Spookane’s horror critics’ picks
There are those who believe that artists are the only ones who can credibly criticize art.
Right. And only cooks know what tastes good.
That said, I do agree that artists who work in specific genres are likely to know a lot about those genres. Which is why, as we head into this Halloween weekend, I asked a couple of Spokane’s low-budget horror filmmakers to list their favorite horror films.
First up is Wayne Spitzer, director of the short “Shadows in the Garden”:
“Rosemary’s Baby” (1968), directed by Roman Polanski. Polanski tells the story of a couple whose hopes for their unborn child are threatened by a satanic cult. (DVD, VHS; 2:16; rated R)
“The Wicker Man” (1973), directed by Robin Hardy. A British cop, investigating the disappearance of a young woman, finds a lot more to fear than he bargained for. (DVD, VHS; 1:42; rated R)
“Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” (1973), directed by John Newland. A young couple (Kim Darby, Jim Hutton) inherits an old house that may, or may not, be filled with killer demons. (VHS only; 1:14; not rated)
“Duel” (1971), directed by Steven Spielberg. A traveling salesman finds himself in a road duel with a mystery trucker. (DVD, VHS; 1:30; rated PG)
“Wendigo” (2001), directed by Larry Fessenden. The son of a vacationing couple runs up against the legend of Wendigo, a half man/half deer of Indian legend that seems to be the cause of the family’s growing problems. (DVD, VHS; 1:31; rated R for a strong sex scene, language, violent images)
“Session 9” (2001), directed by Brad Anderson. While on a job at an abandoned mental hospital, an asbestos-cleaning crew begins to experience weird things. The mystery seems tied to a series of tapes, especially session 9. (DVD, VHS; 1:37; rated R for language, brief strong violence)
“Long Weekend” (1977), directed by Colin Eggleston. This Australian import involves a couple that, trying to save their marriage, goes on holiday only to come under attack from nature itself. (DVD only; 1:32; not rated)
“Quartermass and the Pit” (1967), directed by Roy Ward Baker. A London excavation site unearths a craft that carries what may be the evil legacy of ancient Martian invaders. (DVD, VHS; 1:37; not rated)
“Race with the Devil” (1975), directed by Jack Starrett. When two couples on an RV road trip report to the authorities what they think is a satanic sacrifice, they come under attack from the very cult they fingered. (DVD, VHS; 1:28; rated PG)
And the choices of Andy Kumpon, director of the short “Last Stop Station”:
“The Shining” (1980), directed by Stanley Kubrick. This adaptation of Stephen King’s novel tells the story of a would-be writer, his wife and son who serve as winter caretakers for a haunted hotel. (DVD, VHS; 2:26; rated R)
“The Thing” (1982), directed by John Carpenter. The crew at a remote Antarctic station is threatened by an alien presence. (DVD, VHS; 1:49; rated R)
“Alien” (1979), directed by Ridley Scott. The crew of the Nostromo answers a deep-space distress call, which puts them in danger from an alien life form. (DVD, VHS; 1:57; rated R)
“Day of the Dead” (1985), directed by George Romero. The third in director Romero’s “Dead” series involves military and science types living in an underground bunker fortified against the raging zombies. (DVD, VHS; 1:42; not rated)
“The Haunting” (1963), directed by Robert Wise. A scientist researching the possible existence of ghosts takes a group of volunteers to Hill House mansion, and strange things happen. (DVD, VHS; 1:52; rated G)
“The Devil’s Backbone” (2001), directed by Guillermo del Toro. The ghost of a dead student haunts the new kid at a boarding school in 1939 Spain. (DVD, VHS; 1:46; rated R for violence, language, sexuality)
“28 Days Later” (2002), directed by Danny Boyle. A guy (Cillian Murphy) wakes up to a world split between the walking dead and the few living survivors. (DVD, VHS; 1:53; rated R for strong violence, gore, language, nudity)
“The Others” (2001), directed by Alejandro Amenabar. A woman, living in an old house with her two light-sensitive children, becomes convinced that the house is haunted. (DVD, VHS; 1:41; rated PG-13 for thematic elements, frightening moments)
“Final Destination” (2000), directed by James Wong. After getting off a plane that later crashes, a group of high school kids discovers that they are dying one at a time. (DVD, VHS; 1:38; rated R for violence, terror, language)
Happy spooky viewing.