It’s that time of year again. Autumn leaves, cosy nights, and plenty of scares. It’s officially Halloween, and it’s time to bring out the pumpkins, the creepy crawlies and the cow webs, but it’s also time to scare yourself with great horror films. When you think of films to watch that suit the mood for Halloween, you undoubtedly, and unsurprisingly, think of John Carpenter’s Halloween, or maybe of the occasional Scream marathon. But there’s plenty more films, low-key and underrated, guaranteed to give you some sleepless nights. Here are our top 10 favourites
- The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014)
What starts off as a student documentary about Alzheimer’s quickly grips you as it turns into a tale about possession. With brilliant acting, original storytelling and ticking all the boxes as far as inclusivity is concerned (lesbian relationships, and a female POC in a lead role), this film, directed by Adam Robitel, definitely deserves to be more popular.
2. Trick’r Treat (2007)
An anthology horror comedy about a mysterious child trick-or-treater Sam, this straight-to-video Warner Bros production details four different Halloween horror stories where someone breaks a Halloween tradition (like blowing out a jack-o-lantern before midnight) to be met with Sam who comes wearing orange pyjamas and a burlap sack over his head. Directed by Michael Dougherty, this fantastic horror film found a new lease of life online.
3. Hush (2016)
A fast-moving serial killer film about a deaf woman being stalked, this one keeps you hooked in spite of minimal dialogue. Kate Siegel, who also co-wrote the film, plays a deaf author who lives in a secluded home in the woods and becomes the target of a masked killer with no motive besides killing her.
4. Last Shift (2014)
This psychological horror film, directed by Anthony DiBlasi, about a rookie officer tasked with manning the last shift at police station due to close down, manages to keep you on the edge of your seat and scare you without any jump-scares. As a film that’s of a lower-budget, it does not fail in terms of quality, and keeps you hooked right till the end.
5. The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2015)
A supernatural film about two girls left behind in their boarding school over winter break and forced to deal with unknown evils: this one is a dark and eerie film. As it deals with the possibility of satanic nuns, the slow-build and tense pace of the film definitely make it worth a watch, and it manages to resist the girls-in-peril narrative.
6. The Woman (2011)
Directed by Lucky McKee, this dramatic, harrowing film stands out for its originality. The story follows family man Christopher Cleek as he does whatever it takes to protect his family from a feral woman living in the woods, only to discover that there’s much more to this woman than anyone could imagine. Brutal, aggressive and strange, the film with its bloody finale is not for the faint-hearted.
7. REC (2007)
This Spanish film about a news team who inadvertently follow firefighters on call to an apartment block where a zombie outbreak is underway is a fast-paced, terrifying watch that’s perfect for anyone who can follow subtitles. Watch it once, and you won’t be comfortable in the dark again.
8. Audition (1999)
An oldie, but a gem. This Japanese thriller/horror film is a vengeance tale about a femme fatale who tortures her oppressors. This stomach-churning masterpiece with a solid plot, and a few jump scares to boot, marks the beginning of the J-horror genre.
9. It Follows (2014)
A weird one about ghosts, curses and STDS, detailing a fatal curse that can only be broken by transmitting it to an unwitting lover. The thriller directed by David Robert Mitchell is a minimalist teen horror offering which intrigues and puzzles you and leaves you uneasy and scared.
10. The Uninvited (2009)
A suspenseful film that doesn’t overload you with gore. This Guard Brothers film is a remake of South Korean horror film A Tale of Two Sisters, which in turn is an adaptation of a Korean folk tale, is about Anna who has recently been released from a psych institution following a suicide attempt. The story follows Anna and her sister as they try to uncover their dad’s new girlfriend’s sinister secret, and its ending is sure to give you the chills.
Featured image shows Trick’r Treat (atmosfx.com)