Discover the horrors of new worlds with these spooky movies

Celebrate Halloween with an exploration into the seedy underbelly of real and imagined worlds

By: Pamela Subía, SFU Student

Horror movies are largely known for their gore, suspense, supernatural occurrences, and societal commentary — but they also have the ability to submerge you in alternative worlds. As Halloween approaches, and we begin to plan our spooky movie nights with friends or family, The Peak has come up with a diverse horror movie list with films ranging from 80s classics to independent stop-motion productions.These films will all take you head first into various worlds, from that of the modelling industry to the afterlife.

Beetlejuice (1988)

Courtesy of Warner Bros Pictures

This is an amazing 80s classic directed by Tim Burton, and is also a great childhood flashback to many of us. Often considered an eccentric fantasy film, Beetlejuice humorously explores the world of the afterlife and cleverly hypothesizes its potential similarity with mortal reality. The film tells the story of a deceased married couple trapped in their old house as ghosts. (Mis)guided by the instructions of a poltergeist called Beetlejuice, they discover the afterlife, though not without first attempting to get rid of a family who has purchased their home. Their adventures bring along an infinity of obstacles but also a long lasting friendship.

Coraline (2009)

Courtesy of Focus Features

One of my personal favorite stop-motion movies of all time for its dark mood and creepy-looking animations, Coraline explores the unexpected imperfections of an idealized alternative reality. The film depicts the story of a teenager (Coraline) who is dissatisfied with her family and friendships. An encounter with her new neighbours and her curiosity lead her to discovering a portal to an alternative reality with button-eyed versions of her family and acquaintances, which seem ideal — until a series of events show her the dark side of this seemingly perfect world.

Suspiria (2018)

Courtesy of Amazon Studios

Whether or not you’re already a fan of the classic Suspiria, this Halloween would be a great time to give Luca Guadagnino’s 2018 remake a chance. Starring Dakota Johnson, Suspiria tells the story of Susie, a young dancer who is admitted to her dream academy, where she attracts the attention of her superiors with her singular talent. However, a series of mysterious events show Susie the dark secret held by the higher members of the dance academy. She is soon introduced to a dangerous world of witchcraft which she will need to find her way out of.

Tesis (1996)

Courtesy of Las Producciones del Escorpión, S.L.

The earliest full-length film of Alejandro Amenábar, this movie is a frightening and incomparable experience that explores the unknown world of the deep web. With engaging dialogues that intensify the suspense of the film, Tesis tells the story of a student who is working on her final thesis under the topic of audiovisual violence. Her research leads her into the discovery of snuff films, not knowing she will later need to pay a tough price for her discovery. 

The Neon Demon (2016)

Courtesy of Amazon Studios

If you’re already familiar with Nicolas Winding Refn’s crime and drama masterpieces like Drive, The Neon Demon is an experience you cannot miss. This film starts nothing like a horror film and soon becomes truly nerve-wracking without ever losing its impeccable cinematography and engaging plot. The mixture of captivating scene compositions with thought-provoking character choices will keep you asking what happens next. This is the story of a young girl who discovers the world of modelling in LA. Her obsession with perfection and approval will soon involve her in a toxic competition, revealing the true colors of the fashion industry.

La Casa Lobo (2018)

Courtesy of Upstream Gallery, Amsterdam

This is a hypnotizing and frightening independent film from Chilean stop motion artists Cristóbal León and Joaquín Cociña. La Casa Lobo tells the story of Maria, a girl who lives in a tightly-controlled and conservative German colony in Chile. Her naivety and curiosity for the outside world lead her to run away, but she soon encounters the dangers outside of her colony. On her way, she discovers that she is being stalked by a greater force that will not let her go too far from home.