Sure, you could go out and buy or rent a boatload of new DVDs and Blu-rays for your Halloween party. But why go through all that trouble when you can just add a boatload of great horror flicks to your Netflix queue?
As I’ve revealed before, I’ve got a bit of an overactive imagination. Thanks to the absolutely terrifying ‘Candyman‘, I refused to look in mirrors for a week. It’s not just the scares that make ‘Candyman’ so great; the Candyman is powered by your belief in him, and that’s an absolutely fascinating way to explore the urban legend theme.
It doesn’t get much better than ‘Carrie‘ in my book. It’s one of those weird horror movies where you end up sympathizing with and even cheering for the horrible psychic murderer. It’s just as much an exploration of growing up as Steven King stories like ‘Stand By Me’, but with the bonus of people dying in telekinetic fire. (Blu-ray review.)
The Devil’s Backbone
Guillermo Del Toro is a favorite of mine, and not just because of films like ‘Hellboy‘. Before he finally made a name for himself in the states, Del Toro was making amazing movies like ‘The Devil’s Backbone‘. It’s a subtitled film, and it’s deeper and more patient than the usual horror fare. It may not make the best headliner for your Halloween party, but it’s a great movie to watch with a small group of people, a loved one, or completely alone.
The Evil Dead
The wonderful thing about ‘The Evil Dead‘ is that, despite an absolutely rabid cult following, it’s not actually a very good movie. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan. The campy, cheesy and occasionally brilliant ‘Evil Dead’ set the pace for my favorite horror movies going forward, including ‘Army of Darkness‘ and the highly underrated ‘Drag Me to Hell‘. It’s definitely worth watching, but don’t expect any sort of polish. (Blu-ray review.)
Unlike the rest of the films on the list, ‘Hell House‘ is a documentary. It details a church in Texas that runs a haunted house depicting what happens to those who don’t follow the right path. Though the material is contentious, the documentarians to a great job of staying neutral. No matter what side of the issue you fall on, you’ll feel some sympathy for the other side. It’s an eye opener for sure.
It’s important when watching ‘The Host‘ not to believe the hype. The movie got a huge amount of press because of the impressive Hollywood-style quality. While I love this movie, it’s not “on par with Jaws” as the poster indicates. It’s not bad, though – not at all. It’s a wonderfully directed monster movie from South Korea that I can’t recommend highly enough. ‘The Host’ has loveable characters, original ideas and some unconventional storytelling style. (Blu-ray review.)
Let the Right One In
The final foreign film on the list may also be the best. ‘Let The Right One In‘, as you almost certainly know by now, is the Swedish film that ‘Let Me In’ is based on. Like any truly great horror film, the movie has a vampire in it. Yet it isn’t about vampires, but about greater subjects. Purists will also be happy to know that the Netflix version features subtitles – no dubbing here. (Blu-ray review.)
This has been a favorite of mine since I was young. It’s directed by Richard Donner, who became better known for lighthearted blockbusters, and stars the great Gregory Peck among others. It’s terrifying and wonderful, and contains the subtlety that lesser horror films lack. ‘The Omen‘ is up there as one of my favorite horror films of all time. Plus, it’s got a creepy antichrist kid, which is always a winner. (Blu-ray review.)
This movie is terrifying. Unlike the comparable ‘Blair Witch Project‘ (which made me afraid to go camping), this one made me afraid to live in a house – a much harder thing to avoid. I had to leave the theater for a bit to regain my composure when I saw it. I get the feeling that watching it at home is an absolute no-no for me. If you’ve got a stronger resistance to terror, ‘Paranormal Activity‘ may be just what you’re looking for. The downside to watching it on Netflix is that you’re stuck with the silly theatrical ending instead of something more interesting. (Blu-ray review.)
Wes Craven’s New Nightmare
I’ll admit it, I never got into the ‘Nightmare on Elm Street‘ series. I found the movies silly and implausible and tedious. Maybe it’s because I started with ‘Dream Warriors’, or maybe the style just isn’t suited to my tastes. ‘New Nightmare‘ is different. It’s self-indulgent and more than a little pretentious, but since it takes place in our reality, that adds a whole new flavor to the film. It’s not goofy like the others, either. That makes it, in my mind, the best of the series.