Tired of scrolling through Netflix’s mundane horror section? I’ve constructed a list of my top ten films to watch to get you in the festive spirit of Halloween. This list will contain some old horror and some new horror. It will also contain some flat out insanity. Some movies may be very disturbing, but there’s nothing too gorey except for the ones with trigger warnings. All but two of these movies are rated R.
Popcorn is a B-horror movie that I watch every year to get me in the Halloween spirit. It follows Maggie, a film major, who organizes a horror film festival with her film club in order to raise money and work on side projects while in class. A cult member known as the Possessor showcased a creepy film before murdering his family on stage. He then burns down a movie theater killing several people in the process. Years later, Maggie and her film club come in to host an all night horror marathon in the same wretched theater! Be careful guys! There’s quirky characters to root for, laughable humor, and an insanely memorable plot. This movie also gets extra points for its tagline: “buy a bag… go home in a box.”
Rating : 5.8/10 TWs: Violence (mild), Gore, Profanity
The Stepford Wives
The Stepford Wives, released in 1975, follows protagonist Joanna Eberhart move from New York city to a small suburb in Stepford, Connecticut. Her free-spirited-ness lets her see that there’s something off about all the wives of Stepford, and later on she finds out what causes their weird behavior. When I first watched this movie I thought it was a wonderful satirical depiction of second wave feminism. But it still showcases how women would revolve their entire world around men, giving this movie a sad edge. The ideals of gender norms in western society are what makes this so great. But if you want to see a more light hearted version, you should watch the 2004 remake.
Rating : 6.9/10 TWs: Nudity, Violence (mild), Smoking, Alcohol
In the 2007 remake of Funny Games, a family of three go on vacation to their holiday home where they encounter two men who wanted to play a game with the family. What sets this movie aside from your average snuff horror films is that, no matter how sadistic the characters get, they never show violence on screen. To distract from the movie’s lack of “snuff,” it ventures into some of the best fourth wall breaking in horror media this writer has seen. The acting from Paul and Peter (people who initiated the games) is nearly perfect in capturing their psychopathic behaviors.
Rating : 6.6/10 TWs: Torture, Profanity, Violence(moderate), Smoking
All the Boys Love Mandy Lane
This movie is your typical teenage slasher film: it has a low budget and low box office. The twist: surprisingly not horrible acting. It follows Mandy Lane (Amber Heard), who got hot over summer and is basically mauled at by every boy at her high school until she finally agrees to go to a party with one of her classmates at Red’s far away cabin. Red without a doubt is one of the more persistent guys when it comes to “getting with” Mandy. He would do anything to get with her. I think this movie captures how far the horniness of a teenage boy will go. Fans of Jennifer’s Body will like this one.
Rating : 5.5/10 TWs: Nudity, Bloody violence (severe), Gore, Drugs
House is a fever dream being brought to life. It follows Gorgeous running off to her aunt’s house after her dad announced he would be getting remarried. Her mother passed away so she took the news very personally. Gorgeous also asked her friend group to come along, which includes Fantasy, Melody, Sweet, Mac, Prof and Kung Fu (and yes, their personalities are defined by their names, or is it the other way around?). Surprise: the house is haunted with the evil spirit that resides in her deceased mother’s cat portrait. This movie’s dreamy theme is also portrayed through its soundtrack and nostalgic editing.
Rating: 7.4/10 TWs: Nudity & Violence (moderate)
This is a movie for which it’s better to go in blind. Nothing can prepare a person for what’s going to be said and done. This story follows a husband (Mark) and wife (Anna) lost in translation of their feelings when going through a divorce. While the horror begins as a standard divorce, it becomes so overwhelming that it possesses them. A good comparison is Repulsion by Roman Polanski, one of the movies that inspired possession. Two women of different tales coping with what seems to be insanity and a lot of screaming. Possession is a dark retelling of Marriage Story.
Rating: 7.4/10 TWs: Nudity, Alcohol, Violence (severe)
As twisted southern Korean media like Squid Game and Parasite rise in popularity, Forgotten is an increasingly relevant pick. After Jin-seok brother’s disappearance and reappearance his curiosity begins to rise. No matter how many times he asks, he feels as though no one is telling him the truth, not even his own brain. As pressure, frightfulness, and suspense begins to rise, Jin-seok begins to doubt his sanity. This movie is like a deleted Black Mirror episode.
Rating : 7.5/10 TWs: Violence (moderate) & Profanity
Mandy is able to successfully use dark humor, invoke sadness, and make you want to throw up at the same time. This movie is probably best known for the acting done by Nic Cage, which is arguably his best cinematic performance. Red and Mandy are a couple who happily live in the woods. But when a cult takes a strong interest in Mandy and abducts her, Red must journey to get her back. Through his trials it explores the inherent evil that lurks under man’s undenying love and desire. This movie is one of the more graphic ones on the list. It’s not blood or torture or anything, just Nicholas Cage existing.
Rating : 6.5/10 TWs: Nudity, Violence (severe), Profanity, Drugs (severe)
The Skin I Live In
La piel que habito is a Spanish horror movie that follows the perverted Dr. Robert Ledgard, a plastic surgeon, who is experimenting on a human subject in the search for a prosthetic skin that will withstand all sorts of pain. It’s a psychological horror that calmly frightens you as the story plays out instead of going for the scares. It doesn’t shock you with reveals; it moves you with the realization of the nightmare that is this situation. This is one of the darker movies to watch in October. You’ve been warned.
Rating : 7.6/10 TWs: Nudity ( & sexual assault), Violence (severe), Drugs
This thriller is based on a group of friends who joined together to what seemed to be a very regular dinner party. But what happens is all but celebratory. They’re met with moral dilemmas that are life altering, which make the viewer reconsider the philosophy of this film and how they define moral integrity. This is a movie I recommend to people who liked Inception because I personally hated it due to my vendetta against Christopher Nolan and Leonardo DiCaprio. But I digress. This movie did everything right. Although it may get tedious, take in every detail it offers.
Rating: 7.2/10 TWs: Violence (mild) , Profanity, Alcohol