For Halloween, here are some horror movie suggestions

Boris Karloff as the Frankenstein monster. Picture: Supplied

Boris Karloff as the Frankenstein monster. Picture: Supplied

If you're looking for some Halloween horror films, here are some suggested older classics, suitable for most ages.

Frankenstein(1931) and The Bride of Frankenstein(1935): Despite the heavy, and classic, makeup by Jack Pierce, Boris Karloff managed to make the creature (no, Frankenstein was not the monster, he was the monster's creator) a sympathetic character. There's a nice vein of dark comedy running through the films, too, especially the second one. These, and The Invisible Man, are among the best of the early Universal horror movies: not coincidentally, perhaps, they were all directed by James Whale. Mel Brooks' 1974 comedy Young Frankenstein is both a parody of and a loving homage to these films.

DraculaakaHorror of Dracula (1958): Yes, Bela Lugosi's portrayal of the bloodthirsty count is legendary, but the 1931 film that showcases him is a creaky, stagey relic. Christopher Lee is shown to much better advantage in this Hammer adaptation, in full, bloody colour.

Freaks (1932): This still packs quite a punch. It gained notoriety, and power, from its casting of people with genuine medical conditions and disabilities including a man with no limbs and conjoined female twins. Freaks was heavily censored - and banned in Britain for decades. The ending is nightmarish. Trivia note: the catchphrase/meme "One of us! One of us!" seems to have originated here.

Magic (1978): William Goldman's adaptation of his own novel is a creepy riff on the "ventriloquist haunted by his doll" idea done so well in the British anthology classic Dead of Night (1945). Anthony Hopkins is slightly odd casting - too classy, too British - as the ventriloquist, Corky, but Burgess Meredith is superb as his worried agent.

Poltergeist (1982): This is the superior original. There was controversy how much producer and co-writer Steven Spielberg usurped credited director Tobe Hooper's control on the set of this film, but no matter. For hardy older kids and up, it's a fun ride with highlights including a deadly clown doll, a threatening tree, a man ripping his own face off, chairs that rearrange themselves, and the deathless quote, "They're here!"

This story Oh the horror... Halloween classics first appeared on The Canberra Times.