Note: This story was originally published in October 2020.
Here’s Round 2 of the best in Halloween movies. Let’s kick it off with our favorite scary movie genre …
So you like Found Footage/Documentary Style (and honestly, who doesn’t?)
I’m sorry but if it ain’t broke …. The Blair Witch Project (could also be filed under Witch) and Paranormal Activity (could also be filed under Ghost) are top tier classics. They invented and solidified the genre’s permanence in our culture and should be viewed.
That being said, my two strong contenders for favorite movie in this genre are:
Creep – I have no criticism of this found footage style movie. I’m sure there’s something wrong with it but I don’t even care. It’s so strange and scary and Mark Duplass is ridiculously committed to his character. There’s a sequel of which I also recommend.
Lake Mungo – Sad, unsettling, and very well done. A teenager drowns and her family is looking for answers. Lake Mungo is documentary style but total fiction.
So you like Cult Classics
Phantasm You’ll watch the first movie and wonder why you’ve never seen it before and then you and your sister will search for all four sequels and spend your entire weekend watching them. Just saying.
Rocky Horror Picture Show -Even if for some reason you don’t enjoy musicals…this is about as weird and sci-fi and horror as it gets.
So you like Witches
The Craft – The Craft Funko POPS! sold out almost instantly upon release, so. That’s saying something. Also this movie turned every teenage girl I knew into an amateur witch in 1996.
The Witch – Ya gotta be in a certain mood for this one. My friend Joe and I saw it in the theater when it came out and it thoroughly messed with us the entire weekend. It does not have amazing replay value (it’s really dark and utterly a lot!) which is why once a year on Halloween is just right. Final scene with Black Phillip is horror personified.
Sleepy Hollow – This may be a categorical stretch but this movie does have a witch! And it’s Halloween vibes all around. And it has Johnny Depp when he was still cool and Christina Ricci who is always cool.
So you enjoy Kitsch
Slither -What’s not to love about a modern day B grade horror movie? Slither is fun and funny and gross. Nathan Fillion is a gem.
Cabin Fever – Horror comedy from Eli Roth. Yeah, it’s a little gross (beware the shaving scene) and a little stupid but that’s the point y’all! Some questionable language to ignore for sure but hey, Rider Strong is in this one and who doesn’t love him?
So you like Monsters
10 Cloverfield Lane – Why the sequel? Well, this one has John Goodman in it and if you don’t like John Goodman you should check your pulse. The first movie will do in a pinch but if you’re looking for something a little more cerebral, I’d go with this.
The Host – You might recognize Director Bong Joon-ho’s name as he directed the critically acclaimed film, Parasite (2019) but first came The Host. If you’re into river monsters kidnapping children, this is the one for you.
The Descent -What Jaws did for open water The Descent does for caves. Extra points for an all lady cast.
So you’re into Possession
The House of the Devil – A “Based on a true story” homage to 80’s movies but luckily this is fiction. You also can’t have a horror movie list without including the “babysitter under attack” trope. This has got it. And the devil, respectively.
The Blackcoat’s Daughter – This is a new one to me and I only watched it because Kiernan Shipka is in it and it was a directorial debut from Osgood Perkins. The Blackcoat’s Daughter is perfectly subtle and slightly derivative and not as confusing as some reviews would have you believe. There’s nothing “to get”. Just go with it. Anticipate some knife violence. Also, there’s a blink and you miss Rhode Island reference. Love those.
So you’re terrified of Home Invasion
Home invasion movies scare me the most. Why? Because they can happen to anyone at any time and that is truly terrifying. No one is safe! So why not watch movies about them? My favorite two are:
The Strangers – “Why are you doing this?” to which Dollface replies, “Because you were home.” –also Liv Tyler is in it.
Hush – Sometimes you just gotta go Blumhouse and for my money, Hush (and Get Out) are the best of the bunch. Maddie (could also be referred to as “baddie” you’ll see why) is a deaf author, living in a remote house in the woods away from all distraction so of course a dude in a mask with an arsenal of weapons starts stalking her through her window. No doubt you’ll feel scared but also empowered and that’s not a bad note to end Halloween on.