For the full Movie Bears Podcast review of ‘Halloween’ and ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street,’ check out the video below. Read on for our mini-review!
There’s something magical about the power of tradition, especially those traditions that fall in line with holidays. Whether it be 4th of July cookouts with friends, eating that first slice of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, or picking out one gift to open ‘early’ on Christmas, these rituals help to provide personal and familial significance to what might otherwise be arbitrary dates on the calendar. Halloween is rife with traditions of its own, from binging candy to spending way too much money on costumes. For us, one of our favorite annual Halloween occurrences is the screening of classic horror films, and no two movies quite do it for us at the Movie Bears Podcast like ‘Halloween’ and ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street.’ And while Halloween has, technically, passed at this point, these films — like the recent holiday fun — can’t help but stick with you.
Released in 1978, John Carpenter’s ‘Halloween’ heralded in the golden age of the slasher film. While it isn’t the first slasher film (‘Psycho,’ ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,’ ‘Black Christmas,’ and even the Italian giallo films preceded it), ‘Halloween’ defined a genre that would thrive for the next several years. Part of the charm of ‘Halloween’ is its unpredictable nature; while later films would add more mysticism to the backstory of Michael Myers, the original film felt open-ended as to whether or not he was an unstoppable force of nature or merely a silent psychopath. Set against a haunting and engaging score, and featuring a debut performance by scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis, ‘Halloween’ is sure to be on our tv screens every October.
While ‘Halloween’ might be the strongest individual slasher film to come from the late 1970s/early 1980s, ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ is notable in that it spawned perhaps one of the most entertaining franchises of the era. This film marked the debut of Freddy Kruger, the child murderer with knives on his gloves who haunts the dreams of teenagers. Even though later films would take this character to enjoyably absurd levels, the 1984 original film showcased a menacing blend of with and sadism from Freddy, a blend that would soon turn him into one of the most recognizable horror icons. For better or for worse, this film also marks the motion picture debut of Johnny Depp. One, two, Freddy’s coming for you. Three, four, we’re ready to watch some more.
Though Halloween has passed, there’s still time to enjoy some of its fun before the holiday season begins in earnest. So turn the lights down low, grab your popcorn, and make sure the doors are locked. We can think of nothing we’d love more this Halloween season than for you to join us in celebrating these horror classics. No matter which you prefer, these films are always sure to send shivers down your spine.
Written by Will Lindus, Movie Bears Podcast