Like everyone else, I’ll be watching horror classics this weekend such as "The Shining" and "Halloween." But really creepy thrillers always make it into the rotation, too. Here are some picks that might not feature the gore or jump scares of a traditional horror film but are sure to put you on edge this spooky season.
Hannibal Lecter became a pop culture phenomenon with Jonathan Demme’s "Silence of the Lambs," but his first on-screen appearance actually came in the 1986 film "Manhunter." This film is an out-of-body experience. Each frame is so calculated, the viewer often sees the world as the main character Will Graham does.
The story is based on a novel, but this film basically invented many of the conventions of the true crime genre. Prominent tropes, such as the analysis of crime scenes, Graham’s ability to get inside a killer’s head and developing profiles of likely suspects were developed for almost the first time in this movie.
"Manhunter" is a slow burn, and it is creepy. However, when violence does erupt, it is a beautifully painted rush of film, from the talented shooting of director Michael Mann, the best director at exploring these types of disturbed characters.
There is an excess of style in this film.
The final shootout is fought to the tune of Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” the sets are filled with decadent '80s artifacts and harsh lighting accentuates the good and evil of the characters throughout.
Hannibal Lecter is a bit of an afterthought in this movie, as he’s only in a few scenes, but it’s fun to see Brian Cox’s take on the role five years before Anthony Hopkins defined it in "Silence of the Lambs."
Alright, this is a horror movie because of only two scenes. One is a jump scare and the other a dark montage, but that doesn’t mean the rest isn’t creepy. David Lynch's "Mulholland Drive" might honestly be the most unsettling movie ever made.
Mystery shrouds every corner of Los Angeles in this unconventional narrative about lost love and identity. It might take you several viewings of the film to properly get your footing in the story, which makes every subsequent viewing just as rewarding as the first.
Absolutely crazy things happen in every moment of this movie. Everything feels like a façade that is just ready to crumble and reveal a dark evil at any moment. When it finally does, it causes such a whiplash that all you know is the emotional void it has put you in.
This is the best found footage horror movie because of how it gives the characters agency over the medium. "The Visit" follows two kids who are sent to their grandparents, who they had never met before, for a vacation.
The teenage daughter decides to make the experience into a documentary film to present to her mother to help repair the damaged relationship between her and her parents.
The scares in this movie are fun, but it’s the emotional investment in the kids that makes this movie sing. Olivia DeJonge and Ed Oxenbould give great performances as the leads. Their precocious investigation into the irregularities in their grandparents' behavior evokes a nostalgia for how scary the world is as a kid. It’s a disturbing kind of sentimentality that director M. Night Shyamalan taps into, and it’s brilliant in its simplicity.