Summer is finally drawing to a close. I begin my second year of graduate school on the 29th, Temenos meetings begin again the 26th (which means we’re getting ready to enter a new work year), and my library schedule is set up for September. I’m starting my second workshop this fall, and it’s absolutely glorious and everything exciting.
Plus, there are the usual “fall” things to look forward to: cooler weather, beautiful changing leaves, cozy sweaters, boots, Halloween and horror movies, and of course, pumpkin everything.
I’m also preparing to make another step into adulthood: buying my first “newer” car! I’m freaking a little, to be honest, but it will be SO FUCKING NICE to finally have a car again (my car of nearly five years, Gatsby, finally died about a month ago–RIP Gatsby).
So with all of these exciting events on the horizon and to get more into the spooky spirit, I’ve decided to make a list of some horror movies to check out before Halloween.
‘Tis the season, right?
Horror Film Fest 2016
- The Shining (1980)
Because, duh. This Stanley Kubrick classic is everything twisted and fun. AND, it’s based on the novel by Stephen King (which you should probably read if you haven’t, it’s only one of my favorite books EVER). Follow little Danny through the winding hallways of the Overlook Hotel, keep your eyes peeled for Grady Twins, and consider how Shelley Duvall’s denim overalls may have impacted her acting career.
- The Conjuring (2013)
Ghost Hunters, I’m gonna let you finish, but Ed and Lorraine Warren are the greatest paranormal investigators of all time. Let director James Wan lead you through some scary ass shit based on a true story: how the Perron family and their 72 daughters (Seriously, how many daughters did they have? I lost count) survived a farmhouse of phantoms, possession, and demons.
- Lights Out (2016)
This movie was released this summer, but I’m hoping SO BADLY that it will be out by Halloween. I was thoroughly impressed with the concrete layered meanings, emotions, and extended metaphors in this movie: it was so much more than just jump-scares and shadows. Though there isn’t much of a plot, the story survived gloriously. The film is also David Sandberg’s directorial debut, and it’s based on a short film created by Sandberg and his wife. Let me tell you, the short is just as effing creepy.
- Baskin (2015); you can find this one on Netflix
This Turkish fantasy/horror is pretty slow-burn and VERY odd, and it reminded me a lot of House of 1000 Corpses mixed with Saw (I think it’s safe to say there is some torture porn…icky). A friend told me he thought of it as the love child of Inception and Saw, which is also very accurate. If you have a weak stomach, I don’t recommend this one. But, if you think you can handle it, the actual story of this movie is very well-developed. It keeps you questioning, which is always fun.
- They Look Like People (2015); also on Netflix
I LOVED this movie; one of my favorites I’ve seen in some time. Its creep vibe is high, and I will say it requires a bit of patience (maybe something a la The Village). I admired that instead of jump-scares (there were none), it relied completely on the creep/eerie factor to really mess with your mind. It’s most definitely psychological; you spend a majority of the movie wondering if this guy Wyatt (he’s so troubled it almost hurts you) is right or not: is the world about to be taken over by evil creatures and demons? This film is also a directorial debut for Perry Blackshear, so hell yeah! Support new horror writers and film-makers!
- V/H/S (2012); on Netflix…maybe?
What I liked most about this movie was that it essentially broke down into a series of short films compiled into one. There is frame narration and story, which follows a group of misfit dude-bros searching for a sacred VHS tape, but it focuses more on the cryptic found footage they discover (and watch) and in this creepy, old, dead guy’s house. Some of the “short stories” were “just okay,” but a lot of them left me with very unsettling and disturbed feelings. *shudders*
- The Boy (2016)
This American-Chinese horror (directed by William Brent Bell) takes place in a far-away, almost surreal, English village. Watch how Maggie from The Walking Dead (Lauren Cohan) accepts a nanny job for an elderly couple. Maggie’s position: take care of the elderly couple’s “boy” while they’re away. Oh, and try not to die. The promos and trailers made this film look more like killer doll syndrome, but it’s actually a bit more complicated than that. The ending is a mind fuck you probably won’t forget.
- The Conjuring 2 (2016)
I decided to include the sequel because, though the first one is good, I actually found this one more frightening. Once again, we’re thrown into the experiences of the Warren couple, and this time they find themselves in Enfield (in north London) with a single mother and her kids, and one of the children is tormented by the spirit of a crotchety old man. But seriously, this was another film with a TON of layers and complex characters. Plus, you get to see more of the relationship between Ed and Lorraine, and it’s just so lovely. Side bar: you’ll never hear “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley the same way ever again.
- Scream (1996)
Go slashing and dive into meta with one of Wes Craven’s best. August 30th marks the one year anniversary of Craven’s passing, so honor him and watch this film…or all four of them! If you’re watching MTV’s Scream series, then it might be cool to jump back to the 90s and check out where it all began (I haven’t actually seen the new show, but I have heard it’s decent). One of my many favorite things about Halloween is seeing kids of all ages dressed as Ghostface–he’s timeless. This year also marks Scream’s 20th anniversary (whoa…how did that happen?), so celebrate and get killin’
- WILDCARD: The Voices (2014); Hulu and Amazon Prime
Okay, so technically I think this film is dark comedy, but I think it could be a subcategory of horror. Is there such a thing as comedic horror? Sure. After seeing Deadpool, I was intrigued by other Ryan Reynolds films, and I came across this one. It is now easily one of my favorite movies I own. It’s obviously not The Conjuring level type of scary, but it is most certainly gruesome and eerie. Watch a loveable schizophrenic serial killer named Jerry fall into comedic tragedy as he confides in his dog, Bosco, and his sailor-mouthed cat, Mr. Whiskers. Disturbingly awesome.
Please share your thoughts, concerns, and questions on these movies!
I’d love to hear from you. 🙂
Happy Saturday and all best.