Looking for ideas for a Halloween–y bad movie night? Maybe something to watch with your boo (pun intended)? No matter what you have planned this Halloween, it wouldn’t be right to end the festivities without at least one scary movie under your belt. If you aren’t interested in hitting the theater, Netflix offers a wealth of seasonally–appropriate fare to have you at the edge of your seat all through the crisp October night. From horror classics to recent favorites, here is the best and worst that Netflix has to offer.
The first installment in a successful supernatural horror franchise, The Conjuring follows an expert investigation of the demonic possession of a farmhouse in the New England countryside. The film has been praised for its high-quality visuals and old-school feel, harking back to classics within the demonic possession genre such as The Exorcist. Although this year’s The Nun may have been a grave disappointment for the franchise, The Conjuring holds up as a brilliant introduction to a horrific cinematic universe.
A somewhat less conventional approach to supernatural horror is the 2014 film It Follows in which a young woman must escape the threat of a sexually-transmitted demonic entity. The film was a tremendous critical success due to its well-executed and original take on a popular genre, as well its stylish visuals and suspenseful pacing. It’s the perfectly bizarre concoction of terror and sexual overtones for a Halloween movie night.
This Halloween, Netflix has blessed us with Kubrick’s landmark thriller The Shining, an iconic horror film chock full of memorable moments and imagery, such as the creepy girl twins you’ve probably seen too much of as last minute costumes in recent years. The Shining is a must-see for anyone who is looking for one of the most terrifying cinematic haunted house stories of all time.
To be perfectly honest, this animated fantasy thriller is probably the creepiest film on this list if you find haunted dreamscapes inhabited by malevolent doll-like entities particularly uncanny. Gorgeous stop animation brings to life this surprisingly terrifying reflection on childhood.
The only foreign language film on this list, Raw is a 2016 Belgian horror film that brings on the gore, following the stomach-churning transformation of a veterinary school student into a flesh-craving cannibal. This daring and provocative film is a triumph that is sure to resonate beyond just the disgusting horror.
Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever
That’s right, the word fever is in the title twice. You don’t have to have seen the first Cabin Fever, I’ll run down the plot for you right here: a group of teens catch a deadly disease in the woods and all die in gruesome and gory ways. That should set you up nicely for its horribly campy sequel, where the disease makes its way to a local high via, among other things, contaminated drinking water. There’s a lot that happens within the terrible 90 minutes of this cheesy horror, which cannot be contained to so few words but here goes: follow generic 30–something high school student John in his attempts to get his longtime crush Cassie to go to prom with him, before he heads off to medical school. He eventually decides to go alone, but they are brought together again when everybody contracts the flesh-eating bacteria, with vague symptoms that include: projectile–vomiting blood, leprosy, pus (I won’t say from where), and general insanity. They are trapped inside their high school by an unnamed government agency, and must find an escape before they catch the fever! Also, there’s a sheriff’s deputy who looks like Mac Tonight, sounds like a cartoon rat, and won’t stop talking about “sashimi” (look it up on urban dictionary). Warning: don’t watch this if you are particularly squeamish, but do if you want the goriest and most nausea–inducing horror flick.
Manos: The Hands of Fate
Also in the vein of “having the same word in the title twice,” Manos: The Hands of Fate is a cult horror classic, and by cult I mean literally. A family wanders into a desert hotel while on their way to the Valley Lodge, and end up staying the night with the strange host Torgo, whose knees are comically large and speaks with a confused accent. It turns out Torgo is the lackey for a cult leader known only as The Master, who harbors an obsession for hands. That may sound like a lot to go on, but the plot is relatively thin, and much of the time is stretched with awkwardly cut scenes, light jazz tunes over an empty backdrop, and terrible sound editing. The movie reportedly was filmed without sound, and later was dubbed over with a limited cast, resulting in much of the dialogue read by the same person. Regardless, the movie has attained a cult status for its terrible production value, bad writing, and garbage editing.
The Lazarus Effect
This is one that will take a bit more effort to get into. It’s higher budget, but that only makes its downfalls all the more spectacular. For starters, the cast is ridiculous, including Olivia Wilde, Donald Glover, Mark Duplass, and Evan Peters. They play a team of scientists who accidentally discover a serum that can bring the dead back to life, with terrible consequences. Wilde and Duplass play husband and wife, whose marriage is struggling as they make this discovery, but are quickly distracted by the shutdown of their project for some reason or another. The scientists then take matters into their own hands and attempt to recreate their results on camera so they can get credit, but their midnight caper goes wrong when Wilde’s character dies suddenly, leaving them one option: to test the experiment on one of their own, which can only go well, right? What follows is an hour of vague superpowers, unclear motives, and ridiculous deaths (spoiler: Evan Peter’s character is killed by a vape pen). Watch only if you have high tolerance for scary movies that aren’t that scary.
Hush might be edging into actual good movie territory, in that it actually tries for something different out of scary movies. It’s typical home invasion with a twist: a deaf character! This changes very little. Maddie is a writer who retreated to a not–so–isolated cabin to work on her book, when one night, a serial killer chooses her for his next victim, hoping for an easy target due to her lack of hearing. The movie hinges on the killer’s arbitrary reluctance to actually enter the home for about an hour, as well as Maddie’s decision not to use a car with popped tires, despite it still technically working. Plus, the villain is really just a crusty guy with a crossbow, and isn’t that threatening. However, it does contain some very tense moments, mostly silent, and will catch you invested in the plot, just so long as you don’t question any of it.