And now we reach the vibe subcategory of Halloween movies. Crimson Peak isn’t all that scary (unless you are the wuss of all wusses) but director Guillermo Del Toro is very much in his element in an amped-up Edwardian-era English manor. This is a love story as much as it is anything else, but with ghosts, penniless gentry, deteriorating buildings, lots of eyeballs, and some of cinema’s most eerily shot falling snow. Of films released in the last 10 years, this is essential stuff for anyone interested in design (perhaps even more so than Del Toro’s Oscar-winner The Shape of Water), and the performances by Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, and Charlie Hunnam (underrated!) are all top-notch, too.
This box office sensation that garnered three Academy Award nominations (best picture, best editing, and best director for John Boorman) is not regularly associated with Halloween. If anything, it seems like a summer movie, what with a group of people taking a canoeing trip. But it is a survival horror picture, with some still-shocking acts of violence throughout. Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight, Ronny Cox, and Ned Beatty are four Atlanta businessmen who find themselves grossly out of their element among the locals, whose landscape is about to be severely changed due to a coming dam. If only the gang split after their nice banjo encounter!
This often-overlooked movie is just one of the many foreign language gems tucked away deep on Netflix’s servers. Filipino director Mikhail Red leans in to the title with a chilling tale of a Catholic girls’ school haunted by a past suicide. The location mixes modernist architecture with classic religious iconography, and while there isn’t too much gore (though there are plenty of jump-scares), it’s the tone that does wonders here. Flickering candles, shadows, lots of eyeballs (what’s creepier than eyeballs?), and disorienting nightmares add up to an unusual sensation of dread.