Become A Horror Movie Aficionado

Follow This Guide for a Match Made In Hell

Classics:

“Psycho” (1960)

Quite possibly the most recognizable horror film of all time, this Alfred Hitchcock hit stars Janet Leigh opposite Anthony Perkins who debuts his infamous role of Norman Bates. An unsettling series of events surrounds one fateful night at the motel bearing his name — including, of course, “that” shower scene.

“Carnival of Souls” (1962)

When a girl is hired as a church organist in a remote community, things quickly turn uncanny as she begins to see the same eerie man everywhere she goes — to the point where you may begin to feel as though you’re being followed, too. With an unnerving soundtrack, this early indie flick is effectively minimalistic up to its creepy climax at an abandoned carnival.

Modern Classics:

“The Descent” (2005)

This gripping film will leave anyone with claustrophobic nightmares. Six friends descend into a monster-infested cave, but how many will return? Take a peek at the movie’s alternate ending and decide which is the more horrifying finale.

“The Sixth Sense” (1999)

Even M. Night Shyamalan’s biggest critics will concede that this is a masterpiece of modern horror. Bruce Willis plays a child psychologist whose latest patient, a young Haley Joel Osment, has a terrifying secret. Packed with creepy imagery, psychological thrills and a plot twist as famous as Bruce Willis himself, this classic thriller is a must-see on any horror movie buff’s list.

Thriller:

“The Silence of the Lambs” (1991)

The film that started a franchise, this adaptation of Thomas Harris’s book series won five Oscars for a reason. This is a murder mystery with a twist; Jodie Foster plays Clarice Starling, an FBI agent fresh out of the academy, who must interview the psychotic cannibal prisoner Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) in the hopes of catching a serial killer. The highly quotable, suspense-filled film is horror-inducing and must-see for fans of Netflix’s Mindhunter.

“Dead of Winter” (1987)

What’s worse than being stranded a snowstorm? Being held captive in a strange house during a snowstorm. That’s what small-time actress Katie McGovern (Mary Steenburgen) gets herself into when she travels to the home of the wealthy Dr. Joseph Lewis for a screen-test-turned-scam, which quickly becomes a living nightmare filled with miserable suspense and clever plot twists.

Psychological:

“The Shining” (1980)

The most famous of Stephen King movie adaptations, Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” is a classic for any movie fan, let alone the horror aficionados out there. While it isn’t particularly terrifying by modern standards, the creepy imagery, haunting cinematography and elegant suspense elevates this film to heights most other King adaptations fall short of. If Jack Nicholson’s slow descent into madness doesn’t awaken a primal fear in you, something isn’t right.

“Rosemary’s Baby” (1968)

Newlyweds Rosemary (Mia Farrow) and Guy (John Cassavettes) have just moved to the heart of Manhattan, but their housewarming is soured by their ultra-affectionate elderly neighbors who Guy mysteriously befriends despite Rosemary’s suspicions of the couple. When Rosemary becomes pregnant after a terrifying dream sequence, her symptoms aren’t like those of other expecting mothers.

Musical:

“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (1975)

In this campy musical known for its classic tunes and notorious characters, the straight-laced and newly-engaged Brad and Janet (Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon) are stranded in a rainstorm and just want to use someone’s telephone — but they came to the wrong castle. Throughout the night, the couple must endure the antics of Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry) and a host of otherworldly company.

“Reefer Madness” (2005)

In a hilarious reimagining of the 1930s anti-marijuana propaganda film of the same name, this tongue-in-cheek musical redelivers the plot with a hysterical spin. With hints of horror, catchy songs and excellent acting, this romp will entertain while cleverly commenting on the absurdity of its original counterpart.

Foreign Language:

“The Orphanage” (2007)

Only a year after directing “Pan’s Labyrinth,” Guillermo del Toro returns to produce “The Orphanage,” a Spanish-language horror flick that, in true del Toro fashion, doesn’t rely on gore and shock value to get the audience’s blood pumping. When Laura (Belén Rueda) purchases the orphanage she grew up in, she hopes it will be a beautiful place to raise her deathly ill adopted son, Simón (Roger Príncep). However, as the history of the house unfolds and Simón suddenly vanishes, Laura’s fond memories of the orphanage unravel as she discovers the chilling truth lying beneath.

