Have you been looking for a few films to give you chills during this year’s spooky season? Are you wanting to put together a movie marathon in a pinch for your Halloween night celebration? Luckily, there is a wide variety of horror selections offered on Kanopy, currently available through the University of Memphis Libraries. Here are a few that I recently viewed that may be good additions to your fright night watch list. Everyone have a safe and spooky Halloween!
The first movie on the list will satisfy any potential cravings you may have for historical scares. It follows the sufferings of an English family banished from the Puritan Plymouth Colony in New England as it struggles to survive in an unforgiving wilderness. This atmospheric gem from A24 (which has produced some excellent horror movies, several available on Kanopy right now!) is a slow burn of existential fear, but the final fast-paced act makes the payoff that much better. As the family deteriorates both mentally and physically, they must determine if there really is a witch in those dark and unforgiving woods. And, if so, who is it? And does that wicked goat Black Phillip have anything to do with the family’s impending doom? It is worth a watch to find out their fate.
With the list’s second offering from A24 comes a horror film for fans of weird and disturbing tales. Annie Graham is the mother of a family driven to crisis: it all begins with her own mother’s death and is soon followed by a brutal tragedy that drives the entire family to the brink of insanity. It is difficult to talk about Hereditary without spoiling huge plot points, so I will let the viewer discover the shocking aspects of the film on their own. However, it is safe to say the movie is an expertly crafted example of both psychological and supernatural horror, one that includes deadly family secrets, bizarre cults, and lower level demons. You will be thinking about this one long after the final credits roll.
Day of the Dead
George Romero is often considered the father of modern zombie films. Though generally overshadowed by its predecessors, the third entry into Romero’s “Dead” series is an over-the-top romp filled with remarkable (and, fair warning, gruesome) special effects. Holed up in an underground Florida facility, a motley crew of scientists researches potential ways to reverse an ongoing zombie apocalypse. They are “protected” by an ever-shrinking and highly disgruntled platoon of soldiers. In typical horror movie fashion, tensions between the two groups, exacerbated by volatile personalities, threaten the already unclear goals of their mission. This one is not to be taken too seriously, but nonetheless has everything you would want out of a zombie gorefest.
What We Do In the Shadows
This is definitely the most lighthearted selection on the list, a clever spoof on the vampire genre and on horror movies in general. A group of vampire flatmates in New Zealand, all from different eras in history, struggle hilariously to fit in with modern society while also dealing with their inevitable need for human blood. When a newly turned Nosferatu joins the crew, they are quickly introduced to aspects of the contemporary world that have passed them by, with a variety of consequences. This one turns traditional horror tropes on their head and is a good way to finish off the evening with a few frightful laughs.