Movies to chill your blood this Hal­loween

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Amy Longs­dorf

Get your­self in a spooky mood with these 14 fright­en­ing clas­sics. Warn­ing: Don’t watch them alone.

Ghoul­ish ghost sto­ries, for­eign fright­en­ers, spooky TV se­ries, clas­sic creep­fests and one heck­uva scary shark movie are the highlights of this year’s crop of ter­ri­fy­ing treats.

If you’re tired of rent­ing or stream­ing the same movies ev­ery Hal­loween, check out our list of 14 newly-re­leased gems which are guar­an­teed to raise a goose­bump or two.

DON’T WATCH ALONE The Shal­lows (2016, Sony,

PG-13, $30): Now, this is how you make a big splash with a scary movie! Blake Lively stars as Nancy, a med­i­cal stu­dent drop-out still smart­ing over the death of her mother. Alone for an af­ter­noon, she de­cides to go surf­ing on a se­cluded beach in Mex­ico and al­most in­stantly finds her­self in dan­ger of be­com­ing a tasty meal for a great white shark. Run­ning an in­cred­i­bly taut 86 min­utes, the sus­pense never lets up. But, at its heart, this aquatic scare-ma­chine is a meta­phoric bat­tle be­tween a de­spair­ing woman and her own hope­less­ness.

Salem’s Lot (1979, Warner,

PG, $15): Based on a Stephen King novel, this minis­eries has been called “one of the last truly great Gothic vam­pire films.” There’s scares aplenty as a writer (David Soul) re­turns to home town to write a book about an old hill­top home which has re­cently been pur­chased by a mys­te­ri­ous an­tiques dealer (James Ma­son) and his creepy, pale-skinned part­ner ( Reg­gie Nalder). Di­rec­tor Tobe Hop­per (“The Texas Chain­saw Mas­sacre”) is great at cre­at­ing an at­mos­phere of im­pend­ing doom even as he plays sly homage to “Psy­cho” and “Nos­fer­atu.” This one’s got bite. Twin Peaks (1990-1992, Para­mount, un­rated, $70): Newly repriced ahead of Show­time’s 2017 re­launch of the se­ries, this Blu-ray set col­lects the orig­i­nal thirty episodes of the show as well as the 1992 fea­ture film “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me,” which served as both a pre­quel chron­i­cling slain high-schooler Laura Palmer’s last week and a se­quel in­volv­ing Agent Cooper (Kyle McLachlan) and another mur­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion. In high-def, the spooky soap opera looks stun­ning, right down to the last cherry pie.

Aliens: 30th An­niver­sary Edition (1986, Fox, R,

$25): Sigour­ney Weaver won a well-de­served Best Ac­tress nod for her turn in one of the rare se­quels that’s as good, if not bet­ter, than the orig­i­nal. Tak­ing over for Ri­d­ley Scott, di­rec­tor James Cameron turns an in­ter­stel­lar mis­sion into a med­i­ta­tion on moth­er­hood, with Weaver’s Ri­p­ley facin­goff with an alien queen try­ing to snatch a young girl (Car­rie Henn) away from her. Three decades on, Ri­p­ley re­mains one of the tough­est, most tri­umphant ac­tion heroes in Hol­ly­wood his­tory.

Lady In White (1987, Shout Fac­tory, PG-13,

$30): Now avail­able on Blu-ray, this ab­sorb­ing ghost story re­volves around an 11-year-old named Frankie (Lukas Haas) who, af­ter get­ting locked in his school overnight, is vis­ited by the spirit of a mur­dered child. Af­ter he’s res­cued, Frankie at­tempts to put the pieces of the decade-old mys­tery to­gether. De­spite an easyto-guess twist, “Lady In White” is a win­ning por­trait of a brave young­ster will­ing to stare into the heart of dark­ness to help a rest­less ap­pari­tion find peace.

Car­rie: Col­lec­tor’s Edition (1976, Shout Fac­tory, R,

$35): One of Brian DePalma’s best films re­mains achingly modern thanks to the way it delves into is­sues in­volv­ing re­pres­sion and sex­u­al­ity. Sissy Spacek is at her eerie best as a tele­ki­netic high-schooler who is bul­lied at school by vi­cious class­mates (Nancy Allen, John Tra­volta) and abused at home by her re­li­gious fa­natic mother (scary Piper Lau­rie). But af­ter a prom gone wrong, Car­rie gets her re­venge. From the dreamy open­ing shower scene to the un­for­get­table fi­nal shocker, “Car­rie” is a stone-cold clas­sic.

The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959, Twi­light Time,

un­rated, $30): Rou­tinely cited as one of the best adap­ta­tions of Arthur Co­nan Doyle’s clever mys­tery, this new-to-Blu-ray thriller, pro­duced by Ham­mer Films, ben­e­fits greatly from a mat­ter-of-fact turn by Peter Cush­ing as the witty and bril­liant Sher­lock Holmes. Another Ham­mer reg­u­lar, Christo­pher Lee, co-stars as a man seem­ingly haunted by a fam­ily curse who calls upon Holmes to un­cover what’s re­ally go­ing on out on the misty moors. Hang on tight.

