Written by: Audrey Waggoner
Art by: Grace Monahan
If you know anything about me, you’ll know that I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to horror movies. Here are a few I particularly like, ranging from sweet to sickening.
- Carnival of Souls (Amazon Prime): an atmospheric, unsettling black and white flick from 1962. Directed by Herk Harvey on a $30,000 budget, this movie follows a young woman who is inexorably drawn to an abandoned carnival. I’m still haunted by it.
- Killer Klowns from Outer Space (Amazon Prime): cult classic, campy as hell, clowns and cotton candy—what more could you want? Filmed in my hometown, from the director Stephen Chiodo, Killer Klowns stars a teenage couple who discover a pack of murderous clowns and attempt to thwart them. If you’ve ever wanted to get into 80s B movies but didn’t know where to start, try this one.
- Coraline (Netflix): delightfully eerie, with mesmerizing stop-motion animation. In this 2009 movie from director Henry Selick, a young girl moves into a strange new house with her parents and gets pulled into an alternate universe. If you hate horror but are in the mood for something spooky, check it out.
- The Witch (Netflix): my personal favorite from the ongoing slow horror revival. This 2016 debut film from Robert Eggers gives a twist on the typical Puritan-era witch story. A finely-crafted historical drama with malevolence emanating from within.
- The Bad Batch (Netflix): this one feels like a bad acid trip at Coachella, in the best way. A dystopian body-horror thriller directed by Ana Lily Amirpour, The Bad Batch (2017) tells the story of a young woman navigating an apocalyptic wasteland that’s simultaneously vicious and beguiling. Recommended for anyone who’s ever thought Keanu Reeves would make a good cult leader.
- Hellraiser (Hulu): sadistic and seriously gory. From writer and director Clive Barker, this film follows a group of kinky demons as they are unleashed on the mortal realm. Upon its 1987 release, Hellraiser ushered in a new era of horror—the more transgressive the better. Not for the faint of heart.
- Mother! (Hulu): controversial, possibly pretentious, and definitely over-the-top, but also one of the only recent horror movies that felt viscerally disturbing to me. Directed by Darren Aronofsky in 2017, Mother! is the tale of an isolated couple whose lives take a steep departure from reality. Watch it with your friends and argue about it after.
- Phenomena (Amazon Prime): a bizarrely captivating film by the brilliant Dario Argento, released in 1985. Magic, mystery, and murder at a boarding school in the Swiss Alps, Phenomena expertly blends the tranquil and the grotesque. A fine introduction to the Italian school of horror.