It’s such a shame to know October is already almost over. After the spooky climax of Halloween, it won’t be long before Thanksgiving is totally eclipsed by gingerbread houses, candy-canes, fir trees and poorly-wrapped presents. For those desperately resisting this incoming assortment of holiday cheer, here are a few noteworthy horror films to fan the fading flames of terror.
Alien: Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), arguably the strongest female protagonist in horror, and her crew are forced to fight for their lives after their massive cargo-bearing spaceship is breached by an unknown element. Ridley Scott’s masterpiece is a marriage of sci-fi and horror, and uses only the best elements of both.
The Thing: A research team in the Antarctic finds themselves victim to a parasitic extraterrestrial—one that can almost flawlessly imitate its prey. Paranoia consumes both the characters and audience in this disturbing remake by director John Carpenter, starring Kurt Russell.
Evil Dead trilogy: Ash Williams, undoubtedly the strongest male protagonist in horror, transforms from inexperienced everyman to wisecracking deadite-hunter over the span of this horror-comedy trilogy. The first two see him hold a single cabin against an assault of evil forces which have corrupted the surrounding forest; the third follows his time-traveling escapades in medieval fantasy.
The Shining: Stanley Kubrick’s loose adaptation of the Stephen King novel is a cleverly unsettling film. Jack Nicholson is brilliant in his role as Jack Torrance, whose solution to marriage troubles seems to be isolating himself and his family in a haunted hotel for the winter season. This is a patient thriller, subtly themed and elaborately puzzling.
The Fly: David Cronenberg mixes body horror and relationship drama about an aspiring inventor whose teleportation machine splices his DNA with that of a fly. Few things in film are so sorrowful and simultaneously terrifying as Jeff Goldblum’s mental decay, and especially his gradual physical transformation from man to insect. The movie is grisly, disgusting and heartfelt all at the same time.
Poltergeist: A relatively kind-hearted inclusion, this 1981 film saw a suburban family experience the horrors of a vengeful spirit inhabiting their home. A horror movie you can watch with your family unashamed! -for whatever that’s worth. The characters feel more real than most in the genre, like their motivations actually exist in the realm of reality.
An American Werewolf In London: Two American tourists are mauled by a werewolf while hiking through the English countryside. The monster is killed, but not before one boy is fatally injured and the other bitten. It isn’t long before the latter, our good-natured protagonist, realizes his curse: to hunt and kill innocents every night of the full moon. John Landis’s cult hit is an 80s take on a classic tale: exploitative, experimental and campy.
Under The Skin: This minimalist film follows a mysterious beauty as she stalks and seduces desperate men all across Scotland. Her intent is a mystery, her identity even more so. Scarlett Johannson is surprisingly talented in the lead role as the siren herself, looking one second cold and detached, the next as if she’s truly fallen in love.
Rosemary’s Baby: A young married woman (Mia Farrow) becomes an expecting mother not long after she and her husband, a struggling actor, move into an apartment building in New York City. Soon her neighbors, a nosy bunch of seemingly well-meaning elders, intrude her life and obsess over her pregnancy. The film is as terrifying in its demonic nightmare sequences as it is in its portrayal of people with incessant, unwarranted advice.
Psycho: Alfred Hitchcock is a proven master of suspense, and his chilling masterpiece Pyscho lends itself well to this fact. The movie follows the visitors of the quaint isolated Bates Motel and the darkly twisted family that runs it. Infamous for its ‘shower scene,’ the film helped to define a genre of fright, and legitimize it in the eyes of critics. One of the most famous horror movies of all time—and with good reason.