Cat Peo­ple (1942, Cri­te­rion, un­rated, $30): One of the RKO Stu­dio’s big­gest hits of the 1940s, this gem stars Si­mone Si­mon as Irena, a Ser­bian émi­gré who falls hard for an ar­chi­tect (Kent Smith). Even though they marry, Irena is scared of be­com­ing in­ti­mate with Smith for fear of awak­en­ing an an­cient curse that will turn her into a fe­line preda­tor. Puls­ing with weird­ness and slow-burn in­ten­sity, “Cat Peo­ple” is at its best when, out of jeal­ously, Irena’s claws come out and she stalks her hus­band’s best friend (Jane Ran­dolph). While never overtly scary, “Cat Peo­ple” casts a strange spell.

Child’s Play: Col­lec­tor’s Edition (1988, Shout

Fac­tory, R, $30): Far less campy than the sub­se­quent films in the se­ries, this gen­uinely scary thriller, now on an ex­tras-heavy Blu-ray, stars Brad Dou­rif as a killer who trans­fers his soul into a Chucky doll pur­chased by a hard-work­ing sin­gle mom (Cather­ine Hicks) for her young son (Alex Vin­cent). Thanks to the nifty spe­cial ef­fects, Chucky looks sur­pris­ingly real as he walks around wield­ing an axe and a bad at­ti­tude. Even charred be­yond recog­ni­tion, this doll is no­body to toy with.

Cat’s Eye (1985, Warner,

PG-13, $15): The suc­cess of the Stephen King-ish “Stranger Things” on Net­flix proves that au­di­ences never tire of eerie tales with “Twi­light Zone”-ish twists. In this in­volv­ing an­thol­ogy movie, now on Blu-ray, three sto­ries star­ring James Woods, Robert Hays and Drew Bar­ry­more are linked by a wan­der­ing fe­line. It’s far from a clas­sic but there’s enough creepi­ness in­volv­ing luck­less gam­blers, nico­tine fiends and doll-sized trolls to keep hor­ror fans purring with plea­sure.

The Thing: Col­lec­tor’s Edition (1982, Shout

Fac­tory, R, $35): One of John Car­pen­ter’s best films is part mon­ster movie and part study in ex­treme claus­tro­pho­bia. Kurt Rus­sell stars as the head of a unit of sci­en­tists sta­tioned in the Antarc­tic who dis­cover a once-frozen, now-un­thawed alien. The slimy beast cre­ates ter­ror with its abil­ity to mimic hu­man be­ings, in­clud­ing mem­bers of the re­search team. Car­pen­ter un­corks scores of stom­achchurn­ing set pieces, in­clud­ing a se­quence that aims to out­gore “Alien’s” in­fa­mous chest-burster scene. But to the film­maker’s credit, the para­noia which in­fects the men is scarier than the crea­tures them­selves.

Trilo­gia De Guillermo Del Toro (1993-2006, Cri­te­rion, R, $99): Cri­te­rion col­lects Guillermo Del Toro’s three Span­ish-lan­guage stun­ners, in­clud­ing “Cronos,” a tale of vam­pires and the quest for eter­nal youth; and “The Devil’s Back­bone” a ghostly tale set at a creepy

or­phan­age. The high­light of the set is “Pan Labyrinth,” an eye-pop­ping fairy tale about a young girl named Ofe­lia (Ivana Ba­quero) who is taken by her preg­nant mother to North­ern Spain to live with her mon­strous step­fa­ther (Sergi Lopez), a mem­ber of Franco’s Fas­cist Army. When re­al­ity gets too much

for Ofe­lia, she es­capes to an un­der­ground world full of fairies and nymphs. Boast­ing spe­cial ef­fects which net­ted three Os­cars, “Pan’s Labyrinth” is a mag­i­cal gem that still packs a wal­lop. Amer­i­can Hor­ror Story: Ho­tel (2016, Fox, un­rated, $50): While Jes­sica Lange is much-missed this sea­son, Ryan Mur­phy’s an­thol­ogy se­ries is still in­trigu­ing enough to get your blood pump­ing, es­pe­cially if you don’t mind heaps of weird­ness that doesn’t al­ways make sense. Wes Bent­ley stars as a po­lice de­tec­tive who, in his search for a se­rial slayer, vis­its the Ho­tel Cortez, a haunted Los An­ge­les inn that’s home to the blood-suck­ing Count­ess (Lady Gaga) as well as the sadis­tic Hy­po­der­mic Sally (Sarah Paul­son) and a mys­te­ri­ous mother (Kathy Bates) and son (Matt Bomer). Imag­ine a blend of “Seven” and “The Shin­ing” with a smidge of “Nos­fer­atu” thrown in for good mea­sure.

The Wail­ing (2016, Well

Go, un­rated, $25): A huge hit in South Korea, Na HongJin’s grip­ping su­per­nat­u­ral thriller be­gins like any num­ber or po­lice pro­ce­du­rals, with a flawed cop named Jong-gu (Kwak Do-won) in­ves­ti­gat­ing the first of a se­ries of grisly mur­ders. Then, Jong-gu’s daugh­ter (Kim Hwan-hee) seems to fall un­der the same spell as the killers. This is when “The Wail­ing” jerks into high gear, with Jong-gu go­ing to great lengths to save his young­ster from a mys­te­ri­ous Ja­panese man (Jun Ku­nimura) whom he be­lieves to be an evil spirit. You will watch this film with nerves clenched, right up un­til the jaw-drop­ping fi­nale. It’s scary good.


A scene from “Aliens: 30th An­niver­sary Edition.”

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