FilmNerds Recommends: Halloween 2012

Looking for some last-minute rentals to pick up at the library, download or stream online? Look no further. Our FilmNerds team has you covered with some overlooked Halloween classics to make your viewing party as creepy as possible. Check out picks from Ben Flanagan and Matt Scalici along with some bonus recommendations from our other FilmNerds contributors.

Scariest Movie

Ben Flanagan – It’s The Shining (1980) by a country mile. Room 237, Penderecki, Redrum, Delbert f*cking Grady, Lloyd the bartender, Shelly Duvall. The works, y’all. Kubrick killed it.

Matt ScaliciHalloween (1978) – For me, this will always be the standard for horror excellence. The low-cost production from John Carpenter gets its scares not from blood or special effects but from simple camera movements and alignments that keep us from looking around the corner or behind that door just long enough to let Michael Myers stay in the shadows until it’s too late.

Ben StarkInvasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

Corey CraftThe Shining (1980)

Graham FlanaganThe Blair Witch Project (1999)


Scariest Moment

Ben F. – I’d echo Corey’s pick in a heartbeat if it weren’t for John Doe’s sudden arrival at the police precinct in David Fincher’s Seven (1995). Toss in the car-ride out to the climactic field reveal and pretty much the entire Lust sequence, and you’ve got a nice little package of disturbing sh*t you’ll never forget.

Matt S. – Meeting the Medeiros Girl from [REC] – Usually it’s the fear of the unknown that can gives us the greatest scares but in the case of the Spanish thriller [REC], it’s the answer to the film’s biggest mystery that is far more terrifying than we could have imagined. I’ve never been more filled with adrenaline watching a movie than I was the first time I saw the film’s final minutes in which our lead characters (and via a POV camera, us as well) stumble upon one of the most stupefyingly scary effects-free monsters in movie history.

Ben S. – Dinner with Count Orlock from Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu

Craig H. – Hammer to the Head (First Kill) – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Corey C. – The man behind the diner – Mulholland Dr.

Graham F. – Woman gets out of bathtub in The Shining


Scariest Character

Ben F. – Bob from “Twin Peaks.” I know this is, but I can’t give the edge to any cinematic scarer over David Lynch’s most haunting creation to date. Had trouble with him as a child, when my dad allowed me and Graham to watch this at WAY too young an age. Still have trouble now, you guys. The fact that Lynch only noticed set decorator Frank Silva as scary-looking enough for the role instead of casting an actual actor makes it that much more disturbing, frankly. I was and am still too slow to know to turn away whenever a character is near a mirror. Just forget it.

Matt S. – Any of the witches from Paranormal Activity 3 & 4 – I’m not giving these two sequels my full endorsement as flawless horror films (though they are both fun and will definitely provide their share of jumps and screams), but there’s something that absolutely chills me to my core about the hordes of nameless witches that briefly appear in the climaxes of the two most recent films in the PA franchise. Not sure what it says about me that I’m so deeply terrified by groups of powerful women…

Ben S. – Barry from Beyond the Black Rainbow

Craig H. – Large Marge from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure

Corey C. – Robert Blake’s mysterious character from Lost Highway

Graham F. – Lars Thorwald from Rear Window



Ben F. – David Julyan’s scarily underrated score for The Prestige made the dueling magicians film much more unnerving that perhaps Christopher Nolan intended. Perhaps used best during the opening sequence and any of Tesla’s scenes, especially in those lingering tracking shots on his machine enclosed in that intimidating shuttered box. LISTEN:

Matt S. – Halloween Theme by John Carpenter – Yes, I’ve mentioned this film already here but Carpenter’s minimalist score is a huge part of the success of the film and fits in perfectly with the creepily low-fi feel of the entire production. LISTEN:

Ben S. – Gremlins Theme by Jerry Goldsmith

Craig H. – Fur Elise from IT

Corey C. – Ennio Morricone’s score for The Thing

Graham F. – Krzysztof Penderecki’s selections in The Shining