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The best horror to watch this year

From "The Silence of the Lambs" to "Midsommar," there's no shortage of scary content to watch this Halloween.
From "The Silence of the Lambs" to "Midsommar," there's no shortage of scary content to watch this Halloween.

Listen, I love a good fall film. I’m right with Campus and Community Editor Lexi Whitehead’s vibey fall movies list (“Fantastic Mr. Fox” and “Scooby Doo” were inspired picks, truly).

But it’s spooky season, not pretty leaf season.

Spooky means horror.

With that in mind, it’s time for another list.  A more, ahem, horrible list. Cuts have been made, and I’m not sorry about it. We don’t celebrate classics here.

Older than me

“The Shining” (1980): It’s referenced in every horror movie and TV show for a reason, and that reason is it’s incredible.

“The Silence of the Lambs” (1991): Imagine naming your child Hannibal and thinking he’ll grow up to be anything other than a cannibal. Dude’s mom was testing fate, and she failed.

“Children of the Corn” (1984): Objectively the worst movie on this list. Was I scared? No. Do I recommend it for a good laugh or two? Absolutely.

“Night of the Living Dead” (1968): Fun fact: The graveyard scene was filmed about 20 minutes from my house.

Found Footage

“Chronicle” (2012): Not really a horror movie, but I’m putting it here to make a point that there are better found footage options than “The Blair Witch Project” or “Paranormal Activity.”

“Cloverfield” (2008): I’ve never seen “Godzilla,” but I assume it feels something like this minus the “character holds the camera” gimmick.

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“The Taking of Deborah Logan” (2014): Genuinely frightening and surprisingly poignant flick about documentary filmmakers following a woman with dementia.


“The Conjuring” (2013 - present): Currently at eight movies and growing. The best is “The Conjuring 2,” and the funniest is “The Nun.”

“A Quiet Place” (2018 - present): A perfect standalone monster film, an acceptable sequel, and presumably many more to come as long as they keep making Paramount money.

“Fear Street” (2021): Three movies released over a span of three weeks. Assistant Entertainment Editor Maggie Peña does a better job of selling it than I can.

Foreign films

“The Platform” (2019): A Spanish flick about a skyscraper prison where prisoners are fed once a day by a descending platform. For personal reasons, the most uncomfortable I’ve been during a movie.

“Pan’s Labyrinth” (2006): Guillermo del Toro’s horror-fairy-tale-period-piece-military-drama epic works better than it had any right to.

“Train to Busan” (2016): It has a train, and it has zombies, all you really need for a tense bloodbath of a movie.

Natalie Portman does horror

“Black Swan” (2010): Natalie Portman won an Oscar for her performance as a childish ballerina who starts to crack under the pressure of a leading role. But she thought she was making a docudrama.

“Annihilation” (2018): A team of female scientists go into a giant bubble from outer space that landed on a lighthouse.

Modern classics

“It: Chapter One” (2017): My third-favorite coming-of-age film, except this one happens to feature a murderous clown that lives in the sewers.

“Gerald’s Game” (2017): For reasons that are entirely her business, protagonist Jessie ends up handcuffed to a bed next to the body of her dead husband.

“Us” (2019): A 2019 movie carried by its female lead, Lupita Nyong’o, who didn’t get enough recognition because the Academy hates horror.

A24 Supremacy

“Midsommar” (2019): A 2019 movie carried by its female lead, Florence Pugh, who didn’t get enough recognition because the Academy hates horror.

“Hereditary” (2018): A 2018 movie carried by its female lead, Toni Collete, who didn’t get enough recognition because the Academy hates horror. If you’re bored 20 minutes in, don’t worry — Shit’s just about to hit the fan (or the pole, I guess).

“The Witch” (2015): Listen, it’s dense. Not everyone’s about period pieces masquerading as scary movies. But it’s the film that launched Anya Taylor-Joy’s career, and that alone makes it worth the 1600s accents.

TV shows

“The Haunting of Hill House” (2018): The only option, my favorite TV show ever, the best thing Mike Flanagan has ever done. We follow the Crane children through catastrophic family events in their past and present. Episodes five and six are my favorite pieces of media ever.