So the month of October is coming to a close, but don’t worry, Halloween is still a few days away, so there is still time to celebrate this spooky month. Well with this list of spooky movies maybe I can provide you with some unseen, freaky scares this Halloween season. I’m going with some more modern picks, as there have been a lot of great horror movies to come out in the past few years, despite many horror fans’ disagreement. Hopefully, some of these picks are movies you haven’t heard of, and while some might not technically be “horror” there are definitely spooks to be had, so don’t worry, and enjoy.
Based on a H.P. Lovecraft story, this movie is about two young travelers who crash their boat and are forced to dock on an island of fish-men who worship an ancient fish god, typical vacation stuff. While somewhat cheesy, a creepy atmosphere and creepier creatures make this movie one to watch.
Sorry I have to throw this one in here, as it is a movie that I love, but isn’t for everyone. A revenge movie about a man going after a crazy LSD cult after they kill his wife, this film features an especially unhinged Nicolas Cage hunting down the things that wronged him. This one is definitely out there, the visuals alone make it an otherworldly, trippy experience, but put it on late at night with the lights off and you will surely experience something.
A Dark Song (2016)*
A British horror flick about a grieving woman who looks to contact her dead son through an ancient ritual with the help of an occult expert. The two are locked up in a house for weeks as they try to complete the ritual, and go figure, things get creepy. While the movie is slow, the isolation and atmosphere boils overs in the last act giving way to a legitimately scary movie.
Like A Dark Song, this is another small-scale, intimate horror about a solitary deaf woman who is preyed upon in her home in the woods by a killer. A simple premise, but the way the movie handles the story and the characters elevate it above what it could be. A great, modern on the “slasher” that everyone should give a shot.
The Den (2013)
With the release of the “Unfriended” films and “Searching”, (also great check that out) it seems like “Internet Found Footage” has become its own niche horror genre, but I never hear anyone talk about “The Den” which predated those films and is great in its own right. The film follows a woman studying people who use a popular website called “The Den” to video chat, and during her research comes across and becomes witness to a live murder. What comes next you can probably guess, but the way this movie is filmed and presented is really unique and adds to the experience.
Quite possibly the fear of many college students, “Kristy” is about a female student who is staying on campus during holiday and finds herself alone locked in the school library by a group of sadistic gang members. The setting of “abandoned college campus during the holiday,” is not one I’ve seen in many films and makes for a creepy slasher film that many students can relate to.
Inland Empire (2006)
While this can be considered a horror film, the act of watching the film makes it horrific in a way as well. Written and Directed by David Lynch, who is known for his surrealist works, this is a 3-hour surrealist horror movie filmed with low-grade camcorders, and while there definitely are some scary shots and scenes, just watching and sitting through this film adds to the experience, as it was difficult for me to sit through the whole thing, because it is so weird for so long. Whether purposeful or not, Inland Empire is a horrifying experience of a film and is definitely not for the faint of heart.
This one is definitely more popular than some of the others on this list, but I’m putting it on here just in case you haven’t heard of it, also it’s great. As much as this is a horror film, it is also a family film, as the movie centers on a family in a peculiar situation and how they deal with a horrific event, and eventually events that happen to them. A move that rewards patient, attentive viewers, this is one of those movies where certain images are just burned into your brain forever, just because of how powerful and shocking they are.
Looking for work on craigslist, a videographer is asked to come up to a man’s cabin in the woods to document his life. Like most horror films, things are not what they seem, and the videographer must learn what is going on before it’s too late. Another simple, but well-done horror film that is best to go in blind and go along for the weird ride. The sequel (also on Netflix) is great as well if you’re looking for more after this one.
One of my favorites of this year, and one I haven’t heard a lot of buzz about, so I’m putting it in. More of a Science Fiction horror, this film follows a team of five women sent in to investigate an extraterrestrial phenomenon that mutates everything in its radius. Based on the book of the same name, the film is open to interpretation on what everything “means”, but at its core is a great film about people facing the unknown, and also a scary human-bear-monster hybrid.
Gerald’s Game (2017)*
Following the success of “It”, this film based on a Stephen King story follows a woman who finds herself in a peculiar and horrific situation and must try to survive, both mentally and physically. Led by Carla Gugino, who is great in this movie, this film is also about a woman facing the horrors of her past in order to overcome her present.
Killing of A Sacred Deer (2017)**
The “horror” title might not totally fit this film, but I find it to be a very unsettling and unnerving movie, with characters put into a horrific situation. The film follows a doctor (Colin Farrell) with a family who is put into a terrible situation by a young boy he has befriended. Written and directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, a man of Greek descent, the film, especially the dialogue has a weird, foreign feel to it that adds to the unsettling nature of the film. Also, the movie was filmed in Cincinnati so there’s that “I’ve been there” quality to the film, but that doesn’t take away from the creepy atmosphere that this film has.
Just want to throw at least one “crazy foreign horror” film on here, as that is a genre in itself with many great films, but Baskin is one that has especially stuck with me. Filmed in Turkey, the film is about a group of cops who investigate a ritual in an abandoned building and end up in hell, as you do. Filled with some crazy, nightmarish imagery, this film is not for those with a weak stomach, but if you are looking for an experience of a film, then definitely check out Baskin.
*-denotes movies available for streaming on Netflix
**-denotes movies available for streaming/purchase on Amazon Prime