It’s October, so here are my 55 favorite horror movies in no particular order! I meant to get this out toward the beginning of the month and not with only uhhh one day left. Better late than never, right? And if the rumors are true, you can watch horror movies whenever you want and not just in October. Wow! I’ve also got you covered with this Letterboxd list in case you don’t want to scroll through my unhinged rambling.
A Note Before We Begin:
I’m not particularly interested in nitpicking what is and isn’t “horror.” If you come across something on this list that you don’t think is actually a horror movie, maybe try to think about why I included it. Horror doesn’t always look like what you’d expect. Horror As Genre warrants it’s own post, but very quickly: I think horror is anything that points at something and says “isn’t this scary?” in the same way comedy points at things and says “isn’t this funny?” Horror is anything that confronts darkness, or turns our fears and anxieties into something tangible that we can no longer ignore. And, of course, horror just feels like horror. “Would you care to elaborate?” No.
We’re still reading Kwaidan: Stories And Studies Of Strange Things! Check out Part 1 if you haven’t already, in which I talk about the writer Lafcadio Hearn and go through the first five stories.
“Kwaidan is a collection of old Japanese ghost stories and folklore. “Ghost stories” isn’t the most accurate term for Kwaidan, but essentially, yeah, it’s a bunch of ghost stories. There are 17 stories, ranging from spooky to funny to sad to just kind of mundane. In any case, I love a ghost story and looking at old horror is fun because you can’t help but notice how we’ve never stopped conjuring the same strange things.”
This post’s a little long so let’s just get right into it!
It’s already 2020 so the time for “End Of The Year” lists may have already passed (here’s mine), but I wanted to take a second to mention a few recent horror/horror-adjacent movies I watched in 2019 that you might have missed. I’m focusing on some less-talked about movies here, so you’re not gonna see things like Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark, Midsommar or Us on this list. Don’t get me wrong, those movies are great. They just don’t really need me giving them a visibility boost. Your mileage may vary with these, especially since some of them haven’t seen much buzz due to uhhh “poor critical acclaim,” but whatever! Here are 13 recent movies you might have never heard of, glazed over, need an excuse to watch, or just forgot about that Ienjoyed. Maybe you will too!
Disclaimer: this isn’t meant to be a comprehensive list because I too haven’t seen a few of the 2019 horror movies on my list (such as Little Monsters, Girl On The Third Floor, Depraved, Lux, etc.)
I’ve had a copy of Lafcadio Hearn’s Kwaidan: Stories And Studies Of Strange Things lying around my room for a while now, but I thought I’d finally crack it open and give it an honest read for Halloween (which, as we know, is Oct. 1 – Dec. 31).
Everyone’s ghosts look different. We’ve got some that are Patrick Swayze from Ghost (1990), just people with unfinished business taking on a spectral form. Other times, they’re Patrick Swayze but so far removed from their lived life and warped by the years that become something twisted and horrid thing. And sometimes, a ghost is just a feeling imprinted on a moment of time and space. In Ju-On: The Grudge, a ghost is a stain.
There’s an unfortunately common trope in horror where beautiful white Westerners vacation in a Foreign Land only to be slaughtered by STRANGE EXOTIC HORRORS, which more often than not simply The Natives. The premise of The Ruins seems like it’ll fit that bill, but from the first few pages you can tell it’s something different. Basically, The Ruins (the novel, that is) is a story about how some privileged fucks get what’s coming to them. They’re doomed before they even arrive at the titular ruins. And if that wasn’t cool enough, it’s also about some nasty, mischievous, no-good man-eating plants.