If you don't have Netflix, you might not know that in addition to really popular movies, the most common things on instant streaming are obscure low-budget, and/or foreign (all of which means it was cheaper for netflix to get the rights). As it turns out, obscure/low-budget/foreign are all of our favorite adjectives for horror movies. So many innovative movies! So many absurdly derivative ones! So many frightening ones! So many unintentionally laughable ones!
To really enjoy watching horror movies, you need two things: darkness and popcorn.
Making popcorn on the stove isn't hard, though it may seem intimidating at first. And if you ever mess it up and burn it, the clean-up after isn't much fun. So don't mess up! Follow these steps:
- Measure out your popcorn. A medium-large batch (like the one in the metal bowl below, which makes 2 gigantic servings or 3-4 normal ones) is about 1/3 cup. Pour into a large pan for which you have a lid.
- Add oil. Canola/olive/vegetable, whatever you've got. Coconut is good too, but you have to be ready for that distinct flavor. Depending on how much popcorn you use, you'll want around 1 tablespoon. You want enough that it coats the bottom of the pan, as well as the kernels when you swish them around.
- Swish around all the popcorn kernels until they're coated with oil.
- Cover the pan, then turn the burner on medium heat. Swish/swirl the pan around often, not moving it far from the burner. Resist the urge to peek; doing that releases heat and makes everything take longer. Keep swishing/swirling every minute or so until you start hearing popping. Get out a large bowl and have it ready near the stove.
- Once you start hearing popping, now swish/swirl the pan around constantly over the burner, giving it a good shake (holding down the lid!) when you can. Any popcorn that sits at the bottom/against the side of the pan too long risks burning, so you want all that popcorn to keep moving! And this way the unpopped kernels sink to the bottom, where they'll heat up.
- If it sounds like it's getting full (you can sort of hear the popcorn rubbing against the lid), quickly open the lid, pour half the popcorn into the bowl, then re-lid and return to the burner.
- The popcorn is done when the popping stops. Turn off heat, remove lid, pour popcorn into bowl, and top with whatever you want.
The whole process takes less than ten minutes, and at the end, you have popcorn! I love my homemade Cracker Jack-y popcorn, but the fiance doesn't like his popcorn sweet, so we usually go for some combination of salt, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, herbs, and/or the nori flakes I found at a Japanese grocery store. Stir well. If you used plenty of oil in step 2, the toppings should stay on pretty well, if not, a small drizzle of oil, soy sauce, or liquid aminos should help the toppings stick.
- The Eye--The original Chinese version, not the Jessica Alba version. So many creepy moments.
- Thirst--Korean vampires might just be the best vampires.
- Suspiria--This one is a little more "weird" than "scary," but it's also a fundemental 70s horror movie. And Udo Kier is in it, SO YOUNG AND DASHING.
- A Tale of Two Sisters--We like to try to figure out what's going to happen in movies. We thought we had this one all figured out, and then it went haywire.
- Pan's Labyrinth--The best horror movies, to me, have supernatural elements, but recognize that the real horror is in how people are capable of treating others. Guillermo del Toro gets it.
- The Devil's Backbone--Tragic and scary and everything I said above about Pan's Labyrinth.
- The Orphanage--Ditto Pans Labyrinth and The Devil's Backbone
- [Rec]--Another movie where we tried to figure out what was happening and DID NOT HAVE A CLUE.
- Phone--A Korean movie that sounds boring, gets interesting. Had a lot of turns we didn't expect.
- Pandorum--Space horror! Not usually my thing (but totally the fiance's; see above), but I liked this one.
- The Watcher in the Woods--I watched this often as a kid. It's still creepy today.
- House (Hausu)--It's so absurd that it isn't scary at all, but you can't miss this one. It is so absurd.
- Poltergeist--I know you've probably seen it, but I feel like this movie doesn't get the love it deserves. I love it so much I will even watch Poltergeist 2 and 3.
- The Ring/Ringu--I like both the American and Japanese versions. Most people have seen this, but if you haven't, do.
- Paranormal Activity--Again, you've probably seen this. But if not, do.
- Ernest Scared Stupid--Do you remember the Ernest movies?! This isn't actually scary, but come on. Jim Varney! Halloween!
Do you have any horror movie recommendations?