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Halloween is finally upon us; can you feel it in the air? Few holidays can effectively bring out your inner child quite like All Hallows' Eve; you dress up, you go trick or treating, and you get bags full of candy. What's not to like? In addition to that tried and true tradition, Halloween is also a time when horror fans dust off their favorite horror movies for a marathon of scares.
However, not all horror films are created equally. While plenty of scary movies have rightfully become Halloween classics over the years, plenty of others have slipped through the cracks. With that in mind, we have compiled a list of horror movies that definitely don't deserve to be labeled as Halloween classics. Check out our entries and give us your thoughts in the comments section below. Now let's get the ball rolling with one of the most overrated horror franchises of all time...
Friday the 13th
Don't be fooled by the longevity of the series; there has arguably never been a good entry in the Friday the 13th franchise. Even the first installment of the series (often hailed as "the best" of the bunch) is completely devoid of suspense or proper characterization. Instead of those vital components to a proper horror film, we instead get a group of unlikable camp counselors, poorly staged (albeit gloriously gory) death scenes, and a third act twist that fails to hold up under even the most basic scrutiny. We've already reported that there are currently plans to bring Jason Voorhees back to life, but we think he's better left at the bottom of Camp Crystal Lake.
There's absolutely no denying that Paranormal Activity did some truly pioneering work with the horror genre when it debuted in 2007. To date, the original entry in the franchise continues to feel like one of the most authentic "found footage" films since The Blair Witch Project. However, the problem with Paranormal Activity is that it really doesn't hold up under repeat viewings. Watching people sleep gets pretty old after a while. To make matters worse, the Paranormal franchise has continuously ramped up the special effects and horror sequences with each passing installment, slowly siphoning off any remaining mystery that the mythology has left.
Pretty much everyone who loves Scream loves it for its perfectly crafted opening scene. However, a great opening scene does not make a great movie. Scream is often touted as a complete deconstruction of the slasher genre, but it's really not as revolutionary as it thinks it is. Twenty years after its release, Wes Craven's love letter to the genre feels not only self-indulgent, but also somewhat hypocritical; while it most certainly acknowledges the "rules" of horror films, it still winds up falling back on them plenty of times. Ghostface was revolutionary in 1996, but these days Scream is nothing to scream about.
Much like the Paranormal Activity series, Saw suffered greatly from the fact that Hollywood practically franchised it to death by delivering increasingly bad sequels on a nearly annual basis. James Wan's original installment in the series is a solid B-grade thriller, but torture porn quickly spiraled out of control, becoming more and more grotesque with each passing film. Don't get me wrong, the original Saw is a well-directed example of suspense filmmaking with a decent twist to cap off its story, but it really has no business standing side by side with genuine Halloween horror classics.
Let me make one thing perfectly clear, I am not saying that Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is a bad movie. However, I am saying that The Shining is really not all that scary, and shouldn't be considered one of the best horror movies of all time. This is one of the most beautifully directed, and impeccably acted, Stephen King adaptations of all time, but it's really more of a dark, psychological character study than a legitimate horror film. King himself has pointed out the flaws in this film -- citing the fact that Jack Torrance's insanity is abundantly clear from the opening scene of the movie, which makes his descent into madness far less scary as a result. Definitely check out The Shining, but not on Halloween.
Day of the Dead
While George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead, and Dawn of the Dead are must-watch Halloween classics, Day of the Dead leaves quite a bit to be desired. While the film definitely delivers a seriously poignant message about the dissolution of society in a confined space, it does so at the expense of real storytelling. The film is fueled by brutal gore effects, and a thorough examination of the zombies themselves, but in the process Romero seemingly forgets to give us characters or a story that we can really care about in any significant way. If you're going to watch a zombie movie this Halloween, opt for its predecessors, and skip Day altogether.
The Last House On The Left
Wes Craven's low-budget 1972 film, Last House on the Left, is often held up as a quintessential example of horror based in reality, but that's giving the film far too much credit. To call Last House on the Left a horror movie implies that it's scary in some form or another, when in reality it's little more than a grotesque example of excess. Although Wes Craven would eventually go on to craft some of the best horror movies of all time, Last House on the Left is simply an unnecessarily obscene, scripted snuff film that's far more concerned with making the audience squirm than delivering genuine scares.
Halloween (The Jamie Lloyd Films)
Halloween is an oddity of a horror franchise, because it's really two film series. There are the Laurie Strode films (Halloween, Halloween II, H20, and Halloween: Resurrection) and then there are the films centering on her daughter, Jamie Lloyd. Although the Jamie films are anchored by some strong performances -- Donald Pleasance and Danielle Harris fire on all cylinders -- Halloween 4, 5, and 6 really destroyed the mythology of the genre. Instead of allowing Michael Myers to be the mysterious "Boogie Man," the films delved deep into his mythology and rationalized everything from his motivations, to his immortality. The Jamie movies have developed a cult following among fans of the franchise over the years, but at face value they are a serious black eye on the series.
What do you think of our list? Are any other "classic" horror movies wholly overrated? Give us your thoughts below!