20 Scary Movies to Watch on Halloween ? Part 2

  • By Kim
  • 29 October, 2012
  • Comments Off
In looking at this image, are you too now part of the Ring?

And we’re back!

We’re continuing our list of 20 movies to watch on Halloween. Last week, we looked at a classics and comedies. This week, we chainsaw our way through the scariest, most disturbing movies we’ve ever seen. I’ve split the movies into two categories: foreign and super scary*. Yes, I know that these two aren’t mutually exclusive, but I wanted to call out a few overseas movies since in the past decade some countries have done a cracking job of delivering some of the most creative and horrifying movies in recent memory. I will also confess that I’ve only seen about 3/4 of these movies as I am far too wimpy for some of them, but their reputation for excellent scares precedes them.


The only image I can post from Ju-on without freaking myself out. Those kitties are super friendly.

Ju-on (The Grudge) – We’ll start with a heavy hitter. Ju-on, or the original Japanese version of The Grudge, includes both the haunted house and vengeful spirit tropes. The cursed spirits kill others, creating more angry spirits and on and on in a big old unhappy cursed donut. Ju-on is told in a non-linear way to build the story, hopping from past to present. Like a lot of Japanese horror movies, Ju-on continues the tradition of using subtle and disturbing images to create tension. Viewers are filled with so much dread that the inevitable horror is almost a relief. I saw the American version and then sought out the original. Seriously, skip the Buffy version and go straight to Ju-on.

Dark Water – Here’s another Japanese movie that got remade into a terrible American movie. Dear American moviemakers: STOP RE-MAKING FOREIGN MOVIES. The original filmmakers did a fine job and Americans won’t die from having to read subtitles for 2 hours. Often compared to Ringu (The Ring), this movie does parallel it in many ways – after all it’s the same director. However, Dark Water holds its own and I wouldn’t necessarily classify it as a horror movie. It’s more like a supernatural drama. Seriously though, this is still a really creepy ghost movie. Ugh. Thinking about it just makes me feel squirmy. This movie checks all the boxes for How To Make Kim Weep Under The Covers With The Light On. Creepy Kid? Check. Long hair? Water, water everywhere? Stop. That’s enough. Go rent it.

Let the Right One In – The movie comes to us from Sweden. It’s a movie I haven’t see, but have heard many, many good things about. It was adapted to an American audience by Matt Reeves, who also directed Cloverfield, in 2010. I haven’t seen that version either, but I personally would rather see a movie set in snowy Sweden than New Mexico. Anyway, at its very basis, it’s a vampire coming-of-age movie. Yet, it couldn’t be more different from the Twilight series. A quick glance at IMDB reveals descriptions such as artistic, nuanced, haunting, and even profound. Shy, lonely Oskar befriends a strange girl, Eli. Unbeknownst to Oskar, Eli is a vampire. So why is this a scary movie? Well, Eli IS a vampire and blood and violence are central to her survival. But perhaps a better word to describe the movie would be chilling.

The Descent – Okay enough with the creepy ghosts appearing in corners. It is time for MONSTERS. The ones that are going to rip your head clean off your body and then pick its teeth with your bones! The Descent is terrific since it offers up your cadre of chilling monsters, but feeds us an additional side of claustrophobia and perfect darkness. Whoa, nelly! I mean, it’s already pretty terrifying to think of being trapped underground?? la the Chilean miners, but when you add flesh-eating creatures in an environment you can’t see in, that is some pretty intense stuff to watch our heroes go through. This is definitely a pillow clutching type of movie from the Brits!

[Rec] – I’m ending the foreign list with a? zombie/infection flick. Rec is a Spanish movie that is shot in that documentary handheld cam style made popular by The Blair Witch Project. A TV reporter and her cameraman follow some firefighters responding to a distress call. They enter an apartment building where an illness has been causing residents to become extremely violent and bloodthirsty. Viola! Blair Zombie Project: Contagion Edition! Actually, I give the movie more credit than that. The shakycam use does work effectively, creating a gritty, claustrophobic atmosphere. It was so effective that the US decided to make a shot-by-shot remake in 2008′s Quarantine.

