There are plenty of classic horror movies to choose from on Halloween. The cable channels should be loaded with Freddy, Jason, Leatherface and Pinhead. And you can catch Stanley Kubrick's 1980 classic The Shining over at Cinemark Movies tonight at 7:15 and 10:45.
If you're a Netflix user, there's a treasure chest of streaming horror movies available. Here are a few that might catch your eye, including several foreign films. These selections are definitely not for kids, but don't worry: The words "human centipede" are not involved.
Aftershock (2012): Eli Roth has scored as a director (Cabin Fever, Hostel), and somehow found his way into two Quentin Tarantino films (Death Proof and Inglourious Basterds). Safe to say he's best behind the camera. He co-wrote and produced this disaster-horror flick, and gets the lead role. He's one of several partiers (a pretty unlikeable bunch) vacationing in Chile. The film gets interesting when an earthquake strikes, and the panicked people crumble along with the city.
Battle Royale (2000): Attention, Hunger Games fans. Here's a Japanese movie with an almost identical plot -- teenagers being forced to kill each other in a bizarre contest in the wilderness -- that came out eight years before Suzanne Collins first introduced Katniss Everdeen. If you can get past that remarkable coincidence, Battle Royale is a wild ride. It's a gritty bloodbath compared to the more-polished Hunger Games, and it's a better movie, too.
The Cabin in the Woods (2012): Any time a movie can turn the horror genre on its ear, it's worth a watch. Like Scream did in 1996, The Cabin in the Woods tackles the young'uns-in-danger genre with a wild twist and a great dose of humor (led by the wonderful Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford).
Dead Snow (2009): As Shaun of the Dead proved, zombie disasters can also be funny. This inventive Norwegian film finds medical students on a winter vacation, but they're soon fleeing from Nazi zombies. What could've been a standard "run away!" experience is buoyed by awkward and brash moments of humor.
The House of the Devil (2009): Patience is required here. Ti West's movie follows a college student who takes on a babysitting gig for extra money. As you might expect, things go awry, and it takes a sludgy pace to get there. Then it's a frightening, bloody mess. This is a throwback to the old-school creepiness of '70s horror movies. If you didn't know it was made in 2009, you'd swear it's 30 years old.
Let the Right One In (2008): Another foreign effort (hello, Sweden), this is among the better-executed vampire flicks in recent memory. A lonely, bullied boy is delighted to finally have a pal. Too bad she's a vampire. It's much smarter and thoughtful than the average blood-sucking film. An Americanized version -- Let Me In, starring Chloe Grace Moretz -- came out in 2010. That was good, but it couldn't match up to the original.
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010): Give Finnish writer/director Jalmari Helander credit for originality. Making a horror movie that shows a much darker side to Santa Claus must have been a tough sell. It's camp, but it's pretty compelling camp.
Trollhunter (2010): The concept for this Norwegian film sounds terrible: found footage of students (shades of The Blair Witch Project) trailing a gruff hunter around a snowy landscape. What he's hunting makes it fun -- gigantic, big-schnozzed trolls, who look like something out of Jim Henson's nightmares. Ridiculous, but clever.
Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil (2010): Chuckles are scattered all over this horror-comedy. Good ol' boys Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine) are fixing up a rundown cabin when they cross paths with snotty college students (and 30 Rock's Katrina Bowden). For the students, a goofy series of violent events leaves a lengthy body count. For the good guys, Tudyk sums it up best: "We have had a doozy of a day!"