What to watch this scary season
With the spooky season quickly approaching, many viewers may soon be tempted by the ever-popular horror genre. Filmmakers often use horror as a critical lens to examine what society itself may be afraid of, such as Jordan Peele done with “Get Out” (2017) and Bong Joon-ho with “Parasite” (2019). In other cases, filmmakers take traditionally “spooky” motifs and turn them into comedy, such as Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement do with the series “What We Do In The Shadows” (2019–). As the month of October approach, it’s time to consider the appropriate themed content.
There are far too many great horror movies to count, and the two aforementioned are excellent recent masterpieces (although “Parasite” hesitates a little too much between horror and drama to be considered a true horror film). For those looking for classics, maybe it’s time to take a look M. Night Shyamalan’s classic thriller “The Sixth Sense” (1999), Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” (1980) and Oscar winner “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991).
More recently, the production company A24 produced heavy horrors worthy of attention, especially of Ari Aster and Robert Eggers. From the twisted creative mind of Aster came “Hereditary” (2018) and “Midsommar” (2019),which both contain rather graphic violence superimposed on nuanced and abstract social comments. Eggers’ “The Lighthouse” (2019) is one of the more eccentric horror movies of recent times, but I’m definitely watching Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe sing sailors’ songs in black-and-white film it’s worth it.
Television has also seen its fair share of horror. Director Mike Flanagan is responsible for part of this; his “The Haunting of Hill House” (2018) has been dubbed “close to a work of genius” by Stephen King, and his recent “Midnight Mass” (2021) received mostly positive reviews. As many horror fans can enjoy, these series alongside his “The Haunting of the Bly Mansion” (2020) characteristic supernatural elements that work to reveal something more philosophical.
For those looking for something a little lighter than a critical examination of the flaws in human society, turn to shows that take traditionally scary designs and make them funny – “What we do in the shadows” and “Wynonna Earp” (2016–2021), for example. The first tells the story of four vampires who make their way through life in a mock documentary reminiscent of “The Office” (2005–2013). It’s light, it’s funny and it’s guest stars Tilda Swinton as herself at the head of the Volturi-esque “Vampiric Council”. The last follows a motley team of demon hunters in the fictional city of Purgatory and plays with horror and western tropes As is gradually embraces the absurdity of its premise.
There’s certainly no shortage of scary content to watch, whether it’s classic horror, social commentary, arthouse horror, supernatural miniseries, or campy horror comedies. Sure, “Stranger Things” (2016–) and “Insidious” (2010) are great too, but with so many unique horrors or fake horrors, maybe it’s time to raise the bar.