Halloweekend is here, which for some is a treat and others a damn spooky trick. For those of you who aren’t ready, Inverse wants to help you get in the spirit with some movies that are good for your ghoulish soul.
If you want something that will make you afraid to be alone in the dark, we have a list of scary movies — but this isn’t it. These films are those must-see classics and thrillers that you’ve been missing out on. So go ahead and watch them, before your worst fear comes true: your friends make references on Halloween that you wish you understood.
This movie is still resulting in more films — Hellraiser: Judgment will be the tenth one in the franchise. But the classic that started it all is obviously the best, especially because of how freaky and seemingly realistic the effects are for an ‘80s flick. What’s cool about this film is that Clive Barker, who wrote the book the movie is based on, also directed the film.
10. The Invitation
There’s nothing in the seemingly innocuous plot of this movie that hints at how especially inventive or imaginative the film turns out to be. The Invitation nails what’s so important in psychological thrillers: inciting a combination of suspicion and paranoia in the audience. You have no idea how messed up everything is until it sneaks up on you in the end which, in my opinion, is the best form of mind-fuckery.
This is another horror film that makes use of the found footage technique popularized by The Blair Witch Project, but it’s able to avoid predictable cliches anyway. This film inadvertently adds fire behind the fear that answering an ad over the Internet could go horribly wrong. The film premiered at South by Southwest in 2014 and very much echoes the festival’s indie offbeat feel. A sequel called Creep 2 was just released this week.
8. Gerald’s Game
Netflix back at it again with the OG content! Gerald’s Game gets its premise from a Stephen King novel, every movie director’s favorite inspiration. This movie is insane in that the majority of it takes place with only one character present, but it ensures that you identify with her a lot. She’s in the middle of the woods in handcuffs with no one near to give her any hope she’ll be found. I’ll save the ending for you, but I always love a strong female protagonist.
7. The Sixth Sense
It’s required to put this on a spooky list as long as Netflix keeps this masterpiece up. And it’s essentially M. Night Shyamalan’s claim to fame and arguably still his best work. Chances are the twist ending in this film has been spoiled for you — if not, stop reading and go watch now. Even if you do know how it ends, it’s worth watching over and over.
Like The Invitation, Hush’s premise doesn’t seem to be anything amazing: a woman lives alone and an intruder breaks in. Except the woman in this movie is mute and deaf and you immediately feel for her. Also, the lack of her voice in the film means the focus stays on the action that’s taking place and not on eerie predictable background soundtracks. Also, sorry if you’re a fan of John Gallagher Jr. when he was the nice guy in The Newsroom — he’s the bad guy here, which kind of ruins that.
5. Children of the Corn
Any horror movie you have seen featuring creepy children (The Ring), creepy small towns (Silent Hill), or a bickering couple entering a creepy space (Vacancy) is a derivative of Children of the Corn. It naturally began as a Stephen King story and subsequently became a film franchise longer than The Land Before Time. Take in the original while you can on Netflix. As a bonus, it’s also got one of its nine follow-ups (Children of the Corn: Genesis).
4. The Host
We’re talking about a 2006 Korean film here, not the movie based off a book by the Twilight author! There aren’t many monster movies out there that are actually good, but this one is for sure an exception. The director so cheekily and amazingly creates these metaphorical monsters, who you realize through the movie represent the toxicity of capitalism and American superiority and the military. So yeah, this movie is deceptively dark.
3. The Babadook
Sleeper hit The Babadook has been acclaimed as one of the better cult horror flicks in recent years, boasting a whopping 98% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes for good reason. This modern-day bogeyman tale about a children’s story that becomes all too real will change the way you regard “children’s” tales. What’s a good horror movie for if not to make you jumpy around seemingly innocuous things?
2. It Follows
Another movie with incredible meaning once you look past the surface plot. Never would you think a movie could be so scary that seems to straight on address the danger STIs. This incredibly original masterpiece evokes paranoia in you because you’re right there with the characters never knowing when the next “it” will be near. There’s no passion or purpose in the killings — it just happens, making the nightmare all the more horrifying.
Ever wonder what human flesh tastes like? Just me? This movie entertains the idea that eating raw meat causes a person to crave human flesh, and cannibalism is always a fun concept! This movie, besides being a horror type, also focuses on feminism and a girl’s coming-of-age. So while this movie is gory like many horror films with no plot line, Raw is also incredibly thought-provoking and metaphorical. For the sick and twisted, this movie is perfect for you. For the rest, it’s still a must-see.