From Under the Bed into Your Head: the Large Compilation of Movies for Halloween
SHOTS
by Sophia Beilinson
20.10.2020
When we first encounter some thrilling stories in our childhood, we usually don't pay attention to the origins of the inhuman beasts occupying our minds later at night. They creep in our bedroom, soar upon our heads and keep mastering our nightmares.

The horror-movie genre originates from all kinds of folktale initially meant to alarm and protect people, sometimes stopping them from breaking the rules of a certain social group. For example, when parents want their kid to stay in bed at night without any questions, they're likely to tell him or her that a tremendous creature will gladly enjoy human flesh.

Later, romanticism raised the curtain for horrific art: it grew to become more independent and magnificent than just some spooky tales. Demons and vampires, zombies and ghosts invaded dark fantasy. A plot about signing the contract with the devil (like "Faust" by Goethe) became a common twist in modern fiction. Merry Shelly's "Frankenstein or Modern Prometheus" brought the whole new era for the beings living in the night.

However, horrors have been staying in the B-movie niche for a long time. Actually the Halloween culture, shining brightly, didn't help: they acquired "teen-movie" status due to the major audience being young adults. This caused great trouble for the authors who wished to make something more than just a one-time picture.

With this amazingly long beginning, let's speak about some notable horrors with supernatural streak.
Gothic horrors
Gothic horrors as a sub-genre exists since the very beginning. They're less bloody and more focused on mystical events with typical gothic aesthetics like middle-aged castles, Victorian dresses and family curses. Their supernatural components are usually limited to the haunted houses (taking the location into account, that's a given), transparent ghosts, possessed dolls and other clean substances. The Others (2001), The Lodgers (2017) and The Crimson Peak (2015) can be enlisted as the examples.
Universal Classical Monsters
Universal Classical Monsters is a collection of horror movies, shot in 30 years at Universal Pictures with the first one being silent The Phantom of the Opera (1925). This project gave us such characters as Bela Lugosi's Dracula, Boris Karloff' Frankenstein and Mummy, Creature from the Black lagoon, the Invisible man, the Wolf Man and many cross-overs. Almost all Halloween specials in cartoons, modern spooky tales, even creepypasta to a degree originated from UCM. As soon as we got here, the well-known Slender Man got himself a movie of the same name in 2018. That's how we make monsters real.
The Orphanage (2007)
The Orphanage (2007) plays with the supernatural side: until the end the viewer can't get whether the events happening on the screen are real or just the illusion of the heroine's sick mind. The ghosts here are dead kids from her past, so it's only natural for them to haunt the place they all lived and died in, except for the protagonist who lasted years before joining her fellows.
The Craft (1996)
The Craft (1996) starts with a not-so-average teenage girl's attempt to find friends. With the girls she has just met, they organize a witch coven. The more power they get, the greedier they become. Later it turns out that the protagonist is a born-witch and has been one all along. The recognizable style brought this film crazy popularity among the audience. Up to now, when the witchcraft is mentioned, expect people to recall this title.
Jeepers Creepers (2001)
Jeepers Creepers (2001) provides us with a good example of a flesh-eating monster. Unfortunately for two main heroes, it wakes up just in time to catch up with them and it's ready for breakfast. The picture includes alien-vibe and a wonderful bat-like creature flying around. He tried to be human, though the methods failed.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) is our gold classic about a fairly supernatural maniac who makes the wildest dreams come true; his own dreams, of course. This franchise made "the last girl" trope really popular among the horrors and placed Freddy Krueger in line with most loved ghost-killers in cinema. Robert Englund's marvelous acting should take responsibility.
The Dark (2018)
The Dark (2018) bows down to many other horror movies despite having its own natural charm and originality. The locations and effects are ordinary yet captivating. This particular simplicity in every camera move makes the most of the pressure and unpredictability that lies within the old house deep in the woods. Don't let it deceive you: it's still a zombie movie with its own flaws and blank spots.

You can also look up the Living dead franchise (the first film – Night of the Living dead, 1968) which shows how people struggle with surviving inside the zombie apocalypse, tv-series Walking dead and several other survival zombie-horrors like Patient Zero (2018). Aside from the good old "kill 'em all" mood, there's also the other tendency in this genre: zombies in cinema have become more of a human being than a hungry corpse previously. If you find yourself curious about what I'm saying, check French series Les Revenants – it will make you experience sorrow and delight at the same time while being all-but-a-horror with zombies in the focus.
Mama (2013)
Before Andres Muschietti became famous as the director of It (chapter one premiered in 2017 and chapter two in 2019 respectively) he had shot Mama (2013) – a film about two kids abandoned in the woods and taken in by a strange creature. Though not actually great as a horror, it does great in depicting the difficulties feral children have with social interaction. When the protagonist has to fight for the kids with a desperate spirit, we see the other side of the coin: not all people want to be saved. Actually, it depends on the situation and their relationship.
Let me in (2010)
Let me in (2010) is the American-British romantic horror (remake of the Swedish film of the same name) featuring what happens when you let a vampire in your life with all the consequences you might not even think about. A beautiful girl from the neighborhood turns out to be much older and stronger than she appears…

Dracula (1931) – good old classic, despite being called a horror is pretty fun and theatrical. Bela Lugosi's performance of the count became iconic. He even was buried in his Dracula outfit! Interview with the Vampire (1994, based on the "Vampire Chronicles" by Anne Rice) has some elements of horror, but can't actually be qualified as one. Vampires are usually meant to be seductive, not frightening.
Child's play series (1988 – 2019)
Child's play series (1988 – 2019) can be described quite simply: a voodoo-loving serial killer resides in the doll-body and has fun with new victims. By this moment, the series consists of 8 slasher movies about Chucky (a pretty disrespected villain-protagonist) and has a trip from a serious horror to a black comedy and back. Chucky even had started a family of his own! A whole doll-killers family! Cheers!

If you're interested in a bit dangerous dolls, make sure to also look up the Puppet-Master series (1998-2017).
The Ring (1998)
The Ring (1998) is a Japanese horror film introducing Sadako (or Samara in western 2002 remake) – her pure hatred for the world is manifested in the cursed tape making her a ghost with psionic powers. She has inspired many horror-directors since her debut in novels and especially on the screen. Many spin-offs have been brought to this world due to her overwhelming fame.

Japanese love for the horror is majestic, so there is no surprise they also made several kaiju (lit. "strange beast") movies. Does Godzilla or King Kong remind you of anything? The truth is uneasy: post-war Japan was shaken by several nuclear incidents and, in order to deal with pressure, people created the monsters. It's less painful to imagine a dinosaur crashing your city unless you know it was done by humans all along.
The VVitch: A New England Folktale (2015)
The VVitch: A New England Folktale (2015) is a surprisingly tricky film. The first moment you see it, you can't bring yourself to find a tiny piece of stereotypical spooky elements: there are no screamers, no demons and ghosts wandering around, but something about the family and forest they live in feels completely out of place. Soon you realize how deeply mistaken you have been all this time, then your mind grasps the real horror happening on the screen.

Among the other movies about the great evil hiding beneath the religious village or cult I can also mention:
La Monja (2005) – a Spanish film about a malicious nun terrorizing girls in Christian school in life and death;
The one favored by critics and terrified by the audience – The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005) covers the vague barrier between illness and possession;
A pure teen horror – Where the Devil Hides (2014), about dark secrets of the Amish community and the demon born in it.
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