This article is part of ComicsVerse’s October Holy Ghost-amole!! series! Check the rest of the articles out here!

Happy Halloween! In honor of the Best Holiday of the Year, now is the perfect time to binge-watch some of your favorite horror films. If you’re a newcomer to the genre, have no fear! To help guide you on this ghastly adventure, we’ve compiled a list of 5 older or lesser known flicks to watch based on a few of our favorite modern horror classics. If you’ve seen some of these movies, and now are wondering what to do next, we’ve got you covered.

1) If You Liked: IT FOLLOWS

One word: STG, sexually transmitted ghost. If this sounds like an absurd premise, it’s not. This indie horror flick from director David Robert Mitchell was the breakout star of 2014, tapping into some of Puritan U.S.A.’s deepest and darkest fears. Telling the story of a teenager who is followed by a mysterious, possibly malevolent force after a one-night stand, both critics and audiences loved the surreal, suspenseful atmosphere and the intriguing, unique plot. There weren’t any jump scares in this one, just dread and a creepiness that builds until the climax. The movie also gets major props for a foreboding, brilliant soundtrack and artistic cinematography.

You might like: THEY LOOK LIKE PEOPLE

Also an indie horror flick, THEY LOOK LIKE PEOPLE has the same sense of paranoia about the supernatural as IT FOLLOWS. In this movie, a man, Wyatt, thinks everyone around him is secretly a demon and that the apocalypse is near. Like many horror movies from the 21st century, this film explores the line between an actual paranormal disturbance and a possible mental illness.

What the two movies share is mystery. Like IT FOLLOWS, the movie doesn’t do a lot of explaining and instead asks the audience to make their own conclusions about what’s happening to Wyatt (up until a final scene where we know for sure). What the movie relies on instead is believable acting, a subtle, stripped-down approach to filming, and a score that allows the story to take precedent. Like IT FOLLOWS, there are some brief yet terrifying visuals, but the movie isn’t scary to be scary. There is a genuine story here, and the horror builds instead of coming for you all at once.

2) If You Liked: THE BABADOOK

Another psychological horror gem from 2014, everyone loved THE BABADOOK for its creepy character design, spine-chilling atmosphere, eerie cinematography, and unique plot centered on grief. Director Jennifer Kent’s debut movie, THE BABADOOK, tells the story of a widowed mother who is having difficulties raising her young son without his father. The woman and her son are then plagued by the terrifying Babadook, a seemingly fictitious storybook character come to life. More than a scary movie, the film is well-acted and serves its metaphors about death and immeasurable loss in a brilliantly executed manner.

You Might Like: THE OTHERS

If you enjoyed THE BABADOOK for its creepy, jump-scare-free atmosphere and its strong female lead, you might also enjoy Alejandro Amenábar’s THE OTHERS, which stars Nicole Kidman also as a widow living in an English mansion with her two young children. The movie is loosely based on Henry James’ 1898 ghost story The Turning of the Screw.

Like THE BABADOOK, THE OTHERS also focuses on its characters and atmosphere to build a truly suspenseful Gothic horror free from all the usual gimmicks of the genre. While THE BABADOOK is more of a slow-burning film, THE OTHERS is full of memorable plot turns, leading up to the one of the best horror movie plot twists in recent memory.

I chose this movie because it might be more readily accessible for most, but if you want to watch a lesser known movie similar to THE OTHERS, you might want to check out Jack Clayton’s THE INNOCENTS from 1961, a more faithful Gothic horror film also based on the story by Henry James.

3) If You Liked: YOU’RE NEXT

Without giving too much away, Adam Wingard’s YOU’RE NEXT takes the tried-and-true home invasion premise of classic slasher films and turns it completely on its head. The film follows the Davidsons as they are brutally slaughtered in their Missouri vacation home by would-be invaders. Let’s just say, their plans get interrupted in a fatal way. Seriously, I can’t say much else about the film without spoiling it completely.

