Halloween began as the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, where youth would run around lighting fires in villages to ward off ghosts.
At the same time, farmers and responsible people of the community would meet to gather resources for the winter months and herd the animals back from the pastures. This proved increasingly difficult, as the animals became very wary of burning villages and would run back into the forest. Over time the villages were reduced to ashes, and the remaining Celts either died of starvation or moved to the United States. Nowadays, Halloween is an opportunity for children, clowns, slutty nurses and hockey goalkeepers to roam the streets in absolute harmony in search of candy, alcohol and illicit drugs. Meanwhile, Tinder matches remain indoors watching scary movies on Netflix as an attempt to escape all the action and chill. It’s a confusing time.
For all the chillers out there, enjoy our Halloween film guide, as recommended by seven esteemed filmmakers.
The Silence of The Lambs – Jonathan Demme
It’s debatably a crime thriller but often referred to as a horror film. It’s just such a well-made film. The performances, the music, the way the camera is used—everything is so considered. And I think for its time it was important as it portrayed a female in a horror movie that isn’t playing a victim. J Foster is a beast! There’s a strong feminist perspective to the film, which I appreciate—I based a whole music video on a scene in the opening where Clarice gets into an elevator full of men looking down on her. It happens in about five seconds but I always found that scene to be so profound.
– Riley Blakeway
The Shining – Stanley Kubrick
I love Jack Nicholson and they filmed the exterior shots at Timberline Lodge in Mt. Hood, a place I’ve spent a lot of time at, and love. The movie is amazingly well done. Kubrick is a genius.
– Foster Huntington
The Fourth Kind – Olatunde Osunsanmi
Not a horror film buff at all. One that I do remember and it scared the shit out of me was The Fourth Kind. I caught it on TV during a trip down past Oaxaca, Mexico. We were staying in a really weird hotel, fitted with an old 4:3 TV, a flickery square box. They were mostly Spanish channels, but The Fourth Kind was one of the only English films playing. I don’t know if it was the creepy Mexican room or the film but I was freaked the fuck out. It was shot mockumentary style, so it felt a little too real in my setting. I think your backdrop is half the recipe to watching a good horror film. Book a cabin deep in the woods and watch Blair Witch. No thanks.
– Kai Neville
American Psycho – Mary Harron
I wasn’t sure if American Psycho fits the genre, but someone on the internet listed it as a black comedy horror film, so that’s good enough for me. Albeit nothing on the book, it’s a fantastic social satire that still holds up today, perhaps even more so. Christian Bale based the role on Tom Cruise, which really makes you question how fucked up Tom Cruise actually is. Anyways, the soundtrack alone is pretty much enough reason to watch it again. The scene set to Huey Lewis and The News is particularly memorable.
– Lincoln Caplice
No Country for Old Men – The Coen Brothers
Javier Bardem is the creepiest dude in No Country for Old Men. I remember driving home alone after watching that film at the cinema and just waiting to have him appear in my backseat and calmly blast my head off. I hate writing this just thinking about him. The craziest thing is he’s with Penelope Cruz.
– Stefan Hunt
Green Room – Jeremy Saulnier
I was flying back from a job in China when I stumbled upon this film. I hadn’t heard anything about the film but saw Anton Yelchin was in it and decided to give it a go. The cinematography grabbed me straight away and within 20 minutes the film’s first act it had me hooked, more than just a bit anxious, and very intrigued. The film follows punk rock band The Ain’t Rights to a run-down club, deep in the woods of Oregon which is owned by violent white supremacists. They witness a murder and from then on, it’s an intense journey of survival held up inside the club’s ‘green room’. It’s gory, like I mean really, really gory and it will have you on the edge of your seat for the majority of the ride. I can’t remember the last time I watched a film that had me sweating and wanting to turn away from the screen, let alone on a packed A330 at 40,000ft. Give it a watch, it’s fast paced and doesn’t hold back, you won’t be disappointed.
– Tristan Houghton
Lost Highway – David Lynch
I was always kind of freaked out by how in the movie (spoiler alert) the guy sneaks into the couples bedroom and videos them while there asleep and sends them the tape in the mail. I think maybe your asking the wrong guy… You should be asking my mate Steve McLeod, he maybe the most qualified “B grade” scary movie buff going around. He’s been organising these movie nights for the last six months or so that me and a couple of old mates from school go around to his joint and drink a couple of tinnies and maybe smoke a cheeky joint and eat pizza while his better half is usually away for work. It’s an all round good night catching up with the boys.
– Brett Brown