Instructional Media Center

• Horror Movies •


With the approach of All Hallows' Eve, consider one of the many fine films in the horror genre to copilot your quasi-satanic celebration.  Remember "video" in the call# means VHS - those scary looking tapes that your parents used to watch.  Never fear - we have VHS players in the IMC.  And for your own horror-movie, haunted-house, film-fest, don't forget to reserve a projector and screen from the IMC.  Trigger warnings include gore, death, decapitation, dismemberment, disembowelment, defenestration, immolation, annihilation, skinning, scalping, sex and violence - and some bad acting.

Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horror - PN1995.9.H67 N684 2009 DVD   The original Dracula movie from famed silent film director F.W. Murnau, starring Max Schreck as Count Orlock, is considered the first critically acclaimed horror feature film.  Nosferatu premiered in 1922 with different names for the main characters, as the studio did not acquire copyright clearance of the screenplay from the Stoker estate.  The real horror came from the ensuing lawsuit for copyright infringement, which they won – with a court order to destroy all copies of the film.  Luckily, one copy survived and begat many copies which continue to play among the canon of great films.

PsychoPN1995.9.H6 P8935 2000 DVD   A man, a mother, a motel, and a maiden in distress, culminating in a most unfortunate shower scene.  Hitchcock at his best.

The Shining - PN1995.9.H6 S565 2007 DVD   Stanley Kubrick directs this Christmas classic with jolly old Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, and a supporting cast of fun-loving kids (the twins are adorable).  As caretakers for a lodge, the Torrance family gets snowed in, making the best of it with games of make-believe, indoor tricycling, and high-stakes hide and seek.  Scatman Crothers provides comic relief.  Red rum for all! 

Halloween – PN1995.9.H6 H3556 2003 DVD   The most common reported nightmare is being chased by the monster that can't be killed.  You can thank John Carpenter for that.  You can also thank him for reestablishing theme music as part of the horror film aesthetic.

Friday the 13thPN1995.9.H6 F76 2011 DVD  This quintessential summer-camp-blood-bath kicked off the 80s vintage of slasher films, which raised the stakes in terms of creative extermination and iconic supernatural serial killers.  It also gives viewers one important message – having sex at summer camp will probably result in your violent death.  The IMC has both versions.  Skip the reboot and get the original – and the three sequels.

Nightmare on Elm StreetPN1997.A1 N54 2010 DVD  The next series of iconic 80s slasher films was launched by Wes Craven in 1984, starring the gruesome Freddy Krueger, a burn victim with a penchant for haunting teenagers’ dreams with his razor sharp protrusions and wit.  The film blurs the line between dream and reality, viscerally escorting the audience into exhaustive contemplation over which realm they are experiencing, enhanced by a very 80s style soundtrack.  The sequels devolve into laughable caricatures of themselves, including a crossover with Friday the 13th – but the original film remains a pillar of the horror genre.  Playing at the Academy Theater, 10/26-11/1!

Rosemary’s BabyPS3523.E7993 R672 2000 DVD   Roman Polanski’s film about Mia Farrow’s demonic child.  This film gave birth to the demon-child genre as it was followed soon after by The Exorcist, The Other, and The Omen.

The Exorcist - PS3552.L392 E962 1998 DVD  The undisputed champion of demon-child films, The Exorcist raised the bar on shock horror.  When a young girl becomes possessed by the devil, a priest and his apprentice commence exorcising.  Death and gore ensue.  Nominated for 10 Academy Awards.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) - PS3556.I52 I58 1986 video   The middle version of three major film adaptations of Jack Finney’s classic science fiction novel.  Critics seem to prefer the original for it’s political connotations.  This version is scarier and the acting is better.

Jaws – PN1995.9.H67 J398 2005 DVD  Selachophobia: the fear of sharks.  If you don't have that phobia, you will. Surfing in the US was down 20% following the release of this movie.

PoltergeistPN1995.9.H6 P658 2007 DVD   Some of the visual effects haven’t held up over time but the plot and performance make this one of the scariest movies ever.  Haunted house – check. Desecrated Indian burial ground – check. Creepy kid that talks to spirits – that too.  All the clichés are in place and played out to perfection.  But the scariest thing about this movie… the tragic, real-life death of the young actors after the movie’s release.

AlienPN1997 .A456 2003 DVD   Conversely, Ridley Scott’s Alien, made in 1979, has held up quite well in terms of special effects - everything from the sets to the emergence of the little creature itself.  This movie launched modern horror sci-fi and several sequels of varying quality.

An American Werewolf in London - PN 1995.9.H6 A54 2009 DVD  Comedy writer/director John Landis (Animal House) wrote and directed this bizarre movie that is equal parts comedy and horror.  Two friends backpacking across London are attacked by a werewolf, resulting in one animated corpse and one werewolf.  Surprisingly good special effects - for 1981.

Eraserhead - PN1997 .E735 2005 DVD   David Lynch's first feature film was not all that well received.  From Variety - "Set, apparently, in some undefined apocalyptic future era, Eraserhead consists mostly of a man sitting in a room trying to figure out what to do with his horribly mutated child. Lynch keeps throwing in graphic close-ups of the piteous creature, and pulls out all gory stops in the unwatchable climax."  

The Blair Witch Project - PN1997 .B535 1999 DVD  True story about three film students who venture into the forests of Maryland in search of evidence of local folk legend "The Blair Witch" never to return.  A year later, their film footage was found and turned into a documentary.

Videodrome - PN1997 .V537 1998 DVD   Cable TV programmer Max Renn seeks out the ultimate in bizarre shows for his channel. He meets a mysterious supplier named Harlan who gives him access to an underground sex and violence network called "Videodrome."

