As a devoted horror movie fan, I’ll be the first to admit that the market is glutted with horror movies, most of them terrible. And not in an enjoyable, over-the-top kind of way.
If you are a horror movie novice searching for a good horror movie, the simultaneous breadth of availability and lack of choice entertainment can be discouraging. Horror fans feel that way all the time, but we know enough that we can make solid recommendations.
With Halloween fast approaching, I decided to compile a list of horror movies with solid scares and terror but that are accessible to a wide audience. The following films are perfect for a Halloween watch party because 1) they are relatively easy to find on streaming services, 2) they’re actually well-made films, and 3) they scare audiences in thoughtful, enjoyable, entertaining ways.
Even if you’re a horror movie buff, I feel like this list is a nicely packaged bundle of great horror movies that present a strong argument for the merits of horror. These movies are harrowing, smart, witty, and funny. They are heartbreaking and profound. They reinforce the magic of telling stories through the medium of film and legitimize a genre that critics loves to hate.
One of my favorite things about horror movies is how long they’ve been around.
People started making scary films as soon as they could. Audiences have always loved going to horror movies. Films like Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde were widely popular. A lot of these movies became genre classics. You’ll find them on many best-of-horror lists, where they are widely praised for employ innovative techniques and practical effects to terrify audiences.
There’s just one problem—the majority of those films are no longer scary by today’s standards.
What makes a horror movie truly incredible? The same thing that makes any movie incredible—excellent writing, nuanced acting, gorgeous artistic design, daring cinematography, visionary directing, and a killer score.
Texas is a unique place, full of crazy but true stories. It also has some demonstrably false ones that say a lot about Texas as a state. It’s a larger-than-life state, full of legendary characters and strange circumstances the give rise to the most bizarre stories. As such, Texas is the kind of place that easily lends itself to artistic expression, particularly in novels, paintings, TV, and movies. The horror genre is no exception, and there are some exceptional Texas horror movies.
In keeping with my Texas-themed posts this month, I decided to compile a list of some of my favorite Texas horror movies. These six films all take place in Texas and examine certain facets of Texas life and identity in one way or another. These films deal with religious doubt, big city vs. small town tension, criticisms of Texas culture, and lots more. These Texas horror movies are as imaginative and violent, just like Texas.
The premiere of Season 10 of The X-Files has come and gone, and so far, I’ve been pleased.
While the first episode may not have been the strongest episode ever, it gave us a solid dose of those mythological in scope, all-encompassing conspiracy theories we’ve come to know and love. Episode 2 was way more solid, truth be told, and pulled no punches when it came to violence and gore, which was a pleasant surprise.
It is good to have the old X-Files back. Conspiracy theories are all well and good, yes, but I have to say that I prefer the monster-of-the-week episodes with lots of scares and gore. They affect me more, they arrest my imagination and my heart and genuinely terrify. Those episodes make me question so much as they confront me with truly horrifying stories.
It’s why I keep coming back to The X-Files. I love how The X-Files forces me to think even as it entertains me, even as it scares me.
So, to continue from this post, here is Part 2 of my list of X-Files episodes that continue to scare me. Again, these episodes are presented in the order they aired.
(Also, spoiler alert, though, for real, these episodes aired at least ten years ago, if not longer. At this point, it’s your fault if you haven’t seen them. But at any rate, if you haven’t seen The X-Files, watch the whole show and then come back.)
Who said horror had to be only scary? I like a movie that can pull double duty and scare me while making me laugh.
Together, horror and comedy create an enjoyable, rollercoaster-ride viewing experience. It’s excited to have a genuine scare only for it to be undercut by some silly slapstick the next second. There’s a pleasurable in the back and forth there, a kind of compare and contrast with the basic human emotions of fear and happiness. Maybe there’s also something there about how horror and comedy are very closely-related, cousins if you will. They both provoke catharsis, but in different ways.
I love horror. I love beauty. And I love both of those things in one pretty, shiny, terrifying package.
There’s something to be said for being scared by something aesthetically and visually enticing. A movie with striking, artistic visuals pulls me in and won’t let go. It creates a delicious tension that deepens my experience of being scared. Who doesn’t want that?
Here are some of my favorite beautiful horror films. I won’t bother you with too much commentary. If you are enticed by any of these films, you can find the plot summaries hyperlinked in the titles. Otherwise, save for a few comments, I’m going to let the pictures speak for themselves! Leave your own recommendations in the comments!
June 2015 marks the 50th Anniversary of the UK release of Repulsion, the 1965 psychological horror film. Starring screen goddess Catherine Deneuve and directed by Roman Polanski, Repulsion was an instant classic. It would prove a major influence on the sub genre of psychological horror, taking its place among such greats as Psycho and The Shining.
In honor of the 50th Anniversary of one of the best psychological horror films ever, I re-watched Repulsion the other night. It was as good as I remember, but I had noticed some new things that added to my film-watching experience.
The last installment of my Ho-Ho-Horror series! I’ve talked about Christmas-themed horror novels and movies, so here’s a list of Christmas specials from some of my favorite spooky shows. These are all available on Netflix or Amazon streaming.
Without further adieu…
1. The X-Files: How The Ghosts Stole Christmas, Season 6, Ep. 6
On christmas eve, Mulder and Scully find themselves in a haunted house with two ghosts who are determined to prove just how lonely yuletide can be. Ed Asner and Lily Tomlin star.
My personal favorite!