The Oarsman’s Ultimate Halloween Horror Movie Guide

The+Oarsman%E2%80%99s+Ultimate+Halloween+Horror+Movie+Guide

Lourdes Bullo and Zoe Woodrick

Reading Time: 7 minutes

As Halloween creeps just around the corner, so does everyone’s need for horror movies. Whether you’re just getting familiar with the genre, or a scary movie pro, this ultimate compilation will leave you scared, laughing, or discovering your new favorite film.

We’ve compiled our top three movie pics for most iconic, most campy, and most underrated horror movies for the spooky season. 

THE ICONS

Scream (1996)

“Do you like scary movies?” – Ghostface

Scream is a staple for horror films, especially promoted around Halloween. The movie follows a teenage girl terrorized by a new predominant serial killer in California. 

This classic horror film has inspired many other movies including four sequels, one of which is set to come out in 2022. 

The movie is not my favorite horror film overall, but it may be my favorite to watch over and over again. Everytime I watch it, I am transported to a time of Halloween. 

The opening scene where Drew Barrymore picks up the phone irks viewers every time it’s seen—the iconic mask of Ghostface that you can find a replica of in every Halloween store you visit. 

Zoe Woodrick

The Shining (1980)

“Come play with us, Danny. Forever… and ever… and ever.” – The Grady Twins

Cut to: a landscape of a mountain, as the camera veers to the right. Just then— a disturbing crossfade that transports you to the next scene. 

The Shining, a classic horror movie based on the novel by Stephen King and directed by Stanley Kubrick, follows Jack Torrance, an author, who takes a job as a winter caretaker at The Overlook Hotel in Colorado, taking his wife Wendy and son Danny with him. He uses this opportunity to continue writing, but must find out the hard way that the hotel is not as it seems. 

The phenomenal acting is just one of the reasons this film is so iconic. It also leaves viewers pondering the outcomes of the Torrance family and creating conspiracy theories about the movie. One of these theories is centered around a change from the book: room 237, which in the book was 137, seems to be an odd change leaving many fans curious as to why this is. 

My favorite thing about the movie is the set. It’s very creative with where they bring the characters and getting the eerie feeling of a large hotel housing only three people… that they know of. 

Zoe Woodrick

Poltergeist (1982)

They’re heeerrree…” – Carol Ann 

Many horror fans, unlike myself, find what’s scariest in the horror genre is the gore. The hatchet collection and the obviously possessed doll in the basement that every sane human knows not to let out of its case is scary. But personally, it’s what you can’t see that gets me the most.

Directed by Tobe Hooper and produced by Steven Spielberg himself, the iconic film Poltergeist begins simply with the Freeling family, moving into their new home in sunny California, which is built atop a Native American burial ground. After a series of paranormal events, and their smallest child Carol Ann communicating with the spirits through their television set, the family scrambles to save their children, and keep their sanity in the process.

There’s also said to be a curse surrounding this film, as four cast members have mysteriously passed away after filming the original, and its two sequels.

Unsettling to say the least, this movie has everyone keeping an eye out next time they fall asleep in front of the living room TV. This was a staple movie in my household when the season eventually rolled around, and hopefully that tradition can carry on with new viewers.

—Lourdes Bullo 

THE CAMPY

Seed of Chucky (2004) 

“I am Chucky! The Killer Doll!” – Chucky

Seed of Chucky is one of the weirdest installments of the Child’s Play series. With Chucky and Tiffany’s child, Glen/Glenda, seeing clips of them in a movie, Glen/Glenda works to resurrect Chucky and Tiffany using the Heart of Damballa. The movie is set six years after Bride of Chucky, which made the second most money at the box office, while Seed of Chucky made second to last

This movie has a bizarre feel the entire time; I often found myself asking, ‘Is this a real movie?’ 

The movie seems as though it is a bunch of loose ideas forced together, it is the definition of a “so bad it’s good” film, and a must watch for anyone who loves the Child’s Play series or loves watching bad movies. 

It seems to be more comedic than scary, at least to viewers who are more true horror fans. 

Zoe Woodrick

The Evil Dead (1981)

“Not another peep—time to go to sleep.” – Linda

The Evil Dead is an extremely fun watch. A simple zombie story, with some comedic twists, this movie is the best kind of bad movie. 

Five friends go out into a secluded cabin in the woods. Not knowing what surrounds them, they start noticing creepy things throughout the night, after playing a tape they found in the cellar (that’s never a good idea). 

 

The experimental camerawork of this film makes it extremely captivating and fun to watch. Though the movie is low budget, it makes up for the fake-looking gore with innovative scene angles and views. 

