Top Ten Sophisticated Movies to Watch on Halloween

Watching horror movies on Halloween is always a fun thing to do. Who doesn't like to get the chills?

But then, there are also some viewers that may want to be more than just entertained. They want to watch movies that are both frightening and unsettling, and artful in nature. Art movies and darkness have embraced each other since the early days of expressionism in silent films, and they still go very well together. Just note that some of these films aren't dark in a blissful way, but deeply bleak and very extreme.
The Top Ten
1 Nosferatu the Vampyre

Werner Herzog turns the "Dracula" story into a poetic, meditative piece about the pain of eternal life, spiritual bonds between lovers, and rationality against belief. Lines and dialogue have very symbolic meanings rather than fulfilling a straightforward purpose. The film has a slow, hypnotic pace, capturing several truly aesthetic and beautiful images.

2 Suspiria

Known mostly as a horror flick, "Suspiria" is one of the most acclaimed movies by serious European movie lovers. Dario Argento makes excessive use of dream imagery, creating rooms, situations, and even storytelling that feel unsettlingly out of time and place and very feverish and surreal.

What he creates is less a spooky whodunnit than a collage of Freudian elements.

3 Nosferatu (1922)

Simply put, this is the most German film ever created. While it takes the "Dracula" premise, it uses it to create a bleak and gothic necromantic story with expressionistic imagery. It dwells less on horror than on the idea of a being driven by animalistic instincts and the fascination of folk tales.

This is a typically German piece of art. Several much older classics are similarly dark.

4 Antichrist

Lars von Trier's most controversial movie is one of the most notorious and widely interpreted art movies of the last few years. It made von Trier as despised by mainstream tastes as he is celebrated in serious movie lover circles.

It's an allegory and more metaphoric than anything, mostly centering around the conflict of reason and emotion, embodied by "man" and "woman." The movie contains extremely graphic images that will shock mainstream audiences, but it's just one of the darkest European art movies.

5 Black Swan

"Black Swan" is one of the most widely known and acclaimed movies on this list. Many enjoyed it for its suspense and shock value, but it offers much more, exploring the idea of increasing pressure on a person, from their surroundings as well as their own desire to meet every expectation perfectly.

You can feel the uncomfortable feeling get stronger and stronger in Nina until she breaks down.

6 The Shining

Stanley Kubrick managed to achieve mainstream success no other art director ever had. While his films are highly intelligent and are still discussed in serious movie lover circles analyzing all their many aspects to find their essence, the large public knows them and loves them, probably more superficially.

Much like Argento's "Suspiria," "The Shining" uses very surreal imagery, often with unusual camera angles and lighting. He almost paints this movie, making almost every still shot highly iconic.

7 The Silence of the Lambs
8 Onibaba

"Onibaba" is a Japanese moral tale based on an old legend that will bewilder the taste of any mainstream audience with its very Eastern aesthetics, pace, and writing. However, it is one of the greatest films I have ever watched in my life.

It goes far beyond creating tension. What it does is compose a horrifyingly amoral world where people do terrible things out of sheer selfishness, with only a few characters and barely any setting other than meadows.

9 Funny Games (1997)

What sounds like a home invasion horror flick makes excessive use of tropes and successfully builds up tension to ultimately make you reflect on your role in the mass media and how you view violent movie material.

At a certain point, after perfectly building up suspense, "Funny Games" openly reveals itself to be a movie, talks to you as a viewer, and hates you for wanting to see more violence.

10 Martyrs

"Martyrs" has repeatedly been called one of the most graphic films ever made, but it has also been called philosophical, exploring man's obsessive wish to know what life after death looks like and if it even exists.

Its violence is never used voyeuristically. It shows how far we go to find an answer.

The Contenders
11 Inferno

The lesser but still fine sequel to "Suspiria," also by Dario Argento, is a narrative mess that depicts a mosaic of occult and nightmarishly surreal images. It probably captures a bad dream better than any other film.

Its complete lack of story and build-up actually makes it all the more impactful. Anything can happen anytime, and it is far from regular jump scares. It goes completely unusual ways of showing horrifying darkness.

12 Eraserhead
13 Doctor X
14 Lost Highway
15 Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom
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