Eli: It’s not quite a zombie movie— most of the horror comes from the rapid disintegration of society rather than the infected themselves— and it’s all the better for it. Haunting cinematography, character-driven performances (including breakthrough roles for stars Cillian Murphy and Naomie Harris), a killer soundtrack, and pockets of unvarnished humanity amongst the desolation make this one of my favorite movies of all time, period, transcending genre.
Rachel: I know, I know, everyone talks about “elevated” horror these days. But this is different. Hurricane parties turned deadly, and not from a storm, is sort of a fun horror idea. Plus, Pete Davidson plays the perfect scumbag, and who couldn’t use a little bit of that to brighten a cozy October night?
Rachel: Triangle watchers: The Hemsworth you were waiting for! This one digs at genre tropes while still being fresh. Get your Monster Bingo cards out for zombies, cannibals, murderous ballerinas, and mermen (trust me).
Eli: Even if you were satisfied with Jordan Peele’s 2021 “spiritual sequel” of the same name, consider going back to the beginning of the Candyman legend. Tony Todd’s hypnotic performance as the titular slasher puts him in an elevated class of his own.
Eli: An old school psychological horror whose influence can be seen and felt through the decades. Also harkens back to a simpler time, when you could, apparently, not only be a professional church organist, but make a decent living off of it.
Rachel: Killer robot mall cops!! Need I say more? These adorable malevolent machines hunt down anyone in their mall after dark, and do so to an absolutely killer soundtrack. 10/10, highly recommend for a campy, synthy bop-filled time.
Eli: This is the one movie I watch every October without fail. Featuring gorgeous stop-motion animation by LAIKA Studios, stellar voice performances, and a cameo by They Might Be Giants, it makes for the perfect cross-generational Halloween viewing experience.
Eli: This movie is a slow burn that’s so worth it. Director Neil Marshall ramps up the tension with care, really making you feel like you’re in the dark, damp, claustrophobic caves with its all-female cast.
Rachel: I love watching Jamie Lee Curtis in horror movies other than Halloween, and this particular movie also has some interesting sea lore throughout! If you love radio shows and townspeople, this one is for you.
Eli: The award for Worst First Period Ever goes to Ginger Fitzgerald, who is bitten by a werewolf the same night and undergoes changes that would eat Scott Howard alive. But it’s not all bark and bite, as at the heart of the film beats the deep bond between outcasts Ginger and her sister Brigitte.
Rachel: Peer pressure at its finest turns deadly; it’s a-maze-ing what transpires next. Note to self: maybe turn off touch ID when going to theme parks. Watch out for an appearance by Tony Todd (Candyman).
Eli: Studio Ghibli has a knack for making extraordinary things– like a flying witch and her talking cat– feel like a cozy, familiar slice of life. You’ll never stop rooting for Kiki as she makes her way in the big city.
Eli: Before The Silence of the Lambs, there was this adaptation of Thomas Harris’ first Hannibal Lecter novel, Red Dragon. Brian Cox’s portrayal of Dr. Lecter (that’s right, Logan Roy as Hannibal the Cannibal, you’re welcome) is criminally underrated and it’s packaged with a gloriously synthy soundtrack.
Rachel: This film has everything: cults, death, more death, drugs, flowers, a bear suit! It dives into grief in the most honest way, and it’s popular for a reason. Cannot recommend Ari Aster’s films enough.
Eli: Lost in a sea of suave Count Draculas and self-hating Edward Cullens, it can be easy to forget that vampires were once deeply feared folklore monsters. Good thing Count Orlok is still around a century later to remind us, expeditiously. The film’s lack of color and dialogue only enhance how unsettling he is.
Rachel: Calling all Mike Flanagan fans! This is the feature film version of a short film of his, and it delves into the depths of an evil mirror and what happens when you try to outsmart and break it. You can’t believe your eyes (metaphorically and physically)!
Eli: I’ll level with you: Renfield’s plot is weak and the screenplay is hit-or-miss. However, if you can turn your brain off a little bit for 90 minutes, you owe it to yourself to see Nicolas Cage’s turn as Dracula.
Rachel: Watch out for your children acting strangely after this one. Baghuul is an entity you don’t want to encounter, but if you do, make sure you stay put and don’t move. Also, the term “home movies” takes on a whole new meaning. (iykyk)
Rachel: This is a rewatch without fail every year for me (and multiple times throughout the year too). I love intertwining stories, and this film is a perfect vignette. Vampires (maybe), werewolves (definitely), a wonderful pumpkin headed child (perfection), and some varying degrees of alive and dead children are sure to spook and delight all. Just remember, always check your candy.
Two paranormal investigators work to help a family being terrorized by a dark presence; a couple struggles to deal with supernatural occurrences after a doll in their home becomes possessed by a demon; two paranormal investigators work to help a single mother and her children who are being terrorized by malicious spirits; years after a dollmaker’s child dies, he and his wife welcome a nun and several orphans into their home where they begin to fall victim to a possessed doll; a priest and a young novice are sent to investigate the suicide of a young nun in Romania and are confronted with a malevolent force in the form of a demonic nun; when demonologists Ed and Lorraine place Annabelle, a possessed doll, in a sacred glass case and four years later it accidentally gets unlocked, Annabelle unleashes evil spirits and attacks the demonologists’ daughter and her friends; the Warrens investigate a murder linked to a demonic possession
After being kicked off the plane because of his disruptive premonition, Alex and some of his classmates watch as the premonition comes true. Now having dodged death once, the terror begins in full as fate hunts them down one-by-one.
Three witches from the seventeenth century are conjured up in modern-day Salem and it’s up to Max and his friends to put a stop to the witches’ mischief and right the wrongs the witches created 300 years ago.
Obsessed with teaching his victims the value of life, a deranged, sadistic serial killer is abducting morally wayward people and forcing them to play horrific games for their own survival. Faced with impossible choices, each victim must struggle to win back his/her life, or else die trying.
Vampire Count Dracula kidnaps young English lawyer John Harker, and travels to London to woo the lawyer’s fiancée and spread terror; a Hungarian countess seeks the help of a psychiatrist to free herself from an evil presence; the mysterious Count Alucard follows a woman to the deep South where he finds that she is obsessed with the occult; an evil scientist escapes from prison and encounters Dracula and other monsters; Dracula and the Wolf Man seek cures for their afflictions; two freight handlers encounter Dracula and other monsters.
A tortured man is transformed into a deadly werewolf when the moon becomes full; after the wolf man frees Frankenstein from a block of ice, the two monsters fight each other; an evil scientist escapes from prison and encounters Dracula and other monsters; Dracula and the Wolf Man seek cures for their afflictions; two freight handlers encounter Dracula and other monsters; a doctor struggles to keep himself from turning into a werewolf during the full moon; an heiress discovers that she may be turning into a werewolf and killing people in a nearby park.
Plainfield Area Public Library 15025 South Illinois Street
Plainfield, Illinois 60544