Make My Halloween (Scary Movie Recs Post!)

courtneydiscuss, movies

Internet, it is that time of year again! THE HALLOWEEN MONTH! The month of watching scary movies! Do you know what that means? It means I have to share a list of scary movies I think everyone definitely has to see and then in the comments, hopefully, you share a list of scary movies you think everyone definitely has to see and then we will have adequately equipped each other for the rest of October. Here is the list I made last year. All of those recommendations still stand (especially Shutter–if you want to scare the crap out of yourself, rent Shutter this holiday season!) and without further ado, here are six more for you, in alphabetical order even!



DARK WATER (2002)

I find this movie so upsetting, I can’t even tell you. I haven’t been this disturbed by a movie since Tremors when I was five and that’s laughable but there is NOTHING LAUGHABLE ABOUT THIS MOVIE. You’ve probably heard of the American remake with Jennifer Connelly. Maybe you’ve seen it. Maybe that’s the reason you are laughing at me right now. I saw it before I saw the original and foolishly thought I was prepared for this thing since I knew what was coming. Not. So. Dark Water is about the love of a mother for her daughter and a creepy little ghost girl who threatens to come between them both. It has the staples of a good J-horror (maybe milder than most) but all I want to do is tell you to STAY AWAY from it. I enjoyed it until I got to the last 20 minutes and then I started crying and I could not stop. This movie has an ending I will never get over. NEVER! It depressed me for days. When I tried to tell people about it, I’m not kidding, I would cry. Needless to say, I will never watch this movie again. I CAN’T. Because I tried once and the SAME THING HAPPENED. But if you want an emotionally traumatizing Halloween this is the perfect pick for you!




THE HOST (2006)

If you are my friend and you saw this movie before I did and you didn’t tell me about it YOU ARE NOT MY FRIEND. The Host is a South Korean monster movie that is pure genius. It’s the most recent movie I can remember enjoying absolutely every single second of. It’s about a horrific tadpole mutation in the Han River who kidnaps this guy’s daughter and he and his whole family work together to get her back but they’re a pretty mismatched slapstick bunch that has never gotten it together before so that proves to be difficult. I just butchered the whole synopsis. Family values! Political commentary! Are both in this movie! It’s just excellent. It made me tense, it surprised me, it made me laugh, it made me cry–a lot. And the ending! I can’t think of the last time an ending really SHOCKED me, but this one did. I thought it was bold. If this movie got remade by Hollywood (please no), I feel the ending would never ever be allowed to happen. Hollywood is lame.




LAKE MUNGO (2008)

This Australian documentary-style ghost movie is a GEM. I LOVE IT. If you like shows like A Haunting, I think you’ll dig this. If you love The Changeling, I think odds are good you’ll like this. The synopsis for Lake Mungo on Rotten Tomatoes is simply: “A supernatural drama about grief.” After their 16-year-old daughter Alice drowns, the Palmer family finds themselves haunted by her ghost, which eventually leads them to discover Alice had something of a double life going on. (I know Twin Peaks fans are raising their eyebrows, but I can’t comment because I haven’t seen Twin Peaks.) In all I’ve read about this movie, I feel the double life aspect is overemphasized. To me, Lake Mungo is more about the idea of people never really knowing you before you die and how tragic that really IS. How do you make that right? In death, Alice seems determined to give as many missing pieces as she can to the people she loved but these pieces don’t necessarily mean they will make who she was and how she died any less of a mystery. I found this so tragic and melancholy and subtle and thoughtful and genuinely creepy–it didn’t go places I expected to at all and I thought the ending was perfect. I think if you watch any movie on this list, it should be this one. I can’t believe I am saying that about a list that includes Pulse, but there you go. What a lonely, sad, eerie movie this was. I LOVE IT. Hollywood is remaking it and MARK MY WORDS, Hollywood will ruin it. You suck about that, Hollywood. PS stay for the credits because they are the final punch.




