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Movies

7 horror films that will terrorize you this Halloween

Seph Asong - Philstar.com
7 horror films that will terrorize you this Halloween
'A Nightmare on Elm Street' (left) and 'Insidious'
Warner Bros. Pictures; Blumhouse Productions, etc.

MANILA, Philippines — If there’s one season that has gotten the notoriety for giving everyone the excuse to dress up and party, that’s Halloween. It’s almost like a worldwide tradition to celebrate it no matter where you are in the world. 

From trick-or-treating to organizing small parties with friends, Halloween never runs out of ideas to get everyone together. But amid the current global pandemic that is seemingly as terrifying as the All Hallows’ Eve itself, people--at least here in the Philippines — are opting to just stay at home. 

So, for those who don’t have any weekend plans or those who are looking for film ideas for a date night, we got you covered. We have curated a list of old and new scary movies that will give you a plethora of brand new phobias and fears because whether you admit it or not, you love a good scare and you’re probably drawn to its dark side more than you know.

A little caveat: the movies in this list have been reviewed by our team over the years, and trust us when we say you’ll be keeping the lights on after you watch one of them. 

7. 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' (1984)

Ask anyone in their ‘30s if they know who Freddy Krueger is and you’ll probably get a blank stare that automatically turns into a creeping fear. “A Nightmare on Elm Street” is a classic '80s film that has evolved over the years as the franchise grew, and with it, the name Freddy Krueger became an icon of terror, whose legend can easily be compared to a killer clown or a possessed doll. 

What’s scary about this film? The whole concept around getting massacred while you’re sleeping is the complete opposite of the belief that we’re safe at the comfort of our own bed. 

6. 'Evil Dead' (2013)

The first installment was released in 1981 and has had several remakes in the following decades, but we’re going to focus on the 2013 version as this one left us, and probably other people, scarred for life. 

The “Evil Dead” franchise symbiotically combines humor and fear, making it a perfect comedy horror, but the 2013 version took it to a different level of visceral terror that none of its predecessors had. 

What’s scary about this film? If getting stuck in a remote cabin located deep in the forest, with one of your friends turning into a murderous psycho demon armed with a chainsaw doesn’t make you jump out of your seat, then we don’t know what else will. 

5. 'The Exorcist' (1973)

This cult-classic ‘70s supernatural film that stars Linda Blaire as Regan MacNeil, the little girl who is probably best known for her nightmarish and infamous spider-walking scene down the stairs, literally changed the way horror films are visually told, leading on to becoming an inspiration for many horror movies to come. 

What’s scary about this film? Well, here’s the thing: even if you don’t believe that demons exist, “The Exorcist” subliminally inserts a particular menace that will, later on, pervade in every scene, enveloping the viewers with a melancholic trepidation so indescribably unholy that they will question everything they know about God and what’s beyond death. 

4. 'Insidious' (2010)

Taking 7th place in our list is “Insidious,” which could be highly debatable for some if this film truly deserves to be on the scary list. However, there’s something about the way the entire saga was poignantly pieced together that from the exterior, it may just look like another paranormal family-centric story, but delving deeper into the backstories and putting together the clues, you’ll eventually realize that there’s much more to the ghostly figures than meets the eye. 

Apart from the two incredible actors Patrick Wilson (“The Conjuring”) and Rose Byrne (“Neighbors”) who provided the much-needed depth, “Insidious” explores the many variations of human despair and the forbidden truths about one’s past. 

What’s scary about this film? When Dalton’s grandmother, Lorraine, confronted and asked the strange figure lurking in a dark corner inside the boy’s room what it wants, it replies “Dalton.” Subsequently, Lorraine sees a demonic red-faced figure that roars at her before violently attacking Dalton. As creatively as it was executed, it also caused many viewers to be traumatized by the sheer terror of something unexpected. 

3. 'Hereditary' (2018)

This grueling two-hour film has successfully hidden the unimaginable horrors in plain sight, cloaked by perfect American family life. The story begins with the passing of the family’s matriarch, whose death began to unravel disturbing, otherworldly experiences linked to the frightening secrets and emotional trauma that have been passed through the generations of their family. 

What’s scary about this film? This film provides an unsettling glimpse of what demons we may have inherited from our ancestors. Dubbed as the “The Exorcist” of the new generation, “Hereditary” grips you with real and unspeakable horror that will distort your entire imagination. There’s one particular scene in the film when Alex Wolff, who played the role of Peter Graham (the oldest son in the family), saw his reflection with a menacing smile before it mysteriously and violently smack his head down the classroom chair causing panic around him. The way the fear was painted in the faces of the other students was so profound that you could almost smell their fear. 

2. 'The Descent' (2005)

The early 2000s weren’t just all about teeny-bopper fashion and pop music. Hollywood films were also on the cusp of transforming narratives and visual effects into a more immersive storytelling experience, which was magnified in the 2005 “The Descent.” 

The plot circles around Sarah, who after the tragic death of her family, decided to follow them in their graves--figuratively and literally speaking. Most normal people who lost someone dear to them would probably lock themselves in their rooms for months, but not Sarah. Along with her friends, she goes to North Carolina to explore the caves. After descending underground, the group stumbled upon cave paintings and evidence of previous expeditions. Later on, Sarah and her group found themselves lost in a massive labyrinth of underground caves that hide flesh-eating creatures of unthinkable horror. 

What’s scary about this film? The simplicity of the story was seamlessly weaved into various shocking elements such as claustrophobia, adrenaline rush, and the fear of what could be lurking beneath the surface.

If you haven’t seen this film yet, then, you’re missing a lot. 

1. 'Sinister' (2012)

Taking the number 1 spot in our list is the 2012 horror film “Sinister” that stars Ethan Hawke. There’s a good reason why this woefully underrated found-footage-themed horror film is in every gory-loving film geek’s list as it has this remarkable ability to lure viewers with its growing sense of dread and imminent danger throughout its runtime. 

Hawke is such a well-respected and talented actor that he undoubtedly gave Ellison Oswald’s character justice, and much more. The plot thickens after the Oswald family moved into a new house that harbors sinister secrets from its previous owners. 

What’s scary about this film? His name is ‘Bughuul,' a satanic pagan deity who manipulates children to kill their families before eating their souls. That may sound cheesy for a horror film, right? But this character has given endless nightmares to a lot of clueless viewers who thought this film wasn’t going to be that scary. 

The way Buughuul’s character was depicted and visually presented was something that no other horror movie has been able to successfully imitate. There’s just something extremely overpowering about this film that you can instantly feel the weight as the story unfolds. 

HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS

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