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Horror Recommendations for Halloween

October is without a doubt peak horror movie season! Lots of people watch lots of horror over the course of the month and I was no exception to it this year. Now, let me put this disclaimer out there, if you’re a horror movie connaisseur… this might not be the article for you… I have only recently become a horror fan in my adulthood, because prior to like 2 years ago… I was a wuss. In my many years of staying away from the horror genre, I had missed many classic horror franchises and needed something to desperately get my education on.

And then October came and I learned about a challenge called the 31 days of horror. The premise of this twitter trend is simple; watch 31 horror movies in 31 days. Since there were a lot of classics that I hadn’t seen, I decided to watch 31 films that I haden’t seen before. What resulted is this list of horror recommendations for newbies to get you into the spooky spirit.

Zombie Flicks

  • Train to Busan: A South Korean action horror film. The story follows a bunch of citizens on a train, trying to stay alive after an outbreak causes people to turn into zombies and eat each other… A surprisingly touching film that is sure to have you on edge and nervous for its entire runtime of 2 hours.
  • The Cabin in the Woods: This 2012 horror film throws so many twists and turns at you that it could potentially fit in any of these categories. But the film starts off as a zombie flick; a group of friends go for a weekend at a cabin in the woods (duh) and are in for a surprise when zombies start going after them. But it doesn’t end there… There are much weirder things happening and the reason or force behind those zombies turns out to be a lot more complicated than you might think.

Slasher Films

There are so many slasher films to choose from. Almost all the classic horror series are slashers. Whether it’s Jigsaw, Leatherface, Michael Meyers, Jason, there are so many slashers who have become classic staples in a horror marathon. Here are the few I recommend:

  • Halloween: One recommendation that covers an endless number of films… Seriously, there are a LOT of movies in this franchise. I watched the 1978 original directed by John Carpenter and famously starring Jamie Lee Curtis and I’d definitely recommend watching that series. I also watched the 2017 remake of it, starring i don’t know who but definitely not Jamie Lee Curtis and I cannot urge you enough to NOT watch it. To put it nicely, it is NOT GOOD. It has a runtime of 107 minutes, 100 of which are just people screaming… This film had nothing new to say and was a direct copy of the 1978 original and superior version. My recommendation is to stick to the original series.
  • Scream: A personal favorite series. The story of Sydney Prescott and her bad luck with Ghostface is entertaining, well thought out and sure to keep you guessing with each instalment. What is unique about the Scream films is that it always has a character who is a horror movie fan (very meta of them) and goes through the story telling people about the generic formula of a horror movie… which actually comes true, because spoiler alert; it is a horror movie! Even with the movie-loving character essentially telling you how the story will unfold, the killer behind the Ghostface mask has never failed to surprise me.
  • The Shining: Heeeereeeee’s Johnny!!!!! A Kubrick classic not to be missed during spooky season. The slow descent into mania, coupled with Jack Nicholson’s utterly psychotic (in the best way) performance make this film a must-see for anyone looking for a little adrenaline from their viewing experience.

The Supernatural/Paranormal

  • The Conjuring: Another personal favorite series and what i can best describe as the MCU of horror. The Conjuring was the first film to be released in the Conjuring Universe, which now comprises 6 films. The protagonists of The Conjuring are Ed and Lorraine Warren. The Warrens were real-life demonologists, or paranormal investigators, who were hired to work on some of the most famous supernatural cases in the world. The movie, directed by James Wan, focuses on one of their cases involving the Perron family who has been experiencing supernatural events at their farmhouse in Rhode Island. A real nail-biter made even scarier by the fact that it is based on a true story.
  • The Exorcist: Nothing says classic supernatural horror like the 1973 film The Exorcist. It was one of the first films to show the slow build-up of a demonic possession and the actual process of an exorcism. Even watching it in 2020, The Exorcist absolutely holds up. A true technical achievement for it’s time, none of the effects look too dated and still make for a true scare every so often.

The Occult

  • The Blair Witch Project: Maybe one of the more terrifying films I watched this month. The story follows three young friends who venture out into the Black Hills near Burkittsville, Maryland to record a documentary about the Blair Witch, who is said to haunt those lands. What makes this film so scary is that it is a true story and comprises only real footage from the three friends who actually disappeared during the making of their documentary. A year after their disappearance, their footage was found and this film was born.
  • Rosemary’s Baby: While not outright a witches movie, the cult in this film is outright terrifying. Witnessing Rosemary’s descent into madness and her physical deterioration adds to the tension and builds a story that you become so invested in.

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