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Horror is a rich genre with a flick for every mood and every time of the year. You want a flick about gothic manors, ghosts, and spooky atmosphere? We got that! Check out The Awakening (2012), The Shape of Water (2019), or The Others (2001).  Or possibly you want more laughs and less terror? Try Tucker & Dale vs Evil (2012), Willy’s Wonderland (2021), or The Love Witch (2016). If none of these titles strike your fancy, read on as I recommend some of the spookiest horror movies in the WPPL catalog! That is, if you dare!  This blog will be a two-part series. Part I will cover films from mid 1990s through 2010, with Part II focusing on flicks from 2010-2021!

Event Horizon – 1997

Sam Neill as Dr. William Weir in Event Horizon

Subgenre: cosmic horror, sci-fi horror, space horror

Where you’ve seen them:

Sam Neill: Jurassic Park (1993), Daybreakers (2009)

Laurence Fishburne: The Matrix (1999), Black-ish (2014-present)

Joely Richardson: Color out of Space (2019), The Turning (2020)

Summary: Set in 2047, a ship lost for years, the Event Horizon, suddenly emerges in orbit near Neptune.  A team of astronauts are dispatched to retrieve the ship and locate survivors, but they soon discover the ship has returned with a malevolent force at its helm.

Eve’s Bayou – 1997

Eve’s Bayou movie/promo poster

Subgenre: gothic horror, Southern gothic horror, coming-of-age, woman-directed

Where You’ve Seen ‘em:

Jurnee Smollett: Lovecraft Country (2020), Birds of Prey (2020)

 Samuel L. Jackson: Spiral: The Book of Saw (2020), The Avengers (2012)

Summary: This coming-of-age-story is set in rural 1960s Louisiana, told from the perspective of Eve Batiste, the daughter of a very successful physician, Dr. Louis Batiste. Although their family seems to be idyllic, during the summer Eve discovers harsh truths about her family.

Stir of Echoes – 1999

Kathryn Erbe and Kevin Bacon in Stir of Echoes

Subgenre: supernatural

Where You’ve Seen ‘em:

Kevin Bacon: Tremors (1991), The Following (2015-2018), You Should Have Left (2020)

Kathryn Erbe: Law and Order Criminal Intent (2001-2010)

Summary: Kevin Bacon plays a blue-collar family man, Tom Witzky, who after being hypnotized by his sister-in-law, begins to experience hallucinations about a missing girl from his neighborhood.  As the images he sees become more disturbing, Tom begins to piece together the mystery of what happened to the girl and how she can be saved.

Scream – 1996

Drew Barrymore as Casey Becker in Scream

Subgenre: slasher, meta-horror, satirical horror

Where You’ve Seen ‘em:

Neve Campbell: The Craft (1996), Skyscraper (2018)

Courtney Cox: Friends (1994-2004)

Summary: Set in a small suburban town, a group of cynical and sassy teens become the target of an unknown killer in a Ghostface costume. As the killer picks them off one by one, the remaining survivors attempt to discover the identity of the killer while following the rules and tropes of the slasher genre.

Final Destination – 2000

Final Destination promo poster

Subgenre: slasher, supernatural, splatter

Where You’ve Seen ‘em:

 Ali Larter: Heroes (2002-2006), Resident Evil series (2011-2019)

Devon Sawa: Hunter hunter (2020), Casper (1991)

Tony Todd: Candyman series (1991-2021), West of Hell (2018)

Summary: A high school French class boards a plane for a class trip. One of the students, Alex, has a premonition that the plane will explode and has a panic attack forcing himself and a group of other kids and faculty off the plane. As the group watches Flight 180 depart for Paris, the plane explodes mid-air. After the group of survivors begin to die in random and suspenseful ways, Alex tries to save the remaining people by cracking “Death’s design”. 

Se7en – 1997

movie poster

Subgenre: serial killer, thriller, neo-noir

Where You’ve Seen ‘em:

Brad Pitt: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019), Fight Club (1998)

Morgan Freeman: The Dark Knight (2005-2012), Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Summary: Directed by David Fincher, Se7en tells the story of two detectives, one of whom is nearing retirement, that are tracking down a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as inspiration for his murders.

