Halloween Favorites

 Some terrific scary movies you might not have seen…

Halloween week! You gotta watch at least one scary movie, right? Let me give you a few choices you may not know, movies you can easily find right now. 

Note: It’s becoming increasingly difficult to find classic movies online… some favorites I wanted to list here… Ils (Them), Session 9, The Haunting, Rebecca, The Innocents… are not available, which is a problem. Still, this is a wonderfully scary list.



If you haven’t seen Train To Busan, this is your watch. It’s a remarkable movie. Not only is this hands down the best zombie movie ever made, Train is an equally gripping emotional rollercoaster, a beautifully crafted movie that goes much deeper than your usual scary movie. Think of the emotional depths of something like Ordinary People… combined with zombies. It’s that good. The first 45 minutes is textbook craftsmanship on how this kind of movie should open. The rest? Whoa.

If you think a zombie movie can’t make you weep, you haven’t seen Train To Busan.



The Orphanage goes just about as deep emotionally as Train To Busan. A woman returns to the orphanage where she was raised, now an abandoned mansion. She buys the house with her husband, intending to turn it into a home for sick children. More a classic ghost story than horror, that’s all you need to know.

Awesome, with an Oscar-worthy performance by Belén Rueda.

For more Halloween favorites,



Like The Orphanage, The Invitation is an exercise in dread. When I saw this deceptively simple movie in the theatre, my chest became so tight I had trouble breathing. Taking place all in one night at a dinner party in the Hollywood Hills, this beautifully directed and performed film is in the ‘nothing seems to be happening’ tradition of Rosemary’s Baby, which is the kind of movie that gets under my skin the worst, um best. Terrific. 



This low-budget chiller scared the absolute shit out of me. Seriously. Annie returns home after her mother’s death to find her sister and cousin have disappeared. What happened?

It’s really, really scary. No really. 

THE FLY (Amazon)


The Fly remains one of the most devastating movies I’ve ever seen. Yes, it has some Cronenberg gore but the horror of this movie is emotional. Geena David and Jeff Goldblum fell in love on the set and their chemistry is palpable. Which makes the last thirty minutes that much more upsetting. At its core, The Fly is a love story … gone very wrong.

As the brilliant tag line said, “Be afraid. Be very afraid.”



Yes, I’m still talking about it. I’ll push this on you forever. Still the best piece of TV I’ve seen in years, this modern update on Shirley Jackson’s classic novel, with just as many homages to Robert Wise’s brilliant 1963 adaptation, it’s a phenomenal piece of art. As for scary, well, I screamed out loud more watching this TV show than I ever have in my life. One scare… which famously caused a reviewer to admit it made her wet her pants… caused me to scream so loud the neighbors called. I had to stop the show, drink some bourbon, and try to calm down before I could finish. That episode kept me up all night.

The Haunting of Hill House is Kick. Ass.

What are your Halloween Favorites??

13 thoughts on “Halloween Favorites

  1. Thanks for “Train To Busan”! No lie–it’s terrific. And love The Pact and The Invitation. Fuck, I guess I need to finally sit down and watch The Haunting of Hill House!

  2. Tom, given your (shared) love for HoHH and the Doctor Sleep novel, I’m curious: how are you feeling about Mike Flannagan’s upcoming adaptation of the latter? Are the Kubrick movie references going to ruin it for you, do you think?

    1. Keith – I was very skeptical when King announced he was working on the sequel. But I LOVED the book. One of my favorites of Kings, which is saying a lot. It is a very personal book, for King. Between my love of the book and trust of Flanagan, I’m looking forward to it. Flanagan was who convinced King to let him use the look of the movie, even though King hates it… it makes sense. Visually, it’s what people know and remember. So as much as I don’t like the movie, fine. Variety just gave it a rave, btw, and said my crush Rebecca Ferguson is incredible as the villainess.

      1. Oh, that’s very cool about Flanagan going to King about using the Kubrick visuals for the Overlook! Can’t wait to see the movie! And, oh yeah, Ms. Ferguson, she’s something!

  3. Oh, and thanks for putting in references for where to find these, very helpful with all the platforms out there! I personally think you could do the same for movies that are only available on DVD or BluRay next time around.

    1. Agreed! I was trying to only list movies people could find without buying a disc. It is becoming alarming to me how difficult it can be to find classic movies these days. For instance, I taught both “The Little Foxes” and “Rebecca” this term… and had to screen both in class because there was nowhere the students could find the movie. “Rebecca” won Best Picture! Yet except for a beautiful Criterion edition, it is out of play.

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