October is our favorite time of year, filled with costumes, candy, and more horror movies than you can shake a stick at. With the politically charged news climate right now, it’s almost scarier to watch the news sometimes than it is to watch horror movies — current events are weirder than anything Hollywood can come up with! But to get you in the holiday spirit, we’ve rounded up a few politically charged horror movies to watch this October.
The Purge Series
You can’t have a list of political horror movies without mentioning the Purge series, particularly after the release of the most recent installation — The Purge: Election Year. This entry into the series came out during the extremely contentious 2016 election cycle, and since its premiere has reflected some of the events that we’ve seen unfold since then. Sure, we’re not turning the country into a lawless battleground one day a year, but the movie’s allusions to the differences between liberal and conservative political leanings are pretty clever.
Many movie critics also discuss a class privilege theme in all of the Purge movies — undoubtedly, an annual purge would most directly impact the impoverished who do not have access to proper shelter or defense. The third Purge makes a subtle suggestion that the conservative-leaning party in the movie would support the Purge as population control — or, more aptly put — elimination of the lower class…
Of course, there are probably more than a few people who think our country could benefit from a purge now and then, but we’re not suggesting that wanton slaughter is the solution to the country’s problems… most of the time, anyway.
Get Out, which premiered this year, is easily one of the best horror films in recent years. It’s also one of the most racially charged movies in the genre, which reflects the volatile climate that keeps appearing in the news. The main characters of the movie are Chris and Rose, an interracial couple who travel to visit Rose’s parents. The entire movie revolves around the idea of liberal racism in middle-class America. The villains here aren’t stereotypical skinheads or Nazi white supremacists — they’re white, middle class Americans.
Director Jordan Peele has managed to capture current events like police brutality and racism in the context of a horror movie. It has actually received some criticism, though, for the director’s decision to change the ending to the movie: *Spoiler Alert: Proceed at your own risk.
We’re not going to delve too deeply into it, in case you haven’t seen it, but you definitely owe it to yourself to give this horror movie a try.
With everyone screaming ‘fake news’ on social media, it’s time to dig out an old classic — They Live! This 1988 horror movie starred wrestler “Rowdy” Roddy Piper as a drifter who finds a pair of sunglasses that allows him to see that aliens have taken over the planet. You’d never see it without the glasses, but the aliens are subtly controlling the world with subliminal messages hidden in advertisements, instructing them to obey, buy things and to not question authority.
It’s also the source of one of the best quotes from the late 1980s — “I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass… and I’m all out of bubblegum.”
2013 added a new word to our lexicon — affluenza. Literally, it means that you’re so rich that you can get away with just about anything. The case of Ethan Couch, a 13 year old teen who killed 4 people after driving drunk, brought this term back into the forefront. He was basically allowed to get away with the murder of 4 people because his parents were rich enough to pay off the right people and afford the best lawyers. This is too close to reality though, so we’ve picked the perfect horror movie for you — American Psycho.
Christian Bale stars as Eric Bateman, a successful businessman who just happens to kill people in his off hours. It’s the perfect example of privilege — basically, if you’re a straight, white successful man, you can get away with anything.
It is a fantastic movie in itself, though, so if you haven’t seen it yet — what’s stopping you?
First, we’re not talking about the movie based on that dreadful Stephanie Meyer novel. The Host’s director, Joon Ho Bong, is no stranger to political topics. His other films have also addressed controversial topics — Snowpiercer is a massive metaphor for monetary class systems and the newest release, Okja, addresses the cost of mindless consumerism.
The Host is a horror film at its heart, but it uses its monster to act as a metaphor for the negative effect that we have had on the environment. This is especially poignant right now, with the United States pulling out of the Paris Climate Accords and rolling back basically every policy that was put in place to help slow climate change.
At the end of the day, pretty much every sector of the horror genre represents some sort of popular sociopolitical theme in humanity. Horror movies are double the fun when looked at from this angle, as we are challenged to question what our onscreen monsters represent for us in our daily lives. Hopefully these politically charged movies make their way to your Halloween viewing party this year. Did we miss your favorite movie? Let us know — we’re huge horror buffs and always looking for new movies!
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