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spooky times movie recommendations

october 31, 2020

it's the scary time of year which means that it's spooky movie time! they're not particularly obscure, but here's some of my favorites with a short review if you're looking for recommendations (ordered *roughly* from “worst” to best):

hereditary

for being a spooky ghoulie story with jumpscares and such, it's really good. more like a normal horror film than most, but not a headache-inducing nightmare like most modern horror movies.

the exorcist

a classic, i wouldn't say it's *amazing*, but it's a solid horror film.

the wicker man

in the vein of the exorcist and in the same year. i've written a review on it when i first saw it a while ago:

gemini://nytpu.com/gemlog/old/the-wicker-man-analysis.md

psycho

a classic, and definitely worth at least one watch, but not worth rewatching because once you know all the reveals it's not as fun. go watch vertigo (not horror) if you want a good hitchcock film with rewatchability.

it comes at night

this film's marketing was its downfall, as it was marketed as a straight horror film when it's very different from that. on a very surface level it's survival-horror, but it's more man-vs-man (to go back to high school) and dealing with a direct but unseeable threat (no not bird box unseen). romero-style due to its budget, but still good.

house/ハウス

a bizarre film with a lot of amazing visuals and a wonderful mix between 70s horror with a distinctly japanese feel. a mix of bizarre, chaotic, and absurd, it's a blast to watch.

the witch

contrary to popular belief, it's the witch, not the vvitch. a good film, but it's a huge step down compared to the lighthouse, which is stellar, which is one of the best films (not just horror films, but films in general).

alien

still an amazing film, with the amazing character development and an amazing creature (even by today's standards).

now we're getting into real, beautiful works of art that can not only hold their own amongst other horror films but amongst films in general:

suspiria

an amazing, horrifying, dare i say, shocking film. i like the remake more than the original, but i'm not a huge fan of 70s italian films so it isn't saying a whole lot. tilda swinton plays 90% of the characters and gives a stellar performance on every one, with horrifying visuals and amazing themes. definitely recommend.

the shining

needs no explanation. watch it. (then read the book, it's one of stephen king's actually good ones)

the silence of the lambs

i didn't think of this as a horror film, but letterboxd claims it is so it goes on this list. an amazing film with lots of good performances, good cinematography, a nuanced script, and is one of the few films to win 9000 oscars that is legitimately good instead of whatever the studios decided was good that year.

nosferatu (1922)

while not “scary” by today's standards, it's a masterpiece of expressionism and is very *very* powerful, even today. there's just something about early films that just can't be captured in contemporary cinema. the passion of joan of arc is getting a mention here because it's one of my favorite movies of all time, but would never work as a modern film. nosferatu the vampyre (1979) is an amazing remake (which never happens), so it's worth a watch as well.

the lighthouse (2019)

a beautiful film, with horror elements but more of a thriller. so much subtlety, complex interactions, with the most beautiful cinematography i've seen in a very long time. i shouldn't say anything more, just watch it.

and now, we're getting to the true height of horror, the scariest thing i've ever watched. it's terrifying in every way: the acting, the writing, the sets, the camerawork, it's terrifying all around. the “scariest movie ever” is:

wish upon!!!!!!

it's the height of horror. in fact, everything about it is scary, except for all the parts that are supposed to be. watch it with a group of friends and laugh so hard it hurts. it's worth it, trust me.

okay, that concludes the first annual spooky times movie recommendations. most of these films are not particularly obscure, but i felt they deserved a mention and maybe someone out there hasn't seen a few of these and now has something new to watch!

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