By: Morgan Watters
Vampires, werewolves and witches are classic figures associated with horror and Halloween. They have been a part of fiction for many generations and continue to stay relevant despite their age. With the technological advances of the last century, these old haunts have made their way onto the big screen.
American Werewolf in London
The film “American Werewolf in London” directed by John Landis was released in 1981 and is a horror classic – I would argue the best out of many werewolf films. Due to its age, this film has some outdated practical effects, but if you can get past that, then the movie is a must-watch. “American Werewolf in London” follows the story of a young American tourist named David who goes hiking across Europe with his friend Jack. At the start of their journey, the two men are attacked by a werewolf that is reported to the police by locals as a “maniac”. However, by the time hospital staff notice discrepancies in this cover story, it is much too late. This film has fantastic cinematography, and the pacing of the film is steady with a fast start. The soundtrack is also a big part of the movie due the careful placement of songs as well as the continuous theme regarding the moon. In the past two decades, werewolf films have been lacking, and in all honesty not very good, so “American Werewolf in London’” seemed to be the obvious choice for a review. I give this film a 9.5/10 and highly recommend it to everyone who enjoys horror.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula
In 1897, Bram Stoker wrote “Dracula,” and since then vampire popularity in fiction has skyrocketed. There have been many cinematic adaptations and renditions of the famous Dracula, but one of the most notable is the film “Bram Stoker’s Dracula,” directed by Francis Ford Coppola and released in 1992. This film is an adaptation of the book and has a gothic romantic theme that overlaps the horror aspects. “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” follows the story of three individuals: Dracula, Mina Harker and Jonathan Harker. The story begins with Dracula imprisoning Jonathan Harker in his castle after discovering that Jonathan’s wife, Mina, is the spitting image of his deceased wife from centuries ago. In pursuit of Mina, Dracula makes his way to London to seek his long lost love while Jonathan tries to escape Dracula’s castle. This movie is one of my favorites for many reasons. A: the storyline is compelling and active. B: the cast is phenomenal. C: it’s Dracula. Who doesn’t love anything related to the ‘king’ of vampires? It is hard to find a movie like “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” and it is surely one that will last in popularity for many years to come. This film gets a 8.5/10 from me, and it comes highly recommended for those who enjoy romantic horror.
“The Witch,” directed by Robert Eggers and released in 2015, is one of the best witch movies since the “Blair Witch Project” of 1999. This film follows a more historical take on witches and the superstition surrounding them. Set in the 1600s, “The Witch” follows the story of young Thomasin, the eldest daughter of a poor family, and her journey from girl to witch. Thomasin has duties like many girls of this time period, such as looking after the younger siblings. Given charge of her youngest brother Samuel, Thomasin goes about her days in a very normal way – until Samuel vanishes. This very moment is when her life changes forever, and she is labeled a witch. Despite all she may do to prove her innocence, her family believes naught. This movie has surprising elements and unexpected developments that leave the viewer on edge. The slow pacing of the movie may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it is well worth watching. Many great movies come out of slow pacing and story building. I give this movie a 9/10, and for those who love history or the mystical arts, this may be the film for you.