It’s officially October: the month we get to celebrate the beautiful changing leaves, Fall sports, great weather, pumpkin-flavored everything, and candy apples! But above all, we at Pop Culture Reviews are excited about Halloween! It’s the perfect time to celebrate by watching classic movies like Hocus Pocus (1993) or Halloweentown (1998). But for our first Halloween, we’re celebrating the Horror Genre, where we’ll count down the weeks and days leading up to Oct. 31st by sharing some of our favorite horror films. In these coming weeks, we’ll provide you with 31 must-see horror films to celebrate this epic time of year.
And this week, it’s Monster Movie Week. That’s right! We’re talking about those disaster films that contain the bone-chilling thrills, the gut-wrenching fears and the sheer panic that we experience when these creatures are shown. PCR has put together some of our favorites (old and new) to celebrate the monster horror genre this Halloween. So without further ado, here are the monster movies that we can’t help but love to be afraid of when they’re on screen:
1 – Alien (1979, Ridley Scott)
“It’s a robot!… Ash is a goddamn robot”
A masterpiece of horror as much as it is of the science fiction genre, Ridley Scott’s visually stunning and suspenseful ALIEN is one of PCR’s favorites. There’s something completely terrifying about being isolated in a massive merchant vessel, shooting across the far reaches of space as a Xenomorph slowly takes out the crew members one-by-one. And if that isn’t enough to get you scared, just imagine a human birthing an alien in the most terrifying and unnatural way possible.
2 – Before I Wake (2016, Mike Flanagan)
“No one ever really goes away, not completely; because they live in our minds and in our hearts”
Mike Flanagan’s BEFORE I WAKE has a raw emotional core to it that we at PCR find to be very effective for the horror genre. It begins as a standard horror film, but as it progresses, there are layers of intensity added with specific plot details revealing the supernatural in a whole new light! And with an excellent lead performance from Jacob Tremblay, the film balances its heartfelt moments with those of sheer terror, marking it as a worthy entry in our Halloween countdown watchlist.
3 – JAWS (1975, Steven Spielberg)
“Boys, oh boys… I think he’s come back for his noon feeding”
Based on the novel by Peter Benchley, Steven Spielberg’s classic blockbuster, JAWS, not only set the standard for shark films but the monster movie genre as well. With the perfect combination of unsuspecting scary moments, flawless editing and build-up, this edge-of-your-seat shark movie is the quintessential example of monster movie done right. It is quite possibly the best example of “fear of the unknown and/or unseen,” and we at Pop Culture Reviews love nothing more than the thrill of a shark kill.
4 – IT (2017, Andrés Muschietti)
“When you’re a kid, you think that you’ll always be protected and cared for. Then, one day, you realize that’s not true… ‘Cause when you’re alone as a kid, the monsters see you as weaker”
During Halloween, there’s nothing like a clown to get your heart racing, your eyes squinting and your mind wondering about the psychological horrors that clowns have over us. In Muschietti’s 2017 remake of IT, Pennywise does just that. The film features plenty of well-crafted scares and an extremely talented young cast that brilliantly portrays the true terror of the town. And with coulrophobia being so prevalent in our society, this monster movie is sure to amplify the fear tenfold.
5 – The Thing (1982, John Carpenter)
“I don’t know what the hell’s in there, but it’s weird and pissed off, whatever it is”
Equally horrifying, violent and gory, John Carpenter’s THE THING is simply one of the greatest horror and Sci-Fi movies of all time. There are impeccable monster effects that come after the perfect build-up of paranoia and suspense. And with the beautiful imagery, the cast’s on-screen presence, and their corresponding perfectly-executed reactions to the frightening terror that is “The Thing,” this film has solidified not only its spot on our list but in Popular Culture as well.
6 – A Quiet Place (2018, John Krasinski)
“Who are we if we can’t protect them? We have to protect them”
Among 2018’s scariest surprises, John Krasinski’s A QUIET PLACE is one of PCR’s favorite and best theatre-going experiences of the year. With the ruthless creatures preying on sound, silence is survival; and that only elevates the film’s intensity, horror and suspense for the audience. With great performances all around, hauntingly pure sound editing, and an atmosphere that begs of silence from its audience, the film is sure to give you anxiety through its nail-biting scenes and horrific experiences from the family’s perspective. Simply put, it’s a must-watch!
7 – The Birds (1963, Alfred Hitchcock)
“I hardly think a few birds are going to bring about the end of the world”
A remarkable achievement of technical filmmaking and sequencing, Alfred Hitchcock’s THE BIRDS is a masterpiece. Here, Hitchcock shows that even the most normal of creatures can be eerie and sinister, making the film one of his greatest accomplishments as far as nightmare/disaster films are concerned. Perhaps the greatest beauty of the film is how the calamity parallels so perfectly with its characters’ emotional and psychological chaos, which greatly showcases the unpredictable horror within the film. In short, PCR highly recommends this one!
We hope you enjoy Monster Movie Week! Tweet us @PopCultureRevs using the hashtag #PCRsHalloweenCountdown to share which monster movies you’ll be watching this week. And stay tuned to find out which sub-genre of Horror we’ll be celebrating next! 🙂