Opinion — Top 5 horror movies to watch on Halloween

Jakob Ross, Contributing Writer

Of all film genres, horror just happens to be my favorite. So in honor of Halloween, here are my top five horror films.

  1. Suspiria (2018) directed by Luca Gudagnino 

Based in the 1970s, “Suspiria” follows Susie Bannion, who arrives in Berlin to audition for the Helena Markos Dance Company. After Bannion gets the role of lead dancer, the woman she replaced accuses the dance company of using witchcraft. 

Although a remake of the original “Suspira,” which was created in 1977, the 2018 version delivers many more scares and horrific, gory scenes that could be fun for a Halloween gathering. It is rare for my jaw to drop more than once during a film, but “Suspiria” has managed to do that after multiple re-watches. It is a horrifying and beautiful film that never fails to leave me shocked and emotionally drained. 

All the performances and directions are phenomenal. Every single dance sequence is so beautiful, yet so horrifying at the same time. Thom Yorke’s score is absolutely masterful and is so well done. This film gives me an experience like no other and I love to revisit it during the Halloween season.

  1. Eraserhead (1977) directed by David Lynch

“Eraserhead” follows Henry, a lonely man that lives in a post-war industrial future and works at a paper mill. Henry also has a girlfriend, Mary. When she gets pregnant, she moves to his apartment and delivers a mutant baby who cries all the time. She cannot bear the screams of the child and deserts Henry and the baby. Henry is then left to look after the baby himself and slowly goes insane.

“Eraserhead” is a horrifying and disgusting film that simultaneously feels like a dream and a nightmare. David Lynch is a genius, so take my word for it and watch this film for the first time knowing none of the lore. Once you have experienced it, then do some research and learn how other people interpreted the film’s meaning. 

After building a basic understanding of the film, it feels like so much more than just random things happening on screen. So much more. “Eraserhead” is such a classic and is one of my favorite go-to re-watch films.

  1. Midsommar (2019) directed by Ari Aster

“Midsommar” is about several friends who travel to Sweden to study a Swedish summer festival that is held every 90 years in a remote town. What should have been a dream vacation in a place where the sun never sets, however, gradually turns into a dark nightmare as the mysterious inhabitants invite their visitors to participate in their disturbing festival activities.

“Midsommar” is a slow-burn horror that gets under your skin. The film’s imagery makes you want to turn your head, but at the same time does a great job of forcing you to pay attention. 

The acting, directing, music and writing are all really good. “Midsommar” both disturbs and confuses. If you enjoy movies like “The Witch” and “The Lighthouse,” both of which are of a dark subgenre, “Midsommar” is one to watch.

  1. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) directed by Tobe Hooper

“Texas Chain Saw Massacre” follows five friends who head out to rural Texas to visit the grave of a grandfather. On the way, they stumble upon what appears to be a deserted house, only to discover something sinister within. Something armed with a chainsaw.

“Texas Chain Saw Massacre” is one of the most disturbing and nerve-racking films I have ever seen in my life. As a massive horror fan that watches horror movies constantly, that says a lot. 

It could be one of the finest examples of horror filmmaking, maybe even filmmaking in general. It does not have much of a plot but instead exists solely to put the viewer in a state of distress. I remember watching this for the first time and how utterly freaked out I was.

  1. Hereditary (2018) directed by Ari Aster

“Hereditary” follows Annie after the death of her mentally ill mother. Annie, her husband, son and daughter all mourn her loss. The family turns to different means to handle their grief, including Annie and her daughter both flirting with the supernatural. They each begin to have disturbing, otherworldly experiences linked to the sinister secrets and emotional trauma that have been passed through the generations of their family.

Watching “Hereditary” for the first time was one of the most unsettling experiences I have ever had in a movie theater. Hereditary shines in its tone and atmosphere, which made watching this movie like I was living a true nightmare. 

There are not any big, fantasy-like set pieces or even a gothic house used to develop this film’s eeriness. Instead, it takes the toxic atmosphere of an upper-class family household to make you feel so uncomfortable and unfamiliar that moving forward in the plot feels like taking a deep breath and never exhaling. 

“Hereditary” relies beautifully on its story, which helps viewers easily understand the film’s overall tone. Even when re-watching, I still find myself shaking in my seat as I try to control my breathing. 

I promise you that “Hereditary” will not disappoint. This is a family drama that takes disturbing turns and grabs you by the throat. Honestly, the best horror film I have seen in a long time. The only thing I hate is that I do not get to see it for the first time again.

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