You’re all probably sick to death of me talking about movies at this point, but I’ve seen more scary movies than I’ve read scary books at this point in my life. I put this down to the fact that in YA there is a huge overlap between horror and thriller so I end up looking for adult books that are strictly horror. But anyway, today I wanted to share with you all my favourite spooky movies. Like I’d said earlier in the month, ‘spooky’ doesn’t necessarily have to mean horror or scary, it could just be the aesthetics and feel of it.
Is this a horror movie? Sort of. Is it scary? Nah. Is it spooky? Nope. Do I still love it? Absolutely. I might have been scared by it if I were a child living in post-war Japan but I’m not so it’s not that scary to me. Something you might not have known about the original Godzilla movie is just how political it really is. We all know about the nuclear attacks on Japan during World War II but Tokyo was also bombed by the United States Army Air Force during the war with 16 square miles of the city centre destroyed, over 1 million people made homeless, and an estimated 100,000 civilian deaths. Nasty stuff. Naturally, people were scared about what nuclear radiation could do, so Toho studios made a movie about a giant radioactive dinosaur attacking a city. It’s obviously not as flippant as I make it sound, but monsters have been a way for people to express their fears and anxieties for a long time.
Anyway, I’m babbling about context. Because this movie was made over sixty years ago, the special effects aren’t as good as they used to be – especially in close-ups of Godzilla’s face – but it’s still effective in showing the monster as a creature who is tormented by radiation burns. Plus, the political subtext is really not subtle at all once you know about it, but that doesn’t bother me at all because I’ve seen plenty of anti-war works and I love me some political subtext. The only other Godzilla movies I’ve seen are the two American remakes, but this one stands out because it’s not just a big devotion to seeing giant monsters fight each other, which is what the 2014 Godzilla movie turns into (even though i do still love it), and it also doesn’t suck like the 1998 movie. If you’re into giant monster movies, I would definitely recommend watching this one to see where a lot of the genre came from. But not the US version Godzilla, King of the Monsters!, because all of the political and anti-nuclear things are completely stripped away in favour of focusing the whole narrative on an American journalist. Not cool. I know that subtitles aren’t everyone’s thing, but it really doesn’t bother me because it’s better than listening to a stiff overdub. Or watching a completely butchered version.
Also, here’s a fun fact for you: when this movie was first released in Japan, people hated it because they thought it was tastelessly exploiting a recent tragedy and they ended up preferring the American version when it was released in 1956. Now the original is considered one of the best Japanese movies ever by critics and fans from all over the world. So remember, kids: if you favourite movie gets slated when it’s first released but you love it, there might still be hope that people will love it later on. And by kids, I mean me.
Raise your hand if you’re sick of me talking about this movie. You put that hand back down this instant before I cut it off, young person. Ahem. I don’t think I really need to explain why I love this movie in words so I will give you all a hint with a picture:
Just look at that beautiful face 😍. There’s more to it, but that’s the only hint. i do have a review if you want actual reasons.
I have absolutely no idea if this movie can be considered spooky at all because it’s a biopic about a Z-movie director and is directed by Tim Burton, but Burton is a favourite amongst spooky people and this is my favourite of his movies so on the list it shall go. Because this is my list and I don’t make rules for them.
This movie is a biopic starring a pre-trashcan Johnny Depp as Ed Wood, a real-life movie director from the 1950’s who made low-budget sci-fi and horror movies that were terribly received. Like, think of the worst review you’ve ever seen. Got one in mind? His movies got even worse reviews than that. Yeah, movie reviewers were just as mean back then as they are now (except in the 50’s, reviews weren’t disguised personal attacks on the filmmaker. *cough*). Wood became friends with the actor Béla Lugosi, who is most famous for portraying Count Dracula in Universal’s movies, after trying to get the rights to make a movie out of Christine Jorgensen’s story. Christine Jorgensen, if you don’t know, was the first American person to be widely known for undergoing sex reassignment surgery. Wood was not trans himself (or even a member of the LGBT+ community) but found comfort in cross-dressing, and not in a sexual way. But anyway, back to Lugosi. Lugosi at this point was almost out of work. He was horrendously typecast as villains and monsters because of his Hungarian accent and ended up addicted to morphine and pretty bad shape. Lugosi and Wood ended up being friends and most of Lugosi’s movies towards the end of his life were Wood’s. And apparently, they weren’t very good. I haven’t seen them but I would know if I hadn’t missed out on a screening of Wood’s most famous movie Plan 9 from Outer Space
Like I said, this isn’t really a “spooky” movie, but I do think it has elements of spooky-ness to it because it’s about a horror movie director and is directed by Tim Burton. This is actually his least-spooky movie but it is my favourite. Also, the reason why it’s in black and white is my favourite thing ever: they said that there are no colour photos of Lugosi. They’re wrong. There’s a full-length colour movie with starring Lugosi on YouTube. And yes, it’s really him.
