BitchWatch11 Scary (and Not-So Scary) Films to Watch This Halloween

Elisabeth Moss as Cecilia in The Invisible Man (Photo credit: Universal Pictures)

In a list of Halloween horror movies Dahlia Balcazar wrote in 2017, she explained, “Horror as a genre is ripe for feminist examination because gender, sexuality, and fears related to the human body are very often at the heart of horror.” Now, three years later, it’s worth evaluating how far horror movies may have come in the years since. We’re especially interested in the horror films that expand the genre, like revenge tales and romantic horrors and eerie comedies. Feminist horror is often overlooked, but we’re here to highlight some of our favorites, ranging from straight-up suspenseful to just a little scary that are all suitable for the Halloween season. Let this BitchWatch list serve as a guide to a starting point for this season.

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1. Get Out

Get Out Official Trailer 1 (2017) - Daniel Kaluuya Movie

{ Universal Pictures }
Release Date: February 24, 2017

More often than not, the monster in the house isn’t a slimy creature or a massive being but the sinister way that human beings use power to harm one another. In the now-classic Get Out, Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), a Black photographer, meets the family of his girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams), only to find himself surrounded by liberal white people who treat him strangely and Black people who treat him even more strangely, as if they’re from another time or they’re trapped. Racism, possession, and violence come to the forefront in this horror film that elevates everyday racism to a living nightmare.

2. The Babysitter

THE BABYSITTER Trailer (2017) Netflix

{ Netflix }
Release Date: October 13, 2017

A game of spin the bottle turns bloody when Bee (Samara Weaving) stabs a boy in the skull. To make matters messier, Cole (Judah Lewis), who Bee babysits, sees the entire act and rushes to call the cops. This teen comedy horror is a largely easy watch that flips the concept of the hot babysitter on its head—or, maybe, bleeds it dry. If you really enjoy it, you can watch the recently released sequel, The Babysitter: Killer Queen, also on Netflix, but be warned that it’s not nearly as good.

3. Us

Us - Official Trailer [HD]

{ Universal Pictures }
Release Date: June 21, 2020

Jordan Peele’s Us is a trippy and terrifying film about doppelgängers, power, and abandonment. Us follows Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o), an adult woman who can’t repress memories of seeing a version of herself in a boardwalk fun house as a child. She soon learns that she isn’t the only one who has this tether: her children and her husband also have shadow selves, and those shadows are done being silenced. They appear in the family’s driveway, and the family is forced to reckon with those beings that are so like them that they call into question who is who after all.

4. Ma

MA - Official Trailer

{ Universal Pictures }
Release Date: May 31, 2019

This revenge tale follows Octavia Spencer as Ma, a woman who befriends a group of high school students, buying them alcohol and letting them hang out at her house and throw parties in her basement. She’s the cool mom, the adult who lets her town’s teens have a good time without being uptight about it. But, of course, there’s a twist. Why does this adult want to hang out with these teens? And why is she becoming more and more controlling?

5. The Invisible Man

The Invisible Man - Official Trailer [HD]

{ Universal Pictures }
Release Date: February 28, 2020

Loosely based on the novel by H.G. Wells, The Invisible Man does for domestic violence what Get Out did for racism. Cecilia (Elisabeth Moss) is being abused by Adrian (Oliver Jackson-Cohen). Though she escapes his clutches and he’s subsequently declared dead, Cecilia has a feeling that Adrian’s still around. As her paranoia increases, she’s forced to ask herself: Is he actually gone? And if so, why does she still see and feel him everywhere? Not for the faint of heart, and admittedly pretty triggering, The Invisible Man is a film with high stakes that centers its female protagonist and eventually gives her the leeway to reclaim her power.

6. The Old Guard

The Old Guard | Official Trailer | Netflix

{ Netflix }
Release Date: July 10, 2020

If a heady superhero film is more your speed, join Andy (Charlize Theron), the leader of a supernatural team of people who are nearly impossible to kill. Nile (KiKi Layne) realizes she has a superpower when she’s killed during her tour abroad as a marine; despite dying, she comes back to life and is rescued by Andy, who invites her to join their group. The team is tricked into taking on a mission only to realize a bait and switch: There’s no mission at all. Instead, a team of researchers backed by gun-wielding security guards want to run tests on them and then ultimately get rid of them.

