Halloween is here! Not sure what to watch? Check out these pulse-pounding, suspenseful movie suggestions for a scary movie night in. Your horror-fest will be enhanced tenfold paired with the right strain, making this Halloween one to remember!
Ready to feel cultured while being scared to death? Pair one of these international flicks with a relaxing hybrid or indica strain to take in the slow pacing, striking cinematography and creepy overtones.
Dumplings | 2004 | Fruit Chan| China | 69% on Rotten Tomatoes
An aging actress seeks the help of a mysterious medicine woman in this slowly unfolding tale, punctuated with shocking moments of graphic horror. Without giving too much away, let’s just say that these dumplings aren’t your average snack. Vivid colors and masterful performances throughout make this a terrifying joy to watch. You’ll leave this movie with a general feeling of unease, and most likely no appetite. Hey, at least you won’t have to worry about late-night munchies!
A Tale of Two Sisters | 2003 | Kim Jee-woon | South Korea | 85% on Rotten Tomatoes
Two sisters return to their family home after an unexplained hospital stay following the death of their mother. The girls must then deal with their new stepmother and the strange occurrences only they seem to notice. Every frame is flawlessly composed, and inventive camerawork adds a level of disquiet and discombobulation; we’re not sure what is real and what is fake. Perfect for watching again and again to pick up on subtleties. Be prepared to jump out of your seat—and sleep with the lights on.
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari | 1920 | Robert Wiene | Germany | 100% on Rotten Tomatoes
You don’t have to be a film geek to enjoy this silent classic, often called the first horror film. With garish German Expressionist sets and state-of-the-art camera work, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari feels at once anachronistic and wildly ahead of its time. A hypnotist comes to a small German town to showcase his star attraction: A sleepwalker who may or may not be involved in a series of murders. Film scholars have argued that Caligari’s use of dark shadows and asymmetric angles inspired the birth of film noir. If you consider yourself a cinephile, you must see this movie.
SO BAD, THEY’RE GOOD
Watch these movies with a large, rowdy group. You’ll be howling with laughter wondering how they ever got made. Pair with an energetic sativa to keep the laughs rolling all night long!
Chopping Mall | 1986 | Jim Wynorski | USA | 57% on Rotten Tomatoes
A group of teens? Check. Killer robots? Check. Over-the-top gore? Check and mate. After a lightning storm (it’s always a lightning storm, isn’t it?), hyper-intelligent security robots go haywire and begin to kill a sex-crazed group of teens trapped inside a mall. This movie is pure ‘80s schlock with cheesy fun, inventive deaths and lots of laughs. The movie knows it’s dumb, and we are all the better for it. Chopping Mall will have you alternating between screams and laughter—a must-see for B Movie fans.
Death Spa | 1987 | Michael Fischa | USA | 29% on Rotten Tomatoes
I can see the director’s thinking with this movie, I really can. I assume they wanted to capitalize on the fitness craze of the ‘80s with an “artsy” horror spin. Unfortunately for Death Spa, this baffling movie makes no sense. Luckily for us, this movie makes no sense. Only a true bad movie fan will enjoy the twists and turns of this convoluted plot, so novices beware—there are laughs, but not as many as in Chopping Mall. Come for the babes in ‘80s workout gear; stay for the computers haunted by murderous ghosts.
Werewolf | 1995 | Tony Zarindast | USA | 13% on Rotten Tomatoes
For best results, watch the 1998 Mystery Science Theater episode that lampoons this dreadful movie. This classic will forever change the way you pronounce the word “werewolf.” (Hint: It will be something like “waaaaareeeeewuuuuuulf!” Results may vary, depending on your accent skills). Schlocky, stupid fun featuring B Movie legend Joe Estevez—brother of Martin Sheen, uncle of Emilio Estevez and Martin Sheen.
Sometimes fact is scarier than fiction. These documentaries aren’t a scream-fest, but will leave your skin crawling. Pair with a hybrid to keep you alert, but not too amped up—you may start unveiling your own conspiracy theories.
Who Took Johnny | 2013 | Suki Hawley, Michael Galinksy, David Beilinson | USA | 80% on Rotten Tomatoes
As a true crime buff, I’ve read a lot about the disappearance of 12-year-old Iowa paperboy Johnny Gosch, yet this documentary still had me reeling. Johnny went missing in 1982 and hasn’t been seen since—unless you ask his mother, Noreen, who claims he briefly visited her in 1997 before disappearing once again. What seems like a simple breakdown of this missing persons case becomes deeper and darker, shedding light on a network of disappearances that may be connected. You don’t need a tin foil hat to see that something fishy is going on.
Cropsey | 2010 | Josh Zeman, Barbara Brancaccio, Joshua Zeman | USA | 90% on Rotten Tomatoes
Two Staten Island documentarians seek to explain the stories of “Cropsey” told in their youth, a boogeyman figure said to steal children away to the abandoned grounds of the Willowbrook Mental Institution. As it turns out, these childhood stories may be based in reality. This movie isn’t for the faint of heart, mostly due to shocking clips from Geraldo Rivera’s exposé, Willowbrook: The Last Great Disgrace (1972). The abandoned hospital, with its underground corridors and strange passageways, became a hunting ground for predators in ‘80s Staten Island. Creepy and heartbreaking, with unexpected twists and turns.
Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father | 2008 | Kurt Kuenne | USA | 94% on Rotten Tomatoes
You should go into this movie with as little information as possible. This isn’t your typical true crime documentary, and it masterfully unfolds in stunning ways. The film is at once a loving keepsake and examination of humanity’s darkness. Kuenne beautifully unravels a twisted tale, detailing the horror but also the love that came about from the events of the film. Prepare to be emotionally wrecked and ponder the profound effect we have on the lives of others.
Enjoy discovering these spooky films this Halloween, and remember: There’s no shame in sleeping with the lights on!