It’s the scariest time of the year, and I’m not just talking about the final assessments and exams. It’s also nearly Halloween! Because it’s the spookiest number, here are 13 things to terrify, startle, and unnerve you this Spooktober.
1. Halloween (1978)
Where better to start than with John Carpenter’s classic? Though to us watching it today it seems at times a little corny, that’s because it’s the film that started the modern horror tropes we see today! The film is so creepy by doing so little, I mean what girl hasn’t been weirded out by a guy in the street or in his car? And of course it also stars Her Royal Highness Jamie Lee Curtis, Scream Queen.
2. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Looking for something a bit more light-hearted this Spooktober? Then look no further than Edgar Wright’s horror-comedy, starring wonder-pair Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. An impeccably well-crafted movie, made with a love of the genre it pokes fun at, I’m not sure I’ve met anyone that doesn’t enjoy this one. It’s silly, it’s creative, but it’s also genuine and human, something a lot of comedy horror’s these days don’t do well. It’s also a who’s who of fantastic British actors, featuring appearances from Dylan Moran, Bill Nighy, Martin Freeman and more!
3. Black Mirror
Season 3 of Charlie Brooker’s dystopian anthology series has just landed on Netflix, and if you’re unfamiliar with the show, prepared to be wowed. The series is centred around technology, but every episode is in a different world with completely different characters. Although it’s not outright scary, after each episode ends you’re always left with an unmistakable sense of unease, as it’s all a little too close for comfort.
4. The Babadook (2014)
What’s that you say? A good Australian movie? AND it’s directed by a woman? I know, I know it seems to good to be true! The Babadook was Jennifer Kent’s directorial debut, and even though it’s box office takings weren’t amazing, it gained wide critical acclaim and a cult following. She even released the pop-up book due to popular demand! Essie Davis (of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and Game of Thrones) stars and she is sure to blow you away.
5. Brooklyn Nine-Nine – Halloween, Halloween II, Halloween Part III
Andy Samberg and the rest of the Nine-Nine crew bring the laughs, and the Halloween episodes are no exception. These episodes feature the running competition between Jake (Samberg) and Captain Holt (Andre Braugher) to prove which of them is an “amazing detective-slash-genius”. The whole team is roped in every year as the two try and steal an object from the other, or to steal the same object. The newest Halloween episode just aired and from this clip it looks amazing.
6. The Innocents (1961)
Another classic, this film follows a woman who comes to work for a family as a governess, and slowly becomes convinced the two children she is caring for are possessed. Filled with tons of creepy imagery, a pioneering synth soundtrack, and page to screen adaptation from Truman Capote, this one’s a must-see if you’re looking for something different from the usual recommendations. Enjoy the wonderful trailer, from the era of ridiculously long trailers that tell you everything you need to know!
7. It Follows (2014)
If you haven’t watched this one yet, you are missing out on one of the most inventive and well made modern horror movies. A girl receives a sexually transmitted curse, and a figure follows her relentlessly, but only at a walking pace. The film’s style matches it’s monster; slow, deliberate, and supremely unsettling. Not one to watch alone.
8. Les Revenants (The Returned) (2012-)
This French TV series was adapted for the US, but nothing beats the original, especially in spookiness. In a small French town, dead people begin to reappear, and some of them seem more mysterious or malevolent that others. Little Victor is the perfect ‘creepy horror kid’ with his big eyes, and limited dialogue. Not only are there tense moments and lots of creepy imagery (especially when dead animals start to appear), but there is also an interesting exploration of how people would deal with loved ones coming back from the dead.
9. Tucker & Dale vs Evil (2011)
This comedy turns the ‘killer rednecks’ concept on its head, as two guys are mistaken for killers in a series of accidents and misunderstandings. Firefly‘s Alan Tudyk stars and brings his great comedic talents. If you’re looking for something particularly ridiculous and easy-going, than this is a good pick for a Spooktober get together.
10. Black Water
Another great Australian horror-thriller, this is a low-key Jaws, but with a crocodile. Three people find themselves stranded in the mangroves after their boat is capsized by a crocodile, and must try and find a way to escape without being picked off by the relentless reptile. I saw this at quite a young ages and it is suspenseful to say the least.
11. The Fly (1986)
This list wouldn’t be complete without a bit of David Cronenberg now would it? This film shows how remakes should be done, take something that was hard to do well in its time and pretty average overall, and teleport it into the modern era. This movie was made at the height of practical movie effects, with incredible make-up from Chris Walas.
12. The Twilight Zone (1959-1964)
Once you’ve binged Black Mirror you’d better go back to the Granddaddy of sci-fi anthology tales. Not all of these are guaranteed to spook, creep, or unnerve, but the good ones sure will stick with you. To save my having to make another list, there are luckily already guides to some of the creepier episodes in the show’s five seasons. The show has also inspired some wonderful parodies that are good fun for Spooktober.
13. Birdemic: Shock and Terror (2010)
Unlucky last, prepare to be horrified by one of the worst films ever made. An ode to The Birds on a shoestring budget, this “film” is painfully entertaining. It’s got terrible acting, clip art birds, awkward sex scenes, and just awkward regular scenes that seem never ending. However it does have one of the best original songs in a film of all time. Watch at your own peril.
By Amy Kimball.