In 2022’s Scream — the fifth installment of the meta slasher franchise — the new killer, like all the predecessors, likes to play with his food before eating it. As a throwback to 1996's Scream, he primes his target victim by asking her about her favorite horror movies.

For any horror fan, it’s a bit of a dream. Sure, I’ll talk to anyone who will listen about Halloween or Friday the 13th for hours, but the lead actress isn’t the biggest fan of the horror classics that dominated the conversations in earlier films.

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Trueself

Pagans, Slashers, and Wall Street Psychos: The True Story of Friday the 13th

Is it bad luck... or just the Christian church's fear of pagans?

Friday the 13th: the very phrase can send a chill (of gleeful excitement or dread, depending on who you are) down the spine. Few days of the year are so notoriously unnerving and so profoundly associated with bad luck. But where did our fear of this date come from, and why does it persist?

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Film Features

This Haunts Me: "Friday the 13th" but in Space?

Remember when Jason Vorhees was a cyborg? I can't scrub it from my mind.

New Line Cinema

It's Friday the 13th, which seems like a particularly good time to ask the burning question that's been on my mind for quite a while now: Remember that time they made Friday the 13th, but in space?

There are a lot of really bad horror movie sequels that seem to totally miss every possible aspect of whatever it was that made the original great, like Jaws II, which features an inane premise about a different shark seeking revenge over the death of the first shark from Jaws.

There are also some surprisingly great horror sequels, like Wes Craven's New Nightmare, which sees a "real" Freddy Kreuger terrorizing the actors from the original Nightmare on Elm Street in what ultimately functions as a meta-commentary on the genre.

But then there's Jason X, and I honestly have no idea what to make of it.

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FILM

7 Underrated Disturbing Halloween Movies

Aside from the living terror of every live-action Dr. Seuss book ever.

Halloween is the time to refamiliarize ourselves with all our cultural signifiers of extreme horror: aging and decay, malicious supernatural entities, clowns, celebrity cultural appropriation, "Sexy minion" costumes.

But while it's the season to stream perfect, campy horror or high-concept psychological terror, too many films go overlooked. As Rachel Handler recently opined for Vulture, "the scariest horror movie of all time is Revolutionary Road." She praises any movie that is "so perfectly terrifying that it low-key destroys my life and completely ravages my worldview." For some, that film was The Strangers or The Hills Have Eyes. For me, it was 2005's new The Descent. For my co-worker, it was Planet of the Apes (1968) when she was eight.

These films may be best known in niche circles, but they all tap into a visceral sense of disgust and repulsion that seriously make us question whether or not we were better off not watching them at all. So in true Halloween tradition, make some questionably bad choices and fill your mind with more nightmares and regrets. Enjoy!

Terrifier

"A maniacal clown terrorises three young women and anyone else in his way on Halloween night."

MUSIC

Season of the Witch: 9 New Albums to Ring In Fall

It's witching season, and the wave of releases from the week of Friday the 13th did not disappoint.

It's September, which means that fall is almost here.

That means that it's technically Halloween, and thankfully, artists have given us all the music we need to soundtrack the Northern Hemisphere's brief descent into the cold (and our planet's eventual descent into a heat death because of climate change, but that's another story).

Here are some of the best new albums released within the past few days (as well as suggestions about what autumnal activity they'd best accompany).

1. For getting a pumpkin spice latte on your way to the last party of the summer: Charli XCX, Charli

Charli XCX throws it back to her early days on her latest release, which is sweet, synthetic pop colored with overtones of millennial anxiety. The music is all crisp snaps, tightly wound arpeggiation, and glittery peals of guitar; at its best, it manages to sound as sincere as the average Carly Rae Jepsen track. While songs like "White Mercedes" can feel a bit artificial and saccharine, Charli hits her stride on slower songs like "Official," with its twinkling bell motif, heartfelt lyrics, and delicate build combining to form a charming pop ballad. This album may not convert too many new fans, but Charli's legions of dedicated followers are sure to find a lot of bittersweet euphoria in their queen's newest release. At the end of the day, it's the perfect album to spin while watching the sun set on another summer.

Charli XCX - Official [Official Audio] www.youtube.com


2. For running away to live in the woods and/or sprinting through a field of wheat carrying a sparkler: Angel Olsen, All Mirrors

Angel Olsen's 7-inch features two songs—"The Lark" and "All Mirrors" and both of them are wild, cathartic, and spellbinding. Over the past few years, Olsen has transitioned from sad-folk songstress to pop wannabe to a powerful, fully actualized combination of both, and you can hear that newfound confidence in the expanded vision of both these songs. In particular, "The Lark" soars to new heights, guiding the listener into and out of a dream state with its carnivalesque string section and heartbeat-like rhythms. It's the perfect song for getting lost in the woods and watching the sunset from besides a secluded lake that you'll never be able to find again, no matter how many times you go looking for it in the future. It's also perfect if you want to feel like you're starring in your own angst-ridden autumnal music video. In truth, these songs can feel excessively theatrical at times, enchanted by their own imaginations, but that's part of their charm.

