Spine-tingling horror movies await!
Illustration by Alex Suarez, Columbia College
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Spine-tingling horror movies await!
Illustration by Alex Suarez, Columbia College

Pop some popcorn and cozy up with your favorite blanket to watch these hauntingly good scary movies.

With the spooky season fast approaching, many people are ready to watch horror movies and get into the fall spirit. While there are plenty of horror movie genres to choose from, there are certainly a few standouts. From creepy classics to cheesy horror, any of these eight movies (and a few new terrors) are sure to cause some entertaining frights.

1. Halloween

No horror movie marathon would be complete without the film that started the slasher-film frenzy. “Halloween” is the 1978 classic by John Carpenter who brought the infamous character Michael Myers to life. While there were many sequels, the original story revolves around Myers terrorizing and brutalizing the fictional suburban town of Haddonfield, Illinois. The film was also Jamie Lee Curtis’ acting debut and would eventually help solidify her status as a renowned actress. Even just a few seconds of the iconic “Halloween” theme music and it’ll feel like the scariest season again.

Autumn Reeser Christmas Movies
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2. Scream

Scream” is the kind of film you can watch over and over and still appreciate its twists and humor. The plot follows Sidney Prescott, a teenage girl quickly targeted by the “Ghostface” killer terrorizing her town. The recognizable Ghostface mask appears in Halloween stores yearly, and with good reason. “Scream” is aware of the common cliches of teen horror movies, making the film a blend of humor and scares that curves expectations. The first film, by popular horror director Wes Craven, spawned an entire franchise, so if you like the film you have plenty left to enjoy.

3. Hereditary

From the film production powerhouse A24, “Hereditary” is so much more than a jump-scare movie. The plot centers around a family dealing with unimaginable loss. It’s a story about grieving and confronting what our family passes down to us. While the movie centers around family, it is not a heartfelt tale but rather something disturbing and truly unsettling. Director Ari Aster created an artful film that has changed the landscape of contemporary horror. With stunning acting, arresting monologues and shocking visuals, “Hereditary” is the kind of movie that stays in your mind for years to come. This film has a fair amount of gore and should be watched with caution.

4. It (2017)

The horror genre wouldn’t be the same without the master of scary, Stephen King. One of his most popular books, “IT,” has traumatized fans with the killer clown character “Pennywise” for decades. While the original short television series from 1990 still holds up today, the 2017 remake of “It” is a must-see. A group of childhood friends called the Loser’s Club team up to protect the town of Derry, Maine, from the shapeshifting, villainous Pennywise. The kids take on a daunting job and face some terrifying situations, but the film manages to balance it with comedic moments and a strong friendship. With excellent performances from Finn Wolfhard, Bill Skarsgård, Sophia Lillis and more, there’s even a “Chapter 2” if you can’t get enough of the Loser’s Club.

5. Gremlins

If you’re looking for a creepy premise that won’t scare you too much, the 1984 classic “Gremlins” is the perfect pick. Rated PG, the movie follows a family man who buys a small, furry creature called a “mogwai” as a Christmas present for his son. The cute pet quickly turns evil after its very important care instructions are ignored. With a lighter rating, this movie is more of a family-friendly Halloween classic, and a story with unforgettable moments and great plot. It may have you looking at your furry friends a little differently, though.

6. The Taking of Deborah Logan

The Taking of Deborah Logan” is not for the faint of heart. While found-footage movies are very popular in the horror genre, this 2014 film uses the “documentary” style to the fullest. The plot follows a documentary crew filming an elderly woman who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, though supernatural forces slowly reveal terrifying truths. The movie has some seriously frightening images, with a script that will shake you to the core. “The Taking of Deborah Logan” is a great pick for unafraid viewers looking for a great possession movie. You may want to keep a light on while you watch this one.

 7. Dracula (1931)

Dracula” is an infamous monster, easily the most recognizable bloodsucking vampire across all media. With so many adaptations, interpretations and mentions of the long-standing character, it can be refreshing to view the original renditions. The 1931 “Dracula” remains one of the top movies in horror, telling of the vampire’s kills across London in stunning black and white. With heavy influences from the original Bram Stoker novel, the “Dracula” movie tells a timeless tale with rich visuals. Many streaming platforms carry the 1931 version, and it’s a great start for a Dracula-themed movie marathon.

8. The Shining

Another story based off the work of Stephen King, “The Shining” is hailed as one of the greatest films in cinema, horror or otherwise. The film directed by Stanley Kubrick follows the Torrance family after they move into the large (and extremely haunted) Overlook hotel in Colorado. As father Jack Torrance carries out his duties as the hotel’s caretaker, strange and unexplainable occurrences begin to show what hides in the history of the hotel. While the two and a half hour run time can seem a bit daunting, the rigorous visuals and strong storywriting make “The Shining” a piece of art everyone should watch at least once.

Whether you’re a horror movie fanatic or you simply want to watch a film or two to get into the spooky mood, there are plenty of alluring movies to choose from. With varying sub-genres and haunting plot lines, horror has much to offer. Hopefully one of these eight choices can start your movie-watching off on the right frightening foot. Happy watching!

Writer Profile

Vanessa Rivera

James Madison University
Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communication (WRTC) and a minor in Creative Writing

Vanessa is a writing, rhetoric and technical communication major and creative writing minor at James Madison University in Virginia. When she’s not reading and writing she loves baking and making long Spotify playlists.

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