutely insane and has this underlying sickness that bubbles underneath the surface through the whole thing - Which bursts out in the final act in a complete orgy of insanity. It’s absolutely batshit mental. The power is in the sound design, the extreme closeups and sense of foreboding that combine to make a movie which is soaked in an oppressive atmosphere. You don’t see much like it these days. The lack of gore is actually a strength rather than a flaw, because it has a reputation for being one of the most disturbing movies of all time but you barely have any onscreen moments of gore. It’s all implied and plays out in your own head, which makes it far more sinister.

The remake is fine I guess, but it loses a large chunk of what made the original so effective.

I wasn’t disturbed or felt like my head was messed with by any of it. I spent the majority of the movie wanting something to happen and for the damn screaming to stop. Beyond that one nighttime scene, it was like everyone else was trying too hard to make it seem macabre, trying too hard to make the villains seem crazy, but it just came off as annoying.

I dunno what movie you were watching cuz the movie literally starts with a shot of a desecrated corpse in a graveyard, and then within 10 minutes you get a knife weilding, self harming hitchhiker rambling about boiling cow’s heads in a slaughterhouse. Shit’s off the chain.

Yeah, he did a bunch of jabbering and freaking people out, cutting himself and others, but nothing really happening. By the time stuff starts happening, it’s one chainsaw death, a bunch of guys acting twitchy and crazy and unfocused, and non-stop screaming. Basically, it went over the top and took itself too seriously in doing so, but just devolved into an overrated mess. The main villain was beaten by an unnamed cameo character with a wrench for goodness sake. Throwing a bunch of skins and skeletons around a house in the middle of that doesn’t make it scary. The concept of what was happening in this movie worked better and was actually scary when it was released again 43 years later in video game format as Resident Evil 7.

Bro remember the moment where they’re trying to get the old shrivelled grandpa to kill Sally with a hammer and he can barely hold the thing let alone swing it? Despite them declaring he is the “best killer there is”? That’s straight up black comedy. The movie never took itself too seriously.

Sure seemed to me like it tried to.

Nightmare 2 is shit, 3 is one of the best tho.
I’d also like to recommend you to watch “Oculus”, it’s a relatively new movie that is very good.

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For the Halloween franchise I would recommend watching: Halloween (1978), Halloween 2 (1980), Halloween 4, Halloween 20 years later, and Halloween (2018, this is the reboot film, NOT THE ROB ZOMBIE REMAKE). I don’t know if the second rebooot film is any good as I haven’t watched it, but I would probably give it a shot. The rest of the films in the franchise are not worth your time, also interesting fact: Halloween 3: season of the witch has absolutely nothing to do with Michael Myers as the franchise was originally meant to be an anthology type series surrounding the holiday (thus the name of the franchise).

For Nightmare on Elms Street, I would recommend the first film (again, make sure you aren’t watching the bad remake), the third film (Nightmare on Elms Street 3), and Wes Kraven’s New Nightmare. These three films effectively make up a trilogy of their own and the other films are sub par in comparison

For Friday the thirteenth, watch the first four films (again, with me stating that you should be careful not to accidentally watch remake). Skip the fifth film (as it’s effectively irrelevant, and watch the six film which wraps up the Tommy Jarvis trilogy (the Jarvis trilogy is the fourth, fifth, and sixth film). The seventh film is also a very worthy watch as it is effectively “Jason versus Carrie” and has some really impressive practical effects.

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The Fog (1980) The Thing (1982) & The Shining are classic horror movies that i’d recommend


Excellent, generally spoiler free, rundown but I’m probably going to get around to all of the entries in each franchise eventually so I can get an idea for myself of their evolutions both within and compared to the others. Thanks though!

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My personal must watches:

  • Halloween ('78 and 2018)
  • The Thing ('82)
  • IT (2017)
  • Texas chainsaw massacre (2003)
  • Psycho
  • The Shining
  • The exorcist
  • Get out

Added dates to specify which version