It is October once again, which means it is time to bust out the horror movie collection in time for Halloween. Alternative Nation writer Anthony Carioscia returns with his usual picks for viewings on these crisp fall nights, this time wishing to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of 1986, which was an awesome year for horror. The genre saw so many now iconic films that year, as well as many sequels and remakes to classics and new helpings from many masters of the genre. Here, in no particular order, are Anthony’s picks for the ten best horror films of that year.
From Steve Miner, director of Friday the 13th parts 2 and 3, comes a a distinct take on the haunted house genre. The film is about a troubled author who lives in his dead aunt’s house. While haunted house films are known to be serious, House is more tongue in cheek in tone.
Directed by B-movie director Jim Wynorski, this film is about a bunch of teenagers being killed by robots in a mall. The film’s a real cheese fest… in an awesome way.
April Fool’s Day
A group of college friends all go to a retreat owned by their friend, Muffy. Muffy loves playing tricks on her friends and her retreat is full of joke traps. Guess what? People start being killed off one by one by an unknown person! This film is not full of gore like most slashers and focuses more on thrills. Also, the ending is a real shocker! In 2008, a film with the same title was released. It is usually mistaken for a remake, but really has nothing to do with this comedy-horror classic.
One year after Demons, writer Dario Argento and director Lamberto Bava return with this epic sequel. Turning up the gore and cheese of the first film, Demons 2 is a must see for any fan of the first film. This film is also the acting debut of Asia Argento, who was only ten at the time.
Jim (C. Thomas Howell) is a young man who decides to pick up a random hitchhiker (Rutger Hauer). This individual turns out to be a serial killer, and the film turns into a visceral game of cat and mouse. The Hitcher is a film that will keep you on the edge of your set with its thrilling suspense and performances from the amazing cast.
After the success of 1985’s Re-animator, director Stuart Gordon once again took helm to adapt an H.P. Lovecraft story. Based on the short story of the same name, From Beyond is about a group of scientists researching dimensional travel. Their research is a success, but not without horrifying results!
Friday the 13th Part 6: Jason Lives
Tommy Jarvis, the hero of the fourth and fifth films in this series, goes to the cemetery to get rid of Jason’s body for good. This accidentally brings him back to life, as the metal poll he uses to impale Jason is struck by lightning (not making this up). With Jason on the loose again, Tommy knows he must stop him. This entry is noted to be the first in the series to have supernatural elements, and became popular with fans for its fourth wall breaking sense of humor.
Class of Nuke’Em High
From the legendary company known as Troma comes one of their most iconic and entertaining films. When teenagers start buying weed from the power plant next to their high school school, strange things start happening. This includes students turning into a gang of Mad Max rip offs, a girl puking out a monster, and a young boy gaining super powers. Fans of b-grade horror comedies should definitely check this one, out as it must be seen to be believed.
From the twisted mind of David Cronenberg comes this remake of the Vincent Price classic. This version takes the concept of the original and twists it to fit Cronenberg’s body horror style. While not as good as the original, The Fly is still one of the greatest remakes ever made.
Directed by the world renown James Cameron, Aliens is one of the best examples of a perfect sequel. The film takes the science fiction/horror blending of the first and adds in elements of the action and war genres. Tons of action, scares, and even a few laughs coat this very memorable film that doesn’t feel dull for a second, making for one of the few times in this genre where the sequel is better than the first film.
Honorable Mentions: Night of the Creeps, Terrorvision, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2