Netflix is filled to the brim with great horror movies right now, and I, of course, am long overdue to recommend some movies to you. So, grab yourself some candy corn and a bottle of Oktoberfest and start setting up your Netflix queue because I’ve got 20 great movies you need to be watching this month.
Scream, 1996, dir. Wes Craven
Scream is my personal favorite horror movie. It’s the horror movie for movie buffs. It’s super, super 90s, which is always welcome in my book, and Matthew Lillard is in it, which is also always welcome in my book. Scream was written by Kevin Williamson who writes a lot of great horror/thriller genre titles including The Following and Stalker. Williamson is responsible for a load of 90s excellence namely Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, and, surprisingly, many an episode of Dawson’s Creek. While the first installment of Scream is the best, the entire trilogy is on Netflix and it’s a top notch trilogy… just leave out Scream 4. I like to pretend it doesn’t exist.
Cabin In The Woods, 2012, dir. Drew Goddard
Cabin In The Woods takes a wicked awesome turn not even half way through the movie. It’s written by Joss Whedon, who many people think turns everything he touches to gold.
Black Sunday, 1960, dir. Mario Bava
A lot of Mario Bava’s films are on Netflix right now, but Black Sunday is the creepiest. I mean, just look at that picture. Those are the most terrifying eyes I’ve ever seen in my life! No Steve Buscemi jokes, please. 😉
The Blair Witch Project, 1999, dir. Daniel Myrick & Eduardo Sanchez
Okay, The Blair Witch Project gets a lot of flack, but it’s a classic. It defined the found footage genre and terrified the pants off a ton of 90s kids. I remember seeing the trailer and hearing my cousin and her friend talk about wanting to go see it and being scared for my life that the witch that took the three filmmakers that went out into those woods was going to somehow make her way to me because I wanted to be a filmmaker at the time. It’s scary, and yes, at times goofy. But when they get to that house at the end… all bets are off.
Carrie, 1976, dir. Brian De Palma
I’m just going to say this: the scene where Piper Laurie is going after Sissy Spacek with that knife STILL permeates my nightmares.
Evil Dead II, 1987, dir. Sam Raimi
Grave Encounters, 2011, dir. The Vicious Brothers
It’s going to become aware that I really really like found footage films. They bring the scares, and Grave Encounters is no different. A television production crew (think Ghost Hunters) travels to an abandoned mental hospital and some scary stuff happens. See photo above.
The House of the Devil, 2009, dir. Ti West
The thing I liked about this movie is the fact that it looked and felt like a late 70s/early 80s horror film. It was shot on 16mm which did the trick, but the absolute coolest thing is that they promotionally released it on VHS. In 2009! So cool. The story was captivating until the end (the end disappointed me, but this is a great watch. Greta Gerwig is in it and she’s great).
Insidious 2, 2013, dir. James Wan
James Wan has directed so many of my favorite horror movies of the past decade. Insidious 2 is frightening, and the story is unique.
Let The Right One In, 2008, dir. Tomas Alfredson
A modern classic vampire story.
Night of the Living Dead, 1968, dir. George A. Romero
The definitive zombie film. Forget The Walking Dead (seriously).
Paranormal Activity 4, 2012, dir. Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman
Okay, so look. I know a lot of people hate on the Paranormal Activity franchise, but there is absolutely nothing better than going to the theater to see one of these films on opening night and getting jump scared over and over again. I thought Paranormal Activity 4 was great; I think all of them are great. Disagree all you want. They’re fun, fun movies.
Red State, 2011, dir. Kevin Smith
Red State was a pleasant surprise. Kevin Smith, who you probably know better as Silent Bob, wrote and directed this film and just released a new horror film, Tusk, that I’m psyched for, especially after seeing Red State.
V/H/S, 2012, dir. Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, David Bruckner, Tyler Gillett, Justin Martinez, Glenn McQuaid, Radio Silence, Joe Swanberg, Chad Villella, Ti West, & Adam Wingard
Until I saw V/H/S, I hadn’t ever seen a film that I wanted to turn off within the first 20 minutes because I was shaking-scared. There’s something about V/H/S that just crawls under your skin. I highly recommend it, though, because it is freaking horrifying. I’ll admit right here right now that when I went to google a photo to use for this movie I was scared because I knew I was going to use a photo of the “I like you” girl and I didn’t want to look at her because she gives me nightmares.
V/H/S 2, 2013, dir. Simon Barrett, Jason Eisner, Gareth Evans, Gregg Hale, Eduardo Sanchez, Timo Tjahjanto, & Adam Wingard
Remember what I said about V/H/S? Yeah, same goes for V/H/S 2.
You’re Next, 2011, dir. Adam Wingard
Adam Wingard directed and Joe Swanberg wrote You’re Next, and they both directed shorts in the V/H/S movies, so I had high expectations for this. It was good, not great, but highly entertaining and a good one to keep in your queue for a Halloween movie marathon.
Dead Silence, 2007, dir. James Wan
A. Ventriloquist dummies (which were made terrifying for all children of the Goosebumps generation, thanks R.L. Stine) and B. Mary Shaw, who is the Woman in Black but more visible due to more camera time, and scarier. I mean, she’s a ventriloquist with like a million dummies!
Bad Milo, 2013, dir. Jacob Vaughan
Horror comedies are the best, and while nothing can trump Shaun of the Dead, Bad Milo makes a valiant effort. It stars Ken Marino and Gillian Jacobs, and that simple fact makes me very, very happy.
Rosemary’s Baby, 1968, dir. Roman Polanski
I’ve mentioned Rosemary’s Baby before in my 1960s film recommendations post, and I’m mentioning it again because it’s that good. Just watch it. If you haven’t yet you’re a fool.
Zodiac, 2007, dir. David Fincher
Let us list the terrific components of this movie, shall we? David Fincher. Jake Gyllenhaal. Robert Downey, Jr. Chloë Sevigny. Mark Ruffalo. True crime. It’s all there, and it’s all perfect, which explains why this film is the best feature film adaptation of a true crime book to ever exist. I challenge anyone to challenge that, because I want more true crime films.