Films

Just Netflix for thrills this weekend

Written by Omair Alavi

Instep|Omair Alavi|November 01, 2020

You don’t have to step out to enjoy Halloween this weekend as Netflix has a party of chills and thrills to keep you spooked!

There is no better time than Halloween to revisit cult Hollywood horrors and Netflix understands that better than anyone else. That’s precisely why there’s a focus on a ‘House of Horrors’ on the streaming channel, which will help you tap into time-tested thrillers. We’ve made things extra easy for you by short listing a couple of titles that any spook-fest would be incomplete without.

So, lock all doors and draw the curtains, dim the lights and when lighting a candle, don’t forget to cover all the mirrors in the house.

Psycho (1960)

Cast: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, and Vera Miles

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

It wouldn’t be incorrect to say that it all began with Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho! The film was not just way ahead of its time, it literally kick-started the slasher genre sixty years back. Based on a Robert Bloch novel published a year earlier, Psycho revolves around a secluded motel and its harmless-looking and shy proprietor Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), who loves his mother more than anyone else, even if she doesn’t love him back. Featuring Janet Leigh as an embezzler on the run, Vera Miles as her sister, and a shower scene that has its own cult following, Psycho remains master of suspense Hitchcock’s finest work. Not only was it nominated for as many as four Academy Awards, it finds a place in every ‘greatest of all time’ list compiled, anywhere in the world.

Jaws (1975)

Cast: Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

What Psycho was to slasher films, Jaws was to horror flicks! Steven Spielberg’s first blockbuster was based on Peter Benchley’s novel that came out in 1974; both the novel and the film feature a great white shark that goes on a killing spree at a summer resort town, making life difficult for police chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider). He manages to convince a marine biologist (Richard Dreyfuss) and a professional shark hunter (Robert Shaw) to hunt for the predator, but after their first encounter, deduce that they are ‘gonna need a bigger boat’. At the time of its production, Jaws was considered a troubled venture for various reasons. Not only did it go over-budget and past its schedule, the mechanical sharks that were supposed to scare the audience also malfunctioned. But Steven Spielberg was no ordinary director even at the start of his career; he combined an innovative camera technique with John Williams’ haunting theme and the result was so terrifying that even after 45 years, most of the audience think twice before venturing out at sea. Jaws went on to become the highest-grossing film of all time and won as many as three Academy Awards, including one for the Best Original Dramatic Score (but of course!).

The Shining (1980)

Cast: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, and Danny Lloyd

Directed by: Stanley Kubrick

Although writer Stephen King wasn’t quite impressed with this screen adaptation of his novel, the Stanley Kubrick version gave chills to the audience, that saw it with fear and anxiety. The Shining revolves around the strange happenings at an isolated hotel where an aspiring writer Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) accepts the position of an off-season caretaker. Since he is a recovering alcoholic, Jack succumbs to the supernatural forces at work and all hell breaks loose. Not only does he place his wife (Shelley Duvall) and son (Danny Lloyd) in danger, he also delivers the ‘Here’s Johnny’ quote that is considered among the best in Hollywood history. After four decades, and a sequel Doctor Sheep last year, The Shining remains popular to this day because of Jack’s iconic performance as a man possessed and the way Stanley Kubrick executed it to fulfill his vision.

Beetlejuice (1988)

Cast: Michael Keaton, Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Jeffrey Jones, Catherine O’Hara and Winona Ryder,

Directed by: Tim Burton

Before they teamed up for two Batman flicks, director Tim Burton and Michael Keaton came together for Beetlejuice. The fantasy comedy revolved around a recently deceased couple (played by Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) who want the current inhabitants (Catherine O’Hara, Jeffrey Jones and Winona Ryder) of their former home to leave the place, and seek help from a devious poltergeist ‘Beetlejuice’ (Michael Keaton) who has many agendas of his own. The film was a huge success and is still loved by the audience, even after 32 years of its release. It even helped Michael Keaton’s career, as he managed to cement his place as a leading man, although his screen time in the movie was less than others. Don’t forget to note the young Winona Ryder who went onto become a major player in Hollywood.

Seven (1995)

Cast: Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kevin Spacey

Directed by: David Fincher

Seven revolves around a serial killer named John Doe (Kevin Spacey) who uses the seven deadly sins as a motif in his murders. Despite being dark and brutal, with a shocking finale that still haunts the audience after 25 years, the film was nothing like the Hollywood flicks produced in the 90s. Performances from all, including Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kevin Spacey were spot-on, and helped Seven become a cult-classic. Watch it to know why David Fincher is such a great director and you will do yourself a huge favour this Halloween!

About the author

Omair Alavi