The best horror movies aren’t the ones that merely shock or gross us out (that’s easy), but those that get under our skin, stay with us and become the stuff of our nightmares. For my top five recommendations, here is a list of one current film, two contemporary classics and two old classics that you should check out this Halloween season.
A current independent film that goes all the way with its American Gothic premise to recreate the world of Puritan New England and its obsession with witchcraft in a starkly effective and frightening way. Not a “perfect” movie, but worth checking out.
Not just a superb horror film, it’s one of the best Hollywood movies of the last 30 years. Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins both deserved their Oscars, as did the film, which gives you plenty of monstrous scares, along with a great female protagonist to stand up to them.
Kubrick’s horror masterpiece still holds up extraordinarily well 36 years later. Jack Nicholson’s performance has become iconic, but all the movie’s performances are great. Chilling and unnerving.
Best, arguably, of the Universal “Monster Movies,” this is one of those rare sequels that surpasses the original, with its horrific humor and odd inventiveness. After seeing this one, watch Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein for a great double-feature.
Extraordinary, unnerving and one-of-a-kind, this is a superb horror film, but it’s also a searching examination of what it means to be human that raises crucial questions about the status of the disabled in our society.