By: Micah Burkholder | Contributor |
Image by: Conor Merrick | Editor-in-Chief |
Alright, everyone. This is my recommendation list of the best movies to watch on Halloween this year. Now, I’ll more than likely make a list of the best shows to watch on Halloween 2021 because there are a whole bunch of horror shows that you should give a try, such as any show from Mike Flanagan. These movies are ranked based on how much I enjoyed watching them and movies that I believe you should also give a try. Let’s go!
While her son, Kichi, is away at war, a woman and her daughter-in-law survive by killing samurai who stray into their swamp, then selling whatever valuables they find. Both are devastated when they learn that Kichi has died, but his wife soon begins an affair with a neighbor, Hachi, who survived the war. The mother disapproves and, when she can’t steal Hachi for herself, tries to scare her daughter-in-law with a mysterious mask from a dead samurai. This movie is horrifying, and the movie is certainly not afraid to make you squeamish with its shock value. There are several scenes where violence and murder are used in the pursuit of financial gain. Many of these scenes are frightening. The film is constructed so some scenes become more intense as the story heads towards an ending that many will find intense & frightening. The horror aspects of the film rely heavily on the negative aspects of survival, and other aspects of horror are shown with Hachi’s mask. The mask alone symbolizes terror and does so in a way that appeals to the horror genre and to people who want a terrifyingly mesmerizing experience. In my opinion, this movie does horror better than most modern-day movies, and this is the movie on HBO Max that may satisfy your craving for Halloween movies.
Though it may sound like I’m cheating because I am recommending every movie in the trilogy on this list, it is my list and my recommendations for Halloween 2021. Berserk, as a whole, is a masterpiece of storytelling. The story is about Guts who is out for revenge. After a tragic childhood, he finally finds someone he respects and believes he can trust, only to have everything fall apart when this person takes away everything important to Guts for the purpose of fulfilling his desires. Now marked for death, Guts becomes condemned to a fate in which he is relentlessly pursued by demonic beings. Setting out on a dreadful quest riddled with misfortune, Guts, armed with a massive sword and monstrous strength, will let nothing stop him, not even death itself until he is finally able to take the head of the one who stripped him—and his loved one—of their humanity. The Golden Age Arc Trilogy is centered around the Golden Age arc of the manga. With the best piece of English dub you’ll ever find, some of the most beautiful animations ever put to film and some of the darkest, most horrifying pieces of storytelling ever put to film and manga. Berserk: The Golden Age Arc Trilogy is a series of movies worth checking out and another thing for Halloween 2021 that you should have on your radar. These movies are available to watch on Netflix.
The first two movies on this list may not be everybody’s cup of tea. But every movie in The Evil Dead Trilogy is guaranteed to give you a good time as far as horror is concerned. These movies are about Ash Williams, the main character that you’ll easily grow attached to. Ash has a lot of things happen to him during these movies, and most of them are either played for laughs or sympathy. Though the movies are more lighthearted than gritty, the movies still have a sense of horror and dread you’d expect from a director like Sam Raimi. The Evil Dead trilogy as a whole is one of the best pieces of horror you’ll ever find in cinema. This trilogy is so good that there’s even a TV show that takes place many years after the third movie called “Ash vs. Evil Dead”. The first movie is full-on horror, the second movie blends comedy into the genre, and the third movie is more comedic than horrifying. The Evil Dead trilogy is a personal recommendation of mine because of how much of a good time you’ll have with it, especially if you like it when movies blend comedy with horror. All three movies are available on HBO Max.
When his dysfunctional family clashes over the holidays, young Max is disillusioned and turns his back on Christmas. Little does he know, this lack of festive spirit has unleashed the wrath of Krampus: a demonic force of ancient evil intent on punishing non-believers. If there’s one thing this movie does well, it describes how horrifying it can be to be on the naughty list for Christmas. This isn’t the only Christmas horror movie on this list, but it is a horror film worth watching on many occasions. This is also not the only horror movie on this list made by Legendary Pictures because they have made some horror films that are… legendary. Krampus is available to watch on Hoopla.
