Hello Geeklies! Your resident “horrorphiles”, Meagan Varney and myself, have put ourselves to the test to provide you with enough spooky films to get your through this Halloween season. Each week we will release a new article with 7 horrifyingly haunting movies to keep you awake and wondering what really is making that creaking noise down the hallway. The majority of these movies will be available on streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu. Also, we are going to try and steer clear of the ones that always make horror movie lists. Of course we all love Halloween, The Shining, or Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but we want to provide you with horror movies that you may not have watched yet to provide you with the best scares possible. So grab your popcorn, turn off all the lights, and get ready to scare your pants off.
Starring and written by Patrick Brice and Mark Duplass (a personal favorite), this movie focuses on a freelance cameraman (Brice) who answers a Craigslist ad to be the personal videographer for a lonely man in the mountains (Duplass). This movie will remind you to listen to your mother when she said that you should NEVER ever trust anyone from Craigslist (sorry, folks, but as Karen and Georgia from My Favorite Murder Podcast would say, “Stay sexy”…).
I LOVE a good horror anthology, and was pleasantly surprised with “Holidays”. On Netflix, it looks unassuming and innocuous, but wow does it ever pack a surprising punch. There are 8 short stories – Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Halloween, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve – all handled by a variety of talented directors including Nicholas McCarthy from The Pact and Dennis Widmyer and Kevin Kolsch from Starry Eyes. Each segment is short enough that it doesn’t drag but long enough to build a story. I was entertained from beginning to end, so go watch!
VHS 2 (2013)
I know, I know, VHS is already on here. But why mess with success? VHS 2 is another anthology that just nails it. This sequel continues what was so great about the original – clever, fresh stories, talented directors, fresh concept. All the stories in this sequel are great, but for me the best one far and away is “Safe Haven”, the segment shot as a documentary about a group who infiltrates an Indonesian cult. Great stuff and a must watch!
The Guest (2014)
Helmed by Adam Wingard (personal favorite of Meagan’s), this movie features Dan Stevens as David, a young man who comes to visit the Petersons – the family of a fellow soldier who was killed in action. David eventually ingratiates himself with every member of the Peterson family and becomes a valuable and helpful house guest. The only one who he can’t manage to charm is the daughter, Anna (Maika Monroe), who is decidedly less impressed. I won’t say any more about what happens as it would be spoilers abound but the movie is fun, cool, mysterious, and quirky. Much more of an action film than I was expecting but even more entertaining for that. And to add to the fun is the multitude of cameos from some of the best: Lance Reddick (The Wire), Leland Orser (Faults), AJ Bowen (A Horrible Way to Die), Ethan Embry (Can’t Hardly Wait, every other awesome thing), Joel David Moore (Dodgeball), and Chris Ellis (Armageddon). Go see it, if for no other reason than seeing Dan Stevens shirtless.
A Horrible Way to Die (2010)
Another one directed by Adam Wingard! A Horrible Way to Die tells the story of a convicted murderer (AJ Bowen) who escapes prison to find his former girlfriend (Amy Seimetz) who had moved to a small town to start over. The method of shooting with minimal lighting gives it a nice, darker feel that is necessary to set the tone for the plot. Seimetz does quiet desperation so well, especially in contrast to the robotic villain played by Bowen. Simple story, but handled with care, this is solid horror.
Starry Eyes (2014)
What would you do for fame? That’s the question posed in Starry Eyes. Sarah is a young actress living in L.A. and working towards her Hollywood dream. As happens to many other ingenues, she is not having the success she would like. As her desperation and hunger for fame grows, she turns to a mysterious but intriguing group for help, inevitably getting what she wants, but with a steep price. While this movie has a fairly predictable plot, it is also shot beautifully and Alexandra Esso, who plays Sarah, is truly great. Definitely check it out if you are as enraptured as we are with the dark side of Hollywood!
The Strangers (2008)
This movie has a fairly straightforward plot – a couple, recently at a crossroads in their relationship, goes to the man’s family cabin in the woods to figure everything out. As the night goes on, they realize they are being hunted, but they don’t know why. Rumored to be based on the Manson family murders, this movie will make you feel so deeply uncomfortable because it could so easily happen. There could be a thousand of these stalkers all over the country, and happenstance could bring them to your doorstep. Once it is over, this movie will leave you paranoid, but thoroughly entertained. A great one for “confronting your fears”!
So here you have our third 7 picks for our top horror movies for our “31 Horrors of Halloween”. Make sure to check next week for our fourth round of picks and a new list of horrors to haunt your nights and turn your dreams into nightmares.