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13 films to watch this Halloween, according to the Dazed team

If the terrors of everyday life aren’t enough


Tokyo Gore Police (2008) is Yoshihiro Nishimura’s splatterific directorial debut about a futuristic, samurai sword-wielding police officer whose mission is to hunt down “engineers” – freaky mutants whose bodies have morphed into lethal firearms. Featuring penis canons, vagina dentatas and acid-spewing breasts, it’s gooey, hilarious and delightfully gory. (GY)


The Fear Street Trilogy (2021) is THEE most iconic horror series on Netflix. It only came out in 2021 and did not get the love it deserved. The series has three films based in 1666, 1994 and 1978. Every few decades, Shadyside becomes a hotspot for mass murder, and the killer is always a stable resident who just seems to snap – but the trilogy has a major twist. The storytelling is so gripping, which makes it super bingeable. It’s also super gay and romantic, so there are moments of relief amidst all the blood, guts and horror. (HJ)

THE CELL (2000)

As most cult movies do, The Cell (2000) completely tanked when it was released at the turn of the millennium, but honestly, you need to give this one a chance. The film tells the story of gifted detective Catherine Deane (J.Lo), who signs herself up to enter the mind of a serial killer using some mad new tech in a bid to save his latest victim from a deeply grisly fate. Drawing inspo from artists Damien Hirst and horror legend HR Giger, as well as music videos by the likes of Nine Inch Nails and Madonna(!), this terrifying trip into the darkest recesses of the human mind is a visual feast from start to finish – bolstered further for fashion fiends by Eiko Ishioka’s insanely brilliant costumes. (ED)

Vince Vaughan is also really hot in this film. (DS)


Don’t Look Now (1973) is Nicolas Roeg’s nightmarish study of grief set against the grandeur of Venice. Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland star as a bereaved couple haunted by fleeting apparitions of their drowned daughter. As the film creeps toward its diabolical climax, they increasingly catch sight of their lost child in her distinctive red hooded coat as she continually eludes them in the labyrinthine city. With its occult themes, stylish cinematography and uncanny sense of escalating terror, Don’t Look Now is among the most influential works of classic British horror cinema. (Emily D)


It’s an on-the-nose choice but for me, there is no question: Halloween (1978), John Carpenter’s masterpiece about an escaped serial killer who returns to his hometown. There are so many things I love about it: its score remains the creepiest piece of music ever written (I challenge you to whack it on Spotify on an evening stroll and not feel as though you’re being stalked by some malevolent entity). The film is extremely taut, well-paced and suspenseful, and Jamie Lee Curtis is impossibly endearing as the protagonist. And while Halloween has been interpreted as an oblique satire of the alienation of American suburbia, I find its sun-drenched, autumnal aesthetic strangely idyllic. If ‘Halloweeniness’ exists as an emotion, no film evokes it for me more. (JG)


Due to marketing and misogyny, Jennifer’s Body did not get the respect and acclaim that it deserved when it first came out in 2009. Thankfully, since then, it has undergone a critical reevaluation and become a beloved feminist and queer horror classic. Many people have written very intellectual and nuanced think pieces about it, including Carmen Maria Machado, in the anthology It Came from the Closet: Queer Reflections on Horror, which I urge you to read here

Many more people (413 million at the last count) have also watched this specific scene, which inspired countless women to realise they were very gay. (AP)


I’m profoundly afraid all the time, so I don’t really understand the appeal of watching dread-inducing horror. Isn’t that what Twitter is for? Give me romance! Give me the animated green hills of Japan! For this reason, I’m just going to go with The Love Witch, because it does the opposite of every other horror I’ve seen: it makes me relax. The visuals are so hazy, dreamlike and slow; the women so magnetic; the characters so familiar in all their shameless narcissism. I, too, would like to concoct intoxicating potions and swan around the LA hills in soft chiffon. Desperate for a little enchantment in this life. (DS)

HOUSE (1977)

Actually, you know what? I take it back. I do love horror films. Particularly this 1977 classic, which was allegedly written by a 10-year-old child. House – or “HAUUUUUUUUUSSSUSSUUUUUU!” – works better when you go in completely blind, so I won’t say much more. Just turn on, tune in and have a panic attack. (DS)


Psychological thriller Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009) made me who I am today. It’s a nightmarish skewering of consumerism; a carnivalesque sendup of the fashion industry and how it demands us to part with our morals to acquire the next big thing. The costumes are also deliberately over the top and garish, which makes it feel like a real assault on the senses. Quite bonkers, really. Love Isla Fisher though – what a performance! Bravo. (DR)

TWILIGHT (2008 - 2012)

Wow. What a journey. (TS)


I’m very bad with proper horror – gore, jumpscares, etc etc – so I’ve gone for a more psychologically disturbing pick: A Clockwork Orange (1971). It’s always difficult to adapt a book to the screen – let alone a book that was banned multiple times – but I don’t think anyone could have done a better job with Anthony Burgess’ novel than Stanley Kubrick. If you haven’t watched or read it: it’s set in the near future and follows the protagonist, Alex, who is probably one of the most evil, depraved characters to come out of the 20th century. Come for the dark humour and Malcolm McDowell’s stellar acting, stay for the big questions the story asks about rehabilitation, morality, justice and freedom. (SS)


The Shining (1980) depicts the mental deterioration of Jack Torrence, played by Jack Nicholson, at the behest of some supernatural forces at the Overlook Hotel. Shelley Duvall offers an all-time great performance, although it is said this was caused by Kubrick’s brutal directional practices, making it hard to tell acting from genuine fear. Although it‘s already ingrained deep into pop culture folklore, it’s still a genuinely terrifying film – one that embeds itself deep under your skin from the off, remaining there for the whole two and a half hours. It’s also a deeply layered and complex work that, past the initial fear of the first watch, requires a few viewings to fully unpack. (LM)