See No Evil 2 – The victims from the first movie are wheeled into the city morgue, along with their killer, Jacob Goodnight who, of course, rises from the dead to kill another day. This movie is one of those rare circumstances when the sequel far surpasses the original. Directed by Vancouver twin directors Jen & Sylvia Soska, this is a super fun, perfectly executed slasher movie. Starring some great Canadian talent like Katherine Isabelle and Michael Eklund, it’s set in a morgue and doesn’t mess around, getting to the action straight away and not letting up until the last scene. Great scares, just enough cheese and gorgeous filming, this is a great Halloween watch!
Cold Prey (Fritt Vilt) – A Norwegian slasher set in the snowy mountains, it tells the story of a group of friends who must take refuge in an abandoned hotel when one of them breaks a leg. Of course, they’re not alone… I love a winter horror movie (blood looks so beautiful splashed across the snow!) and this one is a gem of a slasher film. Scandinavia loves their dark crime thrillers and their horror movies are equally as good. Highly recommend!
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon – Shot documentary style, this movie follows a camera crew as they shadow Leslie Vernon, a man set on becoming the next great slasher. As he plans his reign of terror upon a group of teens, the crews ethics, and nerves, are put to the test. This is super fun movie and a welcomed different take on the slasher sub-genre. Bordering on comedy, it’s hard not laugh at the situation the crew gets in to but things do take a serious turn which allows for some great scares.
House of the Devil – This is a pitch-perfect 80’s throwback which follows a young girl as she takes a babysitting job in a large, secluded mansion on the night of a full-lunar eclipse. The tension builds slowing climaxing with one of the best scenes I’ve seen in an occult movie. A great spooky watch for a dark Fall night.
The Craft – New girl Sarah moves to town and is befriended by a trio of witches. They form a coven and then the real fun begins… Fairuza Balk was born to play Nancy and it’s worth it to watch this movie for her performance alone. It’s a classic and one of the best witch movies ever made!
Haxan – Filmed in 1922, this Swedish silent film uses re-enactments to follow the history of witchcraft. Charting the early beginnings of the occult, it attempts to draw a parallel to modern (in 1922) Hysteria among women. Brilliant imagery and a rare glimpse into the early persecution of women, witches or not.
Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 – A group of college students join a Blair Witch tour in the original town, visiting sites in the movie and exploring the mythos of the witch. After a night of camping, things begin to go sour and the group comes face to face with their own demons and possibly the witch herself. This sequel got a lot of bad reviews and while it’s a completely different beast than the original I thought it was a fun movie. Sure, it has it’s cheesy moments but overall it’s a great occult movie and an enjoyable addition to the Blair Witch story.
Drag me to Hell – This movie is one of my favorites and was Sam Raimi’s triumphant return to horror! After evicting an old gypsy woman from her home, Loan Officer Christine, becomes cursed. If she can’t rid herself of this curse, she will literally be dragged into Hell. Full of all the gross-out gags and scares which made Evil Dead famous, this movie is a really fun ride. You’ll be laughing and cringing in equal amounts up until the epic conclusion!
Ginger Snaps – Ginger (Katherine Isabelle) and her sister Brigette are obsessed with death. But on the night of a full moon, and Ginger’s first cycle, she’s bitten by a werewolf. More than hormones are at play when she begins to change and death looms around every corner. Merge a classic werewolf tale with a female coming of age story and add in some awesome practical FX and you’ve got one amazing classic Canadian horror movie. I love it dearly and if you haven’t seen it, remedy that as soon as possible.
Wolfcop – Another Canadian werewolf movie! An alcoholic cop is turned into a werewolf. He and his partner must save the day when they realize an evil cult is involved. Practical effects are spot on and the jokes are plenty. This one is all campy fun! A cult classic to be sure.
Late Phases – A blind veteran is forced to move into a retirement home by his son. When animals start dying he begins to uncover the dark truth behind the aging community. This is a more serious, dramatic take on the werewolf tale. It builds tension well and has some great FX and characters. Highly recommend it!
Dead Set – It’s eviction night at the Big Brother UK house but our housemates are blissfully unaware that outside, the zombie apocalypse has begun. This is an amazingly well done zombie mini-series. That’s right! It’s a mini-series!! Hours of well-executed zombie gore, great characters and lots of laughs and scares. Even if you’ve had enough of zombie mania, I urge to check this one out. You won’t regret it!
Extinction – This one takes place after the zombie outbreak when the world has frozen over and there are few survivors. A man trying to protect his daughter while living in close proximity with his enemy (Matthew Fox) must come to terms with his grudge in order to face the undead threat once again. A wonderfully shot, winter zombie tale. Great atmosphere and good pacing. A slightly different take on the sub-genre!