PULSE (2001)

You will either like this one or hate it, I think! The first time I watched it I found it frustratingly slow and then the second time I watched it I was like MAN I AM IN LOVE and then I went through this month where it was all I wanted to watch. I would play it in the background on repeat while I wrote novels. Yeah. It might be my most favourite J-horror ever, in fact. Or at least in my ever-rotating top 3. And it is definitely one of my favourite movies of all time in general. Pulse is directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa (I love him, he is a genius). It is about ghosts invading the world through the Internets! But more than this, it is about isolation and loneliness. You know that good old line, This is how the world ends… not with a bang but a whimper? That is basically Pulse. And that is a magnificent thing. It’s haunting and languid and beautifully shot and the sound is fantastic. Like I could talk forever about how good it SOUNDS. But I have noticed that about all of Kurosawa’s films. I just like the way they sound. CRAZY atmosphere. I could just look at this film or listen to it all day and it would make me so satisfied. Also it features parallel storylines which is exciting. You won’t find many–if any–jumpy scares in this movie but watching the world disappear right out from under the two main characters who are trying to escape a fate which seems inevitable is so thoughtful and unsettling and I LOVE IT SO MUCH. Avoid the remake, which is a crime against filmmaking. SERIOUSLY HOLLYWOOD, WOULD YOU PLEASE CUT IT OUT.




PONTYPOOL (2009)

This is a really clever Canadian (represent!) zombie movie that I love with all my heart. It is about zombies (yay). It is about a zombie plague that is spread by words–but what words? You won’t know until you speak them. And by then, it’s too late. And then you will try to eat your way out of someone else’s mouth D: to cure yourself. It takes place in a small town radio station and much of the action happens off screen until it all goes to hell in the most awesome way ever. It is unnerving and fascinating and fun and a really fresh take on a–it pains me to say it–kind of tired genre. It’s not an overtly violent or gorey movie. It is quiet and loud in all the right ways. Perfection. But it’s Canadian so perfection is a given. Mwahaha. Pontypool is based on the book Pontypool Changes Everything, which is really crazy and pretty much nothing like the movie but fantastic in its own way.




A TALE OF TWO SISTERS (2003)

Stay away from the craptacular remake known as “The Uninvited.” Ugh. Hollywood, I give up on you. A Tale of Two Sisters is ~superb~. It’s a mess-with-your-head type movie about two sisters who come home from hospital together after some STUFF happens. But that STUFF hasn’t been resolved, to say the least. It’s even exacerbated by a wicked stepmother. What follows is like–I don’t even know how to describe it. Constantly escalating psychological warfare between the eldest sister and the wicked stepmother. This movie is not a thrill-a-minute variety but there are a few genuinely terrifying ghostly moments here and there that will have you covering your eyes and wishing for them to be over because they are so intense. Overall it is a slow but expertly paced puzzle and the tension just gets tighter and tighter as each piece clicks into place until you’re like ugh my stomach hurts is this even worth it? And then when you see the whole picture, it’s like, “YES, YES IT WAS.” It is a beautiful and tragic nightmare. Which is what you need for Halloween, amirite?

Other movies you should consider that I did not have the time to do enthusiastic write-ups for but feel enthusiastic about are The Devil’s Backbone (a poignant coming-of-age ghost story), The Eye (the original–a really neat story about a girl who gets eye cornea transplants that enable her to see ghosts… which is not a good thing) and Tremors (THEY’RE UNDER THE GROUND!). And that’s what I gots.

Now it’s your turn! What movies should everyone watch on Halloween? I don’t want to say our friendship is contingent on you participating in this blog post, Internet, but, well, it IS.


In other news, there are still a few days left to enter my Fall For Anything ARC Giveaway. I’m completely bowled over by how many people have expressed interest in the book and so I have decided to draw two extra winners and they will each get pre-ordered copies of Fall For Anything, to arrive on their doorsteps upon release (December 21st). I just thought you should know!