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Scary Movies to Inspire Chills and Thrills for Halloween

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Halloween is almost upon us again and most pop culture fans have been preparing for it by watching some scary movies. I’ve got a few suggestions of my own for you, listed below. These films aren’t necessarily full of jump-scares, blood, or slashing, they’re simply meant to be movies you can watch on Halloween and have some chills and frights that come with horror movies. If you have suggestions of your own for scary movies to watch as you get in a spooky mood for Halloween, be sure to let us know on The Cosmic Circus Discord or on Twitter @mycosmiccircus!

A Horror Classic: Halloween (1978)

The first Halloween film, directed by John Carpenter in 1978, is considered a beloved horror classic. Its visuals, sound, costume and set design are very impressive even after almost 45 years. The film tells the story of teenage high school student Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), who spends Halloween as a babysitter. Throughout the film, she runs and tries to survive masked serial killer Michael Myers (Nick Castle).

When Michael was young, he killed his teenage sister with a knife and was jailed for it. After fifteen years, he escaped from the Smith’s Grove Sanatorium to return to his family home. But when he arrives there, he sees Laurie nearby and decides to kill her and everyone he can in the area.

Michael Myers and Laurie Strode from 1978’s Halloween (Compass International Pictures)

I personally like this film very much, it has an excellent soundtrack, very good visual effects, and a Halloween setting that gives it a spooky and scary atmosphere. There are a lot of Halloween movies that followed but you can ignore most of them. They’re not canonical or necessarily worth watching.

However, if you watch the original Halloween and like it, you should watch the 2018 version too. Halloween (2018) was made 40 years later and is a kind of remake/reboot that is supposed to be Halloween for a new generation. 

Coming to get you: It Follows (2014)

It Follows is a lesser-known but, in my opinion, worthy pick for this Halloween season. It tells the story of a group of people who flee their homes in fear of death from an unseen threat and try to find a way to defeat it. They learn that it is some kind of ancient creature and defeating it will not be easy.

The bottom line is that this thing can find them anywhere, at any time of the day, and when it finds them, it starts killing them. The only way to escape this fate is to have sex with someone, because then you pass this curse on to them. The creature will follow and try to kill that person instead. Common methods of killing, do not work on this creature, but what happens next, you will have to find out for yourself.

It Follows
It Follows promotional photo (Northern Lights Films)

As you may have guessed, the film has deeper messages within it than purely a horror movie or psychological thriller. With that in mind, you may appreciate It Follows more after multiple viewings. 

Strange times: The Lighthouse (2019)

If you’ve heard of director Robert Eggers, you know that his films are often unconventional. Whenever he makes a film, he casts great actors to tell an interesting story, with lots of plot twists, as well as mythological, sometimes religious, and even historical elements.

The Lighthouse is the story of two lighthouse keepers Ephraim (Robert Pattinson) and Thomas (Willem Dafoe). They treat each other like normal working people, but things get increasingly tense between them on this small isolated island. Since Thomas is older than Ephraim, he gives him all sorts of jobs to do while he rests and checks the light of the lighthouse every day and forbids Ephraim to go there.

The Lighthouse
Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe in The Lighthouse (A24)

When Ephraim starts hallucinating due to his long departure from civilization, he gets trippy and that’s when the horror begins. Ephraim sees various strange things, such as mermaids, sea monsters, and other terrible visions. Thomas tells him that they both just need to have a drink and it will eventually go away. But when both are stranded on the island due to a raging storm, we learn that nothing is as it seemed.

This is one of those movies that just keeps getting weirder and weirder the further the plot goes. Pattinson and Dafoe are a fantastic duo, capturing the audience’s attention. They were expected to be nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category at the Oscars, which, unfortunately, didn’t happen. When I first saw The Lighthouse, I was very confused for about an hour after the movie ended. All I can say is, watch it for what it’s worth with all the strange things that happen there, and you won’t be disappointed.

Someone is watching: The Invisible Man (2020)

The 2020 version of Invisible Man fought with other very well-received productions that year – not only with critics’ and viewers’ opinions but also with the box office result. With a budget of $7 million, the film scored an incredible box office of $145 million worldwide. This is a reboot of the original 1933 The Invisible Man, which was based on HG Wells’ 1897 novel.

The film tells the story of Cecilia Kass (Elisabeth Moss), who lives in a brutally violent and psychologically damaging relationship with her abuser, who is a business engineer working with optical technology. When Cecilia decides it’s time to leave Adrian (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) forever, she drugs him with the help of her sister.

She hides for two weeks under the protection of Detective James (Aldis Hodge) and with his daughter Syndey (Storm Reid). Then her ex seemingly commits suicide and leaves her $5 million, but only on the condition that she be declared sane.

The Invisible Man
2020’s The Invisible Man promotional graphic (Universal Pictures)

Immediately after signing a document to take the money Adrian left her, paranormal things start happening around her. An invisible force is attacking everyone around her and obliterating all traces of her existence. It looks as if Cecilia is going crazy and everyone starts thinking she is a psychotic liar. However, she knows that Adrian is alive and he is invisible because he created an optic bodysuit that reflects light, making the owner invisible.

This film is full of paranoid episodes that not only show us how hurt people who have experienced domestic violence and forced relationships with their abuser are, but what happens when one person is only focused on destroying another’s life. I have a very strong fondness for this film, as it was the last film I watched before the theaters closed in 2020, but after two years it’s still one of the best horror films I’ve seen.

Sci-Fi Horror classic: The Thing (1982)

Here’s another horror classic from John Carpenter, this time with some science fiction elements. The Thing is a 1982 film about scientists in Antarctica who are supposed to conduct research there but instead come into close contact with mysterious and dangerous aliens that can choose any shape they want.

The main character of this film R.J. MacReady is played by Kurt Russell, who gives us a cool but very creepy performance. When they discover the alien, they learn that there’s only one thing that can kill him, and that is fire, which is not so easy to come by in Antarctica.

The Thing 1982
Kurt Russell in 1982’s The Thing (Universal Pictures)

The most frightening thing in the story is that no one knows who to trust. Trying to escape, they must do everything to stop the creature from ever getting out or it would wipe out humanity. If you want to watch be prepared for some light jump-scares and body horror.

What do you think of my suggestions for scary movies to get in the mood for Halloween? What are yours? Let us know on the Discord or Twitter!

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Wiktor Reinfuss

Big fan of all sorts of pop culture stuff. I also enjoy ambitious cinema. Games, music and graphics are all within my interests. I have a great fondness for the Arrowverse series, especially The Flash.

Wiktor Reinfuss has 129 posts and counting. See all posts by Wiktor Reinfuss