We here at Life at 24fps love this time of the year because of the constant love horror films generate. To capitalize on the spotlight they are given, we decided to give you some essentials for the season. Now sadly there are some films that didn’t make this year’s cut, but the ones we do have listed here more than make up for it. These essential films are a must see if you are looking to enjoy the days leading up to Halloween and they are also great films in their own right.
First up, I’m going to guide you through some of the classics from the past 10 years and Mike will end the list with the a diverse and satisfying classics plus a new horror film that you will want to check out after reading about it.
The Loved Ones (2011)
When was the last time you truly squirmed during a horror film, like truly felt the need to close your eyes and turn your head away? It’s remarkable how great horror films can give you a sensory experience like no other. They make you feel like your whole body is at danger and that closing your eyes is the only thing that will save you. Sean Byrne’s The Love Ones is the second best horror film to come out in the past 10 years and the most re-watchable. Robin McLeavy gives an iconic performance as the adorable yet utterly sadistic, Lola. The mayhem and passion she brings to the film is matched only by the production value and fun script. I’m not going to give too much away but there’s a scene that involves knives that made Michael and I squirm like we had never seen a horror film before. The film is on youtube now and you should see it to believe it.
Currently streaming for free on Youtube.
The found footage genre makes me sad. Every time I feel like they are on a hot steak, they release 5 disappointments in a row. I don’t want to dwell on the negatives though and one of the brightest spots in horror and found footage is 2007’s REC. It’s a simple set up about a reporter doing a piece on firefighters and then like in most horror films, all hell breaks loose. Incorporating inventive and necessary use of found footage and using jump scares that actually works. REC is also the are found footage film to have a sequel that didn’t tarnish the original’s legacy at all. What the second one lacked in scares, it made up for in originality…yes sequels can be original too.
Currently steaming on Crackle
The Descent (2005)
What’s your favorite horror film? Is it the slasher classic Halloween? Is it the chilling psychological thrills in Don’t Look Now? My favorite happens to be an all female film about cave diving…oh and there’s plenty of carnage and claustrophobia in here too. I saw The Descent 10 years ago at at time when Horror movies were becoming way too MTV and when the female characters were boring and naked half the time. It was insulting. Thankfully this film came and showed how to scare you without degrading everyone involved. Watch this with friends, horror is better with company.
Currently streaming on Hulu
Crimson Peak (2015)
I will be 100 percent honest here, I thought I was going to despise Crimson Peak. The first batch of photos kind of sold me based on the cast alone…and then I saw the trailer. It was one of the most boring trailers in recent memory and worst of all, they made the film look cheesy in all the wrong ways. As a fan of Guillermo Del Toro’s work, this prospect of Crimson Peak being a let down scared me more than the film itself. Luckily, the final product was a beautifully filmed and designed slow burn horror film, with romance thrown in for good measure. Mia Wasikowska is our guide through Del Toro’s beautiful canvas and she makes sure we’re sold on everything that’s happening in front of us. If you don’t believe me, go catch this soon-to-be classic in theaters before it’s gone.
Currently available in US theaters everywhere.
The Babadook (2014)
The Babadook is a film that has earned praise not just for it’s amazing acting and wonderful screenplay, but for how deeply creepy the film actually is. It doesn’t rely on flashy visuals or a big budget, the movie succeeds on the one thing many modern horror films forget to do, which is to build a creepy but believable atmosphere. Although the film may seem slow at first, it’s all about making sure the audience has earned the pay off at the end. Is it worth it? Damn right it is.
Currently streaming on Netflix
Now it’s time to embrace our past and read about old horror classics and 2015’s most gruesome horror film.
Halloween (1978) (One Night Special)
Without a doubt the most obvious choice on the list, yet a list of Halloween recommendations wouldn’t be complete without the titular entry. If you are especially lucky you might be able to find the one night showing on Thursday October 29th in select cinemas (which we’ll be writing about this weekend). Halloween is an absolute staple of the horror genre and one of the few I’d consider essential for all film fans. Don’t miss out on this one. Unlike most films on the list it’s not available for free streaming, but if you can’t make the theater screening I imagine this will be showing on TV on the 31st!
In theaters October 29 One Night Only
Jacob’s Ladder (1990)
Jacob’s Ladder wasn’t exactly embraced upon it’s initial release, but luckily it’s found a healthy cult following amongst genre die hards. Not only is it a terrific horror film that has genuinely frightening imagery, it’s also an insight look at the war in Vietnam as well as the use of drugs on soldiers. I’ve seen so few films that are similar to Jacob’s Ladder I nearly put it into a class of it’s own. If you’re a fan of Silent Hill (the film or games) then this is a mandatory watch. Sadly it’s one of the films that isn’t readily available, but it will be well worth it for those who seek out the DVD!
Currently available on Amazon Prime and DVD and BluRay
Bone Tomahawk (2015)
In case you fancy yourself a horror pro I decided to include a brand new release called Bone Tomahawk. It’s been a great year for the western genre, with Slow West, The Salvation, Jauja and this all earning at least moderate to great praise. Then we also have The Revenant and The Hateful Eight still to come. Bone Tomahawk though, isn’t like your traditional westerns. It’s sort of a hybrid of say John Ford’s The Searchers and Antonia Bird’s Ravenous. It’s brutal imagery isn’t for the faint of heart, and be warned it’s a good hour of build up before things truly get off the ground. But if your a fan of slow burns to brutal finales, Bone Tomahawk has a scene towards the end thats worse than anything in The Green Inferno.
Currently available on VOD
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
I don’t like to say much about Rosemary’s Baby when I talk about it because it’s best to go in with as little knowledge as possible. This is just a trust us scenario, especially if you love classic horror films that put story ahead of jump scares. This one is free for Netflix members so add it to the queue!
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
If you’re unfamiliar with this title, just stop reading now and start the film. For people who are familiar with it, the first time I watched it, I knew absolutely nothing about it. The first half of the movie plays as a somewhat typical kidnapping film, it’s fast, funny, violent and more than a little fucked up. The second half however takes a complete left turn when the group winds up in a vampire infested bar. It’s mind boggling when you don’t know it’s coming, but even knowing where it goes this is still a tasty flick.
Currently streaming on Netflix
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Sadly, The Blair Witch Project has a stigma attached to it for spawning one of the most unpopular genres in cinema history. Found footage is all but drained of original ideas lately, and I think for some it’s hard to imagine a world existing without them. But that world used to exist, and The Blair Witch Project is the moment that shattered the typical horror film narrative and presented a film as close to real life as possible. If you are like me and somewhat terrified of getting lost in the woods, then this film will pray heavily on your fears of the dark shapes in the forest. Hopefully the movie will continue to hold onto it’s cult following for years to come and gain new supporters who can appreciate it in the context of it’s time. This one is currently streaming (along with some other great films) on Hulu Plus.
Currently streaming on Hulu Plus
The Brood (1979)
David Cronenberg is undoubtedly going to get a spotlight here pretty soon but until that time I want to recommend what is arguably his finest film. The Brood is Cronenberg working at the top of his game in the genre that made him famous. It’s anger put to film and it’s one of the finest, most emotionally charged horror films ever created. I don’t know where the inspiration for it came from, but it had to be a dark place. This one is part of Hulu Plus’ amazing Criterion library so add it to the list but be prepared for an intense couple hours.
Currently streaming on Hulu Plus