Best Scary Movies to Watch for “Spooky Season”

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With Halloween creeping, it's fitting to sit down and watch some classic horror movies.

In this listicle, the Arts and Entertainment Department takes a look at some of the best horror movies to release over the decades.

“A Quiet Place” (2018)

Considering John Krasinski is best known for his work on the sitcom “The Office,” it was surprising to hear that he would be directing and starring in a horror film. However, his 2018 film “A Quiet Place” has quickly become a classic scary movie.

The movie stars Krasinski and his real-life wife, Emily Blunt, as parents trying to keep their family safe from aliens that have taken over the earth. These creatures are attracted to sound which has caused the family to learn to live by making little to no noise.

This plays with the viewer’s senses throughout the film as the littlest creaks or even a sound not from the movie can be startling. When the jump scares from the monsters happen, they are utterly terrifying as the movie goes from nearly silent to blaring noise and mortified screams within a matter of seconds.

Both Krasinski and Blunt give phenomenal and heartbreaking performances, the actors who play their kids, Millicent Simmons and Noah Jupe, steal the show with remarkable performances for actors their age.

“A Quiet Place” is one of the best scary movies in recent years and will continue to creatively leave audiences frightened for years to come. – Sophia D’Ovidio

“It” (2017)

This movie remake is based on the hit Stephen King novel sharing the same name. “It” is considered a coming-of-age story but is much scarier than other movies that share that genre.

The plot follows a group of outcasts who live in Derry, Maine, who all become terrorized by Pennywise the dancing clown. This supernatural being is able to make each of the kids face their darkest fears when they’re alone, creating terrifying and graphic scenes.

Pennywise first attacks the group by killing their leader’s younger brother Georgie in the fall. He then begins his haunting of the group that summer causing them to work together in order to fight back, not only against the clown, but against their own fears.

This young cast puts on great performances all around, and while reboots are often ridiculed for not living up to the original, it is no question the 2017 film is the better telling of this story.

After viewers watch “It” they will understand why it had huge critical and commercial success and will start sleeping with a light on. – Sophia D’Ovidio

“Halloween” (1978)

What factors make a film frightening?  Is it the suspense of knowing more than the characters or the sudden attack by the monster that no one saw coming?  Either way, viewers receive both in the 1978 film, “Halloween.”

This suspenseful slasher was brilliantly directed by John Carpenter, who wrote the iconic music, and provided screenplay along with Debra Hill.  He must have taken inspiration from Alfred Hitchcock during production, since there are characteristics that are also found in “Psycho.” 

The movie tells of Michael Myers returning to his hometown and then wreaking havoc, coincidentally on the same night he murdered his sister 18 years prior.  Evidently, this premise was successful enough to spawn 12 sequels and make people terrified of William Shatner.

Obviously, the setting of the movie brings people into the mood of the spooky season.  However, it is the killer character of Michael Myers that drives the fear factor.  He’s just an imposing human who kills with what he can find.  The movie builds him as pure evil on the inside and the expressionless mask he wears helps personify this. 

His presence, along with the chilling musical score, continues to scare audiences to this day. – David Myers

“The Blair Witch Project” (1999)

Proceed with caution all those who will see this movie.  “The Blair Witch Project” is not for the faint of heart, nor the faint of stomach.  This documentary-style horror came with a warning to viewers of possible motion sickness due to the cinematography. 

The camera work impacted viewers and future films by making the subgenre of found-footage popular again.  This presentation was accomplished by making it seem that the characters themselves recorded basically home videos and then the events were presented in sequential order.  

Similar techniques have appeared in famous literature, most notably, Bram Stoker’s “Dracula,” with the story told from journal entries, logs, letters and even phonograph recordings.

Given the appearance that the movie showed film students’ footage discovering a local legend turns out to be true, unaware audiences might have wondered if the events of the motion picture occurred.  The promotions leading up to its release supplemented this feeling with marketing that the movie’s characters as missing or dead.

“The Blair Witch Project” made $248 million in theaters worldwide on an initial $60,000 budget.  It was successful through a dedicated promotional campaign that kept audiences guessing if the legend was real. – David Myers

 

Sophia D’Ovidio is a first-year majoring in communications. To contact her, email sgd5184@psu.edu.

David Myers is a fourth-year majoring in telecommunications.  To contact him, email d12amyers@gmail.com.

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