by Camila Heredia Oranday. Cover image by Margie Mitchem for I’M Firenze Digest.
Halloween horror movies and popcorn on the couch are the ultimate way to get into the spirit. What better time to watch and explore the world of cult classics and the not-yet-classics than the spookiest time of the year? After all, art and fashion draw so much from horror films that watching them is also a way to study.
Horror is one of the most emotional genres, giving us chills, thrills, and an eerie, macabre feeling, but they also provide a unique perspective on the darker and bizarre side of storytelling.
So, here’s a quick list of five Halloween horror movies you will love as we countdown to October 31. Ready to stream and scream?
HALLOWEEN HORROR MOVIE MUSICAL: THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1975)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show is my top pick for “cult classics”. It mixes comedy with science fiction and makes it a musical. Directed by Jim Sharman and written by Richard O’Brien, the film tells the story of a couple who get engaged and then get lost on their way back home. Desperate for a phone, they end up trapped in a mansion inhabited by eccentric characters who respond to the enigmatic Dr. Frank-N-Furter from “Transsexual Transylvania” and his newest creation (Rocky). The story evolves with hints of sensuality, subversion, and a soundtrack that’s hard to forget.
This film still has a tremendous impact on art and fashion: its message of true sexual liberation and authenticity has influenced the exploration of gender identity and sexuality, not only for niche fans but for pop culture too. The characters’ look and style in The Rocky Horror Picture Show have become icons of indie and alternative fashion, inspiring even the newest generations to express themselves without the inevitable restrictions of society.
It’s a true masterpiece of queer culture whose counterculture has left a lasting legacy in the world of fashion, art, and creative expression.
HALLOWEEN HORROR MOVIE WITH SURREALISM: ERASERHEAD (1982)
Directed by the acclaimed cult director David Lynch, this surrealist film has left a beautiful mark on cinema and has gathered more than enough niche fans to be called a “cult classic”.
Eraserhead follows Henry Spencer, a lonely and tormented man, while he fights a series of disturbing and nightmare-ish events in a dystopian and desolate environment. It serves as an exploration of existential crises, anxiety, and alienation in which Lynch uses grotesque imagery to create the right atmosphere.
This film is known for its unique visuals and amazing soundtrack, which makes it a deeply uncomfortable and unique watch. Its influence has contributed to the surge of a new sub-genre called “Lynchian”, characterised by its focus on the unexplainable and the surreal, an enigmatic narration.
HALLOWEEN HORROR MOVIE SCI-FI: LIFEFORCE (1985)
Lifeforce is science fiction mixed with a hint of horror and thriller. Directed by Tobe Hooper, it has left its mark due to its bold combination of space elements and vampirism. The plot revolves around a group of astronauts who discover an alien spaceship that houses vampire-like creatures that can drain life out of humans. The astronauts embark on a daring mission to stop the spread of the vampire plague.
This film has gained cult status for its visual ambition and its mix of themes and genres, coupled with a captivating story and impressive special effects for its time. Despite receiving mixed reviews upon its release, as with every cult classic, it has garnered a niche fanbase that is appreciative of its uniqueness and defiance of expectations. It remains an example of creativity and daring attitude in cinema, inspiring contemporary science fiction and horror films alike.
HALLOWEEN HORROR MOVIE FOLK: THE WITCH (2015)
Directed by Robert Eggers, this horror film stands out because of its immersion in paranoia and the obscure. The story is set in New England during the 17th century, and it follows a Puritan family that faces hostility in their rural environment. The family grows suspicious of witchcraft after the disappearance of the youngest child and other mysterious events dealing with religious fanaticism and superstition.
Critics have widely acclaimed the film’s visual style and attention to historical details, influencing a new wave of horror period films – a genre you don’t get to see very often. The Witch is the perfect example of a subtle horror film, a psychological thriller that has made a name for itself as a reference in the genre.
HALLOWEEN HORROR MOVIE FOLK: PEARL (2022) & X – A SEXY HORROR STORY (2022)
These two movies challenged conventional horror films and have left a mark in the world of cinematography. Despite their differences, their connection suggests that they will inevitably become “cult classics” in the future.
Directed by Ti West, Pearl delves deep into psychological terror, featuring the story of a girl who wants “to be the biggest star the world has ever known”, and her family, an overbearing mother and a disabled father. The slow storytelling weaves a plot that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats.
X – A Sexy Horror Story takes the audience to a 1970 pornographic cinema set, paying tribute to the exploitation of the time. West deep-dives into a journey of blood, sex, and graphic violence.
Ti West’s capacity to defy the audience’s expectations is astounding, paving the way for new and upcoming movies in general.
His films represent a new movement in cinema, and his legacy will continue to influence future filmmakers and cult film lovers alike for years to come. His productions are connected in unique ways and will become cult classics over time, celebrated for their uniqueness and influence on the evolution of contemporary cinema.
This year with our top five horror movies to watch Halloween will be the spookiest!