28 Days Later – 2002

Cillian Murphy in 28 Days Later

Subgenre: post-apocalyptic horror, science-fiction horror, contagion horror

Where you’ve seen ‘em:

Cillian Murphy: A Quiet Place II (2021), The Dark Knight Trilogy (2005-2012)

Naomie Harris: Moonlight (2016), Spectre (2015)

Christopher Eccleston: Dr. Who (2004- 2005), The Leftovers (2014-2017)

Summary: A group of activists accidently unleash a highly contagious “rage” virus that turns people into violent cannibalistic beings. Several weeks later, a bike courier wakes in a hospital to find the entire city is empty. As he wanders throughout London he runs into other survivors, and together they attempt to travel to safety

SAW – 2004

Saw promo poster

Subgenre: body-horror, splatter

Where You’ve seen ‘em:

Cary Elwes: The Princess Bride (1987), Hot Shots! (1991), Black Christmas (2019)

Danny Glover: Lethal Weapon (1987-1998), The Dead Don’t Die (2019)

Summary: While two men awaken in a dirty bathroom in a factory chained to pipes, a cop attempts to unravel the mystery surrounding “the Jigsaw Killer”: a serial killer that targets people that are ungrateful to be alive and puts them in harmful situations to test their will to survive.

The Descent – 2005

The all women cast of The Descent

Subgenre: eco-horror, adventure horror, creature-feature, subterranean-horror

Notable Trivia: According to the author of 3,000 Facts about Horror Movies,the creatures were meant to resemble the title character from the 1922 film, Nosferatu1.

Summary: A group of women go spelunking in the cave systems in North Carolina. After a passage collapses one of the women admits the cave system is not the one, they spoke about going in. She convinces them to continue going forward so they could discover the new system, but soon they find out they are not alone.

30 Days of Night – 2007

The vampires in 30 Days of Night

Subgenre: vampire, splatter, thriller

Where you’ve seen em:

Josh Hartnett: Penny Dreadful (2014-2016), Black Hawk Down (2001)

Melissa George: Amityville Horror (2005), A Lonely Place to Die (2011)

Summary: Bloodthirsty vampires descend upon a small town in Northern Alaska, just as it enters a thirty-day polar night. Though most of the townspeople leave before the polar night, a small group of people remain and must survive until dawn breaks the vampires reign of terror.

Paranormal Activity – 2007

Still from Paranormal Activity

Subgenre: found footage, supernatural, ghosts

Notable Trivia: According to data from The Numbers, Paranormal Activity was made for $15,000, the movie grossed $95 million worldwide and has since its released spawned five sequels2

Summary: Reinvigorating the found footage subgenre, Paranormal Activity tells of a young couple, Micah and Katie, that begin to experience supernatural phenomena after moving into a new house. The couple set up a camera to record the occurrences, which mostly happen at night, when they are trying to sleep.

The Ruins – 2008

Subgenre: ecological, environmental, thriller

Notable Trivia:

The Ruins was adapted from a book of the same title by Scott Smith. Smith clearly has an appreciation for the classic horror short stories as The Ruins is deeply influenced by notable predecessors The Willows by Algernon Blackwood and Color Out of Space by H.P. Lovecraft3.   

Summary: While vacationing in Mexico, a group of twenty-somethings decide to accompany other tourists to see a Mayan temple that is not on the tour guide.  Once they reach the ruins, the indigenous people guarding the ruins refuse to let them leave. Being forced to stay at the top of the ruins, they notice something is terribly wrong with the vines that surround the ruins. Their only hope is to try to survive long enough for help to come or risk trying to escape.

Let the Right One In – 2008

Movie poster/promo

Subgenre: vampire, horror romance,

Notable Trivia: The title of the book refers to the accepted myth that vampires must be invited into a living person’s dwelling; they cannot come in uninvited.

Summary: Set in 1980s Stockholm, Let the Right One In tells the story of a preteen boy Oskar that befriends a girl named Eli in his apartment building.  Initially the peculiar girl is hesitant about becoming friends, until after learning Oskar is a common target for bullying. Through their friendship she encourages him to stand up for himself while also telling him the secret about herself.

Be on the lookout for the Pt II of this series!!!!