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By Alannah Murphy
This is an independently submitted op-ed for our Quill section. Views and statements made in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Tower.
We’ve all seen classic Halloween movies such as Hocus Pocus, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Adams Family. They all have a timeless quality that makes them enjoyable to watch year after year. But after spending some time this year watching horror and thriller movies unrelated to Halloween, I have found that these films make for a great watch during the Halloween season.
I have put together a list of scary movies that do not involve Halloween in the plotline but are great to watch with a group of friends for a good scare this October.
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- The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Movie Overview: This is a “found-footage film” about three young people who go into the Maryland woods to make a documentary about the Blair Witch, a well-known legend about a ghost who has supposedly killed people. The movie mostly shows the trio’s time in the woods as they struggle to navigate and prevent themselves from turning on each other. While the group faces these challenges, they are simultaneously dealing with many explained horrors happening to them.
My Thoughts: The Blair Witch Project is a movie I had heard talked about many times before, but it was only this past year that I had the opportunity to watch The Blair Witch Project. This movie does a great job of keeping you on the edge of your seat by building up the tension throughout the entire movie. Most of the “horror scenes” take place during the latter half and end of the movie, but in my opinion, built-up tension can often feel scarier than constant horror scenes during a movie. I think The Blair Witch Project would be a great movie to watch with a group of friends because it could be fun to speculate what will happen next in a movie as unpredictable as this one.
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2. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Movie Overview: A young married couple moves into an old apartment building with a sinister history and strange and mysterious tenants. The couple eventually get roped into some of their neighbors’ perverse rituals, one willingly and the other unwillingly. The movie follows the main character, Rosemary (played by Mia Farrow), as she becomes pregnant and carries her baby for nine months. All the while ominous forces in Rosemary’s life cause her to fear for her safety as well as the safety of her unborn child.
My Thoughts: Rosemary’s Baby is not just one of my favorite horror movies but also one of my favorite movies ever. It was made during the late 60s, one of my favorite time periods when it comes to everything pop culture. However, even though this movie came out over half a century ago, it does not feel dated at all. I enjoy so many things about this film; the costumes, the dialogue, the tension, but especially the main character Rosemary. She has such a sweet and genuine disposition and is in such sharp contrast with the other characters who all come off as sneaky and manipulative. There is one very disturbing scene in the movie where the neighbors are doing a satanic ritual, but otherwise, no gore is shown. The only other scene that could have shown gore on screen keeps the gore offscreen, so the viewers are left to make assumptions about what the characters in the movie are looking at, which I feel like a great decision because having to create the image in your head leaves you with so many terrifying possibilities.
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3. Pearl (2022)
Movie Overview: Pearl is a slasher film about a young woman named Pearl, who lives in the south with her parents on a farm during the early 19th century. Her husband is away fighting in World War 1, and Pearl is left to take care of the farm and help her disabled father. She is dissatisfied with her simple farm life and yearns to be a famous film star. The movie follows the slow decline of Pearl’s sanity as she tries to make it big as an actress.
My Thoughts: Pearl is a very violent movie with a lot of gore and horrific scenes. Not only is this movie gory, but many of these scenes are disturbing and perverted. I watched this movie with a group of friends and we all turned to each other at so many scenes just to confirm that we were both seeing the same thing. This movie is very fast-paced, which is nice because you are never bored and are always anxious to see what will happen next. I think what gave this movie a particularly horrific quality was that almost all of the scary scenes were shot in broad daylight, an untraditional choice in the horror film genre. I think this use of lighting worked very well in Pearl. My favorite part of the whole movie was the final monologue given by Pearl. Mia Goth, who plays Pearl, does not miss a note as she delivers all of her lines in a cutting and bone-chilling way.
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4. Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Movie Overview: Clarice Starling (played by Jodie Foster), a young woman who is training to become an FBI agent is given an assignment to interview a known serial killer and cannibal, Dr. Hannibal Lecter (played by Anthony Hopkins). Through her interviews with Lecter, Clarice tries to track down the known killer “Buffalo Bill” who is known for kidnapping and killing women. All the while she has to fight to preserve her sanity as Lecter tries to get inside her head.
My Thoughts: Silence of the Lambs is another film I had heard referenced many times for its level of horror and for being on the top of many people’s lists as the scariest movie they had ever seen. I thoroughly enjoyed and was entertained during the entire 118 minutes of this movie. The acting is incredible in this film, as Anthony Hopkins does a phenomenal job of portraying a psychopath. His performance gave me full-body shivers with every line of dialogue he said. The movie’s plot is not at all predictable but isn’t confusing or hard to follow. Silence of the Lambs is a physiological horror movie. I thought it was so cool how easily this movie was able to mess with my head by leading me to believe certain things that were not true just by not showing me the full picture of what was happening until the end. This movie will leave you thinking about it long after you are done watching it.
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5. Psycho (1960)
Movie Overview: A woman named Marion Crane goes missing after staying at Bates Motel, a rundown motel overseen by a very off-putting young man named Norman Bates and his mysterious mother. As the woman’s boyfriend and friend try to solve the mystery of Marion’s disappearance, they unintendedly discover many horrific things about the history of Bates Motel and the Bates family and information related to the circumstances surrounding Marion’s disappearance.
My Thoughts: I was very excited to sit down and watch Psycho because I, like many people, had seen the famous shower scene in this movie but never the whole film. I was not expecting to be scared by this movie, which is quite old and filmed in black and white, but I was very wrong. There is a lot of creepiness in this movie, and despite the most violent scene taking place early in the movie, the second half of the movie still does a good job of continuing the heightened tension. In my opinion, the ending did a wonderful job of living up to the expectations I had building up throughout the movie. Anthony Perkins, who plays Norman Bates, does an incredible job of portraying the psychologically disturbed Norman.