I recently got a chance to see Alien in a remastered director's cut, on the big screen (IMAX, no less!) I highly recommend checking this out if you can, especially for those of you who weren't around to see its original theatrical release in 1979. It was the first really successful horror/scifi hybrid and a masterpiece of spooky atmosphere. Anyway, this got me thinking about scary movies, which seemed a good topic for a Halloween rant. Here are some of my other all-time favorites:
Night of the Living Dead (1968) - very original, very weird. The living dead walk and seek human flesh to eat. It may look old now, but it's still as good as any living dead movie.
Halloween (1978) - the first and the best. It came from a time before blood and guts and part 9s. It used music and shadows (i.e. skilled directorial work) instead of cheap thrills and special effects. I challenge you to watch this in a dark house, alone, without a cell phone or computer handy to distract you.
The Fog (1980) - another music-and-shadows movie, this time a ghost story except the ghosts move fast and kill relentlessly.
The Thing (1982) - my third John Carpenter movie listed here, this was a remake. While it did use a lot of gore and special effects, its story was strong: a small group of people, isolated in the middle of nowhere with a monster that can quietly assume their forms.
Scream (1996) - Even though this was a tribute to classic horror movies, it was also original in its own way - and full of surprises. Talk about a killer who doesn't mess around!