Halloween is today, and while some of you may have already celebrated, are about to, or won’t be until the weekend, it’s almost impossible to avoid it. Trick-or-treaters will be venturing the neighborhoods (make sure to turn the front light off if you’re not handing out the goods!) and party pictures will pop up on every form of social media. Scary movies can be relevant all year round (heck, they so often dominate the box office, even with no-name actors…we are a creepy country), but now is about the time you might feel like pulling some out for a marathon. I have a love-hate relationship with horror…if it’s a good movie, I’m down no matter what. But I am easily skeeved and scared, and I really hate violence, so it sort of narrows my selection. Still, I have several favorites that I thought I would share/recommend.
What I love about this movie is that it teases and praises the horror genre at the same time. We’ve all seen a movie about a bunch of young adults who head off to a secluded place in the middle of nowhere for good times. Those good times never really pan out in the end…cliché? Yes. But enjoyable? Usually. This movie turns the horror film on it’s head, and while you might laugh at parts, it’s scary in ways I didn’t expect or imagine. Co-written by Joss Whedon, you know you’re getting a sharp and witty script. I really had no idea what to expect going in…except for a group of basically doomed college students heading to a cabin in the woods. The fun is watching it all unfold, so I’ll leave the rest vague.
I will always be upset that they made multiple sequels to this excellent movie. I was scared to see it…my sister had a hard time sleeping after watching it, and I have friends who STILL won’t watch it. Playing on the found-footage genre, this movie is subtlety scary…which is often the worst kind. It’s quiet and uses a lot of quick movement, shadow play, and small moments to invoke that terror. But the thing is, it didn’t just scare me. It entertained me, as well. It was an awesome idea and it made a lot of money for a reason, without needing special effects, buckets of gore, or any high-end celebrity actors. It’s no wonder that they decided to continue to make these movies. Though I’ve seen each sequel, none compare to the first. If you haven’t seen it, the first time is the best time.
Another found footage film, this movie is 6 stories in 1. The premise: A group of petty criminals are asked to steal a VHS tape from a house. When they get to the house, they find a dead body and a huge collection of video tapes. Each time they check a tape, we are introduced to a new, terrifying story. Each short has different directors, so you won’t see the same story or premise twice. One or two of the stories may be lacking, but overall it is a horrifying movie. There’s a sequel I’ve been wanting to watch but dread doing so. Again, this movie is more about fear than cringing at a bloodbath. That’s not to say there isn’t gore, but it’s much more than that.
4. Black Swan
I know about a zillion people would disagree with this being on the list…but it’s MY list so BACK OFF. Scary, to me, isn’t about the blood and guts, the masked murderer walking slowly as you run away. That’s extremely scary, of course, but something even scarier is the fragility of the human mind. Black Swan is a psychological thriller, a drama, but watching the downward spiral of Nina Sayers was one of the most frightening things I’ve ever seen. The last 20 minutes left me clutching the seat and gasping for air…something that rarely happens to me in the theaters. What is real? What is fake? What is lurking in the dark when your mind is a second away from shattering?
This movie stuck with me a long time after I saw it, still sticks with me. And yes, I did this for Halloween in 2011.
It was a brilliant movie, terrifying to me, and Natalie Portman deserved every award she got.
Not adding this to my list would be a travesty. I was 9 years old when this movie came out, and I wasn’t allowed (nor did I really want to) watch scary movies. But eventually, a few people in my class started talking about it and I got really interested…and of course, scared.
It ended up being the first scary movie I’d ever seen, and I’ve seen the 3 sequels (they could’ve stopped at 2, which I loved, I hated 3 and 4). I was super young and fragile and it messed me up multiple times in my life, but it is so 90s and funny and awful all at once.
You’ve seen it, though, of course you have. So you already know.
Again, this is my list of scary movies. Since I didn’t watch scary movies growing up (aside from Scream), I don’t have the “classics” in there. I still haven’t seen movies like Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, or Halloween (I’m too scared for that one in particular!).
But I chose the movies above not only because they creeped me out, but because they were good movies that I enjoyed watching.
Enjoy your Halloween!!!!!