Movies that go bump in the night, selected by Oklahoma Contemporary staff
Some movies are so good it's scary. For past #FridayFilms installments, we've brought you streaming cinema about music, visual art, Indigenous voices and more — but today we're celebrating the Halloween season with our favorite frightening flicks. From classic slashers to contemporary arthouse creepers and points in between, we asked Oklahoma Contemporary staff to share the movies that keep them up at night.
The Cabin in the Woods (2012) | Horror, comedy; 1 hour 35 minutes
The best horror is laden with surprises. The Cabin in the Woods, written in one frantic weekend by Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly) and Drew Goddard (Cloverfield, Lost), turns your expectations upside down. Creative cliché bashing. Spot-on casting (including a shorn Chris Hemsworth, Fran Kranz’s picture-perfect stoner and others I’ll leave you to discover). As many laugh-out-loud moments as jump scares. The world’s coolest office betting pool. And a deconstructionist plot that’s literally to die for. A movie lover’s movie that’s accessible to anyone with a tolerance for gore – it’s an absolute joy to watch. Don’t miss it.
Available on: Hulu, Prime and Google Play
- Lori M. Brooks, director of communications
Scream (1996) | Horror, slasher; 1 hour 51 minutes
Groundbreaking horror director Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson bring a new twist on the genre as a masked, knife-wielding killer stalks high school students in the town of Woodsboro. The first movie in the Scream franchise, the 1996 film stars Neve Campbell, David Arquette and Courtney Cox. Witty dialogue, inventive plot twists and jump scares as well as making fun of the horror genre make this film my favorite scary movie. "What’s your favorite scary movie?"
Available on: Netflix, Amazon Prime
- Amanda Herl, Visitor Experience associate
Over the Garden Wall (2014 series) | Dark fantasy, adventure; various runtimes
Over the Garden Wall isn’t just a cartoon miniseries, it’s the perfect slice of Americana inspired by harvest tradition, literature, old songs and folklore. Two brothers, lost in the woods in a land adrift in time, struggle to find their way home. Characters ranging from wacky to creepy offer guidance during their journey, which culminates in an powerful examination of the brothers’ bond. The cast is full of recognizable voices, from Elijah Wood and Christopher Lloyd to Tim Curry and John Cleese, and the music is seriously catchy. I can’t more highly recommend this required autumn viewing, created by Katie Krentz and Patrick McHale.
Available on: Hulu, Amazon Prime
- Luke Atkinson, communications manager
Midsommar (2019) | Folk horror, mystery; 2 hours 18 minutes
Midsommar embodies a continuously unsettling, skillfully foreshadowed horror against the golden aura of a brightly lit, lushly green, midsummer folk celebration. Following a heart-rending tragedy, a young woman journeys to Sweden with her emotionally distant boyfriend and his cohorts to experience a festival that takes place only once every 90 years. With director Ari Aster’s bizarrely engrossing storytelling, the film unfolds with symbolism and sinister agenda as the group delves deeper into the commune, each in turn enveloped by the seemingly bucolic paradise turned unfathomable nightmare. Highly recommend watching, if only once. Definitely not right before bed …
Available on: Amazon Prime
- Vikki Penix, communications associate and board liaison
Us (2019) | Psychological horror, thriller; 2 hours 1 minute
Any fear of a sophomore slump after director Jordan Peele's masterful debut Get Out (2017) were put to rest with his dizzying 2019 follow-up, Us. Offering a dark funhouse reflection on American life, the film is an unforgettable slice of invasion horror from one of cinema's finest contemporary filmmakers. Anchored by a star-making performance from Lupita Nyong'o (Black Panther) as the matriarch of a family beset by creepy doppelgangers, this uncanny masterpiece is a modern day Invasion of the Body Snatchers with a biting social critique fit for our unsettling present.
Available on: Hulu, Amazon Prime
- Jezy J. Gray, content creator and editor
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