Classic horror movies are classic for a reason, everyone’s already seen them. As Halloween approaches the same list of 30 horror movies starting with The Exorcist and ending with Scream will be published by at least a dozen different websites as “The best movies to watch this Halloween.” There are so many other movies out there that are perfect to get you in the mood for trick or treaters (hypothetically) and disgusting candy corn (email any complaints to firstname.lastname@example.org). In no particular order, here are five Halloween appropriate movies that hopefully haven’t been talked out.
David Harbour plays himself as he researches the final televised stage play written by his father, also played by and named David Harbour. Terrifically funny and filled with old Hollywood charm, this mockumentary short swaps between the production of the play Frankenstein’s Monster’s Monster Frankenstein and Harbour’s slow discovery of the monster his father actually was. What makes this short work so well is the dedication of the actors and crew to making every scene appear as authentic as possible, whether it’s an interview with cast members or a parody of Orson Welles’ infamous wine commercial. At 32 minutes, this film won’t take you through the entirety of Halloween night, but if you’re in the mood for something light and silly that still has that spooky fall vibe to it, this is the film for you.
Frankenstein’s Monster’s Monster Frankenstein is available on Netflix.
On the other side of the mocumentary genre lies What We Do in the Shadows. The film follows several vampires living in modern day New Zealand. What really makes this movie work is the amount of improv the directors required, having kept the script hidden from the actors and only telling them of their motivations the day of filming. The interactions feel so authentic because they essentially are. The plot for the most part takes a backseat to hilarious conversations between the characters as they make their way through undead society. If you’re in the mood for a meandering comedy about life after death, this is the film for you.
What We Do in the Shadows can be found on the FX channel.
On yet another side of the mockumentary genre (I promise this is the last one) is Troll Hunter. The film follows a group of college documentary filmmakers as they accidentally stumble upon a man who, believe it or not, hunts trolls for the Norwegian Government. This film is a lot of fun, it’s not just a series of mystical creature fights, but also goes into great detail to show the ins and outs of the hunter’s life and the methods of which the Norwegian Government attempts to conceal the existence of trolls from their citizens. If you hate trolls, this film is for you.
Troll Hunter is available on YouTube Movies.
One of the earlier films from Parasite director Bong Joon-ho, The Host is an extremely effective family drama disguised as a monster movie. This movie follows the Park family as they attempt to find their youngest member after she’s kidnapped by a horrifying aquatic monster. While the mid 2000s CGI may not have aged perfectly, Joon-ho’s skill as a director more than compensates, and the story of a dysfunctional family being forced to work together is both beautiful and hilarious at times. If you have a fear of water or familial intimacy, this is the film for you.
The Host is available on Hulu.
Finally, if you really want to be scared this Halloween my best suggestion is The Lighthouse. This movie follows…two people…as they work…in a lighthouse. It follows this strange nightmare logic where describing it doesn’t really make sense but appears to as you watch it. Filmed to resemble the monster films of old, The Lighthouse is a story of superstitions, creatures of folklore and codependency. I like to look at this film as a sort of cinematic Rorschach test, you’ll get out whatever you put into it. If you hate your boss, this is the film for you.
The Lighthouse is available on Amazon Prime Video.
The world outside may be a horror movie of its own, but that doesn’t have to completely ruin our spirits. While we may not have trick or treaters, haunted houses or a general sense of optimism, we still have the magic of cinema, as long as we don’t actually go to the cinema. From the bottom of my heart I hope this list helps you (yes, you) enjoy this special time of year in a safe manor. Happy Halloween Cavs!
By Jason Yearout