A dimly lit room, the smell of buttery popcorn filling the air, jack-o’-lanterns grimacing at you from the fireplace ledge and a scary movie playing on your TV. Horrifying scenes engraving an image in your mind that will have you sleeping with the lights on at night.
That’s right, it’s Halloween time and what better way to celebrate than to watch some of the scariest and most haunting horror movies. Check out what these Montclair State University students recommend you to watch this October!
Bailie Stypa, a junior anthropology major, is a big fan of Stephen King’s work, and “The Shining” has been a standout film for her.
“The Shining,” released in 1980, stars New Jersey native, Jack Nicholson. The film follows Nicholson, a hotel caretaker, as he takes his wife and young son to watch over the Overlook Hotel, where he eventually turns into a homicidal maniac as he begins to realize the darkness behind his winter home.
“My favorite scene is the bat scene where [Nicholson’s character] corners Wendy up the stairs because it really showcases the acting skills of Jack Nicholson and Shelly Duval,” Stypa said. “They encapsulate the tension you’re supposed to feel throughout the scene so well and it makes me anxious every time I watch it.”
Jessica Gopaul, a junior economics major, has a similar infatuation with an American psychological thriller based on yet another Stephen King novel, “Gerald’s Game.”
According to Gopaul, the film is an intense movie based on someone dealing with their inner demons.
“It’s about a husband and wife who go on a romantic trip together to a faraway place. But things go completely wrong when the husband dies, as the woman is handcuffed to the bed and cannot get loose,” Gopaul said. “The woman then has to use her memories to try to figure out how to survive.”
Charlee Reiff, a senior film major, takes a different approach. Reiff chose “Mandy,” a lesser known Nicholas Cage movie, as her favorite horror film. “Mandy” tells the story of Red Miller and Mandy Bloom, a loving couple who lives in the woods, who have their peaceful life destroyed when a satanic cult invades their home.
“’Mandy’ is my favorite horror movie because it is very indulgent and has a lot of creative integrity in terms of its style and visuals which I am really drawn to,” Reiff said. “It’s a pretty relentless story and it made me uneasy for days.”
A Halloween classic came to mind when Trevor Melnyk, a sophomore justice studies major, was asked about his favorite horror movie, “Halloween.”
The 2018 version of “Halloween” follows an older Laurie Strode and the iconic Michael Myers, a psychopathic serial killer who had recently escaped the psychiatric institution in which he was placed in 40 years earlier. After surviving his attack in her younger years, she prepares herself for the day he came back.
“It has a very interesting storyline filled with high tempo horror scenes,” Melnyk said. “People should watch it because it will be sure to keep them on the edge of their seats.”
Matthew Wohlrab, an economics major in his fifth year at Montclair State, names Jordan Peele’s “Us” as his favorite horror movie.
“It keeps you guessing as you never know what’s going to happen next,” Wohlrab said. “It incorporates real life problems and by the end, everyone leaves with their own interpretation of what the movie really means.”
Peele’s film narrows in on underground tunnels in which clones of real life people are abandoned. These clones live less than stellar, yet mimicked lives of their human counterparts. Eventually, they emerge from the tunnels to take over the world and kill off those whom they were created after.
Mike Sano, a junior film major, goes in a unique direction and cites “Alien” as his favorite horror film. Although he is a bigger fan of science fiction movies than horror, Sano talked about why this particular film struck him as interesting.
“It’s the first time the two genres were ever mixed together and done right,” Sano said. “Every horror sci-fi since has just been trying to capture that same feeling.”
Both Halloween and the month of October are the best times to celebrate the horror film genre. In that case, get to Netflix or your local theater to give yourself a good scare!