Every Movie You'll Need to Keep Yourself Up Tonight

by Brittney Heyns | Oct 31, 2018

While I personally believe that horror movies are a year round sport, October is the perfect time of year to roll out the spooky, scary, and downright creepy. This breakdown is everything you need to organize a horror movie marathon of any caliber.

You’re welcome.

Before we dive into the details, I want to start with my favorite movie of all time, horror or otherwise.

My real intro to horror movies and what started my obsession was 1984’s classic, A Nightmare on Elm Street. This movie is so much more than an 80’s slasher. I was 12 when I caught it on TV and was completely entranced by Freddy Krueger—he was unlike the other serial killers I was vaguely familiar with (Your Michael Meyers and Jason Voorhees, for example.)

He actually talks, and everything he says and does is funny. He creates a world of horror in a place where anyone is susceptible—dreams. He's not just a silent killer stalking you or breaking into your house, where you can yell in frustration at the screen because the victim went up the stairs instead of out the door. He attacks you in your sleep, where no matter how hard you try, you eventually can't stay awake anymore, shaping things already in your mind to use them against you and creating the most iconic and imaginative deaths ever.

At this point, I have seen A Nightmare on Elm Street more times than I can count. It's absolutely my comfort movie. I watch it every Christmas and I watch it when I'm sick. I'm never bored, I never stop being amazed at Freddy's character, and I never tire of seeing little Jonny Depp (In his first movie role ever!) in a crop top.

Okay, now that you’ve had the proper initiation into horror films, you can start to understand why I keep coming back to the genre. I love the look, feel, and sound of them, it’s so cool to me that literally any setting can be turned creepy with the right lighting and soundtrack. I like the challenge of finding a new movie that makes me uneasy—I’m incredibly desensitized at this point, I’ll watch any horror movie home alone in the pitch black while it's storming out at 2:00 AM and have no trouble going to sleep afterwards, so finding the next crazy film is a hobby at this point.

A lot of horror movies, especially slashers, have a formula that they will follow. Once you've seen a few, it gets really fun to spot the patterns over and over in different ways and try to predict outcomes. The most prominent trope is probably the Final Girl. Who do you think will be the Final Girl, and will she actually make it to the end?

Trope or not, I think it’s badass that horror movie heroes and last standing survivors are often female.

I’ve found an incredible community around horror movies, including film showings at local theaters (Shout out to The Loft in Tucson!) and maintaining long distance friendships through a common love of the good, the bad, and the truly terrifying.

The best reason to get into horror?

There are so. Many. Subgenres.

Do you want to laugh? Do you want to cry? Do you want to question everything you think you know? Whatever mood you’re in, there's a horror movie that can accommodate your feelings.

Here's an index of my favorite horror movies broken out by subgenre, in no particular order. Consider this your jumping off point.

Comedy:

While some horror movies are fun because they're just so bad, a lot of my favorites have an element of comedy while still being very self-aware and intentional.

  • What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
  • Housebound (2014)
  • Shaun of the Dead (2004)
  • Tucker & Dale vs Evil (2010)
  • Dead Snow (2009)
  • Happy Death Day (2017)

Slasher:

My favorite subgenre is slasher. Give my a bunch of shitty people and kill them off one by one with crazy gore-filled deaths I've never seen before and I am 10,000% with you. Can't get enough. I know from the outside it seems strange to enjoy watching as many people as possible get murdered in an hour and a half, but usually the deaths are so over the top, it's more like a work of art.*

  • A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
  • Scream (1996)
  • Halloween (1978)
  • Friday the 13th (1980)
  • Sleepaway Camp (2 & 3, also amazing) (1983)
  • Dead Alive (1992)
  • My Bloody Valentine (1981)
  • Evil Dead 2 (1987)

Drama:

  • The Shining (1980)
  • Let the Right One In (2008)
  • The Orphanage (2007)
  • I Am Not a Serial Killer (2016)
  • The Wailing (2016)
  • 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)
  • Hush (2016)

Supernatural:

  • Drag Me to Hell (2009)
  • Grave Encounters (2011)
  • Poltergeist (1982)

Creatures:

  • Tremors (1990)
  • Pirahna 3D (2010)
  • The Birds (1963)
  • Eight Legged Freaks (2002)
  • Jaws (1975)

First-person:

  • Behind the Mask (The Rise of Leslie Vernon) (2006)
  • Rec (2007)

Thriller & Psychological:

Does it keep me on the edge of my seat without a lot of cheap jump scares? I actually love jump scares (and can 9/10 times predict when they will happen), but it's impressive when a movie makes you feel all the feels without any old tricks.

  • Cabin in the Woods (2011)
  • You're Next (2011)
  • Get Out (2017)
  • Christine (1983)
  • It (2017)
  • The Strangers (2008)
  • The Loved Ones (2009)
  • The Innkeepers (2011)
  • The Eyes of My Mother (2016)
  • The Human Centipede (2009) AUTHOR’S NOTE: Okay. Hear me out. Despite how gross the concept of this movie seems and the reputation it has, it's really not very graphic and is way more of a psychological thriller than anything else. The same cannot be said for its two sequels. Human Centipede 2 is enjoyable but by far the grossest movie I've ever seen and Human Centipede 3 is a complete garbage waste of time so bad it still upsets me.

Teen:

  • Final Destination (2000)
  • Urban Legend (1998)
  • I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
  • The Craft (1996)
  • Jeepers Creepers (2001)
  • Jennifer's Body (2009)

Zombie:

  • 28 Days Later (2002)
  • Zombieland (2009)
  • Dawn of the Dead (1978)
  • Train to Busan (2016)

Science Fiction:

  • Dark Skies (2013)
  • Cloverfield (2008)

Fantasy:

  • Trollhunter (2010)
  • Hausu (1977)

Bonus so bad they’re good movies:

  • Troll 2 (1990)
  • The Wicker Man (2006)
  • Pet Sematary (1989)
  • Vampire's Kiss (1988)