Planet Terror – Robert Rodriquez’s part of the Grindhouse movie is a technicolor explosion of zombie mayhem! Zombie gore, machine gun legs, evil masterminds and Tarantino in one of the grossest scenes ever! So much fun!
Stakeland – Martin is a teenager whose family is wiped out by vampires. He meets up with Mister, a vampire hunter, who helps to lead him to safety in Canada. From the Director of Blue Ruin, this is one of the better vampire movies I’ve seen. A serious tone, great action and characters.
Byzantium – A vampire mother and daughter are on the run from mysterious forces and take shelter in a small coastal town. Director Neil Jordan (Interview with the Vampire) returns to the vampire genre with this absolutely gorgeous tale. It’s beautiful to watch, well written and unique. I particularly love the score, it’s stunning. Those not into the standard vampire fare will love this romantic movie.
Daybreakers – In the distant future, the vampire plague has taken over the world and humans are hunted and farmed for blood by a giant corporation. Ethan Hawke plays a vampire Hematologist working on a blood substitute when he is kidnapped by human survivors. This Australian production is really well done and again, a different take on the genre.
What we do in the shadows – Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Concords) stars in this hilarious faux-documentary about a group of housemate vampires while they try to survive life, love and each other. If you haven’t already seen this much applauded vampire spoof, do it now! It’s one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in a while and completely original to the vampire genre!
80s/90s HORROR COMEDIES!
Death Becomes Her – Longtime rivals Madeline (Meryl Streep) and Helen (Goldie Hawn) engage in a years long battle over the same man (Bruce Willis). When an elixir promising immortality is introduced, deadly consequences ensue. This is one my all-time favorite movies! Hilarious, freaky and above all, a really fun time.
The Burbs – When a new family moves in on the block, Tom Hanks and friends set out to prove their theory that they are part of a murdering cult. I can’t count how many times I watched this a kid! Hilarious and just scary enough for the whole family.
Addams Family – I feel no explanation is needed for this one. The Addams Family are iconic and Anjelica Huston as Morticia Addams is a gothic goddess. I watch it every year and it never fails to delight!
Monster Squad – A group of kids try to save their town from Dracula and his gang of monsters. This was the first movie I ever watched on Beta. It scared the bejeebus out of me in 1987 but would likely be pretty tame fare for kids nowadays!
Pandorum – Two crew members (Dennis Quaid & Ben Foster) wake aboard a space craft with no memory of who they are or what their mission is. They realize quite quickly that they are not alone. I love this movie! It’s one of the best space-horror movies I’ve seen since Alien! The pacing is superb with the mystery and terror unfolding just enough to keep you guessing right up until the epic conclusion.
Dark Skies – A suburban family is turned upside down when they are targeted by unknown alien forces. A solid alien abduction story which is destined to become a classic. It’s a truly scary watch, so turn the lights out and enjoy!
Infini – A search and rescue team are sent to an off-world mining site to rescue the lone survivor of a biological outbreak. This Australian space-horror is really effective, original story. The atmosphere is tense throughout with terrifying scenes that will have you on the edge of your seat the whole time!
The Orphanage (El Orfanato) – A women and her son visit her childhood home, now an abandoned orphanage. As she prepares to reopen the orphanage, her son tries to convince her they are not alone. But of course, no one ever believes the kid… Presented by Guillermo Del Toro, this Spanish thriller is very well done. Reminiscent of The Others, it’s a classic ghost story shot in a beautiful location. And creepy ghost kids get me every time.
Housebound – Kylie is forced to return to her childhood home after being put on house arrest. While dealing with her parents is difficult enough, her Mom is also convinced the house is haunted. This New Zealand movie was a bit of a surprise for me. A rare ghost story that is both tense and unnerving but also really funny! I’m a big fan of dry Kiwi humour and it’s pitch-perfect in this film. Plus, a great ending I didn’t see coming. Highly recommend it!
We are still here – A perfectly executed 70s throwback set in wintry New England. A husband and wife (scream queen Barbara Crampton) who have just lost their son move into an isolated farm house which unbeknownst to them, is already occupied by a family of vengeful spirits. This movie was a treat to watch! It’s a rarity in ghost stories to have a lot of action but this one sure does and once it starts, it doesn’t let up. Recommended to those who need a bit more excitement in their ghost stories!
