All you Christmas lovers, wait your turn. The best time of the year is here: Halloween.
Even though it doesn’t get the credit it deserves, Halloween still is my favorite holiday. Growing up, I wasn’t particularly fond of all things scary, but now as an adult I have an appreciation for the finer — or spookier — things in life. And quite honestly, there is nothing like spending Halloween tucked in on the couch with some friends or a significant other, watching scary movies or television series.
Sound like a good idea? Too old to trick-or-treat and don’t feel like spending the evening at a party? Here are five of my all-time favorite scary things to watch — some new, some old, some you might not find scary. But why not dim the lights, pop some popcorn and give them a try?
The Haunting of Hill House (2018)
If you spend time on social media, this 10-episode series might sound familiar to you. Netflix does it again because “The Haunting of Hill House” has become a craze that people all over the world cannot get enough of. Based on a Stephen King novel, the series follows the story of the Crain family and their dealings of their old home and the terrifying events that drove them from it. Flashing between past and present, the show keeps you on the edge of your seat. Now, you will either think this show is scary or not at all, depending on what scares you, but I will tell you this show messed with me so much I slept with all the lights on after I finished it. I highly recommend it if ghosts and hauntings are your thing. The show is also incredibly well acted and the cinematography is perfect.
Following the success of “Saw” (2004), this James Wan-directed supernatural horror film will have you looking over you shoulder. The story centers on a couple whose son inexplicably enters a comatose state and becomes a vessel for ghosts in an astral dimension who want to inhabit his body. “Insidious” is the type of movie you should rewatch right after you finish it because when you know what to expect, you can stop covering your eyes and catch all the little things happening in the background throughout the movie. If nothing about this movie scares you, you can at least admit hearing Tiny Tim’s “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” playing on repeat creeps you out. And that is part of why I think this movie is so great — the music and the sound editing keeps your heart racing and your ears on high alert.
The Amityville Horror (2005)
Enjoy “The Haunting of Hill House”? Want more ghosts and haunted houses? This will be the film for you. “The Amityville Horror” is not the best scary movie I have seen, but it is enjoyable especially if it is your first time. Plus, it is based on true events, and what doesn’t make a scary movie scarier than knowing something similar to what you are watching actually might have happened? The movie centers on George Lutz and his wife, Kathy, who find a beautiful new house in the small town of Amityville, New York. They think the place is too good to be true. After they move in with their kids, they find out the cheap price tag is thanks to the house’s sordid history: The former tenant murdered his family after supposedly being possessed by the devil. This is a remake of a 1979 classic, which is also pretty creepy, but the 2005 version stars Ryan Reynolds so, you know.
28 Days Later (2002)
All things zombie. I am zombie fanatic, and “28 Days Later” is my all-time favorite zombie movie because I find how the zombie apocalypse begins in this film to be the most believable, and the zombies are down right scary with their ability to run and their red eyes. The plot depicts the breakdown of society following the accidental release of a highly contagious virus and focuses on the struggle of four survivors to trying to cope in the new world. This is another film where the sound editing is what helps keep it frightening, and the cinematography is gritty and dark. What would you do in a post-apocalyptic world? How would you survive? This movie touches on real issues that would be confronted if the world fell to its knees alongside zombies that are quick, reacting on only instinct and rage.
There is nothing quite like the classics, right? “Halloween” is my favorite in a long line of American slasher films. Directed by John Carpenter, “Halloween” focuses on Michael Myers, who was committed to a sanitarium as a child for the murder of his older sister, Judith Myers. Fifteen years later, he escapes to stalk and kill people while being chased by his former psychiatrist, Samuel Loomis. Michael stalks Laurie Strode on Halloween night, hence the film title. What keeps this classic still so bone chilling is Michael Myers’ ability to move along in silence and appear out of nowhere. Michael also stands for an image of ourselves — how evil one can really become. The original film was followed by many spooky and also not-so-great sequels, so Michael Myers has become a household name. A new installment to the franchise was recently released and is getting a lot of hype. I have yet to see it, but I suggest if you haven’t seen this original, it is a must before going to see the 2018 chapter.
Kailee Leonard needs a night in with a scary movie marathon. Follow her on Instagram @kaileeinmae. Image credit: Metro Creative Connection.