Halloween is a lot of things, scary is only the tip of the iceberg. It’s very easy to scare a person nowadays: just walk up behind someone when they’re on their phone or listening to their iPod. It is kind of fun, terrifying for others, but personally I find it dull, and a total cop-out of Halloween’s potential to be mentally, and not just physically disturbing.
Words: Ali Mulaga, Subeditor: Jason John
So, in hopes of mentally scarring as many people as possible, here is a list of eerie, outlandish, creepy, and all-around bizarre film and television in honour of the true spirit of Halloween: get weird, fast.
Donnie Darko: Director’s Cut
I’ve seen this movie several times. There is a lot in this movie to go back to: Sparkle Motion, Donnie himself (Jake Gyllenhaal), the philosophy of time travel, the cinematography, the social commentary. The premise to the film is quite simple: a mentally troubled teen trapped in the suburbs is told by a six-foot bunny rabbit that the world is going to end in twenty-eight days.
If you are going to watch this film, definitely watch the Director’s Cut edition, especially if the original is already entirely quotable. Do not be annoyed if it is not entirely understandable. Even after so many times of seeing it, I am still trying to wrap my head around Donnie’s story. It provokes thought about questions probably no one will find the proper answer to, but that’s the point.
Halloween is freak season, and who’s the crème de la crème of freak? Serial Killers. Unlike monsters, it is harder to detach from psychopaths because other than the fact that they think about mutilation constantly and stab people for fun, they are exactly the same as all the other people that have been or will be a person.
It is one thing to see something like Naked Lunch, because all the scary things in it are nowhere near real. It is another thing to watch a movie about an uncaught serial killer who on top of gruesome murders, also found much pleasure at taunting the press, driving a man to madness, and being just that little bit smarter than everyone else. Keep your Jaws, keep your Babadook, keep your Swamp Thing, true terror comes from within, and courtesy of, someone just like you.
Honestly if you have any free time, watch as many episodes of this show as possible, as many times possible. For those who have been living under various different rocks, The Twilight Zone was a sci-fi show back in the 1950s, but still has a pretty huge cult following, and for good reason. The scariest part about this show isn’t the content necessarily, but more of how accurately critiqued his generation. Even worse is that it has been sixty years, and we are still just a second away from everything falling apart. The four episodes I listed are about a kid who gets to play God thanks to his magic powers, a man who thinks everyone evil will become six inches tall at four o’clock (and is excited), and a librarian sentenced to death for committing the crime of being ‘obsolete’. How’s that for horror?
Black Mirror- White Bear
All of the Black Mirror episodes make me endlessly uncomfortable, each in their own unique, depraved manner. The pilot episode, ‘The National Anthem’ probably takes the cake for most disturbing, not just for the show, but this entire list. That being said, for this special holiday occasion ‘White Bear’ is definitely the one to watch.
The main character, Victoria, reacts exactly as anyone would be expected to act in a time of crisis: pathetic and sobbing constantly. She is being chased by these people with masks and chainsaws, and anyone around her can seem to do is watch through the screen of their phone or camera as they tape the event. Nothing makes sense until the last ten minutes, but that almost makes things worse. This episode is a question of justice, a question of bystanding and watching evil, a question of remorse. None of which I can answer, and none of which Charlie Brooker can answer, because there is a large, uncomfortable space in morality called the ‘gray area’.
This is by far the weirdest film I’ve ever seen. If you have seen it, you will definitely remember and we are probably on the same page about the whole weird thing.
It is an adaption of William S Burroughs’ equally bizarre novel of the same name and essentially a bug killer and his wife get addicted to sniffing pest poison, but then he kills her accidentally and travels to a different city with his typewriter-turned-cockroach and continues to hallucinate extensively. Apparently, he even wrote a book he can’t remember writing. There isn’t much about this film that’s scary, per say, but try finishing it without it haunting you every once in a while.
Halloween is to me what Christmas is to most people. Like the way presents aren’t the true meaning of Christmas, horror is not the core of Halloween. That doesn’t mean it’s not nice, there’s just more to it. This year, watch Frankenstein, Halloweentown, Nightmare Before Christmas because it’s tradition, but sprinkle one or two of these non-horrors to your list.