Sure, Halloween is a holiday for going out. Put on your costume, take the kids out around the neighborhood, go out to that party your friend is hosting.
But Halloween is also a holiday easily observed by the hermits among us, especially in a digital era with more digital streaming platforms than choices of candy bar in the fun-size variety sack you purchased for trick-or-treat and “accidentally” ate by the next day.
This time of year can be a dream for movie lovers. Though horror rules the Halloween roost, there are plenty of less terrifying (and some downright bizarre) films to enjoy as well.
If your idea of an ideal costume is just you wearing Batman pajamas spending countless hours on the couch, Oklahoma Gazette has curated a short list of streaming options for your viewing pleasure.
The Babadook (2014)
Raising a child is difficult under the best circumstances, but this Australian import qualifies as the most difficult to watch parental horror film since the heyday of Rosemary’s Baby. Amelia (Essie Davis) is raising her troubled 6-year-old son Sam (Noah Wiseman), who suffers from insomnia and is obsessed with an imaginary villain. When that monster shows up as the subject of a pop-up book on Sam’s shelf, all the terrors of single motherhood and freaky top-hatted boogeymen break loose on poor Amelia. This is not recommended for new parents or people freaked out by kinetic children’s literature.
Get Out (2017)
Jordan Peele’s feature film debut speaks to deep cultural divides over race and class, but even if American society wasn’t going through its current mind-losing convulsions, this new horror masterpiece would still cut deep. Starring Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams as Chris and Rose, a biracial couple spending the weekend at Rose’s parents’ secluded estate, Get Out is Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner mixed with the cult creepiness of The Stepford Wives and the original Wicker Man. Come for the lancet-sharp satire, stay for the undiluted terror of really getting to know Mom and Dad.
The Gingerdead Man (2005)
Hulu, Yahoo View
OK, so if you’re looking for highbrow artsy horror to namedrop and impress friends at your next costume party, maybe look elsewhere. If you’re looking for proud Okie son Gary Busey voicing a cursed and murderous cookie character out for revenge in B-movie brilliance, this is the easy (and only) pick. It is not fear as much as utter bewilderment director Charles Band impresses on audiences. Move over, Chucky, because Busey’s possessed gingerbread man, brought to life on screen through frustratingly wonky claymation and even worse digital manipulation, might be the crudest killer in all of gore-centric cinema.
Netflix, Hulu, Yahoo View
If you thought opening up that $5 value box from the fast-food taco place was a bad idea, at least consider yourself fortunate that its interior did not contain a literal portal to hell. For the horror fan who thought they had already seen it all, Hellraiser popped up in ’87 to prove there were still extremes of violence and torture yet to be fully explored on film. One particularly memorable detail is the character who would later become known as Pinhead, the leader of an ungodly horde of human soul harvesters whose face is pricked with dozens of steel pins.
The Omen (1976)
Google Play Movies
This is a horror movie so ahead of its time that they actually decided to remake it 40 years later and still weren’t able to reach the bar set by the original. What makes the Richard Donner-directed classic so timeless is the manic curse certain characters fall under when child spawn of Satan Damien is around. Gregory Peck and Lee Remick star as the parents facing the horribly regrettable task of raising the literal antichrist. Movies allegedly based on true accounts of demon children terrorizing helpless parents have become somewhat of a Hollywood trope, but The Omen remains relevant by combining haunting mystery with graphic frights.
A lifelong vegan gets a mouthful of the meaty stuff, and suddenly everything goes south like a sharp blade hitting the abattoir floor. This French-Belgian import has it all: social consciousness, awful hazing practices, unsettling eroticism, ultraviolence and insatiable bloodlust. Raw is full of visceral shocks in the most literal sense. American viewers with subtitle aversions will quickly discover that horrific cannibalism transcends language barriers.
As the entertainment industry confronts decades of female subjugation, sexual violence and exploitation, perhaps it is time to revisit this acclaimed art-house horror laced with biting satire. Teenager Dawn (Jess Weixler) joins a Christian group called The Promise, wears a purity ring and speaks on the virtues of abstinence, but after one of her fellow abstainers tries to rape her, Dawn discovers she has a sharp, protective genetic adaptation. Though it delivers on grossly uncomfortable gore, Teeth is more black comedy than true horror. Still, it must have been nice watching Harvey Weinstein squirm in his seat at Sundance. He should be forced to watch this on a loop.
The Witch (2016)
Amazon Prime, Apple iTunes, Google Play Movies
Robert Eggers’ directorial debut is noticeably light on sucker-punching jump scares and gratuitous gore, and these relative absences have led to far too many people writing off this modern horror classic as “not scary.” The 17th-century period piece finds terror by unsettling and disturbing audience psyches. Whereas many fill-in-the-blank Hollywood horror titles manipulate viewers’ fight-or-flight instincts, The Witch operates in the conscious psyche. With dialogue lifted directly from primary sources of the era, the movie paints a picture of cold and empty colonial New England so vivid and real that anticipation for the inevitable onset of a hellish nightmare becomes almost too much to bear.
Print headline: Streaming and screaming; There might be no better holiday for bingeing films than Halloween. Let Oklahoma Gazette guide your introverted holiday with these staff picks.