It’s almost Halloween, so I’m sharing some lessons I’ve learned from a few of my favorite horror films (listed in no particular order):
1. The Shining
Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is a masterpiece. For the uninitiated (shame on you for not seeing this film), The Shining is about a family that heads to an isolated hotel for the winter, where an evil presence drives the drunken father to a murderous rampage and his son experiences horrific psychic visions.
So what life lesson that can be found in The Shining? Dead girls in cute party dresses are always terrifying, and if evil spirits throw a party in the hotel where you’re staying, just hang out and have a drink. All work and no play will make you a douche bag that tries to kill your family with an axe.
2. The Exorcist
William Friedkin’s Exorcist is a terrifying, dramatic exploration of faith. It’s about the demonic possession of a 12-year-old girl and the two priests that attempt to save her through an exorcism.
What life lesson could there be in The Exorcist? You’re always safer on the ground floor. First person thrown out the window by the possessed girl, shame on the demon. Second person thrown out the same window, shame on you.
American Werewolf in London is a John Landis classic. Two American college students are backpacking around England and are attacked by a mysterious creature that kills one of them and transforms the other into a werewolf.
John Landis does an excellent job of contrasting the character’s transformation into a werewolf with an upbeat soundtrack that has songs like Blue Moon and Werewolves Of London . An upbeat song played over a gruesome scene is always unnerving.
What’s the life lesson in American Werewolf in London? A good friend and drinking buddy will never let you run across the moors alone at night.
Halloween is about an escaped psychotic murderer that stalks Jamie Lee Curtis. What makes this movie so scary? Check out the shot below of the escaped psycho in a flesh colored mask, and then listen to this theme song. Enough said.
The life lesson in Halloween – never underestimate the studious chick. Never.
5. Evil Dead 2
Evil Dead 2 is basically a bigger budget version of Sam Raimi’s first Evil Dead movie. Evil Dead 1 and 2 are about a group of friends trapped in a cabin in the woods by evil demons. The Evil Dead/Army of Darkness films are Sam Raimi’s bizarre tributes to the Three Stooges, Looney Tunes and campy horror. They are pure fun.
So what’s the life lesson in Evil Dead 2? Never be afraid to repeat yourself, and Bruce Campbell makes everything better.
Happy Halloween! Now go watch some horror movies.