1. Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996)
Being the last film in the series to hit theaters, it failed at the box office and ended up sending the franchise into the direct-to-video grave for future installments. The film though, isn’t even bad and doesn’t deserve to be thought of the film that ruined the franchise.
For what it is, it really serves as the proper send-off to the franchise. It’s the prequel, sequel, and end of the Hellraiser franchise both story and quality wise. The scope of the movie is epic — literally spanning many generations from the 18th century to the 1990s, and all the way to the year 2127. The film keeps the tone of the first two movies and doesn’t try to make Pinhead an anti hero like in Part III. It’s straight and to the point type of film and it’s executed very well. The later sequels really went downhill with quality and they’re better left unwatched. If you’re a fan of the first two movies, you should really enjoy this one, because it truly is the beginning and end of Pinhead’s journey.
2. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994)
Watching this at a young age, I really believed this story to be true. I was left initially disgusted had to turn it off due to the insane amount of violence on screen. I really didn’t understand how someone could make a movie this shocking — after all, who could fathom of beating a woman in a garbage bag with a cattle prod, all while mocking her?
After some time away, I read up on the actual incident and it turned out that the film wasn’t based on facts. With that knowledge, I went back to finding the movie through my tape collection and watching it completely through.
When I was done, I realized I had just seen the most bat-shit crazy film in the series. Not only is it really dark, Leatherface is terrifying this time around and is truly disturbed when he shows up in complete drag as the pretty woman. Not only is this film mentally disturbing, it doesn’t rely on blood and gore for its shocks. It relies on the heightening tension and craziness of the dysfunctional family of Leatherface. This film was written and directed by the original Chainsaw writer and the tone and mood of the film really is on par with the original.
I don’t see how you can’t like this movie! It’s more brutal, well-acted, and is the best film in the series since the first. If you can find it give it chance.
3. Friday the 13th V: A New Beginning (1985)
This was the first Friday the 13th film I saw, originally only seeing bits and pieces of it while I was with my babysitter. It really scared me seeing this masked killer shove a road flare down someone’s throat as a child around the tender age of 8. I was truly terrified of Jason and I recall becoming scared at the thought of Jason lurking behind the trees at night.
It wasn’t until I was about 12-years-old when I started to find an interest in horror films. My dad took me to the Video Vault (our local video rental store) and let me pick any movie I wanted to watch. As I walked through each aisle looking at all the cover art, my eyes were drawn to the VHS cover of the film that caused me to be afraid of the dark: Friday the 13th V.
I picked the film up and when we went home, I popped the video in my VCR. I instantly fell in love with the movie, as not only was this the first movie rental that was R-rated for me, it was my first horror film that I can remember sitting through completely. It was dark, brutal, engaging, had a high body count, and we got to see a lot of Jason on screen and I loved every second of it…until the twist ending. It turned out it wasn’t Jason who was killing everyone on screen. It was some random guy who only had about three seconds of screen time from earlier on in the movie. The twist turned me off and I ended up hating this movie and I felt as if I was ripped off because of the bait and switch.
As the years passed and more Friday the 13th marathons on TV came and went I started to think about this movie again. I wanted to see if others on the internet felt the same anger I had with this film. It turned out that most did, but a few actually adored it. I thought back to when I first saw it years ago, when I thoroughly enjoyed everything up until the twist when 70 minutes of entertainment were destroyed by a bad ending. I thought about this risk and realized that this movie was actually badass for what it did. It took the plot of the first Friday the 13th and just intensified it.
The first film was about a mom who lost her son in a drowning, which she blamed on the councilors for not watching over him, and she goes crazy and starts to kill everyone. In A New Beginning, we have a similar plot only even crazier — a paramedic goes to a crime scene to bag a body, and it turns out the body is the paramedic’s son. He blames the councilors for not maintaining proper supervision and he ends up losing his mind, donning the hockey mask and going on a killing spree. He was crazier than Mrs. Voorhees and just like her, he starts to kill, but this time he pretends to be Jason. If you watch the film with that mindset you will find the most enjoyable and violent film in the series that really tried to be different and set up a new story arc, instead of the zombie Jason that would return for later sequels.
4. Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
Halloween III Is my all-time favorite film to watch during the Halloween season. The film really captures the mood of entire fall season with its visuals, music, and plot. The film is about the disappearances of a few people which sparks the interest of a detective who tries to find out why. He gets a few tips that lead to a strange town with an evil organization that is selling masks to children with hidden devices inside them that have the ability to melt the wearer’s head in the mask when a certain jingle is played on TV. The organization plans on playing the commercials on Halloween night for all the kids to lead to the death of literally millions of children around the world.
In a way, it’s about a man’s plan to stop a potential doomsday scenario. The idea of having all the kids who wear the masks die is a very dark subject to tackle, and so, the film features a really bleak ending. This probably one of the best horror films ever made, but unfortunately having the title Halloween III, implies there’s a connection to the Michael Myers movies — except there’s no Michael Myers stalking anyone in this film.
The Halloween series was never intended to be about Michael Myers killing people, it was supposed to be an annual horror film with a different premise each time taking place on Halloween night. I feel that a lot of people don’t know that, and if the film didn’t have the Halloween in its title it would probably be one of the most loved horror films and become a staple on for the season. From the acting, plot, special effects, suspense and catchy jingle; it all plays out really well and should be seen at least once this October (you’ll probably catch it on AMC at least once this month).