I have very specific taste in scary movies. I don’t really like jump-scares (but they’re mostly unavoidable, obvs), I don’t like torture and blood and violent assault (goodbye Saw and that Human Centipede, sorry), and I think zzzombies are super boring.
THAT MEANS I’m a basic babe who loves, you guessed it, that latest fad–prestige horror. I like a good, strong plot. I like a creepy, synth-heavy soundtrack. I like some crying and some comedy and something that sticks with me for too long.
So I’ve compiled a few of the movies that have left me feeling extremely creeped out. That means these aren’t just traditional Halloween-scary movies—they’re psychological thrillers and slow-burn dramas and classics, too.
Lars von Trier movies go out of their way–like, way out of their way–to make you feel just complete devastation. They prod at the darkness in your heart that you do your best to keep quiet. Everybody has that darkness–some more than others, of course–and LvT knows it and attacks you there, and so his movies (these two in particular) make you want to just curl up and suck your thumb and stop being alive. The two end scenes of these movies are the most disturbing and upsetting of any movie you will ever see in your life.
When I was a kid, I thought, like everyone, this movie was just pretty scary. But as an adult, you start to notice scarier elements–that it’s a story of domestic violence, that it’s a story about sickness and mental illness, and that it’s sometimes, against all odds, so funny. Not just a movie about a daddy ax-murderer. This thing is heavy and beautiful and Shelley Duvall is a hero.
A more standard scary movie, this film follows a girl who contracts the mother of all STDs: a homicidal ghost stalker. Sounds cheesy, I know, but the soundtrack rules, it’s gorgeously shot, and truly, deeply scary. This is also a good one if you’re a person who likes fan theories.
First, Jeff Goldblum is beyond sexxxy in this movie, which is why it’s all the more devastating when his body starts sprouting thick black pubes and other grotesqueries. It’s a love story corrupted by a freaky sci-fi plot with a twist of body horror. It’s good!
Another great soundtrack with a completely terrifying, oblique plot that is basically this … alien woman? Who … lures men into … nothing? No, like literal nothing. Like black, spaceless lightless nothing, where they sink into something … liquid? I know, I know, I’m not selling it, but this movie will make you feel cold and alone and confused and a little upset. Perfect for Halloween. There’s this scene on a beach that still haunts me.