I watched (rewatched, perhaps?) The Omen recently, and was shocked at how well it held up.
The very cerebral horror of the late 60s (Rosemary’s Baby, Audrey Rose, The Wicker Man) has such great staying power. And it does not hurt that the 60s loved using that discordant riff of music to heighten the tension in scenes. These movies, which are so much less about “special effects” which tend to be less special over time, make the horror just as striking and horrific now as it was then…even with the nostalgia of the outfits, cars, and technology working against it.
Most of this movie still works…I had to stop it part of the way through (tension and laundry playing equal parts in that – to this day dirty undies is scared to me than little Damien). What is it about little kids and Latin chanting as the background music that is just utterly horrifying?
A recent movie that is very much of this same ilk…and really did make me stop it because I could not bear to watch any more…is The Babadook.
The movie takes place (mostly) in a house with only a mother and son. Essie Davis is stunning in her portrayal of a woman who is trying to hold her broken family together in the face of trying times. Written and directed by a woman (Jennifer Kent), it taps into that very real fear of losing someone and being forced to carry on – more alone than you have ever been before.
If you want a good scare this Halloween, I’d suggest either of these…I know the Omen is on Netflix (and the Babadook was recently, it might still be there – if not, get thee to a RedBox!).
Not that you need movie suggestions from me…just randomly thinking about good movies and how I like horror that is less about torture-porn and more about the mental game.