Halloween is on the horizon, and for many of us that means binge watching and reading all the scary stories that we can get our hands on! To help you get in the spirit, and queue up that Netflix list, YA horror and thriller authors Rin Chupeco, Natalie Richards, Patty Blount, and Allan Stratton share their favorite horror movies and why they love them!
Rin Chupeco (The Suffering):
Ju-On: The Grudge (the Japanese version more than the American adaptation) which, given my book, is probably the obvious answer. What I love about it is that it relies heavily on a creepy atmosphere, so that it gives you the chills as the story progresses even before the titular Grudge ghost makes her appearance. The movie also goes on to show you in pretty terrifying detail that all the things we tend to do when we’re scared and want comfort will be useless here. Feel safer under your blankets? Well, guess what – she’s under there with you. Feel better when you’re in a crowd? That won’t matter, because she’s still visibly stalking you, and no one else can see her.
What I found especially ingenious were the scenes where protagonists are completely unaware that the ghost was nearby – it tells us that they aren’t a figment of the characters’ imaginations, and that they exist regardless of our fears. There’s one scene in particular that stands out to me: while a character looks out the window of the (haunted) house, the audience sees the Grudge ghost drifting out into the balcony above him, out of his line of sight, to stare back at us.
Natalie Richards (My Secret to Tell)
We need to just back up the train for one little, tiny minute and accept something. I can’t watch horror movies. Okay, that’s a lie. I can watch them. I can watch them quite well through the gap in my parted fingers as I curl up into a ball in the corner of my couch, tensed up into a wad of knots and covering my eyes.
See, scary movies totally freak me out. I like being creeped out, but I also like sleeping. After I watched The Ring (That thing should come with a warning label) I could barely sleep because there was a TV in the room. I watched that blank screen endlessly waiting for someone to crawl right on out. Spoiler: No one did.
It’s a weird back and forth for a scary book writer. I love many frightening things, but I hit an overload point very quickly. Still, occasionally, I give in to a terrifying movie and pay the sleepless price. It’s basically the constant struggle of my existence. And some of my favorites are What Lies Beneath, The Ring, Akira (anime—awesome), Aliens, John Carpenter’s The Thing, and Poltergeist. None of the hacker/slasher flicks make my list because I find it much scarier when I can’t explain the danger or when the killer is far more than a random psychopath.
Patty Blount (Nothing Left to Burn)
I love the Paranormal Activity movies because they’re truly scary, not just bloody violence. They make every noise in my house feel haunted.
Allan Stratton (The Dogs)
When I see horror movies, I get so tense I shout and toss popcorn at the scary bits. For me, the original classic Halloween is a five-bagger.
Where to begin? Well, for a start, Jamie Lee Curtis can scream. But also, the movie is very dreamlike. When Laurie (Jamie Lee) runs to her house pursued by Michael, the street is empty. For some reason no one in any other house can hear her scream. And it doesn’t seem stupid at all. It seems absolutely normal, like in that dream world where you’re running and falling and the thing that’s after you keeps getting closer and closer and you can’t get away and—
Okay, so there’s that.
Plus, the camera sometimes moves as if it’s Michael. So when we see Laurie enter the garage, the film cuts to inside the garage and the camera stalks her as if we’re seeing what’s happening from Michael’s POV. This is totally creepy and awful, because when it cuts to a normal shot, we know he’s in there with her, only now we don’t know where. He could be anywhere.
Best of all, Halloween manages to totally freak you out without much blood or gore. People will tell you it’s violent, and sure, there’s a body count, but most of the killing happens offscreen. It’s a movie that gets inside your head and makes you imagine all the terrible, scary stuff that you’re not actually seeing. It is just the best!
Thank you to Rin Chupeco, Natalie Richards, Patty Blount, Allan Stratton, and Sourcebooks for this great collection of Halloween movies. Make sure you check out their books too!