Six Movies with Horrific Haunts for Your Halloween Viewing

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According to an article in Forbes, one in every five people will attend a haunted house attraction, or haunt for short, during the days leading up to All Hallows Eve. In the U. S. alone, that means somewhere around 65 million willing victims queue up for no other reason than to be scared out of their wits. What Forbes neglects to mention is just how many of those standing in line wonder to themselves, “What if there’s a real maniac hiding in there just waiting to disembowel me?” Whatever the number, it’s safe to say quite a few Hollywood screenwriters have had that very same thought cross their minds. Here are six films featuring horrific haunts and where you can find them for some harrowing Halloween viewing.

Hell House LLC

Hell House LLC

Five friends come together to plan a haunt and, to save money, move into the location while they set the place up. Things get consecutively weirder until opening night, when all hell breaks loose and lots of people die. Five years later, a documentary crew assembles all of the available footage to determine what went wrong and that’s when things get weirder still.

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One Please

Horror In Small Doses: “One Please”

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According to Leon F. Seltzer Ph.D., instilling your offspring with a sense of entitlement is nothing less than child abuse. If the short feature One Please is to be believed, it isn’t too good for the parents either. (Warning to the squeamish: there will be blood.)

It’s always good to see horror veteran Michael Berryman (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Hill’s Have Eyes, The Devil’s Rejects) isn’t it, even when you’re not exactly sure what he wants with all those fingers? And how does this particular barter system allow him to buy ice cream and gas for his truck? Oh well, those are hardly the most pressing questions One Please brings up. The main one, of course, is why can’t some parents just say no?

In her book Raising Unselfish Children in a Self-Absorbed World, parenting expert Jill Rigby Garner notes a 2001 study that claims children who are overindulged are more likely to grow up believing in the following:

  1. It is difficult to be happy unless one looks good, is intelligent, rich and creative.
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Movies Featuring Our Favorite and Scariest ITs Over the Years

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The latest version of Stephen King’s IT has creeped into theaters and it looks like we finally have a high profile, studio-produced horror movie that’s actually worth watching. Audiences love it, critics love it, even I pretty much love it, as my own brief, but glowing review attests to.

The Guardian’s James Smythe suggests one of the reasons IT has resonated with so many people over the years is that King “wasn’t writing about the one thing that scared you; he was writing about everything that did… That’s why, in the 30 years since publication, the public’s obsession with It hasn’t really waned. We’re obsessed because we all have fears… This book speaks to everybody.”

Sure, I’ll buy that. But while we’re all listening to IT speak to our darkest fears, let us not forget that IT is hardly the only IT to ever grace a movie screen. There have, in fact, been lots of ITs over the years, each one addressing at least one particular fear. Here’s some of our favorites…

It Came From Outer Space

IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE

Our first IT comes from 1953, courtesy of director Jack Arnold and author Ray Bradbury.

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Kill Me Please

Kill Me Please: Not Quite Horror, But Horrifying in the End

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All the signs of a horror movie are there. A high school full of nubile young ladies who while away the hours thinking about, talking about, and otherwise engaging in the act of sex. A mysterious, unnamed killer who is dispatching them one by one as they enter the park for clandestine meetings. Oh, and blood. Don’t forget the blood. All the necessary ingredients are present. And yet Kill Me Please isn’t really horror, not in the traditional sense. It’s more like what you would get if Sofia Coppola had grown up in South America and decided to make a slasher movie set there.

This is not to say Anita Rocha da Silveira simply apes Coppola’s filmmaking style. No, for a first time feature director, de Silveira has a strong individual voice all her own. But there is a similarity in the ethereal approach to the subject matter, as well as the way the film unwaveringly stays focused on the small gaggle of girls that makes up its main cast. So focused, in fact, that not a single person older than college-age ever appears onscreen, not even th epolice, who never bother to show up to investigate the growing body count.

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Horror Movies and the History of Eclipse Hysteria

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Unless you’re some kind of C.H.U.D. who dwells deep beneath the surface of the Earth where the existence of the Sun remains a mystery, then you’re no doubt aware of the upcoming total solar eclipse. They’re a funny thing, eclipses. While there have been documented efforts to study them scientifically going all the way back to China circa 2560 B.C., more often than not, early explanations tended towards the fantastical. And, as you might guess, those are the types of theories Hollywood has been quick to exploit. That’s fine, though, as it allows us to explore the history of eclipse related superstitions and watch movies at the same time.

Pitch Black

PITCH BLACK

For whatever reason, most ancient peoples appear to have blamed eclipses on hungry celestial beings taking a bite out of ol’ Sol. For the Chinese it was dragons; for the Hindus it was the flying severed head of Rahu. As for the Aztecs, the diary of a priest on the scene claims they believed demons to be responsible, demons who needed to be satiated with human sacrifices lest they come down to Earth to find their meals.

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