“Shutter” (2004)

At the peak of mid-2000s Asian horror movies is “Shutter,” a Thai film considered by many to be a masterpiece of its genre. The graphics and jump scares might seem a little predictable to modern audiences, but the chilling cinematography, climactic ending and final twist make it worth the view. Channel the Ju-On nostalgia and be prepared to shy away from camera flashes for a few days!

Found Footage:

“The Blair Witch Project” (1999)

In this found footage flick, three students venture into the woods to film a homemade documentary on local folklore but get more than they bargained for when fear, cabin fever and a series of wrong turns come into play. Soon, you’ll be paranoid too.

“As Above, So Below” (2014)

When a group of acquaintances sneak into Paris’ underground catacombs on a quest to find the philosopher’s stone, a larger-than-life experience throws a variety of horrific situations their way. Experience the dark passageways in near-firsthand fashion as nightmarish sights and a generous dose of claustrophobia sets in.

Here and Now:

“Get Out” (2017)

Jordan Peele’s debut horror movie does not disappoint. Daniel Kaluuya plays a reluctant boyfriend getting ready to meet the parents, but a weekend getaway turns sour when he discovers his girlfriend’s parents’ behavior is not a reaction to their daughter’s interracial relationship, but the cover for a sickening plot. In a masterful demonstration of beautiful cinematography, superb acting and a clever, no-fluff screenplay that manages to produce sharp social commentary while upholding the terror, “Get Out” has become the new litmus test for modern horror.

“A Quiet Place” (2018)

Jim from “The Office” isn’t playing around this time if his burly scruff has anything to say about it. John Krasinsky directs and stars in this character-driven horror film alongside his real-life wife, Emily Blunt. In a post-apocalyptic world where sound is the enemy, a family must keep their turmoil to a whisper if they want to survive. What monsters would you face for the ones you love?

Halloween Hits:

“Hocus Pocus” (1993)

Double, double, toil and trouble! The Sanderson sisters will put a spell on you in this 1993 Disney film set in Salem, Massachusetts. A recent transplant from California, teenager Max Dennison (Omri Katz) sets off a chain of events when he accidentally unleashes three evil witches on the town (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy). This funny, witty, heartwarming Halloween classic is a delight for all ages.

“Halloween” (1978)

John Carpenter’s classic is iconic in the annals of slasher flicks. Michael Myers is sentenced to prison after murdering his sister at the tender age of six, but on Halloween eve, 1978, he escapes custody and returns to his hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois to terrorize new victims. Jamie Lee Curtis has her debut role in this film, which is sure to continue to terrify forty years later.

Horror Essentials:

“Carrie” (1976)

In this timeless Stephen King tale, the introverted Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) must balance bullies at school with her hyper-religious mother at home but becomes empowered when she discovers she has telekinesis. Meanwhile, popular student Billy asks her to the prom out of pity, and hope is restored — but plans go wrong and one of horror’s most iconic sequences ensues.

“The Exorcist” (1973)

A girl and her mother live alone in New York, but when she begins exhibiting strange symptoms that go misdiagnosed, it gradually becomes apparent that the true culprit is much more sinister. Priests are called in to solve the problem and satanic antics, along with a dream sequence, which — in subtle ways — is perhaps more unsettling than the graphic imagery the film is known for.

Lesser-Known:

“The Autopsy of Jane Doe” (2016)

Who says low-budget can’t be good? This slow-burning thriller about a father-son coroner duo and the inexplicable body they examine culminates in a terrifying ordeal with a sobering message: The worst monsters are made by our own hate-filled actions. If vengeance-driven spirits are up your alley, put this one on your list.

“The Ritual” (2017)

Fans of “The Descent” and “The Blair Witch Project” may enjoy this Netflix original. After tragedy strikes their inner circle, a group of friends decide to go backpacking through Sweden’s northern mountain range known as King’s Trail. When they are unexpectedly forced to detour through the forest, they discover they are not alone — and find themselves hunted by something that may be as ancient as the wilderness itself.

