With Halloween less than three weeks away, the time has come for horror fans to start picking out the classic spooky flicks they intend to watch on October 31. The horror genre is chock full of iconic films to choose from, and when it comes to recommendations, there are few filmmakers with more insight than The Conjuring's James Wan. In fact, the horror master recently opened up with his own suggestions for Halloween viewing, and he kicked off his list with the Italian classic, Black Sunday. Wan explained:
Black Sunday by Mario Bava. Big fan of the director's work and that movie is just visually stunning. Again, big fan of horror films that try to create suspense, tension, and scares, by mood and atmosphere. Those are the kind of films I really love. That's just the one that came off the top of my head. I mean, there are so many amazing ones: Jaws, Halloween. Those are all your typical ones, right? I'm just trying to think of something a bit more obscure. Here, quote me on this: Anything by Mario Bava or anything by Dario Argento.
Directed by Mario Bava and released to a wave of controversy in 1960, Black Sunday is (by James Wan's admission) a more obscure choice compared to what mainstream horror fans might expect. The film centers on a witch who returns from beyond the grave to possess the body of one of her descendants, and it's pretty damn disturbing. Black Sunday was even banned in the United Kingdom because of its depiction of violence and gore and has since gone on to become a deep cut cult classic. Given his reputation in the horror genre, we want nothing less from James Wan's comments to EW than a recommendation as cool as that.
Then there are the more American horror classics. Specifically, James Wan brought up Steven Spielberg's Jaws and John Carpenter's Halloween -- the latter of which is getting a belated sequel next year. Those are a bit more traditional (or "typical" as Wan puts it), but no less effective at delivering the thrills.
Of course, in the world of Dario Argento, you would be hard-pressed to find a horror film more iconic than his 1977 thriller, Suspiria. Taking place at a German dance academy, the film follows a young American woman as she gradually dives into the mystery of a series of grisly murders taking place in the building. The film has become widely regarded as one of the most visually stunning horror films ever committed to film, and a seminal work on Argento's resume. Rumors of a remake have swirled for quite some time, but the original continues to stand on its own merit.