This outfit is decidedly not scary, unless you’re the type to be squicked by my harlequin pin. Even in sheep’s clothing, though, I’m as wolfish as ever. Longtime readers have some inkling of how big a horror fan I am. If you’re new here, you probably also have some inkling. Seriously, I’m not subtle.
This is the first of many haunted posts to come. In preparation for your Halloweekend, have some of my favorite scary tales.
- The VVitch I reviewed this film back in February after seeing it in theaters, and I stand by everything I said. “Rural religious gothic” is my favorite genre of anything ever, and boy howdy does The VVitch deliver. I have a really, really high bar for “unsettling”. I’ve spent ten years of my life working Halloween events; I’ve peeked behind the curtain so many times the curtain ceases to be. But The VVitch actually has a few scenes that felt too alien to be looking at. Like you’ve walked in on something profoundly other and you can’t find the door.
- Black Swan Another one I saw in theaters. I’m really not a cinema person. I go twice a year, if that. Black Swan was unequivocally worth it. It was my favorite horror film until The VVitch came along. Even though it’s been supplanted, it still creeps behind my eyes when I’m falling asleep.
- The Silence of the Lambs This movie scared my mother senseless when it came out, so I was forbidden to go near it growing up. When I finally saw it at 17, I wondered what all the fuss was about. It’s not really scary in the visceral sense – at least, it doesn’t trip that particular wire for me. But it’s a masterpiece of atmosphere. Plus, Anthony Hopkins. He won Best Actor that year for sixteen minutes of screentime, yet his presence suffuses the entire film.
- American Psycho Again, not particularly scary. Not really intended to be, in this case – it’s more of a black comedy. But it’s a really excellent pastiche of the slasher genre, and also probably the best book-to-film adaptation I’ve ever seen. The novel is one of my favorite books, so that’s high praise.
- Changeling I first watched this movie with a fever of a hundred and three, and I can say with confidence that that is the best way to watch it. It will mess. you. up. And Angelina Jolie is fabulous in anything.
- Revenants “The year is 1689. Situated on the northern boundary of the Massachusetts Bay colony, the town of Cold Marsh is a place of secrets, a village characterized by repression and guilt. … Two of the town’s young women have vanished under mysterious circumstances, and the country seethes with rumors of witchcraft and devilry. Even their God has abandoned them. When a third young woman disappears, the men of the village determine to leave the safety of the village and enter the other world of the woods in search of her.”
- The Winter People “West Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter. … Nineteen-year-old Ruthie is startled to find a copy of Sara Harrison Shea’s diary hidden beneath the floorboards of her mother’s bedroom.”
- Incubus “It begins with the theft of six candles from the church altar, a few herbs found strewn in the local graveyard. In the summer of 1974, the prosperous farming community of Dry Falls, Maine, is hit by a brutal heat wave. Crops fail. Drought blights once-verdant lawns. Men inexplicably lose all interest in sex, while women complain of erotic nocturnal visitations. Farm animals give birth to monstrosities. An unholy, unimaginable force is disrupting the natural order—and it seems to be specifically targeting Dry Falls.”
- Eumenides in the Fourth Floor Lavatory
- Her Name Was Emma
- Real Hunger Can’t Be Fed
- “Grim Grinning Ghosts”
- “Mordred’s Lullaby”
- “Rama Lama (Bang Bang)”
- “In the Dark of the Night”
- “Locked Within the Crystal Ball”
- “All Souls Night”