Dare to Scare: The Dolphin Staff Members Top Halloween Movie Picks

Compiled From Staff Reports


Here are some of The Dolphin staff member’s favorite scary movies just in time for Halloween. Grab a tub of candy, a few friends and try to watch these movies with all the lights off.


Jeff Boudreaux

The Black Cat (1934) – Producer Carl Laemmle and Universal Pictures knew they had a goldmine with stars Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, after single-handedly resurrecting the studio and the horror genre with their respective, iconic performances in “Frankenstein” and “Dracula,” both released in 1931. For their first pairing, Lugosi portrays psychiatrist Dr. Vitus Werdegast (recently released from a military prison) who visits the home of a treacherous comrade, Hjalmar Poelzig (Karloff), an Austrian Architect/Satanist who keeps Werdegast’s dead wife in a glass case, and is also married to his daughter! Obviously that’s a little too much salt in the wounds for anyone to withstand, and the two engage in a deadly game of cat and mouse that involves necrophilia, a black mass, and someone being skinned alive! Don’t worry though, there is an actual black cat in the film, and that’s about the only similarity between Poe’s short story and this visionary horror classic that became Universal’s highest-grossing film of the year. Audiences ultimately ate up the teaming of Karloff and Lugosi; as the two stars would go on to appear in seven more films together.



Poster - Black Cat, The (1934)_02

Mark of the Vampire (1935) – Bela Lugosi, filmdom’s original Count Dracula, makes his second appearance on this list as Count Mora who, along with his creepy daughter Luna (Carol Borland), seems to be terrorizing a small village in Prague. Besides the title and the presence of Lugosi, the real star of the film is Lionel Barrymore as Professor Zelen, a Van Helsing-type who is called in by Inspector Neumann (Lionel Atwill) to help investigate a series of vampire-related murders. “Mark of the Vampire” has Lugosi re-teaming with his “Dracula” director Tod Browning, in a remake of the latter’s 1927 silent film, “London after Midnight,” which has unfortunately been lost since the infamous 1967 fire at MGM’s Culver City studio. Co-starring Elizabeth Allan as a damsel-in-constant-distress and Jean Hersholt (yes, the Oscar humanitarian!), this atmospheric curio is sure to fascinate viewers with its unbelievable twist-ending.



The Exorcist (1973) – This is the movie that revolutionized the horror genre. Based on the terrifying 1971 novel by William Peter Blatty, “The Exorcist” brought a new type of supernatural element to cinemas worldwide – demonic possession. It wasn’t that this was a new idea; Roman Catholic priests had long been engaged in the little-talked about ritual known as exorcism. However, this is the first time that audiences had a real chance to see such a frighteningly-realistic depiction of a human being (a young girl – no less) being controlled by a demon. Linda Blair stars as Regan MacNeil, the girl who is stricken by the evil entity known as Pazuzu (a.k.a Captain Howdy). Forget those names however, what moviegoers saw was the most graphic onscreen representation of the Devil himself that has yet to be eclipsed over forty years later! Co-starring Ellen Burstyn as Regan’s actress mother and featuring the one-two punch of Christ-compelling priests that collectively represent the title role: The elder Father Merrin (Max Von Sydow) and the younger, impressionable Father Damien Karras (Jason Miller). The film was such a sensation that it became the highest-grossing film that year and was the first-ever horror film to be nominated for an Academy Award for best picture. Add this to the fact that the movie caused actual panic in theaters across the nation with several people experiencing heart attacks. Now that’s what I call a horror movie!



Susan Hague

Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)
Directed by Werner Herzog, this 1979 film is a remake of the 1922 German “Nosferatu.” What makes this one so creepy and scary is Klaus Kinski in the lead role. His Dracula has pale, almost blue skin, long, sharp teeth like a rat’s, and long pointed fingernails. This vampire looks like he has vertigo when we see him weaving drunkenly into the night like a fluttering bat. Kinski’s Dracula is melancholy, unable to grow old and die, something that makes being a vampire both appealing and repelling, just like “Nosferatu.”

Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” music video(1983)
A mini-movie that aired on MTV in 1983, this was ground-breaking special effects and dance moves. Who doesn’t know how to dance like the undead as Vincent Price’s voice rumbles about the “funk of 40,000 years?” The final scene, with its dream-inside-a-dream sequence, makes this video (wait for it)— a thriller.

Meghan Henoumont

Dead Alive (1992): Ok, it’s a B horror movie and if you don’t like gore this might not be for you, but it’s just so ridiculous and funny it’s hard to believe this film was made by Peter Jackson (“Lord of the rings” trilogy). This is a story of a zany teenage romance that kicks off due to the fictional Sumatran rat monkey of Skull Island. Its bite, as expected, carries the undead virus, which spreads quickly. That’s the only predictable storyline of this movie. Through a series of Claymation and gorrific scenes, these zombies dance, fall in love, have babies, and shock more than disturb. If you’re looking for a Halloween movie that will make you laugh and cringe, “Dead Alive” is for you.





The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920): Don’t let the age of this movie fool you; this is hands-down one of the scariest movies of all time. It’s black and white, pretty much silent, and made in Germany post WWI, but the story line and images are so twisted it’s been giving audience’s nightmares for almost 100 years. A psychopathic hypnotist uses an unwitting sleepwalker to commit horrific murders. The images in this movie are far more disturbing than anything created in the modern CGI effects era. The dizzying camera angles, large shadowy reflections, and bizarre image sequences create a nightmarish emotional climate that never eases up. A true psychological thriller, watch and prepare to have your brain scrambled.




Let The Right One In (2008): You may have seen the 2010 American remake, “Let Me In”, of this Swedish film, but rest assured the remake cannot and does not live up to the original. “Let The Right One In”, gave a jolt of originality to the long dead vampire horror genre. Set in a suburb of Stockholm the storyline seems easy enough, a bullied 12 year-old boy, Oskar, strikes up a friendship with a local girl, Eli, only she’s a vampire. The horror builds as Oskar realizes his only friend is responsible for the murders around town and ultimately must choose between his newfound love or the people he’s known all his life. A terrifying but beautiful story of revenge, friendship, and the ties that makes us who we are. Be warned: after watching this you’ll want to sleep with all the lights on.


right one

Tiffny Harris

Halloween (2007) – Are you into terrifying, dreadful, eerie and sinister kind of movies? If so this one is for you. After 17 years of being locked in a mental institution, Michael Myers breaks free with intentions of killing his baby sister Laurie. This movie is Director Rob Zombie’s re-imagining of John Carpenter’s 1978 horror classic, and overall the ninth film of the 10-movie “Halloween” series.





Carrie (1976) – Teen outcast, Carrie, lives her dream when she unexpectedly becomes prom queen, or so she thinks. Her classmates humiliate her by pouring pig’s blood on her. From there Carrie takes matters or better yet, vengeance into her own hands. If you haven’t seen this classic thriller it’s a must see. A true original, be prepared to be horrified on a completely new level.



Isadora Linheira

The Shining (1980): “The Shining” is a brilliant thriller written by none-other-than the king of horror Stephen King. “The Shining” is a story about a writer named Jack Torrance and his family: his wife Wendy, and son Danny. They move to a distant hotel to become caretakers during the winter and for Jack to write a novel. What seemed like a nice and quiet place for Jack to write his book quickly develops into a terrifying and bloody winter. The Torrance family has no idea that the hotel has a mysterious past, including paranormal events and murders. Jack becomes violent and abusive to his family while dealing with his own demons in the hotel. Danny develops the gift, the “shining,” to see the paranormal and unsuccessfully tries to inform people in the outside world about what is going on in the hotel. The Shining is completely unpredictable and is a staple of the horror genre. Put it on and have your mind blown. “Here’s Johnny!”





Rosemary’s Baby (1968): “Rosemary’s Baby” is a movie directed by cult movie legend Roman Polanski. It tells the story of a young wife and her would-be-actor husband’s move to New York. The couple moves into an apartment building with a creepy background history. There they meet a couple of odd neighbors, Roman and Minnie. After a weird night with awful nightmares Rosemary becomes pregnant, and the pregnancy is followed by curious and spooky events, events that reveal a dark and diabolical secret about Rosemary’s baby. Be warned: You will never look at cute giggly babies the same.



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