Vampires:

“The Lost Boys” (1987)

When a family of three moves to a small California town, eldest son Michael (Jason Patric) befriends a gang of vampires led by ringleader David (Kiefer Sutherland). When the novelty turns dangerous, however, it’s up to Michael’s younger brother Sam (Corey Haim) to save their family’s fate. Part horror, part light comedy, this summer flick epitomizes the 1980s.

“Interview with the Vampire” (1994)

Sweeping music, romantic sets, period costumes, homoerotic tension: this stunning Anne Rice adaptation has it all. Starring Brad Pitt as the pitiful vampire Louis, Kirsten Dunst as his immortalized adopted child, Claudia, and Tom Cruise as the short-tempered, charismatic leader, Lestat, the movie follows the plight of a dysfunctional, supernatural family, as narrated by Louis to a young reporter. Taking place over the course of centuries, from New Orleans to Paris to San Francisco, these are vampires as they are meant to be: beautiful, decadent, tragic and terrifying.

“What We Do In The Shadows” (2014)

Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement team up to deliver a truly hilarious movie about vampire housemates, a ragtag coven who struggle to thrive in the modern era while dealing with fashionable hipsters, forbidden love and run-ins with the local werewolves. Whether or not vampires are your thing, you will laugh yourself to (un)death at this clever comedy.

Witches:

“The Witch” (2015)

Rife with tension thick enough to cut, this historical horror film will leave you deeply unsettled and chilled to the bone. A 17th century New England family is cast out to live at the edge of the woods in disgrace, and things only devolve from there. After the youngest child disappears, the family blames the eldest daughter, Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy). The events that follow test the family’s trust and loyalty to one another in the face of true evil. Rife with period-accurate myths and beliefs, this movie is made for fans of northeast tales of witchcraft.

“Bell, Book and Candle” (1958)

Set to a swinging jazz soundtrack that complements the film’s spooky subject matter, this Christmas/Halloween hybrid sees modern-day witch Gillian (Kim Novak) living with her brother Nicky (Jack Lemmon) in Greenwich Village. Gillian’s life gets turned around when she falls for her neighbor Shep (James Stewart), and through a series of hijinks and heartbreak, Gillian must choose between losing her powers or the man of her dreams.

Sci-fi Scares:

“Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (1959)

In this early sci-fi masterpiece starring Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter, the premise is simple: Duplicates of people with sinister motives are being reborn from large pods. In a race against time to outrun the horror, no one can be trusted. Can’t get enough? Check out the 1978 remake with Donald Sutherland for a darker reimagining that is perhaps more chilling than the original.

“Alien” (1979)

In Sigourney Weaver’s breakout role as Lieutenant Ellen Ripley, “Alien” centers around a tension-packed space mission that quickly goes south when the crew begins to face extraterrestrial threats. Lauded for its visually stunning set design, this all-star adventure is filled with shockers including an infamous scene that not even the actors saw coming. Who will survive the madness?

Other:

“Jaws” (1975)

When a sleepy coastal town encounters a series of ocean-based deaths, the mayor denies any possibility of sharks to avoid scaring off tourists. Police chief Brody (Roy Scheider), however, isn’t convinced — and joins oceanographer Hooper (Richard Dreyfus) and local seasoned fisherman Quint (Robert Shaw) on a tiny fishing boat to catch the alleged shark in the middle of unforgiving waters.

“Arachnophobia” (1990)

If spiders make you cringe, this is the movie for you. When a deadly species accidentally gets transported from a Venezuelan jungle to the U.S., it lands in a small town and its poisonous offspring begin killing citizens one by one. The film is the perfect thriller for anyone with even the slightest fear of arachnids, but fair warning: You might find yourself wanting to keep your feet off the floor.


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Monika Likhtarenko is the Design Director for The Ebbtide. She covers general stories and designs the print edition of the paper every issue. Likhtarenko is a Star Wars aficionado and "something like an artist," in her own words.


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