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Stanley Kubrick adapts Stephen King’s “The Shining” in his 1979 horror film. | Courtesy Wikipedia

FX has the movies. I just have this humble Hal­loween film junkie lis­ticle. It’s not exhaustive, but it’s what’s free (with a monthly sub­scription to Amazon Prime or Netflix, of course). 

But before we begin, hey, wait, I’ve got a new com­plaint: David Gordon Green’s reboot of “Hal­loween” (2018) isn’t scary at all — and that’s not even what makes it such a bad movie. The film lacks spirit, the drive to be any­thing except an adver­tisement for itself. It fetishizes a col­lection of horror movie tropes, deliv­ering a decidedly mid­dlebrow film that refuses to shoot for high psy­cho­logical terrors while exempting itself from the gory lows of  a B‑grade film. 

The only thrilling moment in “Hal­loween” was the part when the nice couple down the row offered me a gulp of their Wild Turkey. It sure made serial knife-mur­derer Michael Myers’ latest trudge through Illinois go down more easily. Oh, and I scored half a bag of aban­doned popcorn, too. 

But enough of that. The fol­lowing films have spirit — and you should binge watch them this Hal­loween.

“The Shining” (1979)

Stanley Kubrick’s adap­tation of Stephen King’s novel about a family trapped in a pos­sessed (?) hotel has baffled fans since it came out in 1979. Is it about the murder of Native Amer­icans? The faked lunar landing? The horrors of the Holo­caust? It doesn’t matter: “The Shining” is a superb study in madness. Interpret it as you will.

Or alter­na­tively, watch The Simpsons’ inter­pre­tation in “Tree­house of Horror V.” It is one of the few instances where the quality of the spoof exceeds that of the original.

Available on Netflix.

“It Follows” (2014)

It’s like “Gran Torino” got hooked on French Sym­bolism. Set in a burnt out neigh­borhood in Detroit, David Robert Mitchell’s inde­pendent sus­pense film follows (yes, it does) a group of teenagers pursued by an evil spirit whose hauntings are passed on via illicit sex in the back of a car. The movie recalls the good old days when horror was about shame for sin and the fear of hell. Also, Detroit’s decay is a visual del­icacy — ever more beau­tiful in blue light.

Available on Netflix.

“The VVitch” (2015)     

“Wouldst thou like to live deli­ciously?” Not after you read this. Robert Eggers’ direc­torial debut, a Puritan coming-of-age tale, corners the market on despair. It’s about a family cast out into the wilderness where they are hunted by none other than Satan himself. The less you know, the better. But seri­ously, don’t watch it; that might be sinful.  

Available on Netflix.

“American Psycho” (2000)

A sick­ening example of late 90s deca­dence. But that scene where Christian Bale tries to feed a cat to an ATM — priceless. 

It’s hip to be square!

Available on Amazon Prime.

“Children of the Corn” (1984)

A great example of a horror film that shoots low — and stays there. On a road trip through Nebraska, Linda Hamilton and her less-than-mem­o­rable boyfriend run into a small town where all the adults are dead, and the children now worship a corn-loving demon. Along with Willa Cather’s “My Antonia,” “Children of the Corn” is one of the best pieces of art made about Nebraska. 

Oh, and fun fact: The film pro­duction crew used a real-live corn demon for the movie, on loan from the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha.

Available on Netflix.

“Para­normal Activity” (2007)

The apex of the found footage craze. Some­thing about a day trader and his crazy wife.

Watch this one with Rifftrax; it’s a rewarding expe­rience.

Available on Amazon Prime.

“The Con­juring” (2013)

The most over­rated of recent horror films, but enough people like “The Con­juring” that I can’t leave it out. This movie is basi­cally about the power of warm fuzzy feelings over the devil, which come in the form of a lay exorcism. 

But that’s not the worst part. “The Con­juring” is boring on the second watch. After the thrill of the jump scares wears off, the film has nothing left to offer. Hence the need for all the equally boring sequels.

Available on Netflix. 

“Hell­raiser” (1987)

Not a great film by any means (the plot is in the title), but a must-watch if you want to under­stand Mystery Science Theater 3000’s mas­terful episode, “Soul­taker.” 

Available on Netflix.

“Ghost­busters” (1984)

Also not a great film, but Bill Murray makes one hilarious joke that The Col­legian won’t let me print. A rough approx­i­mation: “Yes, it is true. This man has no dog.” 

Available on Amazon Prime.

“What We Do In The Shadows” (2014)

A mock­u­mentary from the guys behind The Flight of the Con­chords, this movie appeals to the sar­castic sort of people who think Monty Python is clever and that “Blazing Saddles” is a hoot n’ half. If that’s not you — or if you hate New Zealand — well, sorry. Perhaps you would fare better with Johnny Depp’s “Dark Shadows,” a vampire comedy in earnest.

Available on Amazon Prime.  

That’s all folks! 

[Loony Tunes theme song.]