As we creep closer to October, All Hallow’s Eve is looming, and while there’s a place for gore-filled slashers of the Freddy vs Jason variety on cold autumn nights, there are plenty of cult horror movies that hold their own sartorially. Dario Argento’s Suspiria has inspired everyone from Nicolas Ghesquière to the Rodarte sisters; Yves Saint Laurent designed Catherine Deneuve’s costumes for blood-soaked romance The Hunger; and Eiko Ishioka’s Japanese-influenced creations for Bram Stoker’s Dracula are just as striking now as in the ’90s. Below, Vogue rounds up 33 of the most terrifying horror films with true fashion credentials to stream this Halloween.
This gloriously campy horror directed by Gerard Johnstone and penned by Akela Cooper became an instant classic thanks to Amie Donald’s eerie embodiment of the titular robot doll hellbent on protecting her human owner (Violet McGraw) at all costs; a hair-raising dance scene that went viral on TikTok; and Allison Williams’s committed performance as the engineer who constructs her. The sequel can’t come soon enough.
Talk to Me (2022)
In the opening minutes of Danny and Michael Philippou’s intensely creepy supernatural chiller, we see one character search for another at a crowded house party, before the latter stabs the former and then promptly stabs himself in the face. It sets the tone for what follows: a horrifying ride that keeps you on the edge of your seat. At its heart is Sophie Wilde’s Mia, a troubled teen still mourning the death of her mother who encounters a severed, embalmed hand at a house party – one that is said to be cursed and, when you hold it, allows you to commune with the dead. What begins as a harmless bit of fun, a tool with which to create hilarious viral videos, quickly turns sinister, and Mia loses her grip on reality.
Mimi Cave’s stomach-turning thriller will make you seriously consider vegetarianism: the tale of Noa (Daisy Edgar-Jones), a disillusioned singleton who meets and falls for the charismatic Steve (Sebastian Stan). Soon, they’re off on a weekend break – except, Steve drugs and imprisons her, revealing that he is in fact a cannibal who also sells fresh human meat to wealthy clients on the side. As Noa befriends her fellow captives and plots her escape, Cave keeps you guessing with her penchant for jump scares and shocking twists.
The Craft (1996)
Andrew Fleming’s supernatural ’90s drama features a teenage coven, a memorable game of Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board, and some of the best school uniforms in Hollywood history.
Bodies Bodies Bodies (2022)
With its acerbic script, hallucinatory cinematography and a cast that includes Industry’s Myha’la Herrold, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm’s Maria Bakalova, Generation’s Chase Sui Wonders and Shiva Baby’s Rachel Sennott – not to mention Amandla Stenberg and Pete Davidson – Halina Reijn’s pitch-black comedy horror has all the ingredients of a future cult classic. Just remember to watch it with the lights on.
A supremely stylish slasher movie which upends our expectations of the genre, Ti West’s crowdpleaser is a love letter to the horror heyday of the ’70s. Taking centre stage is Mia Goth as an aspiring actor who is tormented on the set of her latest film, aided by Jenna Ortega, Brittany Snow and Kid Cudi, as well as a killer soundtrack.
The Nia DaCosta-directed, Jordan Peele-produced sequel to the ’90s chiller of the same name is a rip-roaring ride – the story of Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s Anthony McCoy, an artist who moves to the Chicago neighbourhood once haunted by the titular hook-wielding menace, and begins work on a new exhibit inspired by his crimes. Predictably, chaos ensues.
In Fabric (2018)
With shades of Dario Argento, Nicolas Roeg and David Lynch, Peter Strickland’s surreal satire follows a cursed, blood-red dress as it proceeds to destroy the lives of its various owners: a lonely divorcée (Marianne Jean-Baptiste), a washing machine repairman (Leo Bill) who is forced to wear it on his stag do, his impressionable fiancée (Hayley Squires). Watch it for the eye-popping interior design and Fatma Mohamed’s scene-stealing turn as an eerie – and persuasive – sales assistant.
The Witch (2015)
In 17th-century New England, a baby boy goes missing in the woods, causing a family of settlers to accuse their own daughter (a wide-eyed and utterly extraordinary Anya Taylor-Joy) of witchcraft in Robert Eggers’s ambitious feature debut. Packed with candlelit tableaux, deranged billy goats and supernatural twists, this is folk horror at its finest.
Don’t Look Now (1973)
After the accidental drowning of their young daughter, a grief-stricken couple – embodied by a raging Donald Sutherland and a fragile Julie Christie – travel to Venice in Nicolas Roeg’s gripping thriller about the crippling effects of loss. Cue psychic premonitions, ghostly apparitions, heartbreaking flashbacks and a truly shocking final act.
The Witches Of Eastwick (1987)
Read John Updike’s brilliant 1984 novel before watching George Miller’s adaptation – which stars Michelle Pfeiffer, Cher, and Susan Sarandon as the most beautiful coven imaginable, whose quaint New England lives are turned upside down by the arrival of warlock Daryl Van Horne (Jack Nicholson).
If you’re longing for a holiday, Ari Aster’s Midsommar might convince you that staying home is, in fact, preferable. Diehard Coachella fans, take note: you will never be able to look at a flower crown in quite the same way again.
Get Out (2017)
Jordan Peele’s Get Out is one of those films that lingers in the mind for months after you watch it. Avoid reading any spoilers whatsoever beforehand – its chilling, powerful storyline deserves to be experienced blind.