Angel Olsen - Lark www.youtube.com

3. For when you're suddenly paralyzed by climate change panic at the county fair: Jeremy Ivey, The Dream And The Dreamer

This quiet album takes a macroscopic look at time and history, exploring the lostness that has always defined the human condition. Ivey's music evokes the faded California vibes of icons like the Mamas and the Papas and the Blue Jean Committee but veers towards country and the folk-pop gloom of early Bright Eyes or Iron & Wine. Ivey is a detached and impartial narrator, viewing the world through a thick fog and speaking more in metaphor than in specific and tangible observations. Through this lens, his carefully spaced-out observations about impending doom will feel familiar to anyone conscious of the state of the world but still going about their everyday lives. In spite of this, the album maintains a dogged optimism, buoyed by its resolute tempo and slightly weather-worn awareness of just how much humanity has already survived.

Jeremy Ivey - "The Dream And The Dreamer" (Full Album Stream) www.youtube.com

4. For getting stoned before watching a horror movie in your friend's basement: Djo, Twenty Twenty

Part 70s trip-rock, part hyper-modern synth music, Djo's newest release is the perfect way to impress your friends with your hipster music taste, or to follow your bliss while wearing a skeleton costume and feeling your poison of choice set in. "Tentpole Shangrila" is a highlight, blending Tame Impala's dreaminess with Flying Lotus's experimental textures, Radical Face's folky warmth, and guitar lines evocative of George Harrison's later work. Spacey, ethereal, yet deeply human and always expressive, this album has the makings of a modern classic.

Tentpole Shangrila www.youtube.com

5. For going searching for the Blair Witch and/or possessing your neighbors: Jenny Hval, The Practice of Love

This is electronica with teeth. Hval's music is high-anxiety, spiteful, and ritualistic, and it feels like an incantation from start to finish. Hval and her counterparts shriek, sigh, and whisper their ways through these maze-like songs, which sometimes feel more like collages than cohesive musical entities. Laden with dozens of instruments, from reverb-drenched horns to trap beats, The Practice of Love is classic Jenny Hval, who's basically Stevie Nicks with a MIDI synthesizer and a little less cocaine, or Cascada with a book of words like rabbit hole and church bells. Sometimes it's not clear what scenario this music is intended for, as it often feels too cluttered and abrasive to be chill but too eerie and disjointed to work as a club soundtrack—but then again, maybe that's the point.

Jenny Hval - Ashes to Ashes (Official Audio) www.youtube.com

6. For late-night drives and road trips: Sampa the Great, The Return

Sampa the Great pulls from [?] a number of impressive features to create her intricate and expansive debut album, but the rapper always takes center stage. Kendrick Lamar is a clear influence here in terms of the album's sonic makeup, lyrical complexity, and Sampa's subdued yet declarative flow. It's the kind of music that sounds effortless, though in truth it's anything but. Melding hip hop with jazz with African rhythms and Motown influences, The Return is a modern symphony that marks the entrance of a powerful and mature voice in rap. This is Sampa the Great's debut LP, but it's definitely far from the last.

The Return


7. For when you're decorating for Halloween: Devendra Banhart, Ma

This album sounds like what would happen if a Woodstock-inspired hippie took guitar lessons from a traditional Venetian balladeer. Here, acid-fueled, Jefferson Airplane-type basslines meet breathy Lou Reed vocals, but the arrangements veer away from traditional rock band stylings and become elegant, abstract, and warped at times. Hints of Spanish guitar run up against nostalgic elements of woodsy folk, and together they meander quietly, occasionally giving up the restraint and surging up into walls of electronic sound. The album is whimsical and light as cream, a fusion of genres tied together with gossamer strings. It's the perfect album to play while filling your entire house with pumpkins.

Devendra Banhart - Taking a Page (Official Video) www.youtube.com

8. For summoning demons and/or watching the news: Chelsea Wolfe, Birth of Violence

Chelsea Wolfe became well-known for her unique brew of harsh noise and folk as well as her Marilyn Manson-meets-Lana Del Rey aesthetic. On Birth of Violence, she leans towards her psychedelic-folk side but doesn't relinquish any of her prophetic mysticism or propensity for dark themes. Thematically, the album is a look into the corruption at the heart of America, a glimpse into some of the wounds that plague the nation and that have gotten us where we are today. In that, it's some of the most eloquent and subdued protest music of the era, ideal for languishing in a haze of doom-and-gloom or for summoning a few demons of your own.