Look, a movie that’s actually scary! So, I only watched Alien for the first time a couple of years ago (i think) and it’s already one of my ultimate favourites. I know that most people consider the sequel to be the better movie and also one of the best movies ever made but I wholeheartedly disagree on that partly because the first movie has much more of an atmospheric feel to it and partly because there are only two James Cameron movies that I actually enjoy: The Terminator and Terminator 2. I’ve hated everything else he’s done. Especially Titanic. Oh man do I hate that movie with a passion. But anyway, I want to talk about Alien.
This movie is what convinced me that aliens aren’t always benevolent creatures. I grew up on Futurama and Superman where aliens could be both heroic and villainous, but they were never outright monstrous like in this movie. For pretty much the entirety of my childhood and my teenage years I was too scared to watch this movie because of the chestburster scene. Now I can watch it in slow motion because it doesn’t bother me. Obviously, I don’t find it as scary as I used to, but it’s still pretty scary.
No, I still haven’t read the book this movie is based on because I suck. But I will get around to it! Eventually. This is another horror movie that I don’t find actually scary, but it’s still tense. Try watching the shower scene without your nerves being on end. It’s pretty difficult. I’ve only seen two Hitchcock movies, the other one being The Birds, but this is the first one I saw and it’s the one that’s stuck with me the most.
One thing I will admit, though, is that I’m a little hesitant to watch any more of Hitchcock’s films considering how badly he’s said to have treated his actors. Especially the way he treated Tippi Hedren. I’ve stopped watching Woody Allen movies for the same reason. Except I don’t like Woody Allen movies because I think they’re pretentious.
If you want to see a Dracula that’s as close to the novel as it’s ever going to get, this is the one to watch. This movie follows the book almost word for word, the only difference being that they added in the common misconception that Dracula really is Vlad the Impaler (he wasn’t) and gave him a romance with Mina, who is made into his reincarnated wife. Other than that, it’s pretty much the same as the book, which very few other movies have done properly.
There are so many reasons why I love this movie that it’s hard to put it in short but I will try. Because this was the early 90’s and CGI wasn’t really a thing like it was towards the end of the decade, all of the effects are practical and it works so well in giving the movie a supernatural look. Also, all of the performances apart from one are pretty much perfect and the cast was chosen so well. The one? Keanu Reeves. I like Keanu, but this just was not the right movie for him. I just can’t forgive that accent.
Here’s a movie that I have read the book of and I can say with complete confidence that I prefer the movie. A lot of people will likely disagree but the book can be really difficult to get into because it’s extremely violent and has a misogynistic narrator. It’s actually a satire of 80’s yuppie culture, but satire can be a difficult thing to do right, especially in writing because there are always people who take it seriously. To me, the movie is way funnier because the satire is much more obvious.
Also, Christian Bale was on top of his game in this movie. And he looked good. Like, really good. So good I can’t show you physical evidence because youngins might see and this is an area for all ages. 👌
I feel like it’s very topical for me to talk about this movie since Thor: Ragnarok will be in cinemas very soon (which, if you follow me on twitter, you will already know my feelings towards) and this is the only movie of Taika Waititi’s I’ve seen. For now. But let me tell you all something, friends: this movie is so funny. I don’t tend to watch comedies about vampires because they usually tend to be ruthless parodies of the “this is dumb and so is everyone who likes it” type, but What We Do in the Shadows is not like that at all.
Basically, this movie follows five very different vampires living together as housemates in Wellington, New Zealand and is a “documentary” following their day to day life. Or night to night life, I should say. It’s just as wacky as it sounds but it’s also very smart. I’m very picky when it comes to comedy because I prefer clever comedy to just abstract zaniness, especially when it comes to parodies. Also, this movie has the best werewolves I’ve ever seen, which is big for me because werewolves usually bore me. I still wish there was a sequel focusing on the werewolves, but who knows if that will ever happen…
What’s your favourite spooky, scary, or thrilling movie? What would you recommend to me?