The part that really makes the movie stand out is how they work with the perspective. They get shots from different characters, locations, and even while moving. It makes viewers feel almost as if they’re put into the movie. 

This movie did later become a trilogy, but in my mind, the first movie stands on its own, and creates a visually unique picture, different from a lot of other horror films, including those later in the series. 

Zoe Woodrick

Malignant (2021)

“It’s time we cut out the cancer.” – Dr. Florence Weaver

This highly anticipated movie came out both in and out of theaters this year. This movie was very laughable, with an unclear backstory and easy-to-guess plot development.

Madison starts to dream about murders that turn out to be actually happening in the world around her. With a couple flashbacks to her childhood, and calls to her sister, what has been happening starts to unravel as she learns more about the past she thought was long forgotten.

The scenes of her and Gabriel left me simultaneously laughing and curious as to where this story would go. It is not the typical gory horror film but rather an attempt at psychological horror.

Zoe Woodrick

THE UNDERRATED 

Train to Busan (2016)

Aloha Ōe…” – Soo-Ahn

With the recent love for Squid Game, it only feels necessary to introduce the Venice community to another quality piece of Korean media some might not know about. Train to Busan starts off simply: Sok-Woo, an absent father  due to his demanding investment job, takes his daughter Soo-Ahn on a train to the city of Busan so she can be with her mother. Little do they know of the virus slowly raging beyond the tracks of the train and infiltrating one of the cars itself. The harrowing duo accompany other terrified passengers to their next stop, a supposed safe zone  in a resort city said to have been protected by the military…or so they hope.

With possibly some of the best CGI in any epidemic movie released so far, and an ending sure to make even the coldest of hearts melt with a single song, Train to Busan is a work of art. As the director Yeon Sang-ho’s debut film, personally it couldn’t have been any more perfect, as multiple awards and high praise in the Cannes Film Festival could agree.

Hopefully this opens people’s eyes to more foreign films, as this movie quickly became a personal favorite. It can also be found on multiple platforms (Tubi, Crackle, Peacock, Pluto TV) to watch, free of charge. For those who enjoy this movie, the sequel Peninsula makes a wonderful addition, though Train to Busan can be thoroughly enjoyed as a stand-alone film.

Bonus points to any of those who can spot the actors who were also featured in Squid Game!

—Lourdes Bullo

28 Days Later (2002)

Don…DON!!!”- Alice

A zombie movie like no other, 28 Days Later details a man who wakes up from a coma 28 days after animal rights activists mistakenly released chimps infected with an unknown (and incurable) rage virus, turning humans into terrifyingly fast, rage-induced zombies.

This movie sets itself apart from the rest, again as most zombies tend to be slow, and generally lack vitality (pun intended). While these zombies are sure to get the heart pounding. From the sound effects to the outstanding soundtrack by legendary composer John Murphy, it’s astounding how little Gen-Z knows of this movie. It’s one I was introduced to from a very young age and still enjoy year-round as one of the few movies that still gets me jumpy.

With a sequel 28 Weeks Later and a comic book series to boot, this franchise is beloved for true horror fanatics such as myself and many others. Hopefully the Venice community can share the love and fear during this Halloween season.

—Lourdes Bullo 

It Follows (2014)

It could look like someone you know or it could be a stranger in a crowd. Whatever helps it get close to you.” – Hugh

It Follows left me constantly unsettled, from the eerie silence to the vision of someone who could look identical to your loved ones following you with every intent on killing you. The deeper meaning behind the film leaves room for discussion, but director David Robert Mitchell alluded to it being a metaphor for the aftermath as a sexual assault survivor, which only brings a greater intent and emotional aspect to the movie itself.

This movie begins as a somewhat carefree teenager, Jay, sleeps with her boyfriend for the first time, unbeknownst to her that he’s just passed on a disease that’s more like a curse. A supernatural entity begins to stalk her to no end—as the second the entity makes contact with her, it kills her. Unless she can pass it onto someone else.

This movie will always hold a high value in my mental “all-time-favorites” list, and I hope it will for anyone else who decides to give it a chance. It Follows can be viewed for free on the streaming platform Peacock, and if you didn’t want to see it enough already, it’s very highly acclaimed by critics, and has won over 25 awards internationally.

—Lourdes Bullo

These were all difficult choices to make, so if your favorite Halloween time movie didn’t make the cut, trust that it’s in our hearts, and in our nightmares. Enjoy these movies with those you hold dear, because during October, it’s ALL about the fear.