Whether or not I indulge in candy and costumes is a tossup every Halloween, but there’s always one craving I simply can’t make it through October without satisfying. This is the creeptastic craving for scary movies. After all, as the nights get colder and leaves start changing colors, there’s nothing quite like snuggling up under a blanket with a bowl of snacks (which may or may not be cavity-inducing) and watching a marathon of movies that make you scream bloody murder and sleep with the lights on. I’m beyond excited to indulge this cinematic craving tomorrow night at Screamfest LA, where a friend and I will be attending screenings of some new horror films. And, in anticipation of this gory little film fest, I figured I’d share some of the other scary movies that are on my mind this season…
- “Sleepy Hollow” (1999) – I’m a sucker for Tim Burton, if for no other reason than my love of the elaborate mechanical devices his movies are so often crawling with (just look at the above photo or any frame from “Edward Scissorhands” for examples). While many Burton films embody a sense of whimsy, “Sleepy Hollow” is decidedly dark. The movie tells Burton’s take on the tale of the Headless Horseman, and brims with period costumes, fog-cloaked trees, and quirky-yet-mysterious characters. Not only does this film have a great visual aesthetic, but it actually builds a lot of suspense and tension, which is the main reason it’s landing at the top of this list.
- “Rosemary’s Baby” (1968) – From famous writer/director Roman Polanski, this psychological-horror film preys on our fears of child-bearing, haunted apartment buildings, and romantic betrayal. Bonus: this movie is where Mia Farrow’s famous bob haircut originated. If you haven’t seen it, just take my word for it and rent this gem. While you’re at it, maybe you can plan a triple-feature of vintage horror movies, throwing “Notorious” (1946) and “Halloween” (1978) into the mix.
- “Suspiria” (1977) – This is essentially an Italian art film with a lot of 1970s flair, and a couple gruesome scenes that set the horror-movie world abuzz way back in the day. It’s about a bunch of ballerinas/witches, and features a protagonist who is far too passive for my taste. Despite the lackluster heroine and unsatisfying story, this film is really visually captivating. If I were the type to throw holiday parties, this would be the perfect movie to play in the background to set an artsy/spooktastic mood.
- “Skeleton Key” (2005) – Hauntings, possessions, Southern mansions, and voodoo are just a few of the elements that make this film one of the most underrated horror flicks of the past decade. “What are some of the other keys to this movie’s scare factor?” you may ask. Well, there’s Kate Hudson, Peter Sarsgaard, and the words of Ehren Kruger, one of my favorite screenwriters. (Full disclosure: Kruger may have written “Transformers 3,” but he also wrote “The Ring” and other horror classics. This guy knows how to keep you on the edge of your seat.)
- “Orphan” (2009) – In this suspenseful tale, a married couple adopts a young girl who turns out to be a lot less innocent than she initially seems. Unlike a lot of viewers, I was not at all shocked by the ending, but I still enjoyed the flick (which says a lot). The film hits all the right horror beats, and features some really memorable scares and creepy visuals, making it a perfect movie to watch while snacking on leftover candy and peeking out from behind your fingers.
Psst: If you don’t see anything here that strikes your fancy, you may want to check out my all-time-favorite scary movies or this post about family-friendly Halloween movies. Do you have a favorite scary movie? I would love to hear all the gory details! Leave a comment.