9 horror movies worth watching this Halloween

I’ve watched quite a few horror movies in my life. I have always liked pop culture, and horror movies have a way of entering our collective societal conscious. They reveal something about our culture–what scares us, what excites us, what social ills we fear.

Alien’s Ridley Scott is iconic because she plays a working class woman more likely to follow procedure than emotion, a novelty for the time. The more recent It Follows is a transparent yet complicated metaphor for American tension with sexuality.

I enjoy watching and analyzing horror movies. I also enjoy the rush of adrenaline from the occasional jump scare. But there are only some horror movies I would watch over and over.

You’ll note the lack of slasher films on this list. Slasher films as a genre don’t appeal to me as much. I feel they too often let gore take the place of true horror. There also aren’t many classics on this list. There are a few I have yet to see. But while I can appreciate them for what they are, I have no desire to rewatch them. I haven’t quite figured out why this is. Perhaps my millennial sensibilities find the antiquated special effects lacking when rewatched.

Movies Targeted for Kids that Still Terrify Me

Hocus Pocus (1993)

Hocus Pocus is an amazing movie. It makes me laugh, cry, and squirm in terror. It also taught me the value of keeping lots of salt nearby.

Casper (1995)

Some of the horror of this movie comes from how gross the other ghosts are. The romance of the movie combined with the cool gizmos, like the stairs down to the laboratory, make it worth while.

Self-referential Horror

Cabin in the Woods (2012)

Everyone loves this self-referential horror flick. I love the casual attitude of the behind-the-Cabin below-deck crew, and the scene of betting on possible monsters is amazing.

Scream (1996)

The first horror movie (that I know of) that knew it was a horror movie.

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (2010)

This hilarious movie investigates what if the villains in a horror movie were just misunderstood innocents.

The Scariest Movies

Oculus (2013)

I couldn’t stop thinking about this movie for weeks. The mixture of psychological and supernatural horror made me want to cover all the mirrors in my house.

Hush (2016)

I actually have not been able to finish this film because every time I start it, I worry it’s going to be too scary for me. I hope the rest of the movie lives up to the beginning.

Get Out (2017)

I think this is the first time a horror movie ever made me cry. It tapped into this current political and cultural moment in a stunning way.

Nostalgia Movie

The Ring (2002)

I have probably seen this movie more than any other. My best friend and I would make brownies and watch this movie nearly every time we had a sleepover. It’s a perfect balance of jump scares and psychological horror. It may be the reason I eventually stopped having TVs in my bedroom.

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