In honor of Charise Castro Smith’s new horror comedy Feathers and Teeth (September 19 – October 18 in the Owen Theatre), we asked Goodman staff members to share their favorite horror movies. Check out recommendations below from staff member Scott Podraza. Check back soon for more picks from our staff and be sure to watch a few before you come see Feathers and Teeth!
The Babadook (2014)
Bereaved widow Amelia (Essie Davis) is crumbling beneath the pressure of raising her hyperactive, hyperimaginative son alone. One night before bed, the two read a disturbing children’s book that unleashes an evil spirit into their home. At a surface level, the film is textbook boogeyman horror; but on a much deeper level, the film explores the crippling, even mind-altering effects of grief. Davis gives an Oscar-caliber performance and director Jennifer Kent delivers a masterpiece in her debut feature. Check it out on Netflix.
I love that people have come to regard this as a holiday favorite! When a struggling inventor buys his teenage son a new “pet” from a Chinatown shopkeeper, the creatures comes with just three rules: no bright lights, don’t get it wet and don’t feed it after midnight. Sounds simple enough, right? Before long, the little “mogwai” is popping out demon spawns that wreak havoc on the town, even murdering a few people, before checking out the midnight showing of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It makes me laugh as much as it makes me afraid of what’s lurking in our kitchen cabinets. Fun fact: Howie Mandel was the voice of the good mogwai Gizmo.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
If you don’t know who Freddie Kruger is by now, you need to educate yourself. This film introduced one of the all-time greatest horror villains, and along with him, perhaps the most brilliant premise in the genre’s history: a serial killer that will murder you in your dreams. What Jaws did to the ocean, this one did to sleeping. Take all the caffeine pills you want, Freddie’s coming for you. That’s the mark of great horror – it makes you terrified of the seemingly-harmless and finds you where you’re most vulnerable. Twenty years and countless sequels later, Freddie’s A+ one-liners set him apart as the genre’s comedic badboy. RIP Wes Craven. Check it out on Netflix.
The Evil Dead (1981)
What’s groundbreaking about Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead isn’t the script or the acting or even the premise, really (five college students in an abandoned cabin the woods…Candarian demons…lecherous trees…etc.). It’s the sheer determination, naiveté and resourcefulness of its creators that made this one of the most cherished films among horror fans. Out of a general lack of resources and experience, Raimi created new camera rigging systems, makeup and special effects, and the character Ash (Bruce Campbell) who starred in the increasingly campy sequels Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn and Army of Darkness. Look out for the “Ash vs. Evil Dead” series on Starz this fall.
I just love this film. It’s actually an anthology of horror vignettes written by the great Stephen King, directed by the also-great George A. Romero. It features fantastic performances by Leslie Nielsen, E.G. Marshall, Adrienne Barbeau (“Just tell ‘em to call you Billie!”) and even King himself. As you might guess by its cast, there’s a lot of hilarious dark humor to offset the awful scenarios they’ve written for these characters. Check out the original, but skip the sequels.