Harrowing Halloween Horror Films


By Landon Stokes & Corey O’Leary

Netflix Horror Ideas

 This Halloween, get into the mood by watching a couple of these horror movie recommendations. We chose great films on Netflix and Amazon so you can instantly watch these spooky tales with family and friends!

Let The Right One In (2008): The vampire genre has been through some trying times as of late, with hollow characters and cheap thrills taking precedence over conveying meaningful emotions. However disreputable this genre may seem lately, there are still gems to be found within. One of these masterpieces is a Swedish film Let The Right One In, where the vampire story serves solely as a vehicle to examine true human emotion and relationships. The film depicts the story of a young boy who befriends a vampire child and explores this relationship, a relationship that the pair of child actors help bring alive through their brilliant performances. While this may not concentrate as much on gore and scares as it’s genre brothers and sisters, Let The Right One In tells a fantastic story that will leave you satisfied on a number of cinematic levels.

 Rosemary’s Baby (1968): Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby is as affecting now as it was when originally released in 1968. This classic is a masterpiece in tone and execution. Polanski weaves a tale that has an eerie ambience and characters while creating a beautiful sense of uneasiness throughout the film. This movie gains its slow, burning intensity through expert performances, great sound design, and spot-on camera work and set design. The tale finds strength in the information it holds from viewers and doesn’t lose steam as more is being revealed. Viewers who can identify with the sense that everything is conspiring against them will absolutely squirm at this tale of suspected witchcraft. This movie is for the horror fan who can appreciate a slower-paced film that excellently builds its sense of dread.

The Babadook (2014): Jennifer Kent’s divine debut film, The Babadook, has something for every horror fan. The high tension scenes make you want to hide behind your sheets, the smart screenplay allows for further exploration into the meaning of the work, and the beautifully shot disturbing imagery will leave you cringing in the best kind of way. The incredible performance by Essie Davis alone makes the movie worth checking out. Channeling many classic horror tropes, The Babadook manages to create something surprisingly unique, exhibiting the perfect amount of restraint while managing to show visceral imagery that genre fans love. This movie is one of the most beloved horror movies of the past couple of years and will deliver classic scares for Halloween as well as a creating a memorable story.

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (2008): This horror comedy serves up a heaping of thrills and laughs alike by poking fun at classic horror elements while embracing the crazy gore and ex machina that many slashers are known for. Exploring the classic slasher genre through the lens of two well-meaning hillbillies who are mistaken for serial killers. This dark comedy does not shy away from gore, yet plays its cards right making the deaths depicted hilariously instead of gruesomely. Most surprising about the movie is the heart, something the script manages to maintain despite the over-the-top premise. However the large the range of emotions Tucker and Dale makes you feel, the filmmakers make the transition of tone feel natural and manages to avoid jarring tonal shifts. This movie is the perfect mix of Halloween thrills delivered through gore and light-hearted laughs.

V/H/S 2 (2013): This horror anthology consists of four short vignettes bound together by one over-arching narrative. Despite appearing in the same movie, the shorts, which are all directed by a different director, manage to vary greatly in terms of the type of horror they portray. While the first to short films are much more experimental, the second two fall under more conventional terms. What you will get when you watch V/H/S 2, however, is a healthy dose of blood and gore mixing intriguing stories with solid horror direction. The variety helps ensure that you’ll find a horror story that you will love.

Amazon Prime Video

The Blair Witch Project (1999): In this found-footage horror flick, three cinematography students arrive at the town of Burkittsville, Maryland to investigate and document a local urban legend known as the Blair Witch. According to legend, the Blair Witch was a woman in the 1700s who was convicted and executed for witchcraft. Over 200 later in the 1940s, children started to vanish near the site of her execution in the woods near Burkittsville, and the locals avoided traveling too deep into the woods ever since. It all starts off as a simple documentary, until their camera man goes missing and the remaining two students find themselves lost in the woods. A year later, only the footage of their nightmare is found. As a fan of found-footage horror films, I enjoyed this movie quite a bit. While not necessarily the most terrifying premise for a horror movie, the unique first-person storytelling of the events during the students’ hunt for the Blair Witch through the eyes of a portable camera brings a dimension of realism to the piece. If you’re someone who enjoys horror that feels real, definitely check out this movie.

Ju-on: The Grudge (2004): In this Japanese horror film, a volunteer nurse is assigned to a family whose house is anything but normal. Soon after beginning her stay, she hears stories of previous owners experiencing supernatural events, all of which ending up going completely insane or murdered. It doesn’t take long for the curse to descend on the nurse, and she is forced to find out the truth behind the evil spirits that eternally exist inside the house, or be murdered like the rest. Since the movie is in Japanese with no English dub, I had no choice but to watch the movie with (slightly butchered) English subtitles. Having to read the entire movie did somewhat detract from my overall experience, but I can confirm that an English dub would ruin the entire feel of the movie. Despite somewhat distracted, I was nonetheless genuinely terrified. The looming, dark tone of the movie set within me as I watched, and I’m willing to consider it one of the better horror movies I’ve seen. If you don’t mind a bit of reading with your terror, I would definitely recommend watching this movie.

 Stephen King’s The Mist (2007): Life in this small town in Maine is as picture-perfect normal as could be, until a mysterious fog rolls in across the lake in the center of town as a violent storm brews. At first, the residents dismiss it as a mere lightning storm, but when military squads sent out into the mist never return, panic ensues upon the townspeople. And that’s before the bloodthirsty creatures descend upon them from the fog. I went into this movie with high hopes considering it was adapted from a story written by the legendary horror suspense author Stephen King, but it fell a little short in my eyes. While there are  moments of tension and suspense, I didn’t find myself ever actually scared. The premise of the movie was interesting, and the unknown of the fog preys at the human condition of fearing the unknown, but the apocalyptic-esque events that break out when the monsters reveal themselves to the townspeople completely ruined any horror that could’ve been gleaned from this movie. As maybe a suspense or thriller movie lover, you might enjoy this movie. But anyone looking for an actual horror movie will most likely be rather disappointed.