Halloween Special: 5 movies that will haunt your sleep
Featuring nerve-racking supernaturals, bloodthirsty creatures, and iconic figures from classic and contemporary, there's something for every horror enthusiast.
As the West enters the most chilling season of the year, the brisk breeze of autumn sweeps through the air, transforming the vibrant greens of summer into a palette of withered beauty. With the clock striking midnight on September 30, it officially ushers in the spooky season, Halloween being its finale.
But is the spooky fever the same in India?
In the age of the internet where culture traverses seamlessly, India has embraced various Western festivals over the years– such as New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day. These occasions have seamlessly integrated into the fabric of the nation, uniting people from urban and rural landscapes in celebration.
However, one festival, despite its prevalence in films and pop culture, has remained confined to specific urban enclaves, primarily attracting party enthusiasts and horror cinephiles– All Saints' Day aka ‘Halloween’.
Nevertheless, there’s no harm in curling up with your squad and indulging in some spine-chilling horror movies that are bound to keep your night light on. Featuring nerve-racking supernaturals, bloodthirsty creatures, and iconic figures from classic and contemporary horror, the author has handpicked 5 best eerie films to watch this Halloween.
Let these films immerse you in an alternate reality where clocks move anti-clockwise and headless creatures swing in parks.
Get Out (2017)
The ingeniously crafted and deeply unsettling thriller Get Out, stands out as one of the best contemporary horror films from Jordan Peele's chilling repertoire. Delving into the sinister underbelly of American racism, it seamlessly incorporates elements of psychological horror. What sets Peele's film apart is its piercing critique of the illusion of a post-racial America, often associated with the Obama presidency.
Daniel Kaluuya delivers an unforgettable performance as a Black man who accompanies his white girlfriend, portrayed by Allison Williams, to her family's suburban estate. Here, amidst a series of unsettling hypnotic states, the underlying truth emerges white people, as Wesley Morris aptly put it in The New York Times, are exposed as “insatiable predators of Blackness.”
Although the blossoming relationship of Rose and Chris has been highlighted pretty well, race becomes a central point of concern. Peele masterfully blends elements of horror, comedy, and psychological drama while providing a powerful commentary on racism.
His efforts were rewarded with an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, a rare achievement for a horror film. The film also received nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor for Daniel Kaluuya.
The Witch (2015)
The 2015 fantasy horror film unfolds in the bleak backdrop of 1630s New England, where a family grapples with the sinister forces of black magic, witchcraft, and possession.
This period drama, steeped in puritanism, isolation, and a foreboding cascade of omens, remains a cinematic gem that merits revisiting. What makes it exceptional are– the hauntingly atmospheric New England setting, a music score that sustains an undercurrent of dread, and a malevolent goat.
Created by the talented Robert Eggers, The Witch has earned a reputation as a 'terrifying,' 'disturbing,' and 'scariest' cinematic experience. Notable for marking the debut of Anya Taylor-Joy, the movie features stellar performances from Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, and Kate Dickie, and boasts an IMDb rating of 7.0, along with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 90%.
Why is it considered one of the finest horror films of all time? Because it weaves a shocking, visually captivating feminist narrative for the ages.
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
The visionary director George A. Romero often attributed Night of the Living Dead, a low-budget, black-and-white zombie film as an accidental creation of his repertoire.
Primarily filmed at a rural Pennsylvania farm, the film birthed the modern zombie genre and demonstrated a penchant for socio-political undertones. Although the term 'zombie' is never explicitly mentioned in Night of the Living Dead, it becomes unequivocally evident to the audience that his partially animated antagonists are indeed zombies. The narrative unfolds as siblings Barbra (Judith O'Dea) and Johnny (Russell Streiner) visit their father's gravesite, only to be confronted by a mysterious assailant. Seeking refuge, Barbra stumbles upon a nearby farmhouse, leading to a macabre discovery: the lifeless body of the homeowner and a pack of lumbering undead approaching.
Duane Jones delivers a commanding performance as a rare sight in the horror genre at the time—a Black leading man—struggling to protect a barricaded farmhouse filled with terrified white occupants. The opening scene masterfully induces fear through minimalism.
Despite early critics attempting to dismiss 'Night of the Living Dead' due to its graphic content, its status as a genre-defining work has perpetuated, spawning numerous sequels and even a couple of remakes.
A trailblazer in the slasher genre with its exceptional musical score, Halloween is undoubtedly the quintessential movie to watch on October 31st.
John Carpenter's classic portrays a high school student (played by Jamie Lee Curtis) who becomes the target of a relentless stalker on Halloween night, an escaped lunatic named Michael Myers. While today's horror landscape may feature similar themes, Carpenter's visionary choices were ahead of their time, laying the foundation for elements now commonplace in the genre: a masked, remorseless killer, a resolute 'final girl' next door, imaginative depictions of death, and subtle notes of dark humour.
Jamie Lee Curtis's stellar performance marked the beginning of her journey as an iconic ‘Scream Queen’. While the Halloween franchise has endured the test of time, birthing over ten sequels, remakes, and reboots, the original remains the cult favourite.
Sleepy Hollow (1999)
Tim Burton's macabre interpretation of Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is an often overlooked gem in the realm of Halloween movies.
Featuring Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci, this gothic supernatural horror film follows police constable Ichabod Crane (Depp) as he delves into a string of gruesome murders attributed to the legendary phantom known as the Headless Horseman. Although not directly tied to Halloween, the movie effortlessly captures the essence of the holiday with its haunting atmosphere and exploration of urban legends. Burton's reimagining, which infuses Irving's classic narrative with a darker and bloodier twist, seamlessly blends fantasy, horror, and romance, delivering a genuinely chilling and suspenseful murder mystery.
The author sincerely hopes there's no one lurking under your bed. Happy Halloween! ; )