Halloween is just days away and we’re back with another five trippy horror films sure to make your halloween just a little more psychedelic.
1. From Beyond (1986)
Often overshadowed by Re-Animator, Stuart Gordon’s more popular film, From Beyond is super underrated. The film tells the story of Dr. Edward Pretorius’ “Resonator,” a machine which allows the human mind to access a world beyond our own—a concept that any seasoned psychonaut will be familiar with. However, unlike the worlds of healing and self-discovery we can access through psychedelics, the world revealed by the trippy pink light of the Resonator is… much less pleasant.
After Dr. Pretorius’ head is eaten by an interdimensional space snake (yes, you read that right) his assistant, Dr. Crawford Tillinghast, is accused of his murder and placed in a psychiatric ward. However, Dr. Katherine McMichaels believes Dr. Tillinghast is innocent, and convinces the police to release him into her care so she can investigate what he and Dr. Pretorius were working on. They rebuild the damaged Resonator and turn it on. Chaos ensues.
2. Donnie Darko (2001)
Donnie Darko’s themes of teenage malaise and social isolation are just as relevant today as they are when the film was released in 2001. Punchy dialogue and subtle details make the movie endlessly rewatchable, and the open-ended finale of the film demands that you open your mind and really consider what you’ve just witnessed.
3. Hellraiser (1987)
Best known from spawning one of the most iconic horror villains of all time, Hellraiser is a fantastic tale of realms beyond our own and the consequences seeking too much of a good thing. After purchasing a puzzle box said to unlock otherworldly pleasures from a Moroccan medina, Frank Cotton returns home and unlocks the box, releasing the Cenobites, a group of otherworldly monsters with the stated purpose of “exploring the further regions of experience.” This might sound somewhat benign, but for them it means violently torturing humans. Someone should let them know there’s less messy ways to experience things beyond oneself.
4. Mandy (2018)
Psychedelic visuals. A killer soundtrack. Nic Cage. What more do you want?
5. Possession (1981)
For a long time, the biggest challenge with Possession was finding somewhere to watch it. Fortunately, the Metrograph cinema in NYC recently released a beautiful 4k restoration of the film to their streaming service. It’s worth a subscription for this alone. Set in Cold War-era Berlin, Possession follows the story of a marriage in shambles, all with the Berlin Wall looming in the background. There’s a lot of symbolism to be unpacked here, and the film leaves it up to the viewer to determine what is real and what is metaphorical. Led by a captivating performance from lead actress Isabelle Adjani (who won the Cannes Film Festival Best Actress Award for the role), Possession is a harrowing and memorable experience.