You Might Like: THE FINAL GIRLS

For another slasher film with a unique twist, try Todd Strauss-Schulson’s THE FINAL GIRLS, where Malin Akerman and AMERICAN HORROR STORY’S Taissa Farmiga play a mother-daughter duo literally trapped in a 1980s teen-camp-slasher film. Akerman’s character, Amanda, was a scream queen before her young death. Her movie, “Camp Bloodbath” became a cult classic, much to the initial chagrin of her now teenage daughter, Farmiga’s Max. Max and her friends somehow find their way into the movie, and realize that none of the characters know they’re in it, Max’ mom included. Problem is, the film’s masked teenager-killer is actually taking people out. Our Real Life Protagonists then have to scheme their way to the end of the movie.

Much more comedic than YOU’RE NEXT, the movie is an irreverent meta-commentary on slasher films and the gendered concept of the “final girl.” Max is smart and courageous, and develops a strong bond with her mother, who she never knew growing up. Max thinks that if she sticks with her mom through the movie, they can both be the final girls, emphasis on the plural, and maybe make it out alive. Max and Amanda’s supportive and strong female bond is unique to a genre while also serving as poignant metaphor for dealing with loss.

As a sidenote, if you loved THE CABIN IN THE WOODS, you might like this meta take on the genre too.

4) If You Liked: THE CONJURING/INSIDIOUS

James Wan is the king of the modern horror movie right now. Everyone and their mother has seen THE CONJURING and INSIDIOUS, so I’ll skip the synopsis and instead focus on what makes a James Wan film so unique. There is a distinct way each film depicts atmosphere, whether it be with James Wan’s signature cool color palette of blues and grays, which often help to make his ghosts and villains stand out even more, or the design of his protagonists and antagonists.

You might Like: THE CHANGELING

While the genre has certainly evolved since it’s hay day in the 70s and 80s, many of those classic horror flicks remain just as scary now as they were then. One of those films that has withstood the test of time is Peter Madak’s 1980 film THE CHANGELING. The premise is one we’ve all heard before: a man struggling with tragedy moves into an old Victorian mansion, only to find himself haunted by more than his inner demons (forgive the pun).

Like THE CONJURING and INSIDIOUS, the film follows a mystery, but unlike many of James Wan’s films, the ghost itself is hardly seen in the film. The stroke-inducing tension, however, is still palpable, and the movie spearheads some techniques we see frequently in supernatural horror. One example is when a ball rolls down a set of stairs but surprise! there’s no one there who could have thrown that ball! Horror tropes aside, and much like THE CONJURING’s Ed and Lorraine Warren, the movie is loosely based off the experiences of writer Russell Hunter’s time in his supposedly haunted Denver home.

5) If You Liked: CRIMSON PEAK

Guillermo Del Toro’s film-making prowess, especially in the supernatural horror genre, is unmatched in its originality and beauty. All of his films are true Director Films, true to his vision and just bleeding with a signature style. Crimson Peak is Guillermo Del Toro’s entry into Victorian Gothic horror and the classic “old, mostly empty house that may or may not be haunted” trope. In the film, Tom Hiddleston’s Thomas Sharpe marries Mia Wasikowska’s Edith, and the couple move into Thomas’ large mansion with his sister Lucille, played by Jessica Chastain. The mansion is just as much a focal character in the story as Edith, Thomas, and Lucille, and lives, breathes, and bleeds the morose tragedy of the Sharpe family.

You might like: SPRING

For something completely different, SPRING is an indie horror movie that delivers beautiful, scary, and surreal visuals, something Guillermo Del Toro has been known to produce as well. Part psychological thriller part body horror part romance, SPRING has been called the “Lovecraftian BEFORE SUNRISE.” The movie follows Evan, an American who travels to Italy and falls in love with a woman, Louise, with a “medical condition” that isn’t particularly pleasant.

What this movie shares with CRIMSON PEAK is a dedication to beautiful cinematography and visuals. The movie is set in Italy, which makes the juxtaposition between the landscape, which itself plays an important part of the movie, and Louise’s real form, all the more poignant. SPRING uses the city as its own character, much like the mansion in CRIMSON PEAK.

And like CRIMSON PEAK, we also have memorable characters who are at once fascinating and deeply flawed, and who have literally found love in a hopeless place. Thomas and Edith’s tortured romance can sit side-by-side with Evan and Louise’s, though the latter couple has a bit more of a happy ending.

And if you’re looking for even more reason to check out this film, Guillermo himself has gone on Twitter to call it “one of the best horror films of the decade.”

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