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Forget tricks or treats, Halloween is all about those glass-shattering shrieks. These classic scary movies have all you need for a spooky night in. Be sure to keep one eye over your shoulder–you never know what’s hiding in the shadows.
“The Interior”, 2015
My best elevator pitch for this movie would be that it’s the arthouse version of “The Blair Witch Project” but without any of the awful found footage.
And while Blair Witch is known for its sparseness and efficiency—relying on only three characters and creating terror and suspense without the help of effects or any real budget, “The Interior” does all of these same things, only in an even more concise and mysterious format.
The movie, which contains almost no dialogue, chronicles a protagonist who, after likely learning of a serious illness (although we never know for sure), retreats deeper and deeper into the Canadian wilderness and the trenches of wild, absurd horror.
Here’s the thing about this movie, though: nothing really happens, so what comes next is difficult to explain. It feels equal parts David Lynch and wilderness nightmare flick, as the movie’s only real character descends into a state that becomes increasingly horrifying and unmoored from the tenants of reality.
“Goodnight Mommy” (“Ich seh, Ich seh”), 2014
Well, first off, where would a list of pretentious horror movies be without one that isn’t in English?
Secondly, don’t let the poorly translated title fool you, this one’s a winner, and much more traditional than our last selection, if that was too nebulous for you.
Where “Goodnight Mommy” gets most of its power from—outside of directors Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala’s haunting use of a deeply troubling atmosphere—is the plot alone. Because deep down, this is a simple movie where terror is built around a simple premise: what if your mother went to the hospital for facial surgery, and a different person returned?
Two young Austrian twins become suspicious of their mother—whom they live alone with—after she returns from surgery with her face covered in bandages. Strange things begin happening; she isn’t acting the same. The question then begins to form: is it even her under all of those wrappings?
While the movie isn’t perfect—and it does start to lose steam with the use of a questionable twist—this one packs enough pure situational fear into the frightening moments it has, and is so deeply uncomfortable at times, that it would be a shame to miss.
“Trigger Man”, 2007
You may know Ti West from recent horror standouts like “The House of the Devil” (2009) and “The Innkeepers” (2011), but now you’ll have a chance to tell your friends the old “I like his early stuff better” line. And you’ll probably mean it.
“Trigger Man” will likely be one of the most unique—and most polarizing—horror films you’ll ever see. And thankfully that’s not due to the use of cryptic symbols or insufferable
In fact, it’s actually the opposite. The movie opens with three friends on a casual day hunting trip, and for a long while, nothing really happens.
Then, one of the characters is shot by an off-screen assassin who appears to be targeting hikers and outdoor recreationists at random, and all hell breaks loose .
Without giving anything away, the rest of the film is one tightly-wound ball of adrenaline and animal terror: one impossibly long run-for-your-lives-through-the-woods chase scene.
It’s strange, unrelenting, and also a real directorial accomplishment. While it does feel a bit like a filmmaking experiment (because really, it is), and can be unpolished sometimes, “Trigger Man” is a real experience, and something you’re either going to love or hate.
“The Blackcoat’s Daughter”, 2015
You might recognize the name of writer and director Oz Perkins from the Netflix-produced “I am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House” (2016). For fans of this tightly-controlled and slow-burning atmospheric flick, “The Blackcoat’s Daughter” delivers on the same level, only with a more compelling and engaging premise.
From the start, the movie’s narrative is fractured and erratic, as it leaps between different protagonists while circling around an ominous boarding school that several students find themselves stranded in during holiday break. The whole time, rumors of occult activity and eerie circumstance swirl around the school like the winter snow.
Complete with its own share of expertly-handled twists, this one keeps its creepy grip on your arm for 93 whole minutes.
With all of its jagged, erratic protagonists and plotlines, what truly makes this one stand out is the muffled, atmospheric beauty always brimming below the surface. There are scenes of figures in black rooms with only a shred of light that are so haunting and beautiful you briefly lose track of everything else.
It renders a complex and moving portrait of loneliness intermingled with real, genuine fear. Don’t miss it.
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