Whether you’re coming home from a lively costume party or just clocked out from working the graveyard shift, watching horror movies is the perfect way to get into the Halloween spirit. With the film industry’s increasing oversaturation, it can be hard to discern which horror films will actually make your heart skip a beat. Ranging from iconic, creepy classics to nightmarish, recent releases, here are six horror movies guaranteed to make your blood run cold.
“Halloween Kills” (2021)
Set 40 years after the events of the original 1978 “Halloween,” “Halloween Kills” is the second installment in the rebooted trilogy of the slasher franchise. The film revisits the age-old feud between final girl Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and deranged serial killer Michael Myers (Nick Castle, James Jude Courtney). After being relentlessly tormented by Myers, Strode is depicted organizing a renegade mob to take on the killer with survivors of Myers’ past murder attempts.
“Halloween Kills” also features an unexpected, campy actress. “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” cast member Kyle Richards reprises her role as Lindsay Wallace, which she originally acted in at 8 years old, describing the experience as “surreal.” “Halloween Kills” is being shown in theaters and is available to stream on Peacock.
“Jennifer’s Body” (2009)
Ideal to watch due to the recent “Megan Fox renaissance,” “Jennifer’s Body” is an underrated, feminist cult classic. Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried star as best friends — Jennifer and Needy — who live in the small town of Devil’s Kettle, Minnesota. After a supernatural encounter with a visiting satanic rock band, Jennifer begins to act strangely, ultimately feasting on the boys who attend her high school.
While the film was originally panned by critics during its initial release — the film’s Rotten Tomato score was a meek 45% — many have attributed the negative feedback to the sexism of the film industry. Despite the critical backlash, viewers will find that “Jennifer’s Body” is a snappy, stylish, feminist commentary on the objectification of young women. “Jennifer’s Body” is available to stream on Prime Video with ads.
The “Scream” franchise is required viewing material for any self-proclaimed horror fan. Directed by esteemed horror film director Wes Craven, “Scream” acts as a self-aware commentary on the slasher genre — a category of horror movies in which a group of people are pursued by a singular killer — which Craven himself pioneered.
“Scream” follows high school student Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) and her group of friends navigating high school as they’re targeted by a mysterious killer nicknamed “Ghostface.” As they’re pursued by the killer, the teens remark about the different cliches and tropes of slasher films, giving the film a meta sense of humor. The franchise has four films, with a fifth — also titled “Scream” — premiering in theaters Jan. 14, 2022. “Scream” is available for purchase and rental on Prime Video.
“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (1975)
Pushing the boundaries of gender and sexuality, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is a perfect film for any non-horror fans looking for a spooky movie to get them into the Halloween spirit. Instead of acting as a straight-on horror film, “Rocky Horror” is a surreal, musical comedy that parodies the horror genre’s absurdities.
Based on a 1973 stage musical, the film follows Brad (Barry Bostwick) and Janet (Susan Sarandon), an engaged couple whose car breaks down in front of a mysterious mansion. Inside, they find Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry) — a cross-dressing mad scientist — among a plethora of zany side characters, leading them through a bizarre night they surely won’t forget.
Along with watching the film, you can also attend JMU Rocky Horror’s bi-annual shadowcast of the film Oct. 29-31 at the Court Square theater. “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is available to stream on Hulu.
Taking the form of an amateur documentary, “Creep” chronicles freelance filmmaker Aaron (Patrick Brice) as he’s hired by an eccentric stranger named Josef (Mark Duplass) to film a video diary of his day-to-day routine. Josef says the video diary will be shown to his unborn son, who Josef will never be able to meet because he has an inoperable brain tumor. What begins as an innocent, heart-warming documentary soon turns sinister as Josef’s behavior becomes increasingly odd and concerning.
The sequel — “Creep 2” — directly follows the cliffhanger ending of the first film, making it perfect for a “double feature” movie night. “Creep” and “Creep 2” are available to stream on Netflix.
“Last Night in Soho” (2021)
Set in London, “Last Night in Soho” depicts young fashion designer Eloise (Thomasin McKenzie) who discovers that she can travel into 1960s London by entering the body of infamous lounge singer, Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy). This film will be Taylor-Joy’s first leading role following her breakout performance in “The Queen’s Gambit” (2020) and marks her return to horror films after starring in M. Night Shyamalan’s “Split.” It also marks a return for esteemed director Edgar Wright, who’s previously directed films such as “Baby Driver” and “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.”
This is the first time Wright can be seen dipping his toe into the psychological horror genre, having only directed heavily stylized action films prior. “Last Night in Soho” is in theaters Oct. 29 — perfect for a Halloween date night.
Contact Jake Dodohara at email@example.com . For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter and Instagram @Breeze_Culture.