Let the Right One in PN1997.2 .L48 2009 DVD   Swedish vampire movie, adapted from John Ajvide Lindqvist's Swedish bestseller, about a girl who has been 12 years-old for a long time. The best of the bunch in contemporary vampire film.

Hell HousePN1997 .H455 2003 DVD   The folks populating the fringes of Dallas, Texas have some serious biblical issues to tell you about.  To bring it down to a level we can all understand and fear, they host the annual “Hell House” on Halloween.  Inside, the actors (mostly high school kids) play out scenes of eternal damnation.  This can be viewed as either a comedy or as one of the scariest movies you've ever seen.

Cloverfield - PN1995.9.S26 C5684745453 2008 DVD   What starts out as an unexpected earthquake in NYC, soon turns into a modern day Godzilla.  A group of party goers document the ordeal on a handheld camcorder while attempting to save a friend.

Audition - PN1995.9.H6 O35 2009 DVD   One of the best in contemporary Japanese shock-horror... A widowed film producer seeks a new wife at the urging of his son. He holds an audition for an imaginary film, during which he is smitten by a beautiful actreess/former ballet dancer fallen on hard times.  In the end, it was the actress auditioning her next victim.  

It - PN1997.2.I8 2017 DVD  From Wikipedia "In October 1988, Bill Denbrough gives his seven-year-old brother, Georgie, a paper sailboat. Georgie sails the boat along the rainy streets of small town Derry, and is disappointed when it falls down a storm drain. As he attempts to retrieve it, Georgie sees a clown in the sewer, who introduces himself as Pennywise the Dancing Clown. The clown entices Georgie to come closer, then severs his arm and drags him into the sewer." Stephen King horror ensues.

It Follows - PN1995.9.H6 I82 2015 DVD  Having nothing to do with the above... After a sexual encounter, 19 year-old Jay is haunted by visions of inescapable horror.  As visions manifest into reality, her frinds desparately try to save her from the curse that follows. Debates about the movie's message range from AIDS allergory to the aftermath of sexual assault.

Get Out - PN1997.2 .G48 2017 DVD  "Now that Chris and his girlfriend, Rose, have reached the meet-the-parents milestone of dating, she invites him for a weekend getaway upstate with Missy and Dean. At first, Chris reads the family's overly accommodating behavior as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter's interracial relationship, but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he could have never imagined." (Rotton Tomatoes)

Don't BreathePN1997.2 .D66 2016 DVD "Hoping to walk away with a massive fortune, a trio of thieves break into the house of a blind man who isn't as helpless as he seems." (IMDB)

Hereditary - PN1997.2.H47 DVD  From the Reed catalog - "When the matriarch of the Graham family passes away, her daughter's family begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry."

A Quiet Place - PN1997.2.Q54 DVD  Alien monsters with supersonic auditory senses seek to annihilate the human race, forcing the few survivors into a life of silence.  Despite some obvious major plot holes in this premise, the tension and dynamic audio range capture something unique in contemporary horror.

Suspiria PN1995.9.I8 S872 2007 DVD   Here’s a clip from the IMDB plot synopsis. “While alone in the bathroom, she becomes transfixed by a pair of shining eyes outside the window, and a decidedly inhuman arm smashes through the glass, grabbing her. She is pulled out of the window onto the roof, stabbed numerous times, and then hanged by a cord when she falls through the skylight. The huge pieces of glass and metal that break out of the skylight fall on Pat's friend, killing her by impaling her body and her head in numerous places.”  Enough said.

Deep RedPN1995.9.I8 D446 2007 DVD   “A psychic who can read minds picks up the thoughts of a murderer in the audience and soon becomes a victim. An English pianist gets involved in solving the murders, but finds many of his avenues of inquiry cut off by new murders, and he begins to wonder how the murderer can track his movements so closely” (IMDB)

Zombie - PN1995.9.I8 Z6525 2004 DVD   "Girl seeking lost father turns up on Caribbean island aided by journalist and two locals, where they meet an English doctor, trying desperately to cure a plague which brings the dead back to life!" (IMDB)

Don’t Look NowPN1997 .D658 2002 DVD   from the Reed catalog – “Psychic terror in a Gothic setting provides the chilling backdrop in this tale of a couple's search for the ghost of their dead daughter.”

Les Yeux sans VisagePN1995.9.F67 Y94 2004 DVD   from the Reed catalog - “A plastic surgeon, holed up in a Paris mansion, is obsessively slicing off the faces of kidnapped women and grafting the flayed skin onto the rotting countenance of his beloved young daughter, disfigured in an automobile accident.”

The Blob - PN1995.9.S26 B5 2000 DVD  A small town is menaced by a mass of protoplasm from outer space, which turns blood-red and grows larger as it consumes residents. The film was Steve McQueen's debut leading role. See it for the creative silicone-laden special effects and for the hilarity of 30-year-olds playing bad teens.

The Nightmare Before Christmas - PN1995.9.C5113 T56 2008  Jack Skellington “The Pumpkin King” has grown tired of the same old Halloween.  Jealous of the attention that Christmas garners, Jack sets out to remake the holiday in his own likeness and in musical fashion. Tim Burton’s unique animation technique set the bar for modern day stop-motion animation, sparking a renaissance in the genre.

Thriller - youtube  If you're hosting a Halloween dance party, you gotta kick it off with Michael Jackson's classic zombie funkfest.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre - PN1995.9.H6 T49 2006 DVD
Multiple Regression Results for Predication of Overall Fright
Neuendorf, K. A., & Sparks, G. G. (1988). Predicting Emotional Responses to Horror Films from Cue-Specific Affect. Communication Quarterly, 36(1), 16-27.