Greetings Coogs, welcome to Spooktober. Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most spine-tingling films known to man… plus a few light-hearted flicks if things get a little too intense. The films are in no particular order, so you can put your boxing gloves down for this one.
As a special treat to help get you in the mood, I’ve also included a Spotify playlist featuring songs with a creepy narrative. And yes, I promise to NOT include the Monster Mash. Now go forth, peruse the list, and choose one or two to watch on a dark and eerie night… if you dare…
Jacob’s Ladder (1990)
There’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good psychological horror. Unlike films about vampires, ghosts, and mummies, this treads just within the realm of possibility that they might happen to you. Vietnam war veteran Tim Robbins starts to…see things. Is it PTSD? Psychosis? Doesn’t matter, there is no escape. Prepare yourself for disturbing scenes and a hopeless ending.
Ridley Scott creeps out audiences through the ages with this claustrophobic space thriller. The crew of the Nostromo spaceship awakens from cryogenic sleep to realize there is an alien on their ship when they stumble across a nest of eggs. Then, one hatches and attaches itself to a crewmember.
Jennifer’s Body (2009)
A victim to exploitative marketing, Diablo Cody’s comedic horror has gained a cult following in recent years. Meghan Fox and Amanda Seyfried star in this high school film following a possessed Jennifer Check (Fox) on her mission to take revenge on the men who ended her life. “Needy” Lesnicki (Seyfried) believes her best friend to be out of control and resolves to do whatever it takes to stop her.
Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
As tempted as I am to fill this list with Tim Burton’s complete filmography, I will limit myself to this star-studded musical masterpiece.
Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, and Alan Rickman star in this heartbreaking tale of injustice and murderous revenge. Sweeney Todd (Depp) returns to England years after his family’s demise at Judge Turpin’s (Rickman) hand. He seeks revenge, and falls into a strange partnership with shopkeeper Mrs. Lovett (Bonham Carter); he kills his enemies in the barbershop on the second story, and Mrs. Lovett uses their corpses to make meat pies down below.
This story contains many twists and turns and will leave you wanting to rewatch it time and time again.
The Babadook (2014)
“He wears a hat
he’s tall and black
but that’s how they describe him in his book.
A rumbling sound, than three sharp knocks
you better run, or he’ll hold you in his locks.
What could be worse than grief? A monster that feeds off it, incites it and will drive you mad. Nicole Kidman leads this methodical oddly uplifting film where the hero is a mother and her love.
This one is NOT for the lighthearted… and it may or may not be legal in all countries.
Director Jörg Buttgereit (famous in Germany for disturbing and revolting films) brings to us the story of Rob Schmadtke, a lone burnout who works for a company that removes bodies following traffic accidents. As the title implies, he gravitates toward this line of work due to his attraction to corpses, something he and his girlfriend have in common. The relationship is on the rocks, so he brings home a corpse to, well, spice things up.
It’s gross, it will make you scream, and it will not fulfill any of your artistic needs. But you’ll be shocked and scarred for life if that’s what you’re looking for. I can even forward you my therapist’s number.
Young Frankenstein (1974)
Mel Brooks will have you putting on the Ritz with this lively classic. Gene Wilder stars as Dr. Frederick Frankenstein, forever in the shadow of the ‘mad’ Victor Frankenstein and his famed monster. He battles ridicule as he tries to establish himself as a respected scientist of his own right. Sick of the taunts regarding his grandfather’s sanity, Dr. Frankenstein travels to Transylvania to prove his sanity- only to be met with a 9-foot-tall monster. This film has been hailed as one of the best of all time, and the comedy is fresher and sharper than most things released today.
This one is a lot of fun to watch in groups. It draws audience reactions similar to those of Gone Girl; the women in the room nod in understanding approval while the men look on in silent horror.
Protagonist Dani Ardor feels hurt, unloved, and emotionally abused on her trip to Sweden with her neglectful boyfriend and their friends following the murder-suicide of her family. She finds family and acceptance in an idyllic cult… willing to kill to protect her from anyone looking to hurt her. Creative brutalities occur with sunshine, flowers, and a blue Swiss sky as a backdrop. Depending on who you are, the ending will leave you feeling uncomfortably vindicated.
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Roman Polanski does it again with this dreadful masterpiece. For women, in particular, I find this one to be truly chilling. Evil phantoms? I can take it. Demonic monsters? Whatever. A brutal sexual assault from Satan himself that results in a child, ripped away at birth as you’re kept isolated by a cult made up of your neighbors, doctor and husband? My worst nightmare. Gaslighting is bad enough without adding every evil known to man into the mix. Brace yourself to be depressed after this one.