Super Scary:

People will say we’re in love.

Silence of the Lambs – I very likely saw this movie at too young of an age. I was probably about 14 years old and my cousin and I decided to watch it in the dark, in a rather remote countryside with no streetlights or neighbors nearby. At the time, I had heard it was the scariest movies ever. It was. I thought about cannibal serial killers and being trapped in a well for at least a week afterwards. Oddly, the whole Buffalo Bill story almost completely went over my head. I had no perception of what a transsexual was. I think I also missed the entire plot of why Buffalo Bill was murdering girls. Today though, having read Thomas Harris’ novels and having watched the film a few more times, I’m still disturbed by it. It seems like a very legit, real thing that could happen in the world. Not so much a horror movie than maybe the greatest thriller ever, Silence of the Lambs never disappoints.

The Shining – Similar to Silence above, I read The Shining at a very young age. (The jury’s out as to if I’ve been irreparably damaged.) My mother let me read anything I wanted, so as a preteen with a very high reading level, I was happily devouring Stephen King books when I was 11. I don’t remember being particularly scared while reading The Shining though. I finally saw the movie when I was in college and it was still extremely intense 20 years after it had been made. Jack Nicholson is an absolute maniac in this movie and delivers one of the most memorable moments of his career. Besides that, the movie effectively conveys feelings of snow-bound isolation, has spooky ghost twin girls and all that freaky REDRUM stuff. It’s a Kubrick film to boot, so go watch it.

I could have made a baby named Apple Pitt.

Seven or Se7en – For some reason, I had read a book or novelization of this story before I saw the movie. I remember it was completely disgusting and graphic in the book, so I was afraid to see the movie. Eventually, Brad Pitt’s good looks won out and I watched the movie. WHOA. That ish was CRAZY, right?! Kevin Spacey was absolutely chilling as the killer (and I can say that because the spoiler statute of limitations is well over after 17 years). Sad to report that even back in 1995, Gwyneth was already really annoying. Oh my god, you guys!? Remember when Brad and GOOP were an item! Ewwwwww! Beardy and Fishsticks 4-evah.

Martyrs – I straight up won’t ever see this movie because I am too scared. So far, you’ve all been like, ‘Hey Kim, this shit is not even scary.” So here is where I drop a bomb on you and say ‘Boo-yah! Watch this and don’t come crying to me when you wet your pants, babies!” This is the one that will curl your hair. Those French people like to pretend they’re all chic and ?l?gant. NO. Hello, High Tension. They are a depraved culture. Anyway, back to Martyrs. There’s torture. There is violence. There is blood spray. There are staples. There is flaying. NONONO. I’m out. I’m told that aside from the graphic violence, this is actually a very moving, scary film. Who knows. I am not finding out. I would have put this on the foreign movie list, but thought it deserved to be in Super Scary instead. Watch if you dare.

The Ring – And so we end with The Ring. It consistently ranks as one of the scariest movies people have ever seen. This is the movie that was remade correctly, introduced mainstream American audiences to Asian horror, and opened a floodgate for foreign remakes. The Ring, based on the Japanese movie Ringu, contains a simple premise: the characters watch a mysterious video with spooky images. They then get a phone call saying that they will die in 7 days. Our heroes then investigate to learn more about where the tape came from with spooky consequences. There is something about this movie that wakes old, subconscious, dark childhood fears. It’s one of the last horror movies I actually saw in the movie theater and they entire audience was mesmerized. It gets even more meta when you realize that you also have now watched the video. I’ll admit that I was jumpy for DAYS afterwards.

* Let’s make a clear distinction here. There are scary movies, there are movies that specialize in jump scares, and there are gore movies. Some scary movies are also incredibly gory, bloody and violent and vice versa. I’m talking more about scary, psychological movies – the ones that paralyze you with fear, and keep you up at night. Not because you’ve just witnessed some poor girl get her her liver pulled out with rusty scythe. These are the ones that scare you and remind you of your greatest, deepest, darkest fears – they get into your head and make you keep the lights on even though you know, rationally, that nothing will happen. So this list has scary movies, not necessarily horror movies.

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