With Halloween right around the corner, there is no better time than now to binge-watch your favourite (or soon to be) horror classics. We’ve compiled an ultimate, two part list to help you discover the best that Hollywood has to offer.
This Netflix original movie brought back something that was lost in the horror genre for far too long, subtlety. Too many horror movies today rely too harshly on the jump scare tactic. Lowering the sound, building a little tension before something pops out on the screen to scare, and it is usually a fake-out.
This film brings us back to that time when setting a mood using sound design, cinematography and lighting was essential to creeping out the audience. Gerald’s Game tells the story of an aging couple, Jessie and Gerald Burlingame, who go away on vacation to their secluded cabin to, quote-on-quote, spice up their marriage. Gerald tries a little roleplaying by handcuffing Jessie to the bed, which she tries to appease but ends up hating. But before Gerald can release her from the cuffs, he suddenly dies of a heart attack.
Now, stuck in the middle of nowhere, trapped on the bed and with something lurking in the shadows, Jessie needs to think quick before she dies of dehydration or starvation. On the surface, you’d think this could be a one-note movie about a romantic getaway gone wrong, but the way it jumps back from her past and present, through her perspective is not only chilling but intriguing. Carla Gugino is fantastic in the role of our heroine, hitting every note of someone stuck in a terrifying and deadly situation, and we even get a chilling performance from Henry Thomas of E.T: The Extra-Terrestrial fame.
10 Cloverfield Lane
Audiences were certainly split about 2007’s Cloverfield. Some applauded the intriguing premise of a first-person perspective during a monster attack while others couldn’t get behind the shaky cam filmmaking and cookie-cutter characters. Both arguments have merit to them, the film was definitely a mixed bag to say the least. For a while, the film seemed to disappear in obscurity until a trailer was released out of nowhere in 2016, almost 10 years after the first movie was released.
It seemed simple enough, three people in bunker doing mundane things like playing board games, watching TV and eating dinner. But then you get a glimpse of the character Howard, played by John Goodman, and you see that there is something a bit more sinister at play here.
The movie follows Michelle, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, having just ran away from her abusive ex-boyfriend, getting into a car accident and falling into the care of Howard in his underground bunker. John Goodman steals the entire show: his range of going from a mentally unstable loner to an attempt at a genuine guy back to his angry controlling self again is just unnerving to watch. His relationship with Michelle shifts from him trying to be a good host to almost attempting to be a father figure to her. Add in a deep mystery into his past, and you have a classic case of trust issues.
How much do you really know about your quaint little hometown? That’s the question everyone will be asking after watching this disturbing thriller. Blue Velvet tells the story of a young man named Jeffrey Beaumont, played by Kyle MacLachlan, who discovers a severed human ear while walking through a vacant lot. After taking it to the local police, he determines that it all connects to a lounge singer named Dorothy Vallens, played by Isabella Rossellini. After some more digging, he discovers that Dorothy is in much more danger than he originally thought and soon enough, he finds himself in the middle of that situation, too.
While all the actors do a terrific job in their roles, it’s the late Dennis Hopper’s role as the psychotic Frank Booth that takes the cake. Without giving too much of the film away, this character’s actions are so despicable and disturbing, you not only start to fear what he will do next – you fear for the other characters who have to endure his torment. This something that only David Lynch can concoct from his twisted mind, and it will be an adventure from the moment you hit play until the end credits.
Cabin in the Woods
On the surface, this has a very predictable premise for a horror movie. Raise your hand if you’ve heard this set up before: a group of college students go to a cabin in the middle of the forest to do nothing but party it up for their vacation. But to be fair, the obvious premise is kind of the point for the payoff in the end of the film.
To talk about this film would ruin what makes it so special and unique but, this is a beautiful love letter to horror fans of all generations. The perfect blend of comedy and horror is something that only producer/writer Joss Whedon can achieve and should definitely be checked out this Halloween season.
Okay, let’s be honest. The Halloween franchise has had way more ups and downs since the first classic film all the way back in 1978. Many sequels, reboots and even knockoff films have tried to recapture the magic of what the original Halloween achieved with little success. However, the one film in the franchise that seem to have fans split is Rob Zombie’s interpretation of the story.
While in the original movie, we only saw a glimpse of the Michael Myers character’s origins, this film dives into it for the first 40 minutes. Some saw this as taking the mystery out of the character while others saw it as a refreshing take on a classic. Whether or not you see this as a good movie, it’s important to acknowledge that some real effort went into this to tell an old story from a new angle while trying to add an exploitative edge to it.
Did it fully work? Probably not, but there is enough originality here to intrigue even the most die-hard fan of the original movie. If you’re interested in a change, this will definitely scratch that itch.
Have you really known true confinement and claustrophobia? The Grave Encounters ghost hunting team will help you understand this true horror on their most recent assignment at Collingwood Psychiatric Hospital. Jerry Hartfield, producer of the show, and his team are invited to the abandoned hospital to inspect some bizarre phenomena that has been reported over the past few years.
The team excitedly accept the challenge, agreeing to stay in the facility until morning when the warden agrees to unlock the doors. While things go according to plan at first, they find that too much time has passed for morning to not come. They bust open the doors themselves only to find a horrifying sight. The exit that was once there is now another hallway, further into the hospital. From then on, the crew fight for their own survival against restless spirits, and begin to learn the true history of the institution.
While the film does rely heavily on some jump-scare moments to jilt the audience, the whole is told through the perspective of found footage. This actually elevates the jump-scares as if they are being experienced from your own perspective. Throw in some truly unsettling visuals and special effects, and this is a very underrated horror gem.
Tucker and Dale vs. Evil
Have you ever seen Deliverance and thought that maybe the hillbillies were misrepresented harshly? Tucker and Dale vs. Evil tells a story from that very perspective and the result is both gruesome and hilarious. Starring Alan Labine and Alan Tudyk as two hillbilly best friends, the film follows the duo as they take a vacation to a cabin for some fishing, only to come across a group of teenagers who have had the same idea but with a few more shenanigans involved.
From the first sight, the teenagers immediately distrust Tucker and Dale due to their appearance, despite the fact that they are incredibly intelligent and sweet throughout the entire picture. After a misunderstanding involving them nursing one of their friends, played by Katrina Bowden, they devise a plan to “rescue her.” The result does not only see the teens failing miserably, but one misunderstanding after another leads to one of the most ridiculously hilarious and over-the-top climaxes in horror comedy history.
In any other film, the gimmick of characters misunderstanding each others’ actions could get very old and even annoying after a while. However, the mixture of comedic character with the ridiculous outcomes of these teen stereotypes trying to do what they think is right, only to fail bloody miserably makes this a truly unique film to watch this Halloween.
By Kory Glover