We Like Our Halloween Horror Movies Seriously Creepy
Ah, October. It’s that distinct time of year where your days are filled with long strolls, leaf peeping, and the inescapably ubiquitous PSL. And your nights are filled with squash dishes, spiked cider, and horror movies. By now you’ve probably had a horror marathon or two, or five (if so, we like your style). But if you’re getting desensitized to the jump-scares and all that gore is starting to feel more like “what a bore,” then come over and see how Topic does Halloween. We love our cult classics, but we prefer our horror movies on the seriously creepy side—the kind of story that slowly builds to reveal unfathomably sinister twists, that digs under your skin and refuses to leave. From gruesome ritual killings to apocalyptic pandemics, to experimentations with the dark arts, our collection explores the vast, dark landscape that is horror. If you’re morbidly curious like us, then creep on over to Topic and add these 13 titles to your Halloween marathons this month.
Voodoo, Witchcraft, the Dark Arts
This is not the New Orleans you know. From visionary director duo Coodie & Chike, “Soul City” is a horror anthology that explores the sinister side of the Big Easy, where a child’s imagination has shocking powers, some nightmares you don’t wake up from, and the jazz abruptly stops.
Evil totems, drug zombies, a mysterious curse. As if these weren’t enough, the biggest obstacle Commander Sakho and Lieutenant Mangane have to contend with is each other. Set in the Senegalese capital of Dakar, the crime series follows the two radically different partners solving mind-blowingly bizarre supernatural crimes. If you’re nervous about the spine-chilling premise, there’s plenty of buddy-cop comic relief to balance out the scares.
Deadly Viruses, Apocalypse Now
One common enemy, a million ways to respond. Director Joe Penna’s apocalyptic series follows a group of interconnected strangers who each have their own way of surviving a deadly and mysterious pandemic. Some resort to ruthless self-preservation, some exhibit selfless acts of kindness, while others decide it’s time to take care of unfinished business. The virus might prey on humans, but can humanity survive?
Another apocalyptic pandemic story from Penna, “Turning Point” zeroes in on one woman, who must survive the night after being exposed to a deadly contagion. As evidenced by “Release,” Penna proves that he’s a master of using minimalist elements to create an atmosphere of all-consuming dread that builds into visceral tension.
Blending the familiar elements of a cop procedural with the dystopian creepiness of a viral outbreak, “Arctic Circle” is like a real-world horror (shudder). Bonus: it’s set in the breathtaking frozen landscape of Finnish Lapland and there are multiple snowmobile chases. Follow officer Nina Kautsalo and virologist Thomas Lorenz on their race against time to track a serial killer while preventing a full-blown pandemic.
If you liked “Midsommar,” then this gothic fairytale will satisfy your dark and twisted soul. When three Catholic nuns living in a convent that time forgot are suddenly intruded upon by an unwanted visitor, they’ll do whatever it takes to protect their eccentric way of life. The series’ gradual and eerie build-up will enrapture you like a spell you won’t be able to shake off.
When a gruesomely staged body is discovered along the German-Austrian border, two detectives, one from each side, are sent to investigate. As more ritual-like killings occur and every turn leads to a dead end, they’ll have to inch deeper into the world and mind of a sinister killer in the depths of the Alpine wilderness.
Replacing dialogue with mysterious percussion sounds and insect trilling, and filmed in one continuous shot to create a sense of uneasy anticipation, this short film captures what looks like an ordinary formal at an ordinary high school, but with one disturbing difference. And you thought your high school was hell…
How Well Do You Know Your Children?
What if your own child was evil personified? In this chilling thriller, Tilda Swinton plays a mom struggling to connect with her son, who undermines her love at a young age and becomes increasingly sociopathic as he grows into a teen. One day, her world is gutted by an unthinkable event. You will rethink everything you know about a mother’s love for her children.
Adolescence can already be a strange phenomenon, but for 11-year-old tomboy Toni, it’s a living nightmare. When she sees a dance team practicing at her gym, she’s instantly transfixed and decides to join. But when her teammates start to experience sudden and mysterious fainting spells, fitting in becomes nearly impossible.
Without a doubt, the most terrifying killers are the real ones. You may think you know the story of Aileen Wuornos, but what this documentary captures is not just her life story but how a life of trauma, killing, and incarceration have taken their toll on an already troubled individual. Filmed while awaiting her death sentence, this is a brutally candid look at the killer’s descent into mental instability in her final chapter.
A Bloody Good Time
When gore is done right, it can be an art form. This is, well, not that. But it is bloody good fun. In this comedy-horror short, two wannabe robbers are planning a home invasion and focusing more on which mask to wear than the actual execution, so, naturally, things don’t go according to plan. The end result? A big mess.
If gore is an art, then Greg Nicotero is its Michelangelo. The special effects expert and executive producer of “The Walking Dead” tells us about growing up with a fascination for the macabre, his very spooky haunted house experience, and what his biggest fear is (yes, horror masters get scared, too).