In the aftermath of a family tragedy, an aspiring author is torn between love for her childhood friend and the temptation of a mysterious outsider. Trying to escape the ghosts of her past, she is swept away to a house that breathes, bleeds… and remembers. Guillermo del Toro is a mastermind of a director, and he is my all-time favorite movie director besides Tim Burton, Peter Jackson, and Zack Snyder. Crimson Peak combines elements of symbolism, mood, and themes to make a horror film that is an unforgettable experience. This is also one of those movies where you’ll more than likely fall in love with del Toro and expect more from him in the future. Crimson Peak is available to watch on Netflix.
Taking its title from an archaic Japanese word meaning “ghost story,” this anthology adapts four folk tales. A penniless samurai marries for money with tragic results. A man stranded in a blizzard is saved by Yuki the Snow Maiden, but his rescue comes at a cost. Blind musician Hoichi is forced to perform for an audience of ghosts. An author relates the story of a samurai who sees another warrior’s reflection in his teacup. Kwaidan is tragic, horrific, dramatic, and symbolic; if those are the elements that you look for in a horror film, this classic Japanese movie does not disappoint. Kwaidan is available to watch on HBO Max and The Criterion Channel.
A European prince terrorizes the local peasantry while using his castle as a refuge against the “Red Death” plague that stalks the land. The Masque of the Red Death is a movie that captures the horror and desolation of plagues. Its voice acting, cinematography, and special effects are superb and portray the life of medieval people under a plague extremely well. Medieval movies have always been my cup of tea, and if you mix that with horror, you get movies like this. The Masque of the Red Death is available to watch on Kanopy.
The Daywalker known as “Blade” – a half-vampire, half-mortal man – becomes the protector of humanity against an underground army of vampires. Blade is that kind of movie you’ll like if you’re into action-packed vampire-slaying movies. It’s the only movie on this list that is a superhero movie and not the only one on this list that has anything to do with vampires. Guillermo del Toro directed the second movie, which makes him pretty popular on this particular list of horror movies. Blade is available to watch on HBO Max.
A rare mutation has occurred within the vampire community – The Reaper. A vampire so consumed with an insatiable bloodlust that they prey on vampires as well as humans, transforming victims who are unlucky enough to survive into Reapers themselves. Blade is asked by the Vampire Nation for his help in preventing a nightmare plague that would wipe out both humans and vampires. Directed by Guillermo del Toro and starring Wesley Snipes, this film takes the elements from the action-packed first film and delivers a film more on the symbolic side of horror and delivers a film that’s just as dark and violent as the first movie. Blade II is available to watch on HBO Max.
When Dracula leaves the captive Jonathan Harker and Transylvania for London in search of Mina Harker, the reincarnation of Dracula’s long-dead wife Elisabeta, obsessed vampire hunter Dr. Van Helsing sets out to end the madness. The best thing about most Dracula movies is how much inspiration it takes from the novel and amplifies it for the kind of audience that sees those movies. The 1992 film follows the novel much more than any incarnation of the vampire king, and the way it is executed is mindblowing to the mind and soul. It’s also a more romantic side of the horror genre and a more realistic take on Dracula as it is not afraid to hit you with the feels of what makes Dracula an iconic fictional character. Bram Stoker’s Dracula is available to watch on HBO Max.
Here are a few honorable mentions for this list, if the medieval side of horror is not what you really want:
- The Shining (1980)
- Doctor Sleep (2019)
- Van Helsing (2004)
- World War Z (2013)
- The Wolfman (2010)
- Prometheus (2012)
- Hollow Man (2000)
- Hannibal (2001)
- IT (2017)
- IT: Chapter Two (2019)
And that is my list of the best Halloween movies I think you should consider watching on Halloween 2021. While most of these movies are on the medieval side, they are still movies you should give a try. Even if you have not seen these kinds of horror films before, one thing is certain: you are guaranteed to have an excellent time like I did.