It’s no secret that I’m not the biggest fan of horror movies. Whether it’s ghosts and goblins, devils and demons, or slashers and…I don’t know, crashers?, the genre isn’t my jam. But it IS the jam of many a’Mad About Movies listener and since it’s October, and Happy Scare Time is upon us, I thought it prudent to lean into that Halloween feeling. Over the course of this month, we’ll be publishing several entries from both MAM hosts and MAM contributors discussing their personal five favorite horror movies. At the end of the month, we’ll also have a bonus episode available on our VIP feed talking to each blog contributor about a few of the films on their respective lists. Thanks for reading. -Brian
I would love to say that the cool autumn breezes of October have gotten me in the spirit for horror, but it is fully 95 degrees here. That being said, pumpkin spice waits for no weather, so crank up your AC and snuggle up in a blanket, it's spooky season. Here are my personal favorites!
The Shining (1980)
What is there to say that hasn't been said? The Shining is the standard to which I hold most modern horrors, because it has everything. I recently heard David Rees say on a podcast that "the best movies are either a puzzle or a dream" and The Shining is both. Well, maybe a nightmare.
Evil Dead II (1987)
This blew my mind when I saw it for the first time. Following up a down-the-line slasher film with essentially a parody of the same genre, while still being at times truly frightening, I think this is a masterful understanding of what makes horror scary and what makes comedy funny. While the effects have not aged beautifully, it is such a smartly made movie it brings me joy.
The beauty of Halloween is in its simplicity. It ages well because it is not heavy on bad special effects, it just takes an unstoppable, unhinged villain, and sends him on a killing spree on the scariest night of the year. The definitive holiday horror.
An American Werewolf in London (1981)
I have two "horror comedies" on my list, but I can't help it. There are so many amazing things about Werewolf: the music is incredible, the visuals are haunting, and it has the ability to change the whole movie on a dime. I've seen it maybe five times and I still get the thrilling chills right before the real trouble starts.
I wanted to pull a recent one and saw that Sean had written about Hereditary and the original Suspiria, so I'm going to bump the remake! I stan Dakota Johnson and Tilda Swinton, and I think the combo of the dance/mutilation scenes just work so unbelievably well, it turns your insides.
Bonus recommendation- If you want something seriously messed up, the French film Raw on Netflix. I made a whole frozen pizza and it sat on the counter all day. Absolutely disgusting. But effective.