With Halloween almost upon us, some of the conversations the team had included movies and television shows that stayed with us—both because of its awesomeness, and because it got us shaking in our boots.
Check out our picks. Maybe you’ve seen them, maybe you haven’t yet. But take it from us, these are pretty memorable picks.
The Haunting of Hill House (2018)
“Horror is my favorite genre, so getting asked this question is always loaded—and bound to be answered with more than one title. But since I indulged in my favorite movie picks already, I thought I’d name a masterpiece on TV that has stayed with me since the first time I watched it.
The Haunting of Hill House (2018) is one the best things I’ve watched in the past few years, horror or otherwise. It’s such a wonderfully woven story, where you feel so connected to the characters so that their fear is yours too. It’s heartbreaking, it’s creepy and it’ll both tug at your emotions and send chills down your spine long after you’ve seen it—Bent Neck Lady is one of the best hours of television ever.” – Shari Quimbo-Ybañez, Editor-in-Chief
The Blair Witch Project (1999), and The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)
“I’m more into slasher films and psychological thrillers but I’ve seen my fair share of horror films that kept me up all night. My sister, cousins, and I decided to watch The Blair Witch Project (1999). It was the first of its kind back then so its form of cinematography was something different—it also made the movie even scarier. It was nighttime, and I watched this when I was 11 years old—it was pretty hard to get over. I really thought it was real.
The Exorcism of Emily Rose
“Another movie that stuck with me was The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005). Honestly, anything that has to do with demonic possession is a rarity for me. Anyway, I thought that if I watched it in the morning, it wouldn’t be so bad. Boy was I an idiot! I slept early for seven days which was pretty unusual for me. I hit the sack before the clock struck 11:00 PM (because that’s when the possessions started). My mother didn’t know why but she was happy with my new sleeping habit.” — Monica R. Lopez, Managing Editor
The Witch: A New England Folktale (2015)
“In Robert Egger’s 2015 film, The Witch: A New England Folktale, we are transported to a secluded farm in early 17th century New England. It is the story of a Puritan family who becomes isolated from the larger colony after a religious dispute. Frightening events soon happen, and the struggling family begins turning on each other, while a supernatural and malevolent force pervades their lives. Set in the 1600s, the family speaks an early form of modern English (you might want to watch this with subtitles).
The portrayal of religious fervor and paranoia in that era, along with the disturbing finale makes this film very effective in presenting an evil entity which will haunt your thoughts and dreams long after the film is over.” — Geraldine Sy, Art Director
“I’m not really fond of watching horror movies, not a fan of jump scares and screams and sometimes very cheesy costumes the monster wears. I’m more of a psychological thriller kind of guy. I want to see films that get me scared for the future of mankind. With that said, I pick the episode Black Museum from the television show Black Mirror. It’s basically a showcase of good technologies being used by the wrong people. It’s both fascinating and terrifying how these technologies could well be being developed in our reality, and with rising tensions between big countries; it’s only a matter of time before it goes into the wrong hands.” — Giancarlo de Guzman, Technical Director
“It’s been more than a decade since the film Insidious (2010) came out and it continues to live in my head. I remember having to sleep in my parents’ room for a week after I watched it. I would say it caused me to stay away from horror movies. I didn’t think much of it then, but as the years went by, I experienced a lot of nightmares and sleep paralysis. I may not have the ability to astral travel like Dalton, but having sleep paralysis and seeing shadowy figures at the corner of my room with the story of Insidious at the back of my mind was not fun.” — Janna Rei Yuvallos, Editorial Assistant
The works of Mike Flanagan
“Horror as a genre has always been fascinating to me, in that you can literally make horror out of anything. A great deal of the most impactful horror films are almost always hybridized with another genre: comedy (The Cabin in the Woods (2011), Happy Death Day (2017)); social thriller (Get Out (2017), Parasite (2019)); or perhaps fantasy (Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), Constantine (2003)). One of my personal favorites, though, is drama horror.
Mike Flanagan, the director behind Hush (2016), Gerald’s Game (2017), and Doctor Sleep (2019)—as well as Netflix horror hits The Haunting of Hill House, and more recently, Midnight Mass—is a master at mixing psychological and supernatural horror with drama, utilizing the fragility of the mind and sheer human emotion alongside paranormal elements to really drive home the terror in his work. Rather than bombarding you with cheap jump scares you’ll probably forget about by the time you go to bed, Flanagan creates flawed, fleshed-out characters haunted by more than just ghosts, leaving you sympathetic to their plight and all the more terrified for them.
In Oculus (2013), two siblings return to their childhood home, where they attempt to observe and eventually destroy an evil mirror they hold responsible for the death of their parents. Oculus takes Mike Flanagan’s beloved formula and his flair for non-linear storytelling and sticks us right in the house with the main characters. As the film goes on, we move back and forth between the past and the future, learning about the sinister history of the mirror and its role in their parents’ descent into madness. Eventually, Flanagan also moves us back and forth between reality and delusion, as he and the mirror begin to fool us, the audience, as well — leaving us feeling as helpless as the siblings we’ve started to desperately root for. It’s hardly the scariest or most unique horror movie, but Oculus still deserves a spot on your watchlist. Warning: watching it will have you double-checking if the apple you’re about to bite into is really an apple.” — Bernice Quimbo, Editorial Assistant