5 Spooky Gems to Watch This Halloween

Hello, everyone! It’s officially 1 WEEK until Halloween, and if you’re anything like me, you’re planning a spooky night in with a bucket of candy, some hot chocolate, and a couple of scary movies. Perhaps you’re a horror aficionado who can sit through any scary movie with a straight face, or perhaps you’d rather cover your eyes through the entire movie, but whatever your fancy, I’ve got a selection for you. Let’s get scary!

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For fans of ghosts: The Others

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Scary summary: Set in a lonely mansion in the British countryside, The Others follows the story of Grace and her children as they settle into their new home. Soon, Grace and the children begin to be plagued by supernatural events and start to fear their own home.

Like a perfect gothic novel, The Others is quiet, tragic, and absolutely chilling. There are few jump scares, but the isolation of the house, the creepy occurrences, and the underlying uneasiness of their situation will have your skin crawling from the beginning. Watch with a fluffy cat at your side, a steaming cup of English Breakfast tea, and munch some Maltesers to really get the vibe going.

Scare factor: Not for the faint of heart. Like the damp British air, it will get under your skin and stay there.

For fans of zombies: Train to Busan

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Scary summary: Father-daughter bonding is difficult at the best of times, but when Seok-Woo accompanies his young daughter on a train to visit her mother, their struggle to bond becomes a struggle for survival. Stuck on a train overrun by zombies, Seok-woo and his daughter must make unlikely allies and find safety amidst the apocalypse.

I didn’t find this film to be as traditionally scary as other horror movies, but it’s still a thrilling tale of family, desperation, and survival. The script is clever, tragic, and even funny, which is rare to find in a horror movie, and the acting is top-notch. Best of all, it takes a tired genre and re-invents it by setting it in probably the most claustrophobic place of all: a train. The film is fast-paced and unpredictable, and yes, I cried at the end. Snack on some Cola Candy and keep an aluminum baseball bat ready (to swing at zombies, of course.)

Scare factor: The zombies are gross, and the film itself is tense, but it’s suitable for most filmgoers (except the squeamish).

For fans of slashers: You’re Next

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Scary summary: While staying at her new husband’s family vacation house, the family is attacked by a group of masked intruders intent on murdering them. Erin must use her wits and survival skills to outsmart the killers and discover why their house has been targeted.

There are a lot of slasher films out there (and I mean A LOT), but You’re Next is hands-down my favorite. While at first the animal masks seem gimmicky, once the terror of the home invasion kicks in, the fear becomes palpable. What I appreciate most about this movie is its original twists and turns. Instead of just being a traditional slasher, the film keeps you guessing until the very end. Sharni Vinson’s Erin is not your typical “final girl,” and that’s just what we need. It’s a humorous film, but just scary enough to keep it from becoming a horror-comedy à la Shaun of the Dead. And of course, as with any slasher, there’s plenty of quality gore to satisfy the viewer. Gobble down some animal crackers and a watch with a blender at hand. You never know when you might need it.

Scare factor: This one might be too much for horror newbies, but its perfect for the junkies.

For fans of the light-hearted scare: Housebound

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Scary summary: After adult-delinquent Kylie is placed under house-arrest in her childhood home, she starts to suspect an evil force is haunting her family.

This film is hilarious. It’s a black comedy of the darkest blackest kind, and I include it on this list because at its core, it’s a horror movie. Kylie’s search to uncover the mystery of her house’s haunting leads to some dark and upsetting places. I remember shrieking a few times during the film and thinking about it for a longtime afterwards. Even though I saw this film over 5 years ago, the humor, original plot, and nuanced character development have always stuck with me. The New Zealand accents help, too. Though it might seem like a silly film at first look, don’t write it off. It’s truly a hidden gem in the world of horror movies. Watch while eating some Cadbury Jaffas and wear a DIY ankle bracelet to fully immerse yourself in the world of the film.

Scare factor: Perfect for scaredy-cats and horror buffs alike.

For fans of possessions: The Influence (La Influencia)

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Scary summary: Alicia has avoided her mother for decades, but once she falls ill, she is  forced to move back to her home with her husband and daughter to care for her. Once there, her daughter begins to behave strangely, and Alicia realizes that she must combat her childhood fears in order to save her daughter.

This movie just came out and holy crap it scared the shit out of me. This film is just one more addition to the pantheon of superb Spanish horror. What struck me was how mean and nasty the film was. Unlike some horror films, there was no optimism in this film. The evil force was evil and the good guys were completely outmatched. Additionally, the clever script and beautiful mise-en-scene had me hooked from start to finish. I won’t spoil anything, but there were quite a few scenes in this film that shocked me with their twisted violence. The premise itself is considerably unnerving and I don’t think any other filmmaker  has treated it quite so well as this director did. Watch with the lights out if you dare, but make sure to have a big dog, an heirloom necklace, and some delicious turrón to get in the spirit of things.

Scare factor: Pretty scary. You’ve been warned.

That’s all for now. I might post another list of horror movies to watch right before Halloween because I have an endless lists of favorites just taking up space in my head, but for now, I hope you watch these and enjoy. Happy Halloween! Stay spooky, my friends.

stay creepy trick or treat GIF by Reza Zabardast

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