This Halloween keep the classic horror flicks in their crypt. Leave Reagan locked in the room with The Exorcist. Leave that Psycho up in the Bates Motel, and leave Rosemary’s Baby in his crib. This year give some fresh freaks a chance to freak you out.
Submitted for your approval: a list a of horror options worth taking a chance on. Some of these films will get under your skin and make it crawl, while others will pull your heartstrings right out of your chest.
I persuaded a friend to rent this with her boyfriend. Later that week her boyfriend had a screaming night terror that ended when he ran headfirst into a wall. He needed two staples. I don’t know for sure what chased him through that dream, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find out it was the entity from It Follows.
The “It” from It Follows takes whatever form it needs to get to you. It can look like someone you trust, a stranger in a crowd, or a lanky seven foot tall man in his underpants. It comes for you when you have sex with someone it’s been stalking and if it gets to you it goes back down the line. The curse resonates with the same looming feeling of inevitability as The Ring.
Once you realize how the entity in this film hunts you won’t be able to take your eyes off the screen. You’ll be playing Where’s Waldo trying to pick it out from the crowd. This lends to repeat viewings because you won’t catch it every single time.
I could write an essay on why you need to see this movie, but here’s something for the box quote instead: It Follows is the Terminator 2 of sexually transmissible curse movies.
If you’re looking for a way to go a week without sleeping watch this directly after It Follows. The Nightmare is a documentary, from the people behind Room 237, about the terrifying hallucinations that plague those who suffer from sleep paralysis. The film reenacts the subjects’ experiences with nerve wracking sequences that feature shadow figures attacking sleepers in their beds. The film examines the mythology around these nightmare archetypes, attempting to answer if they are paranormal or neurological in nature.
For those of you who haven’t experience the bed-wetting joy of sleep paralysis it’s like reverse sleep walking. Your body stays paralyzed while your mind awakens. I’ve written about my own experiences with it here and I’ve used it as a plot device in my novella Terms and Conditions.
Many of those who suffer from sleep paralysis see themselves as the targets of spiritual warfare. I believe it’s a neurological condition, but one that alludes conventional treatment.
Box quote: Need help convincing yourself that demons are trying to possess you in your sleep? Here you go.
A young American flees his shattered life for the Italian countryside where he falls for a mysterious woman with an ancient secret.
Spring is a challenging film. It doesn’t fit snuggly into one genre. It’s a romantic drama at heart, but it has horror and science fiction elements. Spring is a slow burner. It establishes its characters before it reveals its premise, and it takes even longer to reveal the stakes. It’s a movie that somehow manages to tug at your heartstrings with practical monster effects.
Box quote: Spring is what would happen if Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise series had a baby with John Carpenter’s The Thing.
We’re all haunted by something: grief, looniness, or the frustration that comes with having to raise a child alone, like the hero of this story. The Babadook is the story of single mother who makes the mistake of reading from the wrong children’s book and triggering her son’s obsession with the Babadook: a monster man who may or may not be hiding in their home.
Box quote: You’ll never trust a pop-up book again.
Starry Eyes is a slow burning thriller about the harsh side of Hollywood and the people willing to sell their souls to advance their careers.
Steer clear of this one if you can’t handle a few fleeting moments of intense graphic violence.
Box quote: Required viewing for all Hollywood transplants.
Box quote: Required viewing for all Hollywood transplants.
The Amityville Horror film series were based on a real house where a series of grizzly murders took place and one family who swore it was haunted. This film examines the authenticity of their claims. It follows the only surviving family member willing to talk to the producers. He was a boy when he echoed his parents’ paranormal claims, but he continues to back them up to this day.
My Amityville Horror is scary on a couple of levels. It’s creepy to think what it would mean if this man’s ghost story is true, but it’s even freakier to consider the possibilty that he’s been lying this whole time. Listen to the sincerity in his voice, look him in the eyes, and try to tell if he’s lying.
Box quote: Do you think you can tell if someone is telling the truth? Then maybe you can figure out the mystery behind the Amityville Horror.
Can anything new be done with the zombie genre? We’ve seen zombies in romantic comedies, zombies in big budget action movies, and zombies on serialized TV. Hidden is a simple story that aspires to do something different.
Hidden is a zombie movie that plays out like a good episode of the Twilight Zone. The film stars Alexander Skarsgård (of True Blood fame) as a father living with his wife and daughter in a fallout shelter. Our heroes hide from the mysterious breathers occupying the charred town above. Our heroes’ situation is not all that it appears to be.
I’ll save the rest of the surprises for the movie. I may have said too much already.
Box quote: Just when you thought the zombie genre was all out of fresh ideas.
(This is a segment from my full review on NerdStoned.com)
If you can get past the fleeting moments of CGI, shaky cam, lens flare, and romantic shorthand, you’ll be rewarded with an original story sold on the strength of some remarkable performances.
The Hive is a fresh spin on the possession genre, introducing the concept of secular possession and there’s just something creepy about people who speak in the majestic plural. Stark Trek: The Next Generation fans will have flashbacks of the borg collective. If that thought makes your hairs stand on end you should see this film.
Box quote: A possession movie where Latin speaking exorcists just aren’t going to do the trick.
Stay tuned for next week’s post: The Best Horror Comedies for the Halloween Season.
Don’t forget to check out my obscure horror recommendations from last year. I had so many I broken them down into 3 sections:
• Found Footage and Mockumentries
• Reality Warping Reels and Romance from the Twilight Zone
• Real World/Supernatural Horror
SYMPTOMATIC is my first full length album. This LP is the soundtrack for a science fiction fantasy that’s playing exclusively in your imagination. It’s the perfect score for writers working on action scenes.