Non-campaign horror

Here it is, our SEXIEST holiday (not that there’s much competition in that category). My theory as to why? I’m gonna take a wild stab and guess it’s the outfits. The women’s outfits, that is. Just a hunch. Trash it up, girls! Us male units are ready and willing to ogle, and ogle hard. Remember, if you think it’s too damn slutty, it’s probably not quite slutty enough. This is our night to convince Islamofascists everywhere that we are indeed horribly decadent infidels, so do your part and bring the heat!

But is Halloween our SCARIEST holiday? Only for those who have become dangerously attached to their artfully carved jack-o-lanterns, which leaves them vulnerable to squash-hunting terrorists who cruise the unguarded front porches of town in search of victims. Halloween is full of PHONY horror, for sure, like those effing dangling skeletons that sense your presence and start shaking their bones and making a racket as you approach. (I’ll admit; I’ve been startled by those bastards more than once.) But, for real horror, Halloween can’t lick the big fuzzy slippers of Christmas. Because no moaning tombstone or dangling bat can come close to competing with something like your mother cornering you in the kitchen on Christmas Eve, each of you with a drink in hand, and she says, in a voice loaded up with accusation, “You really don’t have any idea of what to say to me right now, do you?” EEEEEEEKKKKKKKKKKK!

Many of us like to watch a horror flick on Halloween, just to get into the whole thing a little deeper. To that end, I s’pose a bunch of folks go with yer standard bod-hackers in the genre, meaning they’ll default to (a) Michael Myers, (b) Freddy Krueger, or (c) Jason Voorees, the Unhappy Goalie. Or maybe some unbelievably grim thing like Saw or Hostel (and yes, seeing all five Saw movies does indeed disqualify you from “renaissance man” consideration.)

For this year’s Halloween film, may I recommend something a bit less—messy? I’m thinking of The Blair Witch Project. Yes, I know it’s a movie that drives people crazy, and you never see the Witch, and the squabbling amongst the principals can at times seem endlessly grating, but there’s a genuine creep factor in this film that seems to linger. The kind of creep factor that inspires you to lock the doors when the movie’s over. That factor is most powerful in the night scenes, when the young terrorized trio are coming out of their tents and shining their lights into the forest. This is when the director counts on you to supply the images that will tingle the hairs on your neck, and it’s a pretty effective strategy.

Another good choice for your Halloween flick is The Ring. Yes, there are some structural problems and all, but what I found refreshing about this film is that death is inflicted not by knives, axes or chain saws, but by the always effective and horribly underused “psychic blast.” Love that killer brain ray!