Films to make you delightfully terrified.
by the PASSPORT TEAM
In honor of Passport’s Haunted Stories series and this week’s episode on The Stanley Hotel, we asked Neil and Andrés what their favorite horror movies of all time were. Since most of us will be parked at home this Halloween, what better time to settle in for a nice, warm, terrifying movie night?
La Nuée (The Swarm) / 2020 / France
Set in the French countryside, a single mom becomes obsessed with her edible grasshopper farm. The grasshoppers turn out to be carnivorous. A fabulous piece of social commentary, part family drama, part insect horror film. Incredible performances (particularly the teen daughter, Marie Narbonne) and a deeply unsettling soundtrack dense with the sound of the grasshoppers as they go from colony to terrifying swarm.
Midsommar / 2019 / Sweden
I watched this one with Neil, on a giant screen, and there’s nothing quite like horror set in crisp sunlight, with hallucinogens, and creepy Swedes. The turn to horror is so incredible, that it’s difficult to describe. Wowzers.
Don’t Look Now / 1973 / UK + Italy
You’ll never see red coats in the same way. A Gothic ghost story about grief and loss. Incredible performances from Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie, and a deeply troubling Venice as the backdrop that stays with you long after the film is done.
Audition / 1999 / Japan
A widower sets up a fake casting to find a new wife. Instead he finds… yeesh. It’s a doozy. Not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach.
Love, Actually / 2003 / UK
I’m sure no one will accept this as horror, but to me, it is one of the most deeply unsettling films ever made.
El laberinto del Fauno, Pan’s Labyrinth / 2006 / Mexico + Spain
Not strictly a horror film, but definitely dark, it has monsters, it deals with the Spanish Civil War, and has some excellent performances, so you can kinda watch it with your family? Let’s put it this way, it’s a film that people that can’t handle horror can watch.
Tetsuo: The Iron Man / 1989
Japanese metal fetish cyberpunk horror. Nuff said.
The Shining / 1980 / UK + USA
Precise, cold, complicated and endlessly rewatchable. It’s why we’re making this list. Excellent scenery, chewing performances, legendary shots, a frankenstein of a movie from one of the greatest ever adapting one of the greatest ever.
Onibaba / 1964 / Japan
A mother and daughter who murder wandering soldiers. A field of long grass. A creepy mask which inspired The Exorcist. Pure black and white atmosphere.
The Changeling / 1980 / USA
A grieving George C Scott alone in a massive haunted house. Creepy ass floating cameras, released the same year as The Shining, this is one that gets you much later… when you’re turning out the lights.
A L’intérieur / 2007 / France
A single, pregnant woman is terrorised in her home by a psychotic midwife played by weird, hot, mental, beautiful Béatrice Dalle… who wants her baby even if she has to get it out of there herself. I’m a sucker for horrors in one location. This is a ridiculous, pure, fun, gory, pressure cooker horror. Embrace the silliness.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre / 1974 / USA
If you can forget the parodies and the endless sequels, give this grimy, dirty, low budget, powerhouse a rewatch. Just for the dinner table scene alone it deserves a place on the list… Also the closest any horror film soundtrack ever got to pure distortion.
It Follows / 2014 / USA
If you have sex in a horror film, you’re dead. Everyone knows it. This pot boiler will have you watching a film in a way you never have. A curse passed down through doing the dirty is coming for you… very, very, very slowly.
Pure, giddy, laugh out loud, drive-in movie horror. The best “cabin in the woods” of all time. Also Fede Álvarez’ remake is actually pretty bloody spectacular.
Audition / 1999 / Japan
So good, it’s on both our lists. A romantic comedy premise: a businessman auditioning women in a ploy for love… which turns a little Fatal Attraction and then goes so far off the rails that the final 20 minutes will stay with you FOREVER.
Repulsion / 1965 / USA
Horror as loneliness is something that Polanski did so well… Rosemary’s Baby, Repulsion and The Tenant make up a loose trilogy about people going mad in a seemingly normal world. The beautiful Catherine Deneuve goes mad in London…
Hereditary / 2018 / USA
Good drama makes good horror. An always brilliant Toni Collete is the mother of a family dealing with a lot… A horrific family drama which, even in its silliest moments, has more dread than you can handle…
Them (aka “Ils”) / 2006 / France + Romania
People with masks creep around a big country house in the woods while the new owners sleep… Home invasion horror which nails it. Remade in the USA as The Strangers… This is remarkably creepy in its simplicity.
There your have it – 19 tales of terror delivered to you at 24 frames per second.
Happy Halloween from Neil, Andrés and everyone at Passport!
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