Halloween has passed, however we want to keep living it! If you are missing fright night like we are, don’t fret! There are plenty of horror movies you can watch that will put you right back in the scary mood.
The 1970’s gave us masterpieces such as Alien, Jaws, and John Carpenter’s Halloween. The 2000’s gave us Snakes On A Plane, The Tooth Fairy (no, not the one starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson), and Dead and Breakfast. While the three latter movies may have given someone a fright now and then, they are nothing compared to the classics.
First, let’s take a look at how Halloween was received. Ron Pennington of the Hollywood Reporter said that, “Carpenter obviously knows the genre well and he builds a properly terrifying atmosphere in through his well-paced direction.” He went on to say that this particular film is also “an effective entry for its intended market.” Emanuel Levy stated, “Halloween is one of the most influential, imitated, and commercial indies in American film history.” These are the kind of reviews every director yearns for.
Ridley Scott’s Alien received equal praises from coast to coast. The Seattle Times‘ Erik Lundegaard described the 1979 classic as a “slow, exquisite build-up, which makes the second half seem all the more horrific.” Lou Lumenick of the New York Post only used three words, “classy and cerebral.”
So how do the more modern horror films compare?
Variety‘s Dennis Harvey said that this “strenuous zombie yuckfest is no more sophisticated than its nail-on-head title – making it a joke no smarter than the movies it riffs on,” about Matthew Leutwyler’s Dead & Breakfast. Another review included the words, “good for cheating but bad for a screenplay.”
The best thing the New Yorker‘s David Denby could say about David R. Ellis’ Snakes On A Plane was that it had “a certain tackiness.” Randy Shulman of Metro Weekly (based out of Washington, D.C.) called it “profoundly mediocre.”
I think it’s safe to say that Leutwyler and Ellis were not as pleased as Carpenter and Scott when the reviews about their respective movies were released. Now the real question of the Halloween holiday: Have horror movies actually been getting worse? If you’ve seen the classics as well as any recent trailers for the modern horror film, you’ll know there is only one correct answer to the aforementioned question. I’m not here to tell you you’re wrong. But if you think the answer is no, I strongly urge you to consider the following: When watching these movies, do you want to be scared and enthralled? Or do you merely want to be mind-numbingly amused?