Meredith, Queen's Square | November 1, 2019
It’s October, which means even if you’re not a year-round horror fanatic like me, now is the perfect time to dim the lights, grab some popcorn, and prepare to be frightened. Kanopy has a ton of awesome horror movies available to watch for free with your Idea Exchange membership. Here are some of my top picks for horror you can check out on Kanopy now.
- Don’t Look Now (1973) – “Nothing is what it seems.” This classic, starring Donald Sutherland and based off a short story by Daphne du Maurier, follows a husband and wife staying in Venice after the death of their daughter. A tale of grief, second sight, and looming warnings of doom, this is an incredibly atmospheric film, with a peculiar ending bound to stick with you.
- Black Christmas (1974) – “Don’t you tell what we did, Agnes.” Predating many of the more famous slashers, this Canadian-made Christmas horror is delightfully creepy. A killer is on the loose, and a sorority house keeps getting disturbing phone calls that might be somehow connected. This film solidifies some of the tropes done (and overdone) in the horror movies that followed it, while still managing to keep a serious, foreboding tone that many sorority slashers cannot sustain. The perfect thing to get you in the (horrifically) festive mood!
- Rosemary’s Baby (1968) – “What have you done to its eyes?” Mia Farrow is iconic in this slow-burn horror (based on the book by Ira Levin) about a girl, a pregnancy, and a serious question of paternity. Fun fact: I HATED this movie the first time I saw it. After it was over, I stewed about it for days, until it got in my head so much I had to watch it again. And again. And again. I love movies that demand repeat viewings, and this one went from a despised flick to one of my absolute favorites.
- Night of the Living Dead (1968) – “They’re coming to get you, Barbara.” If you love a good zombie flick, then you need to check out the original George A. Romero sensation. When Barbara and her brother visit their mother’s grave, Barbara is disturbed to see a man in raggedy clothes shambling towards them. Soon, it’s apparent the man is not merely strolling by—he’s the living dead, and there will be plenty more like him before the night is over.
- M (1931) – “As long as they're singing, at least we know they're still there.” If you’re interested in classic horror but not quite ready to delve into something too intense, this is a film that veers more to the suspense side of things. When children go missing and the police can’t catch the culprit, a city’s worth of bad guys will assemble to bring the mysterious villain to justice themselves. Masterfully done, this soft, intriguing film is a piece of classic cinema with a gentle dash of horror mixed in.
- The Beyond (1981) – “Here they come!” Italian director Lucio Fulci is known as the Godfather of gore, and with very good reason. Outlandish effects and a fantastic musical score make The Beyond one of his finest cinematic examples. If you’re looking for clean-cut, polished filmmaking, this one’s not for you. But if you’re looking for something odd, entrancing, at times laughably quirky (and at other times full of blood—and tarantulas!), this doom and gloom zombie flick might be just what you’re after.
- Dead Ringers (1988) – “Separation can be a... terrifying thing.” This Cronenberg psychological thriller stars the wonderful Jeremy Irons as twin brothers Beverly and Elliot. A study in obsession, madness, and the horrifying nature of unhealthy relationships, this is a weird, unsettling movie that wouldn’t be a Cronenberg film if it didn’t also include some seriously disturbing elements—this time in the form of Beverly’s unique take on surgical instruments.
- House on Haunted Hill (1959) – “If I were gonna haunt somebody, this would certainly be the house I'd do it in.” If you’re less interested in disturbing psychological thrillers than in simply having a bit of scary fun, check out this William Castle campy classic starring the irreplaceable Vincent Price. Spooky, hokey, and just plain fun, this is an oldie but a goodie with some hammy performances and a few good scares along the way.
- Pieces (1983) – “Oh, hey, it's my Kung Fu professor.” Pieces is a hilariously incompetent slasher that is definitely not for the faint of heart (or anyone looking for a high-budget masterpiece). When college girls start getting killed off, the police team up with a student to try and figure out what the killer wants, and who he’ll target next. Full of nonsensical lines, super obvious red herrings, and bizarre plot twists, this is a good choice for seasoned slasher fans who enjoy a bit of the ridiculous.
- Let the Right One In (2008) – “I’m twelve. But I’ve been twelve for a long time.” This Swedish gem tells the story of a boy who yearns for revenge, and the girl he falls in love with – a girl who can grant his wish in a way he never dreamed. Dark, somber, and yet surprisingly sweet, this is another gentle horror that focuses as much on the themes of loneliness and human connection as it does on blood and monstrosity.
- Bonus! Death Bed: The Bed that Eats People (1977) – “A demon residing in a tree, on a whim changed himself into a breeze.” Okay, this one is…exactly what you think it is. A bed. That eats people. (And also enjoys a nice bucket of fried chicken every once in a while!) While not a particularly groundbreaking, provocative, or action-packed horror movie, this one is interesting because of its production history. Although the film was completed in the 1970s, it didn’t have an official theatrical release until 2003—and is now a genuine cult classic. If you are looking for something that’s, well…weird…grab your library card and check this one out!