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I’m Obsessed with Horror Movies: Here are Some of My Favorites

I was lucky enough to have a TV in my room growing up, and I definitely spent way too many nights watching movies with the volume low so my parents never found out. There weren’t that many cartoon on after midnight, but channels like Chiller and HBO would have continuous movies lined up for hours. Characters like Jason Voorhees, Chucky, Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, and Alien and Predator were often on my TV. And although I definitely wasn’t old enough to watch these movies, I watched a countless amount of them. I didn’t really get nightmares ever, and it didn’t build me up to be a fearless person, but it did teach me a lot about what makes a good horror movie.

There are a number of things that play into what I call the “cookie cutter” of horror movies. This includes the group of survivors and their roles (the hero, innocent person, sexual person, person who gets high at the beginning), the monster/killer (if it’s supernatural, scary looking, the background of it), the location (cabin in the woods, hospital, a city), and production quality (found footage or not), and the ending (hanging, confusing, or a conclusion). The following movies are some of my favorite that I definitely recommend you watch, and my explanation of how well they fit into the cookie cutter.

“As Above So Below”

This is a found footage film, except the movie is formed on the basis of filming a documentary, so a cameraman named Benny and an archaeologist named Scarlett journey to the catacombs under Paris to film a documentary about finding a hidden stone. Alongside some residents of Paris sneak into the catacombs when not allowed, and from the moment they enter the creepiness begins. I love that the movie doesn’t have a slow start, and they don’t rely on just jumpscares or scary creatures, but well-crafted scenes. You learn more about the characters as the story progresses, and everyone has a haunting past, and the ending is one that will leave you shook.

“Get Out”

Everyone knows “Get Out” because it was one of the most popular movies of 2017, for having a diverse cast and a rare 100% on Rotten Tomatoes for months. If you don’t know the plot, Chris is visiting his girlfriend’s family for a weekend, an all-white family with an all-black staff, and after seeing a bunch of creepy behaviors, one unfortunate night sends Chris’ world into a spiral. “Get Out” is special because it doesn’t rely on a murderer or monster, nor dark creepy basements, just a dramatic plot and unexpected twists.

“Grave Encounters”

Almost no one knows this gem from 2011, but it’s always been one of my favorites. “Grave Encounters” is the name of paranormal show led by Lance Preston, who takes his crew to an abandoned insane asylum. Much like “As Above So Below,” because the characters are filming for a show, you see how they direct and make up lines behind the scenes. It’s exactly what you’d expect from an abandoned insane asylum with dark halls, creepy rooms, and lots of ghosts. The movie is super quick paced, and major events happen within seconds with no warning and always leave you amazed and questioning if it really just happened.

“The Cabin in the Woods”

Classic horror movies like “Friday the 13th” always have the same personality traits for their characters: the sexy one, the jock who has sex with the girl, the virgin who survives until the end, the virgin’s love interest who dies last, and the pothead. “The Cabin in the Woods” brings satire to the max by making a movie to answer the question why these five traits are in every horror movie. I can’t give too much away, but the plot twists of it all are absolutely jaw-dropping, and everyone should watch this movie.

“Room 1408”

Mike is a paranormal investigator who travels to creepy locations and writes about what he witnesses. He never saw a ghost or had any reason to believe in them until coming to the Dolphin Hotel and staying in their most haunted room for one night. Getting stuck in a time lapse, leaking walls, ghostly visions, hallucinations, loud noises, and of course, a locked door, are some of the events Mike endures in the room. The original movie, which can still be found online, had an ending so cruel that they took it from theatres and changed the ending, but both are worth a watch.

“Hush”

A lot of movies are based on the lack of senses: “Don’t Speak” and “A Quiet Place” are based on staying silent at all times, and “Lights Out” is without sight. Well in “Hush,” the protagonist deals with both of these by being deaf and mute. Maddie lives in an isolated area, and the windows of her house are the only things keeping a murderer out of the house. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time watching this because the movie knows how to make you feel for the protagonist that you’re be cheering her along by the end.

“Sinister”

This movie combines found footage with live action when father and husband Ellison finds a box of tapes in the family’s new home, and each he grows through depicts a terrifying scene. There’s no group of teenagers getting killed off in Sinister, but there’s definitely a terrifying monster that feeds on children, and it’s face alone will give you chills. I haven’t seen “Sinister” for years but I can still picture certain images that put me on edge to this day.

“Quarantine”/”REC”

“REC” is the Spanish version of a movie called “Quarantine;” the movies aren’t the same but have the same concept. Both are found footage films that show a group of people being locked in an area because there’s a zombie virus on the loose. The locations are creative, and with the inclusion of sequels for both, like an airport, apartment complex, fire house, and even a wedding parlor. The small setting and found footage gives a new take on the same zombie movies you’ll want to see.

“Afflicted”

Two friends journey to Europe and in the midst of adventure and partying, Derek starts showing signs of a mysterious sickness that they don’t understand. And not just a runny nose and a fever, he’s able to walk up walls, gets burned by sunlight, and survives a bullet to the head. Also a found footage film (can you tell how much I love found footage movies?), this is just something that it’s never seen before and I doubt you have either.

There’s no perfect formula to a horror movie. I don’t rely on jumpscares, dark scenes, or well done SFX to scare me. And honestly, the most scary horror movies aren’t always the best. These horror movies are the ones that made me cheer on the protagonist, hide my face in anticipation, shock me with its ending, and keep me from looking away from the screen. So if you have any extra time on your hands during this fall season, I highly recommend giving one of these films a watch.

Jennifer Davenport

Elizabethtown '21

Campus Correspondent for the Her Campus club at Elizabethtown College. Jennifer is part of the Class of 2021, and she's a middle level English education major, with a creative writing minor. Her hobbies include volunteering, watching YouTube for way too many hours, and posting memes on her Instagram. She was raised in New Jersey, lives in New York, and goes to college in Pennsylvania, so she's ruined 3 of America's 50 states. She's an advocate for mental health, LGBT+ rights, and educational reform.
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