Moving Pictures: 10 must-see horror movies

movies index
Brent Gunn, left, and Mitchell Kukulka pose for a photo on Oct. 29 in Moore Hall.

Horror movies, good and bad, are an essential part of the Halloween experience. Knowing this, sophomore podcaster Brent Gunn and news editor Mitchell Kukulka, co-hosts of Central Michigan Life's movie podcast Moving Pictures, have put together their own lists of the must-see films of the Halloween season. 

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New episodes are released every Monday at 12:30 p.m.

Mitchell's List:

1.) "It Follows" (2015)

Director David Robert Mitchell's terrifying tale of adolescent sexuality gone wrong skillfully blends the retro aesthetic of classic 80s slasher flicks with some genuinely inspired modern independent filmmaking. Extra kudos for being one of the few recent movies filmed on location in the great cities of Detroit and Berkley, and flaunting that fact whenever it can.

2.) "Green Room" (2016)

While not a "horror" movie in the traditional sense, few recent films have been as horrific, or exhilarating, as this deceptively simple yarn of a band punk rockers fighting to survive in a concert hall run by Neo-Nazis. It also includes one of Patrick Stewart's best performances, and one of Anton Yelchin's last. 

3.) "Castlevania" (2017)

This one is kinda cheating – it's a four-part Netflix series rather than a "film" – but the perfect pacing, beautiful American-anime visuals, charming humor and gallons upon gallons of blood and gore make it 100 minutes well spent for any horror fan. The fact that it's by far the best film adaptation of a video game to date is definitely a plus. 

4.) "Lake Mungo" (2008)

Shot like a documentary, a simple murder mystery gradually becomes something much deeper, and darker. It's a slow burn, but Lake Mungo gets under your skin in a way no movie before or after has been able to match.

5.) "Creepshow" (1982)

Directed by the late, great King of Zombies George Romero and written by and starring horror auteur Stephen King, the fact more modern audiences don't cherish this classically creepy and shamelessly goofy horror anthology is a straight-up crime.

Brent's List:

1) "The Shining" (1980)

Kubrick's definitive fever dream continues to haunt and confuse audiences to this day, with its social context and symbolism feeling more relevant today than ever before. Classic career-defining performances, a hauntingly slow pace and a hypnotic synth-laden soundtrack make this not only a superb pick for Halloween, but a film that will continue to allure audiences with its twisted beauty for years to come.

2) "The Last House On The Left" (1972) 

Wes Craven's directorial debut "The Last House On The Left" is a shining pinnacle of exploitation cinema. Filmed in a guerrilla approach with a grisly lo-fi aesthetic, what Craven accomplishes with this film was unparalleled for its time period. Just as disturbingly brutal and raw as it was at the time of its debut the film will disturb you, showcasing Craven's darkest talents in filmmaking.

3) "American Psycho" (2000) 

Quotable to no end, hilarious and at times downright ugly and abruptly uncomfortable, Mary Harron's adaptation of the celebrated novel is a must-see for any horror fan. What sells it movie is Christian Bale's genius portrayal of the Wall Street serial killer Patrick Bateman. Bale is absorbed into the psychotic charisma of Bateman, and every moment he's on screen is hilariously perverse and pitch-black in delivery.

4) "The Blair Witch Project" (1999)

The film that put found-footage on the map, what "Blair Witch" did for independent cinema and horror cinema in general is constantly understated. Carrying the torch from the gritty mockumentary "Cannibal Holocaust," Blair Witch chose to move away from the gory and exploitative, to the subtly creepy and atmospherically minimal. For all intents and purposes, "Blair Witch" is probably the greatest found-footage horror film of all time, though whether that's really something to be proud of is another debate.

5) "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" (1974) 

The film that started the iconic horror series is still a soul-crushing, depressingly beautiful experience. The mood is hopeless, the tone is despondent, and the merciless cruelty of our masked killer and his deranged family are some of the darkest performances ever caught on film in horror. The film's brutal intensity has stood the test of time after four decades, and its pessimistic simplicity is an approach directors have been ripping off ever since.