8 Spooky Movies for Spooky Times
by Mandi Harrison
The witching hour is upon us and it’s time for pumpkin bread and PSL’s and all things spooky. Here is a list of some of our favorite horror movies; so grab that bowl of candy that you were saving to hand out on Halloween and snuggle in your blankets for some hauntingly good times.
The innocent teen girl vs the psycho serial killer is a common theme for horror movies, but Laurie is anything but common. In her debut role, Jamie Lee Curtis made Laurie a warrior instead of a victim and while there have been many sequels, the original is still the best.
Halloween is known for being one of the first “slasher” movies to be inspired by Hitchcock’s Psycho. Like Psycho, John Carpenter’s direction and musical score helped thrill audiences and landed it in the National Film Registry in the Library of Congress for its significance.
It Follows (2014)
A common horror movie trope is that virgins live, “sluts” die. It Follows takes this to a new level, when Jay, the protagonist, has sex with her boyfriend and soon after is followed by a mysterious being, who, she is told, will kill her if it catches her, unless she passes off the curse to someone else through sex. There are a lot of different theories regarding the movie’s curse- the being is HIV, shame about sex, but regardless of how you interpret it, the movie’s direction and musical score are incredible.
The Exorcist (1973)
For me, this is a watch-through-my-fingers-as-I-cover-my-eyes movie. Horror movies involving religion freak me out and this is the gold standard of that sub-genre. The effects were so graphic that Roger Ebert wondered how the film got away with being rated R, and some theaters even provided barf bags.
It is the first horror movie to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Ellen Burstyn, who played the mother, was also nominated for Best Actress. At its heart, the movie is about what lengths a mother will go to protect her daughter. The Exorcist is on multiple best horror film lists, but this movie is not for the weak of heart.
What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? (1962)
It’s tough to determine what is scarier- What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? or the drama that went on behind the scenes. Joan Crawford was the driving force behind this movie, wanting to continue working after Hollywood had told her she was finished. She found the material, helped develop it, found a director, and even convinced her nemesis, Bette Davis, to star with her, knowing the only way to revive her own career was reviving Bette’s as well. The movie, about a aging former child star caring for her invalid sister, became a cult classic, largely due to the feuding actresses.
Sisters is a psychological slasher film by Brian De Palma, who went on to make many other iconic thrillers, including Carrie. Sisters is heavily inspired by Hitchcock as well, using Rear Window’s voyeurism. It is the story about 2 formerly conjoined twins and a woman who witnessed one of the sisters commit a gruesome murder, and the investigation into the crime.
A lot has been said about A Quiet Place (well-deserved), but there is another movie that deals with a loss of sense that deserves praise. The protagonist in Hush is completely deaf, and is staying by herself in a cabin in the woods. A masked killer, running through the woods, discovers that she is alone and starts tormenting her. She has to rely on her other senses and knowledge of her surroundings to survive. The audience sees what she can see, but they also can hear what she can’t hear, and that makes you want to keep yelling “WATCH OUT!”
Once upon a time in the early 90’s, horror movies weren’t cool. In fact, they were a joke. But that changed when Wes Craven, Mr. Nightmare on Elm Street himself, released Scream. Part camp, part satire, part thrills, this movie revitalized the horror genre After its release, there was an influx of horror movies- the period I like to call my late high school years.
Scream followed the “rules” of horror films, but instead of being cliche, it was in on the joke. To me, Scream is one of the defining points of the 90’s. This will go down as one of the classic horror films, for having pretty much saved them. (I’m not exaggerating- there were some truly awful movies before that).
Scream also revitalized Drew Barrymore’s career, having spent most of the early 90’s as tabloid fodder. But a prime cameo role in a Wes Craven film gave Drew a kickstart and gave us movies like Never Been Kissed, The Wedding Singer and Ever After. (Again- 90’s staples)
The Silence of The Lambs (1991)
I avoided watching this movie for the longest time because I was scared. But Chris and I finally watched it as part of our “it’s about time we watched these movies” fest and I don’t know why I waited so long. It is one of my favorite movies. MUCH is said about Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lector, and rightfully so, but Jodie Foster’s performance as Clarice Sterling is just amazing.
Clarice is a cadet in the FBI Academy, and is used by her superiors as bait to get information from a serial killer. When she goes to the prison, she is harassed by the prisoners, but even worse is the way she is treated by the men she is supposed to be working with. She had to work twice as hard just to be put in the same room with the men. Hannibal might have been initially attracted to her, but he soon grew to respect her because she talked to him like a person and not a monster. This movie is a slow burner but it is even more nail-biting than any slasher movie. It came out in February of 1991 and won the top 5 Academy Awards almost a year later, which is almost unheard of. It’s on the top of multiple “Top _____ Movies of All Time” lists. It’s definitely in MY top 10 favorites.
It used to be you’d head down to Blockbuster and grab a couple scary movies, but now there are more options then ever for movie viewing. FilmStruck, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Vudu, iTunes, and Netflix has an amazing selection of horror films and shows. The channel formerly known as ABC Family, FreeForm, is currently running their 31 days of Halloween, full of family-friendly Halloween films- which are just as fun. Watching scary movies is an excellent adrenaline rush, a way to feel the danger without the danger. Get a rush today!