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Classic horror films to watch this Halloween

By Melanie Woods, October 30 2014 —

Whether you plan to spend Halloween out on the town or nestled in the comfort of your home, you’ll probably have the opportunity to break out a scary movie at some point this week. Rather than
defaulting to another slasher flick, settle down with some classic, though lesser-known, horror films.

Many will recommend the  classics such as Dracula, Frankenstein and The Wolf Man. Look beyond the big-name titles to find a wealth of unknown treasures. There are a lot of fantastic horror films lying untouched outside of film classes and your granddad’s VHS shelf that deserve to see the light of day.

Here are some of our top picks for a timelessly frightening, candy-filled evening of Halloween horror with your favourite ghouls and goblins.

ENT_film_poster_03_WEBNosferatu (1922)

Silent films are a tough sell, especially in a world where we’re constantly barraged by sounds.

University students often go into a horror film looking for jump scares and creepy dialogue, but Nosferatu exists on a different level of scary.

With beautifully orchestrated lighting and a bizarre performance by Max Schreck as Dracula-equivalent Count Orlok, Nosferatu evokes a kind of fear that isn’t seen in modern horror films. The villain is a spectre, flitting between our imaginations and reality as he brings terror to a small European village.

Nosferatu is regarded as a building block of the horror genre and a classic example of early German Expressionism. This remains true nearly a century later. The film exists thanks to a single print that survived multiple copyright suits. And in a way, that makes it all the more special.

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Maniac (1934)

There are some nights where nothing is more enjoyable than a terrible movie — a movie so bad that its entertainment value is heightened by its pure absurdity. Maniac is one of those films.

In Maniac, classic tales of mad scientists, mistaken identities, science fiction and horror are mashed together into a true clusterfuck of absurdity and every moment is majestic.

But be warned, Maniac isn’t without its fair share of nudity, exploitation, sexism and everything terrible. But coupled with horrendous acting, awful production and a lack of attention to detail, it becomes something beautiful in its terribleness. It may not have you screaming in fear, but you’ll be entertained by its campy execution.

It’s also available in the public domain, so you have no excuse not to watch it and groan exasperatedly for the entirety of its 51-minute runtime.

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ENT_film_dead_of_night_poster_01_WEBDead of Night (1945)

Unsettling to a tee, Dead of Night is a classic British film that still packs a punch almost 70 years after its release.

Imagine settling in with some friends with a few glasses of wine and then trying to one-up each with your creepiest and most unnerving stories.That’s the linking narrative in the film’s five terrifying tales, which cover topics such as golf, ghosts and ventriloquist dummies.

Before Chucky was making his rounds scaring  teens, there was Hugo, the possessed ventriloquist dummy. And despite the ’40s special effects, Hugo is the stuff of pure nightmare. You won’t forget his voice or the way the filmmakers approach such a frightening concept.

With a twist ending that will shock and surprise even the most cynical of movie-watchers, Dead of Night will leave you slightly unnerved and wanting to re-watch it to unravel its multiple layers of horror.

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