Don’t turn off the lights

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The first few seconds of every movie. // The beginning of the scare marathon. The looks of a scary movie seem to have a pattern. (Photo by Melissa Duarte)

by Melissa Duarte

The spooky season has started, and all our favorite classic horror movies are coming back to life. Freddy Krueger, Pennywise, Chucky, Pinhead, Ghostface, and Micheal Meyers retell their villain origin story to adoring fans. Over the years, society has recognized these character’s movies as the go-to films to watch at night during the month of October, but those movies are just classics. We throw those movies in front of our eyes to avoid seeing true horror films- using them as cover blankets. The audience relies on the unrealistic nature of the classics to allow for less paralyzation of fear afterwards. Angst, Hereditary, The Blair Witch Project, Jigsaw, Carrie, and The Poughkeepsie Tapes are the true best horror films that make needing the lights on at night a requirement because each movie has a possibility of making one’s worst nightmare a reality. 

Angst (1983)

The first horror film to petrify any viewer is Angst. Angst is a 1983 production that follows a troubled man after being released from prison. He begins his life of freedom, but instead of renewing himself, he starts to act on sadistic fantasies. One of his victims included a mother, her handicapped son, and her daughter. This movie is based on a true story and follows one of Austria’s worst criminals to date. This movie was a genuine horror movie due to its graphic sounds and visual presentations. The movie is realistic which makes this truly a scare. It causes you to question the intentions of every stranger you walk past. After watching this movie,  to allow the fears of the world to subside. 

The Blair Witch Project (1999)

A classic horror film that is in the running to be one of the best horror films is The Blair Witch Project. This 1999 film shadows the journey of three film students who travel to a small town in search of the truth behind Blair Witch, a legendary local murder tale. As their trip passes, they find themselves hearing horrific noises in the woods they were camping in. This is a contender to be one of the best horror films because of how unexpected everything was. It leaves you in fear of your own breath. There was no need for scary music to chant in the background, the silence took care of that aspect. The plot twist at the end doesn’t disappoint, and in every way, this movie was a true thriller.

Hereditary (2018)

Hereditary is on the more recent side of the scale. Debuting in 2018, it belongs right up there with the true horror classics. Hereditary’s visual dramatics are what leave the audience in such a horrified shock. From the infamous scene of the child in the car, to the wooded shed ending, it all leaves you feeling sick to your stomach. This movie follows a mother and her children figuring out their ancestry, and the sinister fate that is in their DNA. Hereditary is a movie not for those with a weak stomach. The jumpscares were perfectly timed, causing a genuine popcorn jump scare. What makes this movie so good is the plot following the jumpscares. Movies out there throw in jumpscares at obvious points, but this movie builds up to the jumpscare for the optimal scream.  Before they know it, the audience becomes entranced by the movie. 

Jigsaw (2004)

Certain horror movies nowadays all start off the same-a family moving into a suspicious home or a woman trying to escape her real life, each with the same predictable ending. Jigsaw is one of the best horror movies to ever be created due to its fantastic storyline. This 2004 film follows a serial killer who forces his victims into playing games to teach them the true meaning of life. Jigsaw I, the first movie in the franchise, tracks two men trapped in a room with a corpse. Both men search for clues in hopes to escape the room. The movie has one of the best plot twists I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. Throughout the whole movie, you end up realizing you too have fallen victim to Jigsaw. The movie keeps you so entranced with what’s going on, you forget there is horror within the movie. Although jump-scares aren’t relevant to this plot structure, it is the fear for your own life that causes the suspense and terror while watching the movie.

Horror isn’t just how scary the movie is in the moment, it’s the fear you get when alone in the house or when walking to your car at night. All of these feelings leave you scared of your own thoughts.