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The Oracle

The student news site of Hamline University.

The Oracle

The student news site of Hamline University.

The Oracle

Scary movie picks by genre

John Morton

There is no better time to watch a scary movie than the month of October. The leaves are changing, a spine-chilling breeze is in the air and Halloween is just around the corner. With almost 100 years of horror films to choose from, deciding what to watch is not always as simple as it seems.
Here are a few recommendations, spanning different decades, genres and popularity, to make finding a movie to enjoy an easier decision. Now go grab some friends, pop some popcorn, turn off the lights, turn on a movie and celebrate this season with some scares!

Note: The ratings listed after each film are the official ratings from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). Watch at your own discretion.

“It Follows” – 2014
1h 40m
David Robert Mitchel’s “It Follows” is a film starring Maika Monroe, who plays a young girl, Jay, who begins to be terrorized after a seemingly innocent sexual encounter. She realizes she is being followed by “It,” an entity which can appear as anyone. It is always — slowly but steadfastly — walking towards her as it does all victims, never relenting unless she passes it on before it kills her. It is available to stream on Netflix or Paramount Plus. Rated R for disturbing violent and sexual content including graphic nudity and language.

“The Lighthouse” – 2019
1h 49m
Robert Eggers’ psychological thriller “The Lighthouse” follows two lighthouse keepers Tom (Willem Dafoe) and Ephraim (Robert Pattinson) as strange occurrences, a storm and isolation drive them both into madness. The film is shot in black and white, adding to the uneasy atmosphere present throughout the movie. The portrayal of a slow descent into insanity will have the audience questioning reality alongside the characters. It is available to stream on Paramount Plus. Rated R for sexual content, nudity, violence, disturbing images and some language.

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“Scream” – 1996
1h 51m
After decades of unstoppable slasher villains like Michael Myers, Freddy Kruger and Jason Voorhees, Wes Craven’s horror whodunnit “Scream” took audiences and the horror industry by storm. In a film where anyone could be the killer or the next victim, the tension and terror is ramped up for every character, as well as for the viewers. This film also acknowledged horror movies and their “rules,” giving birth to a number of comedy spoofs, such as the “Scary Movie” films. “Scream” is available to stream on MAX. Rated R for strong graphic horror violence and gore, and for language.

“Hereditary” – 2018
2h 7m
Ari Aster’s A24-produced film “Hereditary” shocked the horror scene upon its release, with claims and critics calling it the scariest movie since “The Exorcist.” The movie follows Annie Graham (Toni Collette, with a stellar performance) and her family as they deal with the death of Annie’s mentally ill mother and the supernatural occurrences that plague them shortly after. As both a drama and a horror film, “Hereditary” deals with the themes of family trauma, guilt and grief while also delivering some scarring scares throughout. Audiences can stream the movie with a Max subscription. Rated R for horror violence, disturbing images, language, drug use and brief graphic nudity.

“Shaun of the Dead” – 2004
1h 39m
“Shaun of the Dead” is a British Rom-Zom-Com (also known as a Romantic Zombie Comedy), and was director Edgar Wright’s first entry into the unofficial Three Flavors Cornetto trilogy. The film follows Shaun, played by Simon Pegg, and Ed, played by Nick Frost, as they try to rescue Shaun’s girlfriend and mother as zombies rise in London. It is both a great comedy and a zombie movie, with scares and laughs scattered throughout. It is available to stream on Peacock or Hulu. Rated R for zombie violence/gore and language.

“Renfield” – 2023
1h 33m
Chris McKay’s “Renfield” follows Renfield, played by Nicholas Hoult in a spectacular performance, who for centuries has been the loyal servant to Count Dracula, played by Nicolas Cage. The film follows him as he tries to end his codependent “toxic” relationship with Dracula in a delightfully bloody horror-action comedy perfect for Halloween. Viewers can stream the film on Amazon’s Prime Video. Rated R for bloody violence, some gore, language throughout and drug use.

“The Thing” – 1982
1h 49m
John Carpenter’s “The Thing” follows a research team in Antarctica whose camp gets infiltrated by a highly infectious alien creature with the ability to perfectly replicate their voices and appearances upon close contact. With a combination of masterfully-created tension as the survivors wonder who is “the thing,” along with its disgustingly gory practical effects that still impress and terrify today, “The Thing” is a truly memorable film: perfect for a cold night with lots of friends. It can be streamed with a Peacock Subscription. Rated R for content including strong, bloody violence and gore, grisly and disturbing images, some language and drug use.

“Lake Mungo” – 2008
1h 27m
“Lake Mungo” is an Australian horror film directed by Joel Anderson. It follows a family dealing with the tragic loss of their daughter. As they begin to uncover her secret double life, they are left to wonder whether or not she is truly gone. The movie is formatted as a documentary, with faux interviews intertwined, making this haunting story seem unsettlingly realistic. The film is for free to stream on Tubi or Vudu, with some ads. Rated R for a scene of sexuality and brief gruesome images.

“The Cabin in the Woods” – 2011
1h 35m
Drew Goddard’s “The Cabin in the Woods” is the purest horror comedy, as it plays entirely upon the rules and tropes of the genre, like the aforementioned “Scream.” The film follows a group of teens vacationing in a distant cabin as horrors and a massive worldwide conspiracy make their stay rather unpleasant. With good performances, great scares and a slowly unraveling plot that dives further into mystery, this movie is a must-watch for any horror fan. It is available to stream on MAX. Rated R for strong bloody horror violence and gore, language, drug use and some sexuality/nudity.

“Coraline” – 2009
1h 40m
“Coraline” is Henry Selick’s stop-motion adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel of the same name. It follows the title character, 11-year-old Coraline (voiced by Dakota Fanning) as she stumbles upon a door leading to a perfect version of her boring life at home, complete with perfect “Other Parents.” Unfortunately, not everything is as benevolent as it seems. Delightfully chilling, gorgeously animated and fun for all ages, the film can be streamed with a subscription to Max. Rated PG for thematic elements, scary images, some language and suggestive humor.

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