7. She Dies Tomorrow

She Dies Tomorrow Trailer #1 (2020) | Movieclips Trailers

{ Neon }
Release Date: July 31, 2020

Amy (Kate Lyn Sheil) is overcome with the knowledge that she’s going to die tomorrow. She tells her friend Jane (Jane Adams), who thinks she’s imagining it until she herself begins to feel like she, too, is doomed to die tomorrow. As more and more people hear about this nagging feeling, it infects each one of them with the sense that they’re going to die. Bloody and eerie, She Dies Tomorrow is a paranoid film about a rapidly spreading disease that feels all too relevant to our current times.

8. Project Power

Project Power starring Jamie Foxx | Official Trailer | Netflix

{ Netflix }
Release Date: August 14, 2020

In New Orleans, a pill is making the rounds: Power gives its users any number of superpowers, or in fact, does the opposite, with some dying after taking it. Teenaged Robin (Dominique Fishback) finds herself at the center of the fight for Power, with police officer Frank (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) on one end of the spectrum and Art (Jamie Foxx) on the other. What is, on the surface, a fast-paced film about life, death, and explosive violence is, on another level, a film about family and, of course, about power—especially the power of the wealthy to tap into poor neighborhoods in order to experiment on their inhabitants.

9. I’m Thinking of Ending Things

i'm thinking of ending things | a film by Charlie Kaufman | Official Trailer | Netflix

{ Netflix }
Release Date: September 4, 2020

Our protagonist, an unnamed young woman (Jessie Buckley), is thinking about ending things with her boyfriend, Jake (Jesse Plemons). But Jake is excited to take her to meet his parents, and so they hit the road and arrive at his family’s farmhouse. The film is eerie and pushes its viewers to trust in its mystery rather than ask questions. While the film may not end up as you expect (or hope), it’s an interesting exercise in the genre of films that seek just to confuse the hell out of you. Plus, it stars Toni Collette. We love Toni Collette.

10. Vampires vs. the Bronx

VAMPIRES VS THE BRONX | Official Trailer | Netflix

{ Netflix }
Release Date: October 2, 2020

As someone who likes her horror with a side of comedy, I adored Vampires vs. the Bronx. Three teenage boys—Miguel (Jaden Michael), Bobby (Gerald Jones III), and Luis (Gregory Diaz IV) who grew up together in the Bronx discover that a real estate group that’s rapidly gentrifying the area is also made up of vampires. As the teens fight to defend their home and its inhabitants, this funny comedy horror film will suck you in.

11. Bad Hair

Bad Hair - Trailer (Official) • A Hulu Original

{ Hulu }
Release Date: October 16, 2020

Compared to The Fly and Rosemary’s Baby by NPR’s Aisha Harris, Hulu’s Bad Hair is a satire from writer-director Justin Simien of 2014’s Dear White People. In a similar vein, Bad Hair isn’t going to land for everyone, and there have been valid critiques of the film. But it’s a unique and visually interesting film with a lofty goal—it’s up to you whether or not that goal is met. Anna (Elle Lorraine) has always fought with her natural hair, and, in adulthood, her hair has had a direct impact on her career and how she’s perceived professionally. To impress her boss Zora (Vanessa Williams), she goes to get her first weave. But it has a mind of its own. Enter: blood, body horror, and a number of cringe-inducing moments.

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Rachel Charlene Lewis, who has light brown skin and dark brown curly hair, wears a white button up and gold jewelry and gold glasses.
by Rachel Charlene Lewis
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Rachel Charlene Lewis has written about culture, identity, and the internet for publications including i-D, Teen Vogue, Refinery29, Greatist, Glamour, Autostraddle, Ravishly, SELF, StyleCaster, The Frisky (RIP), The Mary Sue, and elsewhere. Her literary work, reviews, and interviews have been published in Catapult, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Normal School, Publisher’s Weekly, The Offing, and in several other magazines. She is on Twitter and Instagram, always.