The Magnus Archives (2016 – present)
The Magnus Archives is a horror podcast in which there is a place called The Magnus Institute — an archive dedicated to recording firsthand accounts of the paranormal. The show focuses on the new head archivist, Jonathan Sims, who is replacing the former archivist after her mysterious death. However, as he sorts through the archives, the records (called ‘statements’) begin to show connections. The horror anthology format of the show transitions into a grand overarching narrative, and it appears that there is a lot more in this world than mournful ghosts and monsters under the bed. The podcast blends psychological horror and body horror — it’s bookish, suspenseful and thrilling, featuring a slow-burn romance and a full cast of complicated, tragic, loveable characters. It is 200-episodes long, but if you have time to spare in between classes, it is perfect for getting into the spooky mood.
— Remy Leigh, Arts and Life Editor
Singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers’ sophomore studio album quietly thrums with haunted imagery. From the ghostly, guitar-pluck filled opener “DVD Menu” to the proverbial skeletons of a toxic relationship made literal on “Savior Complex,” Bridgers isn’t afraid to delve into the spooky — in fact, she embraces it.
Whether embarking on a lonely trip to Memphis on “Graceland Too,” or stepping foot into random drug stores on the Eastside of LA on title track “Punisher,” Bridgers embodies a series of isolated images that once spliced together, crescendo into an emotional outpouring of sound, mood and noise. This trend is most apparent on the album’s sprawling finale, “I Know the End,” in which Bridgers’ hometown of LA gradually succumbs to an Armageddon-esque nightmare akin to, as Bridgers sings, “a government drone or an alien spaceship.” There’s even a point where she begins to repeatedly scream, creating a result that is equal parts impressive and alarming. Between all the horror and heartache, there is riotous fun to be had on tracks like “Halloween,” where Bridgers jokes about living in a hospital: “The sirens go all night / I used to joke if they woke you up / Somebody better be dying.”
— Nadia Khan, Assistant Arts & Life Editor
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
A Victorian slasher musical — is there anything better? Based on the 19th-century newspaper serial A String of Pearls, director of the macabre Tim Burton brings the legend of demon barber Sweeney Todd to life in this 2007 musical.
Set in Victorian London, the film tells the story of Benjamin Barker (Johnny Depp), wrongfully imprisoned by the corrupt Judge Turpin (Alan Rickman), who covets his wife. After 15 years in prison, Barker returns to Fleet Street to seek revenge. Here he meets Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter), the owner of a meat pie shop, who informs him that his wife has been murdered and his daughter remains with Turpin. Barker assumes the alias of Sweeney Todd and opens a barber shop above Mrs. Lovett’s store, where he beckons his unassuming enemies for a shave. It isn’t long before business is booming, and Mrs. Lovett’s pies are flying off the shelves, given a boost by a new secret ingredient.
The story of Sweeney Todd is rooted in folklore dating back to the 14th century, but historians have long debated whether the nefarious barber actually existed. More likely, the story was embellished and fictionalized to please the appetites of the Victorian public, who salivated over any gruesome tale.
Whether truth or fiction, Burton’s rendering of the story is sure to please fans of musical theatre or Victorian gothic.
How about a shave?
– Meagan Leonard, Executive Editor
Perfect Blue (1997)
One of the few films I’ve watched that remains genuinely unsettling years later. If anything, the film’s subject matter has become more relevant over time, which is impressive given it was made at a time when the Internet hadn’t yet become the all-consuming force it is nowadays. I don’t want to spoil too much since the mystery element is a big part of the film’s appeal, and I really think the experience is at its best when you jump in blind. However, I do have to leave a content warning since the film deals with heavy subject matter around mental health and sexual assault. But if you’re down for it, I think this is a film you won’t regret watching.
— Eduardo Matzumiya, Head Copy Editor
Welcome to Nightvale (2012 – present)
For those who aren’t exactly ones for horror movies or media (like myself), I would still advise delving into the mysterious and unnerving if you’re hoping to get into the Halloween spirit. And for that I can think of no better piece of media than Welcome to Nightvale, a podcast that describes the daily goings-on of Nightvale, the titular town. Upon first listen, it sounds like your average small-town radio station. However, events like the opening of a new dog park that citizens are strongly advised against visiting due to the Hooded Figures rumoured to lurk there, or the opening of the Nightvale Harbour and Waterfront Recreational Area despite a complete lack of water, draw listeners in with just enough mystery to be unsettling and the slightest sense of comedy at the impossible nature of it all.
— Alicia Wang, Editorial Assistant
Jeepers Creepers 2 (2003)
I went for a sleepover at my best friend’s house at the age of nine, not exactly knowing what I was getting myself into. Supposedly he was in the midst of a phase of fixation with horror movies. I, a young innocent child who had never seen anything of the sort, was taken aback when the scarecrow demon began his revenge on humanity in the very first scene of this cult classic. Ok, it is not exactly a classic, and at the age of 22 I am not as scared to watch it today. The movie has a certain charm to it — if you are not scared by it, you will at least get a laugh out of its appeal to horror archetypes and themes. Though I will note that to this day, seeing the demon’s face pop up in the bus window gives me chills.
— Charlie Dickson, Opinions Editor
A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)
I remember this being one of the first scary movies I’ve ever watched as a child and it completely petrified me. This movie left me unable to sleep for a good week. The thought of there being an entity named Freddy Krueger slashing teenagers in Ohio was enough to convince me that I shouldn’t go to sleep. Despite my trauma, this movie’s a classic, revolving around Freddy Krueger — a supernatural slasher haunting the dreams of teenagers living on one street. Like all good scary movies, this film also had a really great ending where despite burning in a house, Freddy manages to survive and reappear. If you’re in the mood of rekindling old emotions derived from horror movies, this one’s a must-see.
— Khalid Safdar, Assistant Science & Tech Editor
After witnessing the traumatic death of a patient at work, psychiatrist Rose Cotter begins experiencing similar creepy visions as the patient had described, yet no one else can see. As the movie progresses, she gets more and more distressed as she gets closer to finding out the cause of this curse.
I usually shy away from horror movies, but I’m glad I went to see Smile in theatres. It’s an unsettling but sometimes funny movie filled with jumpscares, some of which are silly and will make you scream in surprise but laugh right after. Smile is all about the traumatizing cycle, as the character exemplifies how it can spread to those who see others go through the same thing. If you are jumpy or get scared easily, watch it at your own risk because it made me scream in some scenes. Now then, do you feel like smiling?
— Jia Chen, Head Designer
— Mahnoor Irfan, Assistant Head Designer