The Hunger (1983)
In this surreal ’80s classic, Catherine Deneuve and David Bowie play vampiric lovers who dispose of their victims in the basement of their Upper East Side townhouse, while Susan Sarandon appears as a gerontologist who gets caught up in their psychosexual games.
Sissy Spacek famously wore Carrie’s blood-splattered prom gown for three days straight while in character as the titular murderess. No matter how many times you watch the final scene, it remains horrifying.
The Neon Demon (2016)
Critics may have panned Nicolas Winding Refn’s bloody satire of the world of modelling, but Elle Fanning is typically compelling as a 16-year-old Georgia peach trying to make it as a model in LA. The costume design also more than makes up for the general insanity of the plot. Special mention to Fanning’s plunging sequined halter by Saint Laurent.
The Shining (1980)
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy…” If any movie highlights the dangers of prolonged isolation, it’s Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Stephen King’s thriller. Jack Nicholson’s performance is brilliant, as are the interiors at the Overlook Hotel.
Like Get Out, Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite is more of a dark satire than a traditional horror film, but the 2020 Best Picture Winner’s study of capitalist inequalities is more disconcerting than any slasher movie.
“What’s your damage, Heather?” Winona Ryder in her goth phase may have inspired a number of fashion collections – but the Beetlejuice star is at her most disturbing as the classically preppy Veronica Sawyer in Heathers, a tale of murder, young love, and giant shoulder pads.
I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
Forget the Amazon Prime-produced reimagining – it’s the original ’90s blockbuster that deserves your time, with its satisfying jump scares and sense of ever-increasing dread. Best of all, it’s also the project that first brought Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze Jr together.
Luca Guadagnino’s remake of Suspiria is good; Dario Argento’s original is truly great – following an American ballerina who transfers to a prestigious German academy that’s secretly a front for a coven. Somehow, the witches’ demure pastel frocks make their behaviour even more terrifying.
What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? (1962)
Watch Bette Davis and Joan Crawford face off on screen, then prepare to lose hours reading about the Hollywood legends’ hysterical diva-like behaviour and rivalry on set.
The Witches (1990)
Anne Hathaway’s turn as the Grand High Witch may have got a lot of attention, but nothing can compete with Anjelica Huston’s utterly terrifying and fabulously camp performance in the 1990 adaptation of Roald Dahl’s tale. Crazily, the application and removal of Huston’s facial prosthetics required her to stay in the make-up chair for no less than 12 hours every day of the shoot.
Blood And Black Lace (1964)
A masterpiece of the giallo genre, Blood and Black Lace centres on a serial killer who begins to pick off the models working with a certain fashion house in Rome, and has proved a major influence on everyone from Quentin Tarantino to David Lynch through the years.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
The inspiration for Rodarte’s autumn/winter 2020 collection, Francis Ford Coppola’s take on Bram Stoker’s gothic novel is still eerily brilliant – and also happens to be the movie that cemented Winona Ryder’s friendship with Keanu Reeves.
The Love Witch (2016)
Director Anna Biller shot her beautiful homage to ’60s horror movies on 35mm film, with Samantha Robinson starring as a modern-day witch who uses love potions to attract her victims.
Jennifer’s Body (2009)
Written by Diablo Cody, Jennifer’s Body is like a ’00s time capsule; there’s even a Dashboard Confessional hit on the soundtrack. The premise involves Megan Fox, the archetypal hot girl, morphing into a succubus, forcing her nerdy friend (Amanda Seyfried) to try and stop her from murdering every boy on campus.
The Innocents (1961)
None other than Truman Capote helped translate Henry James’s most famous ghost story, The Turn of the Screw, to the big screen, with Deborah Kerr starring as a potentially mad governess.
American Psycho (2000)
“I’m into, uh, well murders and executions, mostly,” says Christian Bale as hedonistic banker turned sociopath Patrick Bateman, who goes around committing homicide after homicide in impeccable ’80s suits. It’s worth watching for Chloë Sevigny’s schoolgirl fringe alone.
The Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1978)
One for those who prefer their horror with a sci-fi twist, The Invasion of the Body Snatchers has it all, including a standout performance from a young, mustachioed Donald Sutherland.
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Rosemary’s Baby is a cult film for myriad reasons, from Mia Farrow’s ridiculously covetable wardrobe to Ruth Gordon’s Oscar-winning turn as tannis root-obsessed neighbour Minnie Castevet.
The Birds (1963)
Alfred Hitchcock’s loose adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s 1952 story marks Tippi Hedren’s screen debut as heiress Melanie Daniels, whose visit to the beach in Sonoma County turns deadly when an “avian war” breaks out.
Silence Of The Lambs (1991)
Silence of the Lambs is one of the few horror films to ever sweep the Oscars, and remains influential more than 30 years after its release. (See the TV spin-off Clarice, which premiered in 2021, and sees Rebecca Breeds take on Jodie Foster’s role as FBI agent Clarice Starling a year after her last phone call with Hannibal Lecter.)
This article was originally published on British Vogue.
- American Psycho
- Barm Stoker’s Dracula
- Blood And Black Lace
- Bodies Bodies Bodies
- Cult Horror Movie Recommendations
- Don’t Look Now
- Get Out
- Halloween films
- I Know What You Did Last Summer
- In Fabric
- Jennifer’s Body
- Rosemary’s Baby
- Silence of The Lambs
- Talk To Me
- The Birds
- The Craft
- The Hunger
- The Innocents
- The Invasion Of The Body Snatchers
- The Love Witch
- The Neon Demon
- The Shining
- The Witch
- The Witches
- The Witches Of Eastwick
- What Ever Happened To Baby Jane