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1) Pet Sematary
Combining Adult Horror seamlessly with the supernatural, Pet Sematary is such a gorgeous flick. The score is hauntingly beautiful, the family believable, and the horror so universally relatable. This is simply one of the best-done movies in the genre, one even my non-horror loving friends appreciate. There are many interesting themes to take away from it, a big one being the danger of not letting something "end" when it needs to and the ungodly "monsters" you make when you don't. Watch it and reflect. It's a real holiday mood-setter.
Fun Fact: Steven King considers Pet Sematary his scariest book yet. I'd have to agree!
Oh, damn, even the trailer is good! Watch this if you haven't!
2) The Thing
Another horror master, John Carpenter, director of the immortal Halloween, created a masterpiece with his remake of The Thing. There are several elements collaborating to make The Thing such a chilling (ha, see what I did there) feature; isolation, realistic and smart characterization, arctic setting, masterful pacing, killer score and jaw-droppingly beautiful (gruesome) practical affects. Oh, and let's not forget The Kurt Russell. His unflinching R.J MacReady is my hero. Thinking deeply about it, my favorite element of The Thing is how I care for every single character. In subtle ways only good directing and acting can do, each character is fully fleshed and I feel for their plight. This is the lifeblood of a good horror film, it's horror when you're scared for those characters on the screen, and that's a lost art now. Give this one a watch, ignore that shitty newer remake/sequel that does everything wrong!
Fun Fact: The special affects guy literally lived on the set while he was creating the gorgeous gory puppets. Job well done, sir. So worth it and preferable to CGI all these years later.
3) Let the Right One In
Frightening and sweet with beautiful storytelling and visuals alike, this unique Swedish vampire movie is a must-watch. I found this one on a whim while jetlagged and scanning through my friend's Apple TV while visiting Japan. I was immediately sucked into this film for the stark, clean beauty of it's cinematography and instant like-ability of the capable young lead actors. This is a visual feast, it could be a must-watch for the artistry alone but it has the story and character to match.
Fun Fact: This one's so good a shot-by-shot American remake was created, I've seen both and prefer the Swedish version, but the American movie surprisingly still captures both the beautiful look and heart of the story.
Love this very retro ad! And yes you may end up having to chant the above to survive!
4) The Last House on the Left
Wes Craven, creator of horror icon Freddy Krueger's first infamous film is about the real horror all around us. The Last House of the Left works as horror because this shit happens. The violent acts in this film are the most intense I've ever experienced from a movie. The raw quality of the film gives it a realistic tension that made it painful to watch. You've been warned! This movie reminds us that real horror isn't the intangible ghosts and boogeymen, it's reported on the news everyday. It's the people of the world without a moral compass that make us lock our doors at night.
Fun Fact: I've read that the goofy scenes juxtaposing the violent ones was done intentionally to mirror how the media was reporting violent wars and juxtaposing it with light, fluffy stories at the time. Also, this movie is heavily inspired by Ingmar Bergman's "The Virgin Springs".
5) The Cabin in the Woods
And now, for something completely different! I like when horror's bleak, but equally love when it's weird and campy. The less you know about The Cabin in the Woods, the better, don't spoil the surprises in the comments! What you can know is that this is a sweetly gift-wrapped treat for horror fans with many tasty easter eggs to uncover and that it's fun ride for the initiated and uninitiated horror watcher alike. This one's a good popcorn movie with beers and friends. Watch this one to feel better after crying about the Evils of Humanity in a dark corner after you watch The Last House on the Left.
And some honorable mentions: V/H/S intriguing horror anthology, Rosemary's Baby one of the scariest ever, Scream for a waltz down memory lane or a look at a huge trope-creator for newbies, Funny Games for a fascinating flick intended to play with YOUR MIND, Nightmares in Red, White, and Blue horror movie legends discuss horror flicks throughout American History Re-Animator for a kitschy crazy good time and beautiful colorful visuals. Won't spoil some gross surprises...
Got Any Horror Movies to Recommend? Let's discuss in the comments! I may have to do a couple more Horror Flick recommendation posts! Oh, speaking of a Cabin in the Woods I'll be on my way to Georgia to stay in one today! Expect plenty of photos next week.