With Halloween less than 1 week away now, everyone’s looking to get in the spirit, but not everyone’s looking to get jumpscared!
Modern horror movies tend to have something of a reputation for excessive jumpscares. I, personally, love horror movies and it is only when I reach out to my friends to go with me that I suddenly seem to find that I’m spending a lot of time alone at the theater. It’s not that they don’t want to come! It’s that they don’t like the idea of getting jumpscared (understandably so). Thus, today, let’s give some attention to the films that don’t have something screaming at you with the price of admission.
The Witch (2015)
The Witch, Or The VVItch if you wanna be clever about it, is a story about a Puritan family that is thrown into despair and paranoia as their youngest son, Samuel, disappears and they all blame Thomasin, the eldest daughter, calling her a witch. This Robert Eggers film is a slow burn that isn’t about flat out horror, but about a nasty building tension as you watch the family turn on each other.
Other Warnings to Note: Blood/Gore
Where to watch: Max
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
This classic film featuring Anthony Hopkins as the prolific Hannibal Lecter and Jodie Foster as the ambitious Clarice Starling is more crime thriller than horror, which makes it a perfect introduction for those just beginning to dip their toes into the genre. If you’ve been hesitating to watch this movie for fear that it might be too much for you but still want to see it, find a friend to watch it with and give it a try.
Other Warnings to Note: Blood/Gore, Transphobia (Specifically due to the character of Buffalo Bill)
Where to watch: Max
Perfect Blue (1997)
Following a former J-Pop idol who decides to leave music behind for acting, Perfect Blue is a tale of psychological torment as our protagonist’s grip on reality begins to dissolve as the pressures of celebrity and her new found stalker get to her. This movie is a deeply uncomfortable experience, but a gorgeous piece from the great Satoshi Kon.
Other Warnings to Note: On Screen Violence/Gore, Nudity
Where to watch: AMC+
Less on the harrowing reality and more on the Goosebumps side, this cult classic directed by George A. Romero is a campy anthology that is low on the gore and high on the weird. It’s a great time for anybody who prefers something a bit lighter for their Halloween fair but still wants a little scare.
Other Warnings to Note: Fantasy Violence/Gore (It’s very cartoony), Swearing (This is more like Adult Goosebumps, probably don’t show it to your kids)
Where to watch: On YouTube with a primetime subscription
The Dead Don’t Die (2019)
A zombie film with classic influences and an inflection of comedy a la Zombieland, this film is a great way to get into the zombie subgenre without venturing too far out of your comfort zone yet. It features familiar faces such as Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Selena Gomez, etc. and the plot is, comfortably, predictable. It’s going to be the most mind-bending zombie you’ve ever seen, but it will be a good time.
Other Warnings to Note: Fantasy Violence/Gore
Where to watch: Peacock
Honorable Mention – Maximum Overdrive (1986)
Confession: This movie does have a few jumpscares, which is why it gets an honorable mention instead of being a part of the main list. However, the reason I mention it is because it’s so bad, it becomes a masterpiece. With a whopping 15% on Rotten Tomatoes, it is near impossible to be scared of Stephen King’s cocaine-fueled 80s evil Transformers. If I could project one movie into the eyes of every person in America, it would be Maximum Overdrive. Where else are you gonna get lines like, “Jesus is coming and he is pissed”?
Where to watch: tubi
Now, a moment of silence please for the trailer.