Horror flicks for the holiday season
By Cazzy Lewchuk, Opinions Editor
It’s that time of year once again, boils and ghouls. October is officially upon us, and things are about to get pretty spooky.
What better way to get into the spirit than by checking out some of the many scary movies available? This week, I’m profiling perhaps the most iconic horror subgenre of all—the hauntings of buildings and people. All of these movies are frightfully entertaining, but beware—you may want to leave a light on…
A family is plagued by unexplained paranormal activity in their new house. At first glance, it seems to be a retread of every other “haunted house” movie—but unlike most, the family actually tries moving after the haunting starts. Nevertheless, the frights continue… For extra scares, check out Insidious: Chapter Two (2013), a direct sequel that actually increases the horror of the first with certain revelations.
The Shining (1980)
Struggling writer Jack (Jack Nicholson) flees his alcoholic past by caretaking an isolated empty hotel in the dead of winter, along with his wife and his son, who exhibits psychic abilities known as “the shining.” As it turns out, the many ghosts inhabiting the hotel and Jack’s fleeting sanity are a bad combination. Considered one of the scariest movies ever made, it’s never quite clear just what’s real or not, adding a further dimension to the terror.
“They’re here!” A family is tormented by unusual activity (sound familiar?) that turns out to be the work of—spoiler alert—poltergeists. Things only get worse when their youngest, Carol Anne (Heather O’Rourke), disappears into a portal through her closet. Genuinely creepy and featuring appearances from a terrifying clown doll and multiple skeletons, this classic is much better than 2015’s forgettable remake.
The Babadook (2014)
A deeply troubled single mother is even more upset upon discovering her son is terrified of a boogeyman called “Mister Babadook”—who may not be completely imaginary. The most terrifying aspects of this film are the performances and the sheer believability. A frank and disturbing portrayal of single parent struggles and mental illness made this one acclaimed as one of the best horror films of the decade, more so psychologically than paranormally.
Paranormal Activity (2009)
It spawned five sequels and countless rip-offs, but nothing compares to the original. Micah (Micah Sloat) sets up security and video cameras around his house following oddities noticed by his girlfriend, Katie (Katie Featherston). Viewed entirely through the lens of these cameras, found-footage style, activities of a paranormal nature—and Katie’s own behaviour—quickly get out of control.
The film opens with home movie footage of an entire family being hanged. We then follow a true crime writer Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) investigating this murder, which took place in his own house. Things only get scarier when he finds a box of home movies in the attic, which contains many films of families being slaughtered. Unlike many scary movies, the audience finds out exactly what’s going on at the same rate as Ellison, as the terrifying truth of who—or what—killed all those people is revealed.