October wouldn’t be complete without a horror movie marathon. Or at least, dabbling in the kind of genre you might otherwise avoid if prone to nightmares. If your Halloween plans involve lighting up and exploring the darkness from the comfort of your living room, these are the best horror movies to watch high.
Why watch: You hate clowns but love a solid storyline.
Plot: Seven young outcasts in Derry, Maine, are about to face their worst nightmare — an ancient, shape-shifting evil that emerges from the sewer every 27 years to prey on the town’s children. Banding together over the course of one horrifying summer, the friends must overcome their own personal fears to battle the murderous, bloodthirsty clown known as Pennywise.
Why watch: You’re not a fan of horror movies but do enjoy a good satirical, psychedelic road film that might lead you into some of your own scary thoughts about life and the universe.
Plot: Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) and his attorney Dr. Gonzo (Benicio Del Toro) drive a red convertible across the Mojave desert to Las Vegas with a suitcase full of drugs to cover a motorcycle race. As their consumption of drugs increases at an alarming rate, the stoned duo trash their hotel room and fear legal repercussions. Duke begins to drive back to L.A., but after an odd run-in with a cop (Gary Busey), he returns to Sin City and continues his wild drug binge.
Why watch: You’ve experienced that feeling of being followed, only to turn around and see nothing there. But, maybe there was?
Plot: After carefree teenager Jay (Maika Monroe) sleeps with her new boyfriend, Hugh (Jake Weary), for the first time, she learns that she is the latest recipient of a fatal curse that is passed from victim to victim via sexual intercourse. Death, Jay learns, will creep inexorably toward her as either a friend or a stranger. Jay’s friends don’t believe her seemingly paranoid ravings, until they too begin to see the phantom assassins and band together to help her flee or defend herself.
Why watch: If you’re not feeling enough trepidation for the fate of the planet, this might help tip you over the edge. A horror purely because it’s possible.
Plot: In Earth’s future, a global crop blight and second Dust Bowl are slowly rendering the planet uninhabitable. Professor Brand (Michael Caine), a brilliant NASA physicist, is working on plans to save mankind by transporting Earth’s population to a new home via a wormhole. But first, Brand must send former NASA pilot Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) and a team of researchers through the wormhole and across the galaxy to find out which of three planets could be mankind’s new home.
Why watch: You’re stoned, they’re stoned, and maybe the world really will end by the time the movie is over. Grab some friends and debate who would live and who would likely fall into the gaping lava pit.
Plot: In Hollywood, actor James Franco is throwing a party with a slew of celebrity pals. Among those in attendance are his buddies Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride and Craig Robinson. Suddenly, an apocalypse of biblical proportions erupts, causing untold carnage among Tinseltown’s elite and trapping Franco’s party in his home. As the world they knew disintegrates outside, cabin fever and dwindling supplies threaten to tear the six friends apart.
Why watch: You secretly want to befriend monsters.
Plot: A single mother, plagued by the violent death of her husband, battles with her son’s fear of a monster lurking in the house, but soon discovers a sinister presence all around her.
Why watch: You would really like to experience fear-based insomnia.
Plot: When the matriarch of the Graham family passes away, her daughter and grandchildren begin to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry, trying to outrun the sinister fate they have inherited.
Why watch: You aren’t disturbed by horror, but you are disturbed, if not oddly fascinated, by the slow deterioration of humanity.
Plot: Imaginatively evoking the inner landscape of human beings longing to connect, to love and feel loved, the film is a parable of happiness gloriously found and tragically lost. “Requiem for a Dream” tells parallel stories that are linked by the relationship between the lonely, widowed Sara Goldfarb and her sweet but aimless son, Harry. The plump Sara, galvanized by the prospect of appearing on a TV game show, has started on a dangerous diet regimen to beautify herself for a national audience.
Why watch: Less horror, more magic, but always strange.
Plot: Dr. Stephen Strange’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) life changes after a car accident robs him of the use of his hands. When traditional medicine fails him, he looks for healing, and hope, in a mysterious enclave. He quickly learns that the enclave is at the front line of a battle against unseen dark forces bent on destroying reality. Before long, Strange is forced to choose between his life of fortune and status or leave it all behind to defend the world as the most powerful sorcerer in existence.
Why watch: If you want an excuse to cuddle and cover your eyes, this movie will have you hiding under the blankets waiting for something to pop out of the darkness.
Plot: In 1970, paranormal investigators and demonologists Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) and Ed (Patrick Wilson) Warren are summoned to the home of Carolyn (Lili Taylor) and Roger (Ron Livingston) Perron. The Perrons and their five daughters have recently moved into a secluded farmhouse, where a supernatural presence has made itself known. Though the manifestations are relatively benign at first, events soon escalate in horrifying fashion, especially after the Warrens discover the house’s macabre history.