The pumpkins are poppin’ off the vines and the candy sales are skyrocketing. October is a time of change, both in weather and mood. Those who are so inclined begin to seek entertainment focused on a blend of spooky, scary, creepy, gory, gruesome, hair-raising, and supernatural.
The staff here at Mesa County Libraries who enjoy dabbling in the Horror genre have a multitude of fun, edge-of-your-seat recommendations for this festive and shuddersome time of year, all available through our catalog:
Sam recommends Memetic by James Tynion, Eryk Donovan, and Adam Guzowski
Memetic is a zombie apocalypse story in which people are zombified not through being bitten or raised from the dead but from looking at a meme. The meme itself is just a sloth in front of a mesmerizing spiral. When people look at it, they are overcome with euphoric pleasure and can’t help but gape at it and share it. It’s not clear how the meme is achieving this effect, but it is definitely related to sight: in fact, the main character, who is color blind, isn’t able to “see” the meme in the same way as everyone else and is unaffected by it.
Memetic is part of a trilogy of thematically connected apocalypse stories (the other two are Cognetic and Eugenic), each of which takes a simple idea, exploits the fears inherent to it, and steadily escalates it from a creepy curiosity to a world-ending cataclysm. Despite their ubiquity and cultural impact, this is one of the few works of horror that takes memes seriously and explores the seed of terror they contain. It also has a layered but powerful presentation of how lonely it can be to be queer – especially a queer adolescent – in a hetero-normative world, but it does this without being so heavy-handed as to eclipse the horror or feel moralizing.
Nate recommends IT Chapter 2
The movie IT Chapter 2 takes place 27 years after the events of the first movie. The Losers Club have all grown up and live different lives. They are then called back to the town of Derry to defeat an ancient evil that they assumed they had killed as kids. They first have to rediscover their childhoods and the friendships they have forgotten.
IT is one of my favorite novels by Stephen King, so seeing a fairly faithful movie adaptation is something that I really wanted. The casting is very well done including a great performance by Bill Scarsgard as Pennywise who takes the creep factor and turns it up to 11! While the movie does take some creative choices and makes changes from the books, I felt that they were still very true to the source material set in the book. If you are a fan of the book and can overlook some minor flaws in the movie I would recommend this movie for you. (This movie is on order and should be available to Mesa County Library patrons soon.)
Rachel recommends Us
The film Us follows the Wilsons, a family on vacation to visit their summer home. Their peaceful trip is interrupted during a violent home invasion, the intruders revealed to be malevolent doppelgangers of themselves. The situation soon dissolves into a frantic fight for survival, one that threatens to uncover long-buried secrets in the process.
Us is Jordan Peele’s sophomore shot at the horror genre, and there’s no sign of a slump here. A tense, tautly-paced thriller, it carries over the lurking atmospheric unease that made Get Out so memorable and improves upon it with even more brutal scares. Lupita Nyong’o gives an incredible dual performance, though the rest of the cast isn’t far behind in quality, particularly the rest of the Wilson family. (Winston Duke as Gabe Wilson is my all-time favorite horror movie dad, and probably one of my favorite fictional dads in general.) Its visuals are every bit as gorgeous as the story is suspenseful and terrifying, and the musical score by Michael Abels provides a perfect eerie finish. Watch Us. Just do it. You’ll never see Hands Across America the same way again.
Cheyanna recommends The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe
Tell-Tale Heart is short story about an unnamed individual who commits a brutal murder and is driven mad (or is already crazy – up to interpretation) all the while trying to convince you, the reader, of their sanity and justify the crime.
The narrator’s obsession with their victim is chilling and uncanny and the description of the poor man’s eye gives me goosebumps. How the events unfold is unexpected and by the end you really get a vivid imagining of this person, their actions, and their frame of mind. It’s amazing that a story written in 1843 can hold you in suspense and dread, waiting to know what will happen next.
Ruth recommends Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
Relic is a sci-fi horror mashup with great twists and turns, a fascinating glimpse into the scientific and supernatural, as well as a cast of compelling characters. It definitely has enough of the spooky to keep you up at night, and an air of mystery that will make you want to keep reading.
I enjoyed the creepy factor as well as an unraveling mystery that doesn’t quite end how you expect.
Crystal recommends Green Room
A touring punk band fills a cancellation with a gig at the wrong venue. When they arrive and notice the venue is part of a Neo-Nazi compound in the middle of Oregon, they’re uneasy but go ahead with the show to make money needed for the detour costs. Returning to the green room from their set, they come upon a murder scene and are held captive by the venue owners. Negotiations through the door turn sour and the band fortifies themselves in the green room while making a plan to get out. Freedom lies just beyond the venue doors or does it?
This film is a terrifying joy ride. It will catch you by surprise multiple times, leaving you asking “did that just happen?”. It is very well written, acted, and directed. It draws you in and doesn’t let go. I highly recommend watching with others so you can yell at the screen together with the character’s pain and triumph. The film is so enjoyable I try to watch it once a year. (This film is available in our catalog or on our new movie streaming database, Kanopy! Kanopy is also featuring a Horror and Thriller section this month to further appease your ghoulish whims.)