Chelsea Wolfe - American Darkness (Official Video) www.youtube.com

9. For letting loose at the Halloween party and/or getting lost in the local haunted mansion down the street: JPEGMAFIA, All My Heroes Are Cornballs

This is blissful, gorgeous R&B at its most succinct and effortless. JPEGMAFIA blurs Frank Ocean's experimental dreaminess with grit and nuanced bursts of rage. This is the perfect soundtrack for a Halloween party; it sounds like losing your mind, but in the best possible way. Blurring industrial noise with abstract samples and bars that will leave you with your jaw on the floor, All My Heroes Are Cornballs is dark acid rap for the schizophrenic Twitter era. Listening to it can feel like being lost in an abandoned mansion that's much bigger on the inside than it seems from the outside, but once you surrender to the labyrinthine hallways and strange noises, it can feel like a macabre kind of freedom.

JPEGMAFIA - Grimy Waifu www.youtube.com

Honorable Mentions:

The Lumineers, III

(Sandy) Alex G, House of Sugar

Alex Cameron, Miami Memory

Long Beard, Means to Me

TV

"American Horror Story's" 1984 Trailer Looks Like a "Stranger Things" Ripoff

AHS 9 seems to be taking a summery, nostalgic, cliché-filled turn.

AHS's 9th season will be called 1984—the year that's also the title of George Orwell's very famous and disturbingly prescient dystopian novel—and it'll take place at a lakeside oasis called Camp Redwood.

It seems that Ryan Murphy's going for a slightly sunnier depiction of the 1980s than Orwell's surveillance-heavy, totalitarian dystopia, though certainly there will be plenty of blood and gore to sate viewers' hunger for the uncanny in the new AHS season.

Image via AltPress

Some fans already have mixed feelings about this season, as it won't feature many of American Horror Story's most beloved cast members. Sarah Paulson will "not have a significant role," according to Variety, though she may have a cameo or two. Evan Peters and Billy Eichner also won't return. However, the Emma Roberts will be back, almost certainly playing a stuck-up character as always, along with Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy. (Perhaps it's for the best that Peters and Roberts won't have to be on set together, because after a seven-year relationship, the two broke up in March 2019). The show will also feature Billie Lourd, Cody Fern, John Carroll Lynch, Leslie Grossman, and Matthew Morrison (of Glee notoriety), as well as a bunch of overzealous teenagers who are impossible to tell apart, at least judging by the trailer's first few frames.

Considering all this, it looks like AHS is either getting desperate or going fully meta. With 1984, they're capitalizing on some of the oldest horror tropes in the book—ripping off Anna Wintour, Friday the 13th, and Orwell's titlebut the trailer doesn't suggest a resurgence of any of the elegance or intelligence that made the show's first few seasons so bone-chillingly good. While Murder House, Asylum, and Coven were incredibly timely, due to the way they deftly threaded topics like school shooters, mental illness, queerness, and feminism into hackneyed horror tropes, it's hard to see how 1984 will replicate the raw ambition and timely acuity of those seasons.

Instead, the show seems to be going for a, well, campy approach, one that makes fun of poorly made '80s B-movies and their perpetually masked, knife-wielding killers. Knowing AHS, there will be some hyper-serious, dramatic undercurrent woven throughout the whole thing; it'll either all be a movie set a la Roanoke or a hyper-realistic hallucination, or perhaps another commentary on the state of American politics or the gleeful clichés of '80s horror; but it's hard to imagine that the entire season could be a parody. Still, in this day and age, sometimes parody feels like one of the most intelligent and realistic forms of media, for at least it's self-aware of its own bullshit. If it is all a parody, then 1984 could be a complete disaster or (by some miracle) AHS's best work in years.

AHS goes 80sImage via Screen Rant

One other thing we know about 1984 is that it won't be American Horror Story's last season. Maybe it should be; since Coven, none of the seasons have lived up to the expectations set by the first three. While many of the concepts have been creative and impressive, the show has favored excessive gore and absurd, unrealistic, and hollow characters, foregoing the nuanced, flawed complexity of characters like Murder House's Tate Langdon and Asylum's Sister Jude. With Peters and Lange not returning, hopefully some of the new cast members will be able to carry the show as these actors did, but that seems unlikely given the fact that the writers seem to be creating simpler (and more annoying) characters each season.

As far as 1984 goes, it seems that we'll be taking a deep dive down the nostalgic path paved by Stranger Things, with a bit of the sunny hysteria of Midsommar to boot, though with fewer neon lights and flowers and lots more blood. Most likely, there will be murders in cabins and by campfires, murders on a lake, and murderers on the loose in the pines. It's hard to know if AHS will be able to exchange some of its reliance on shock value and for its initially spellbinding, supernatural magic, but time will tell.

American Horror Story Season 9 "Camp" Teaser Promo (HD) AHS 1984 www.youtube.com