Happy Halloween! Before you go out to grab some treats or cause all kinds of tricks, there’s nothing better than watching some good Halloween films to get you in the spooky spirit.
(Author’s Note: When I was researching images on Pinterest for this article, I discovered that there is such a thing as a “Horror Movie Aesthetic” and I’m genuinely concerned about who lives out that aesthetic.)
Scream is probably one of the only horror movies I, someone who is afraid of the dark, am willing to watch. Yes, maybe when it was terrifying when it was first released in 1996, but this is the perfect horror movie to watch if you couldn’t watch Coraline without one eye closed.
The sleepy little town of Woodsboro just woke up screaming. After an anonymous killer guts two high school lovers, a mysterious rise in fear and rumors rise in a peaceful Californian town. Suddenly, nobody is safe, as the psychopath stalks victims, taunts them with trivia questions, then rips them to bloody shreds. Sydney Prescott (Neve Campbell), who’s mother was raped and murdered a year prior, and her friends start experiencing some strange phone calls, that they later learn were coming from a crazed serial killer. Yes, there’s a killer in their midst who’s seen a few too many scary movies. However, it could be anybody: Sidney, the quiet high school beauty with an ugly past, Billy (Skeet Ulrich), her faithful boyfriend with a frustrated sex life, Tatum (Rose McGowan), her cute best friend with an answer for everything, Casey (Drew Barrymore), the lovely blonde who knows her thrillers, Geeky Randy (Jamie Kennedy), the scary movie fanatic, Stuart (Matthew Lillard), the wild partier, Gale (Courtney Cox), the overeager TV reporter, or even Dewey (David Arquette), the syrupy-sweet police officer. The only hope is to stay one step ahead of this crazed slasher–know your trivia.
From the horror of never knowing when Ghostface would appear, to falling in love with young Skeet Ulrich (see below for more), this truly is a great Halloween movie. Yes, it is not nearly as terrifying as one would hope, but that adds to its greatness. Scream proves that great horror movies do not have to make you leave a theater crying or make you stay up for weeks in fear. It demonstrates that the best horror movies have an engaging plot, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats until the end. I know people may be turned away because of its genre, but Scream goes beyond those mind jolting horror movies, and delivers a unique plot and a truly remarkable cast.
So, the clues are there; are you good enough to see them?
American Horror Story
Argue with me all you want that Stranger Things or The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina should be this week’s recommendation, but American Horror Story literally breathes Halloween. And yes, regardless of the season, the theme song will get stuck in your head.
The series currently spans 9 seasons, each with a unique plot line. Truly, that is the benefit to the series; it doesn’t matter which season you start with, each season presents an entirely new story.
Season one “Murder House” centers on the Harmon family: Dr. Ben Harmon (Dylan McDermott), Vivien (Connie Britton), and their daughter Violet (Taissa Farmiga), who move from Boston to Los Angeles after Vivien has a miscarriage and Ben has an affair. They move into a restored mansion, unaware that the house is haunted by the ghosts of its former residents and their victims.
Season two “Asylum” begins in 1964 at the fictional mental institution, Briarcliff Manor, following the stories of the staff and inmates who occupy it, and intercuts with events in the past and present.
Season three “Coven” takes place in 2013, in New Orleans, and follows a coven of witches descended from Salem as they fight for survival. It also features flashbacks to 1692 during the infamous Salem Witch Trials, the 1830s, 1910s, 1960s, 1970s, and 1990s.
Season four “Freak Show” is mainly set in 1952 Jupiter, Florida, telling the story of one of the last remaining freak shows in the United States, and their struggle for survival.
Season five “Hotel” centers around the mysterious Hotel Cortez in Los Angeles, California, that catches the eye of an intrepid homicide detective (Bentley). The Cortez is host to many disturbing scenarios and paranormal events, and is overseen by its enigmatic matron, The Countess (Gaga), who is a bloodsucking fashionista. This season features multiple murderous threats, including the Ten Commandments Killer, a serial offender who selects his victims in accordance with biblical teachings; a vampiric, self-styled Countess, played by Lady Gaga; and the serial killer mastermind responsible for the hotel’s construction who is now a ghost residing there.
Season six “Roanoke” was centered around the disappearance of the Roanoke Colony in 1580. The first half of the season was focused on the mock documentary My Roanoke Nightmare, which reenacts the experiences of a married couple who relocate to North Carolina. The second half of the season is presented as found footage and depicts the doomed production of the documentary’s sequel.
Season seven “Cult” takes place in the fictional suburb of Brookfield Heights, Michigan, during the year 2017, and centers on a cult terrorizing the residents in the aftermath of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Season eight “Apocalypse” focuses on the initiation of a global apocalypse – the end of the world. The remaining survivors all remain in a bunker, but are quickly followed by death. While it may appear vague to people who have not watched the show, this season is best described as a crossover of seasons one and three.
Season nine “1984”, which is currently airing on FX. has been described as being heavily influenced by classic horror slasher films such as Friday the 13th and Halloween.
At the end of the day, it does not matter which season you watch, be prepared to be scared. Some seasons are scarier than others, dependent on the person. However, AHS is not solely about getting scared or messing with your head. AHS truly resonates (especially with season 9) with old horror movies, that focused more on a plot line instead of horror itself. Personally, my favorite season is “Freak Show” – do not worry the clown isn’t that bad – because of the uniqueness of both the cast and the plot. Many will argue that the best season is “Murder House”. Regardless, it does not matter which season is the best, the show gives you plenty of good Halloween binging material.
Disclaimer: Do not watch alone in the dark…unless you don’t want to sleep.