Fright Night

Halloween is right around the corner and it’s the perfect time to enjoy some frightening flicks. UNC Charlotte’s associate professor of communication studies, Jon Crane, serves up five horror films that are sure to take you to a scary place.

Horror films date to the very origins of cinema. Thomas Edison’s film studio shot its adaptation of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” in 1910. After more than a century of film production, the horror film remains a staple, with productions from around the world.

The genre’s long-term appeal depends on ambitious filmmakers who continually retool stories to reflect changing mores and social concerns.

A handful of relatively recent films illustrates our ability to be spooked, while recognizing that the scariest monsters are most always all too human.

Audition movie poster

Audition (1999)

In light of #metoo, “Audition” is mandatory viewing for wayward sugar daddies and well-heeled men of privilege. Be careful what you wish for. 

Rotten Tomatoes Review

The Babadook movie poster

The Babadook (2014)

Parenting can lead adults to behave monstrously, especially on those occasions when our children are surely spawned from demons. Horror starts at home. 

Rotten Tomatoes Review

 A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night  movie poster

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (2014)

A super-stylish vampire film shot by Iranian emigres in Bakersfield, California.  Who knew the fabled home of Merle Haggard and Buck Owens could do double-duty as a dark stage for reworking everything we thought we knew about the creatures of the night? 

Rotten Tomatoes Review

Let The Right One In movie poster

Let The Right One In (2008)

Although remade by an American studio, the original Swedish film is both a touching love story and an existential gore fest about young misfits who will do what it takes to preserve body and soul in an indifferent world. Love is a tumor, you’ve got to cut it out. 

Rotten Tomatoes Review

Get Out movie poster

Get Out (2016)

The best recent film about racial alienation comes in the form of a smart, horror reworking of “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.” Do you belong in this neighborhood? 

Rotten Tomatoes Review

A cautionary note: Horror films are by nature transgressive. Any genre predicated on making viewers uncomfortable is going to produce films that can be painful to watch. Yet, these films might be worth the risk as they punish smug complacency and the unwarranted acceptance that this is best of all possible worlds.

Jon Crane is an associate professor with the Department of Communication Studies, one of the largest majors in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at the UNC Charlotte. The Communication Studies discipline focuses on the theoretical, critical, and scientific study of how humans communicate with one another in all of its forms.