The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Halloween special

This week William Leng delves into the world of Halloween based films and reveals what he believes are the definitively good, bad and ugly.

26th October 2015

The Good: Donnie Darko (2001)

We have the genre-dodging, brain-bending cult classic, Donnie Darko.

From then debutant filmmaker Richard Kelly, it stars a young Jake Gyllenhaal as the titular character, a paranoid schizophrenic yet brilliant high-school teenager. After being saved from death by a falling jet engine by his imaginary friend, a man in a giant demented rabbit costume called Frank, Donnie is alerted to a doomsday prophecy set to unfold on Halloween night. Donnie’s visions of Frank cause him to upset the equilibrium of his quaint Virginia town, revealing that there is more to the colourful cast of characters than meets the eye.

The Bad: The Halloween franchise (1978-who the hell knows?)

We honour the efforts of 9 sequels to the great John Carpenter’s classic, Halloween. That’s Halloween: II, III, 4, 5, The Curse of Mike Myers, H20 (wtf right?), Resurrection, and then reboots of the first two films.

This franchise has been vomited onto screens worldwide for the past 25 years, without ever recapturing the terror and trend-setting thrills of the original, quintessential Halloween horror movie. The best that can be said about the sequels is that they’ve hosted some great actors over the years, featuring turns from Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Pleasance, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and…Busta Rhymes? Luckily, this year it was announced that the franchise will continue with a new instalment. Like Myers himself, they just won’t die.

The Ugly: The Guest (2014)

For this I’ve chosen 2014’s The Guest, starring a hunkified Dan Stevens (the once-plump teddy bear from Downton Abbey).

What begins as a mystery, when Stevens’ character inexplicably enters the life of a typical American family who’ve suffered a great loss, sharply turns into a thriller-cum-horror. The film’s climax takes place in a Halloween fun house set up for a school dance, complete with hall of mirrors (Scaramanga not included).

To plainly say why this film deserves the title of ‘ugly’ may be flying too close to a spoiler-y sun, but rest assured, not even diners are safe.

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