Halloween won’t be the same in the times of COVID, but that doesn’t mean you can’t dress like a murder clown, eat candy and scare yourself half to death….at home.
Here’s our selection of alternative, lesser-known but equally terrifying thrillers to help you stay horrified during the witching season.
Based on the novel by Charles Dickens, this is a classic, short gothic thriller, with attention to storytelling that the source material demands. Best viewed next to a crackling fire as the wind howls outside.
Whistle and I’ll come to you 1978
There is little dialogue in this creeping, slow-paced thriller. No blood, no jump scares, simply a logical man, known only as ‘The professor’ who is confronted with something that cannot be explained by his scientific mind.
A real atmospheric, builder of a film, with glorious camera work and acting, at only 41 minutes it is worth indulging your senses just to arrive at the reveal-ending, where reality and the unknown collide.
A modern movie that gets to the heart of 2020. A group of friends attempt a séance over Zoom and the consequences are terrifying. Great cast, excellent use of tension and scares and a genuinely unique platform for a thriller. It has been touted as the Best horror film of 2020 and received a 100% critic review and 75% audience review on Rotten tomatoes. Check out the trailer, the full film which runs at 57minutes (the time of a full zoom call) unfortunately is not available on youtube at time of writing, but can be viewed at Shudder
The Woman in Black
One of the most chilling TV melodramas in televisual history. The 1989 BBC production was based on the 1983 gothic novel by Susan Hill. A city lawyer arrives in a small rural town to clean up the affairs of the recently deceased owner of a large manor house, located in a foggy marsh. The original production creates an eery atmosphere that makes the jump scares even more intense, a subtlety that was lost in the 2012 remake starring Daniel Radcliffe. The only version on YouTube has hardcoded Spanish subtitles and the image is a little low in quality, but this somehow adds to the eeriness.
Can you be scared in under 3 minutes? This award-winning short film plays with our most basic fear, the fear of darkness. You will hear every single noise of the night after watching this masterpiece of horror.
The Other Side of The Box
Another award-winning short film, at only 16 minutes, but again, it delivers. A simple premise ‘don’t look away’.
Invasion of the Bodysnatchers
In the times of COVID this 1978 classic feels somehow more relevant as it plays with the fear of other people. An alien species has invaded and taken over the bodies of various members of the public. The survivors the film follows must do everything in their power to remain undetected and not expose themselves, lest they become one of ‘them’ and be appropriately disposed of. Pure paranoia plays on creeping suspicion. Although it is unavailable on youtube, here is an excellent review by the Critical Drinker.
Like Invasion of the bodysnatchers, the 1982 classic (not the 2011 remake) plays on the suspicion of others. A small group of scientists is trapped at a research lab in the frozen wastelands of Antarctica. It contains some of the greatest animatronic special effects ever projected. Again, the review by Critical Drinker is worth a belly laughing view, you may be able to find the film for download somewhere a bit ‘Jack Sparrow’.
The descent is a claustrophobic, survival thriller that follows a group of women as they explore an underground cavern. What they find there is absolutely terrifying. Playing with the darkness and enclosed space of tunnels and caverns, plus the sounds of impending doom in the pitch blackness, this overlooked horror classic is nothing short of terrifying.