Every year, the film industry makes sure to save some horror movie gems for October, and this month is no exception. We’re gonna highlight some of the films you can catch in theaters while recommending similar films that you can enjoy at home.
Halloween hit theaters in 1978 and changed the horror genre like, well, a cleaver to the heart. Now, 44 years later, it’s still going strong. Following the trend of the newest iterations of popular franchises that are sequels/reboots, we have a new crop of Halloween films. Halloween 2018, Halloween Kills, and now Halloween Ends.
Halloween is The Slasher, and many a horror film owes quite a lot to it. Slashers are the sharks of the horror movie genre. Simple predators for the most part, yet terrifyingly effective. The stalking figure a mile behind gets your heart racing like a shark fin gliding through the water.
Our Slasher Recs Are
Nightmare on Elm Street – Born from the mind of Wes Craven, Freddy is perhaps the most iconic horror movie villain. He has his own theme song! Sure a killer who can take a bullet and keep trucking after you is scary, but what about one that haunts your dreams? That never lets you rest? That gives you chills just thinking about it.
Candyman – The 1992 film is still one of my favorites. The story follows Helen, a grad student studying urban legends. She takes an interest in one that circulates in the Cabrini-Green projects. The Candyman. Her research puts her right in the crosshairs of the living legend himself, played by actual living legend Tony Todd. I saw that movie as a kid and I still haven’t said Candyman three times while looking in a mirror.
Happy Death Day - And now for something lighter. Ground Hog Day, but with murder. Tree, short for Theresa, is a sorority girl who keeps reliving her birthday. That doesn’t seem so bad, except it always ends with her getting stabbed, drowned, hit by a car, hit by—you get the idea. The only way to break the loop is to figure out who the killer is and stop them. That’s harder than it sounds when you’re a mean girl and the suspects are everyone you’ve ever been mean to.
Another subgenre of horror is supernatural horror. And if that’s your jam, Prey for the Devil is probably one you’ll want to check out. A young nun with a dark history learns the art of exorcism in the bowels of the Vatican itself. It promises to be, at minimum, scary. Hopefully, it will be terrifying.
Our Supernatural Recs Are
The Exorcist - As an exorcism movie, Prey for the Devil owes quite a lot to the original. Precious few horror films have ever won an Oscar, and The Exorcist has two. It was also the first to be nominated for Best Picture. Decades later, it still holds up. A child is possessed by a demon. A priest is having a crisis of faith. What will happen, when the three of them cross paths? You’ll have to watch to find out.
The Omen – A lot of exorcism-related films are about demons, how about ones that are about the son of the devil? In The Omen, Robert Thorn and his wife end up raising the Antichrist, unbeknownst to them. Well, they might not know he is the Antichrist, but they are starting to realize that something is wrong with their son. I am pleased to report that both the 1976 original and the 2006 remake are good, so you can pick your poison.
The Orphanage, or El orfanato - Turning a corner from demon to ghosts, we come to one of the most haunting horror films you will ever see. Laura was an orphan with a happy story; she was adopted and grew up loved. Now as an adult, she wants to return the favor. She and her husband purchase the orphanage she once lived in and hope to turn it into a facility for disabled children. But soon, odd things begin to happen and her own son goes missing. Not a lot of jumpscares in this one, but heartbreak. And a lot of creepy atmosphere.
And our bonus recommendation is for Trick r’ Treat, which is showing in theaters this year. It’s a fun, morbid, Halloween staple. I put it on every year.
Make sure to watch with the lights off!