Last weekend, the team shared their MCU mulligans. This week’s topic is a little more seasonal as the team shares what makes their favorite horror movies their favorite. We’ll get started with the choice of this week’s special guest, author Richard Newby.
Richard “New Nightmare” Newby:
There are an endless number of scary movies that I love but when it comes down to the one I think about most often, the one that has had the greatest impact on my love for the genre and my own writing, David Cronenberg’s The Fly(1986) looms large. While horror will seemingly always live in the shadow of the notion that remakes are bad, The Fly, alongside The Thing (1982) and The Blob (1988) serves as a counterpoint, a reminder that even the seemingly familiar can be made frighteningly new with a bold visionary at the helm. Cronenberg, who developed so much of the language surrounding body horror, questions what it means to be human and to age from one’s own perspective and that of loved ones in The Fly. There’s a universality to the story being told, which makes the experience of watching it all the more emotionally involving. From the central performances from Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis, to the incomparable practical effects work by Chris Walas, The Fly is a showcase of the best of what horror can offer. You can have your gore and shock value and get genuine character development along with it. It’s the emotional sincerity of Seth Brundle and Veronica Quaife’s romance that binds the film even as Brundle goopy transformation takes center stage and races towards its inevitable and tragic end. Yes, The Fly is a scary movie but it’s also a love story, one that demands empathy for the monster, even as he grows increasingly monstrous. And what’s scarier than facing the monster inside of us all?
Arlyn “Angel of Death” Murphy:
My favorite scary movie is Halloween (1978). I like that movie because I like the jump scares and I like all of the sequels as well. They all are just very exciting. I like it so much that I will be dressing up as Michael Myers this year for Halloween.
Charles “Chop-off” Murphy:
As always, I have my daughter’s back here. John Carpenter’s Halloween has long been my favorite scary movie. Despite the 7 older sequels, the 2 Rob Zombie remakes (I think those are quite a bit better than they’re given credit for) and the 2 most recent sequels, the original remains a classic. When I was a kid, Freddy Krueger scared the hell out of me; over time, Michael Myers has made Krueger an afterthought. Myers is every parent’s worst nightmare and a being or pure evil whose motives and means aren’t clear. Myers is terrifying because while they don’t all wear masks, there are Michael Myers all around us. And to date there’s still few horror movie scenes as memorable for me as him sitting up in the background just after Laurie thinks she’s ended the threat again. Pure terror!
Note: Cabin in the Woods, Alien and Trick ‘r Treat are all right there for me.
Anthony “The Big Grizzly” Canton III:
Get Out is my favorite horror movie as it reflects the realities of the black experience. It’s one of the greatest horror movies ever because of the truths in its messaging. Daniel Kaluuya’s portrayal of this experience is excellent in its fear and desperation to get out. The truth about being black in America is exemplified in this film. Thinking psychologically and emotionally this film attacks white liberalism in subtle and not so subtle ways. Get Out is a horror movie the likes of what we’ve never seen or will probably see again. Jordan Peele’s vision here was bold in a way that changed the paradigm of what horror films can be.
Nathan “Satan’s Manifestation” Miller:
Although the first film I remember being scared of was Terminator 2: Judgement Day, I think the next scary film I remember seeing, before I should have, is my favourite. I have a vivid memory of my parents raving about From Dusk till Dawn after getting back from the cinema when I would have been too young to go myself. It didn’t disappoint when I did get to see it! I love the genre blending and referential elements of it, as well as the morbid humour. It’s also fun seeing such a great cast in some different roles to where their careers would then go. The scares are perhaps my least favourite part of the film, though the funnier ones are probably my favourites of them. I still tell people they’re missing out if they haven’t seen it, hoping they haven’t heard much about it! Finally, an honourable mention for favourite scary film: Cabin in the Woods.
Joseph “Didn’t You Learn Anything from WandaVision” Aberl:
When I was a kid, the first horror film I ever saw was A Nightmare on Elm Street. Ever since it has stuck with me no matter how goofy future entries have become. There’s something about the simplicity of the first film that lingers with you. The idea of “if you die in your dreams, you die in real life” was nightmarish when I was younger. Any dream I had could be my last. So, an overactive imagination added to that very scare. Yet, as an adult, the horror of dying in your sleep takes on a new meaning. In a world filled with anxiety, Freddy Kruger may simply be an allegory that haunts us when we’re awake and asleep. The film may have aged but what seems like a typical 90s slasher flick with a creative idea, still remains a relevant scare to this day, just not in the way we might remember.
DA “Nightmare Before Christmas” Osorio:
For me, hands down, it’s the original Candyman. As a young Afro-Latino, I didn’t fully grasp the mythology but understood that there was something inherently off about a Black woman being labeled crazy because of what was happening to her. In that respect, I came to view Candyman as a hero because he was fighting for the innocent and the marginalized. However, as young as I was I was terrified of the guy who opened his jacket and had bees come out and had a hook for a hand. It was absolutely terrifying, especially with a name like Candyman. Saying his name 5x became like a myth, something only the bravest did. And I’m not even brave enough to write his name again.
Joao “Agents of SHIELD is Canon” Pinto:
Before launching one of the biggest Disney franchises of the early 21st century, Gore Verbinski directed The Ring, starring Naomi Watts. It was a north-American remake of the original Japanese Ringu, which was an adaptation of an early 90s novel by Koji Suzuki. It was one of the first times I came in touch with an Asian horror sensibility, albeit through a more Western-friendly cinematic language which helped to embrace the ambiance. Watts delivers an incredible performance, something I’d never really associated with the horror genre and that really helps selling the entire movie. By not revolving the plot around jump scares but on a sense of suspenseful eeriness that still managed to linger after that initial viewing made for a may more impactful experience than I would have hoped for at the time. The fact that twenty years later I still associate TV static with The Ring speaks volumes.
John “Jeph Loeb” Sabato:
Favorite horror movie has to be Hereditary. Ari Aster crafted such a suspenseful and horrifying story inspired by demonic mythology. What really sells it for me is the cast. Toni Collete, Nate Wolf, and Milly Shapiro are amazing with Collete giving one of her absolute best performances in this. The movie is top notch and terrifying and something I can always rewatch.
Hunter “An Upstate Werewolf in New York City” Radesi:
I was never much into the horror genre until recently, so it tracks that my favorite film in the category would be a recent one. I had the pleasure of seeing James Wan’s Malignant in theaters, and it hit all the boxes for me. Creative, unexpected, and thrilling, with the appropriate amount of camp surrounding some genuine frights. I’ve started recommending it to every friend I have.
My favorite horror movie is Child’s Play. It’s not as gory as some others named by my colleagues and leans into humor a bit more. However, I grew up on Child’s Play. As a toddler, Chucky quickly became a favorite of mine and at 3-years-old, I liked to utter his catchphrase. “Hi, I’m Chucky, wanna play?” (To be fair, my parents did try to keep me from the film. It just didn’t work.)
While I’ve come to adore the horror genre as a whole as I’ve gotten older, Child’s Play still remains my favorite. Even now, I find myself re-watching it – along with the terribly stupid, yet great, Leprechaun films – every Halloween.