The Reef – Typical story of a group of friends who set out sailing along the Great Barrier Reef. Their sailboat capsizes and the hunt begins. Move over The Shallows! This is one of the scariest shark movies I’ve ever seen! One of the things that really got me was that the shark footage is all real and it’s not overdone, leaving your overactive imagination to do the rest. Terrifying!!
Slither – A meteorite crashes into a small town turning the residents into mutant monsters and zombies! Before Guardians of the Galaxy, director James Gunn wrote and directed this epic alien monster movie. A perfect blend of comedy, horror and pure gross-out gags, it’s a super fun watch!
Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer – As a child, Jack witnesses his family being brutally murdered by a monster. Flash forward to the present and Jack is enrolled in a science night course. His professor (Robert Englund) unknowingly releases an ancient curse and once again monsters are present in Jack’s life and he is forced to take action. Hilarious and ridiculous, if you’re a fan of over-the-top 80s horror-comedy, you’ll love this Canadian cult favorite.
Frankenstein’s Army – A group of Russian soldiers heading into Eastern Germany towards the end of WWII, stumbles across a Nazi lab. They discover the lab has been using an old journal by Dr. Victor Frankenstein to create super-soldiers by splicing together fallen soldiers. This Dutch/Czech movie is shot found-footage/POV style, which may turn some off however, it is quite effective in certain scenes and the creatures are some of the most disturbing and inventive I’ve seen. Pure nightmare fuel!
Hellions – Dora is only 16 and just found out she’s pregnant. It’s Halloween and a group of evil trick-or-treaters have plans for her and her baby. Canadian director Bruce McDonald (Hard Core Logo) has delivered a Halloween cult classic in the making. It’s dreamy, atmospheric and beautifully shot with some of the best Halloween imagery I’ve seen.
Trick ‘R Treat – This is THE classic Halloween movie to me. I watch it every year as I’m carving pumpkins. An anthology tale set in a small town, it has everything: creepy kids, murderous neighbours, werewolves and all the heartwarming Halloween imagery you could want. I feel warm and fuzzy just thinking about it J
Orgy of the Dead – Looking for a weird cult movie to throw on in the background of your adult Halloween party? This 1965 oddball will do the trick! A couple wanders into a graveyard during a full moon and are kidnapped and forced to watch evil topless dancers who are overseen by a dark ruler. Presented by Ed Wood this is go-go dancing horror movie style.
Murder Party – A loner is randomly invited to a secluded Halloween party, which he of course attends. There he discovers a group of art students intent on using his torture and death as part of their art. Mayhem and hilarity ensue! The debut feature film from Green Room Director, Jeremy Saulnier, this is a quirky little movie filled with hilarious characters and gory hijinks. Perfect Halloween viewing!
Madhouse – Horror movie actor Paul Toombes (Vincent Price) has been released from a mental institution. He immediately reprises the role he was famous for, Doctor Death. But when the bodies start piling up and he has no recollection of the events, he realizes his character might be taking on a life of its own. Classic Vincent Price! This movie has one of the best Halloween party scenes I’ve ever seen. And as a bonus, the DVD includes Theatre of Blood as well! Double Vincent Price feature makes for a very nice Halloween indeed.
Elvira Mistress of the Dark – When her Great Aunt dies, Elvira heads to small town New England to claim her inherited home. Ruffling more than a few feathers with her ample assets, she reads a witches cookbook, picks up a punk rock poodle, meets a hunky cinema owner and tries not to get burned at the stake. Busting with Elvira’s trademark humour this is one fun horror parody!
Mad Monster Party – Dr. Frankenstein is retiring from monster-making and invites all his monster friends to attend a convention to select his successor. The good Doctor is hiding a secret though, he has created a potion which will create total destruction if it falls into the wrong hands… This classic 1967 stop animation movie is perfect of the whole family! With the voice talents of Phyllis Diller and Boris Karloff, it’s a spooky and silly good time!
Frankenweenie – When brilliant young Victor’s beloved dog Sparky dies, he conducts an experiment to bring him back to life. But when Sparky starts wreaking havoc in town, Victor has his work cut out for him. One of Tim Burton’s most heartwarming and enjoyable films to date. Done in classic horror movie black & white, this stunner will delight the entire family.
ParaNorman – Norman is a boy who can speak to the dead. This talent comes in handy when an ancient curse is released and his town is overrun by zombies and ghosts. From the creators of Coraline, this stop-animation stunner is a pure delight for the whole family! Gorgeous to watch, lots of laughs and endearing characters makes this a must-watch for many a Halloween to come.
Yo Gabba Gabba: Halloween – And for the wee kids, join the Yo Gabba Gabba gang as they dress up in outrageous costumes, gather candy, and sing and dance Halloween style!