Fright night: a guide to Halloween horror movies

Illustration by Sarah Bradbury

By Mackenzie Herring

Newer greats

“The Babadook” (2014): Named after a sinister children’s book, “The Babadook” is a twisted and bleak view at the deteriorating sanity of a widowed mother and her child, played by Essie Davis and Noah Wiseman, respectively. The movie has been referenced as an allegory for worsening depression and grief, with a very literal “monster” eating at the mother’s sanity. The child in the film experiences his own psychological episodes, and desperately tries to help his mother fight the creature. Despite the intensely sad state of the characters in the film, “The Babadook” is still frightening in the traditional sense. With a lingering, supernatural and shadowy figure, the movie is one long nightmare with bits and pieces of reality scattered throughout.


“13 Cameras” (2015): Despite being a relatively unrecognized film, “13 Cameras” feels real and flawed and, despite its simple premise, is exceptionally unsettling. It’s also great if you are not into the supernatural, as all the monsters in this one are human. The movie follows a newly married and pregnant couple (Sarah Baldwin and PJ McCabe), who have just moved into their first home. While the relationship between the two has its troubles, the problems become exposed once their creepy landlord (Neville Archambault) secretly installs cameras within their home. “13 Cameras” is a quick watch and banks on its ability to leave you wondering how this slowly developed disaster will end.



“Room 237” (2012) / “The Shining” (1980): Most people are familiar with Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” and can easily recognize the famous quotes and shots from the film. What may be particularly interesting to fans is a documentary following the conspiracies, inaccuracies and questionable influences within the movie. “Room 237” follows five different interpretations of the film, and it delivers theories that range from the convincing to the ridiculous. If you want to know why a small corner of the world believes Kubrick faked the moon landing, this is the documentary for you. Regardless, “Room 237” is an intriguing and thought-provoking watch that will have you putting on “The Shining” for the 50th time.


“The Exorcist” (1973): “The Exorcist” is one of the most highly regarded horror films to date, and it lives up to that expectation. Despite the year of this film, it expertly captures popular horror tropes like demonic possession and the connection between the supernatural and the religious. The cast is quite small but the characters are well developed. The movie follows a priest (Jason Miller), who is experiencing a lapse in faith due to his ill mother. His faith is soon tested when a 12-year-old girl (Linda Blair) is possessed by the devil. The girl’s detailed descent into madness is entertaining and horrible to watch at the same time, but it promises to make “The Exorcist” a movie you’re not likely to forget.


Movies that will make you question your sense of humor

“Children of the Corn” (1984): Like many cult films in the 80s, “Children of the Corn” is a movie with a good premise, but whose execution is flawed. Despite the cheap scares, “Children of the Corn” is a classic and is an excellent movie to poke fun at throughout. In a small town surrounded by corn, shockingly enough, children take over and kill everyone over the age of 18. The group is run by a boy preacher named Isaac, who is quite convincingly played by John Franklin. The movie is fun to watch and the shots are actually very pretty. Watching this film with a fun group and a sense of humor is key.


“Cabin in the Woods” (2012): This film contains an extremely creative take on common horror cliches. The movie has very typical characters: the stoned goofball, the jock, etc. The unique aspect of this film is the mystery that develops along with the haunting of the characters. The film pokes fun at horror movies, and successfully so, but also keeps you intrigued and the right amount of confused. The movie has greats like Sigourney Weaver and Bradley Whitford. “Cabin in the Woods” is rather innovative in terms of what modern horror can be, but accomplishes this in a way that’s easy to follow and enjoy.

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