Spooky Cinema Season

Spooky Cinema Season

by Max Gulden

Over the years, it has become something of a tradition for me to watch and rewatch horror films throughout October in anticipation of Halloween. Fortunately, Ames Public Library’s collections of DVDs and Blu Rays include a cornucopia of frightful films suited to the season. In recent years, I have also turned to the library’s extensive online film resources, including Hoopla and Kanopy, to further this spooky tradition. If you too feel a brisk October day (or better yet, night!) lends itself to a good horror film or two, here are a few choice options to consider that are accessible in the library’s physical collection as well as online.

Low budget horror films have always held special appeal for me, and one excellent example from the last decade is “Coherence.” “Coherence” is a contemporary psychological thriller that takes place in a suburban home during a dinner party among friends under the shadow of a passing comet. The party takes a turn for the weird when the power goes out and relationships start to curdle as things seem increasingly amiss.

If you are up for a weird low budget period-piece horror film, consider trying “A Field in England.” Set during the English Civil War in the 17th century, this film is a mind-bending romp across the rural English countryside involving rival alchemists, roving military deserters, and extensive consumption of wild sprouting and apparently psychedelic mushrooms. A word of warning, you may want to have the subtitles on for this one, as parsing the dialogue in period English dialects can get a bit hairy.

If you enjoy watching films with subtitles (or if you understand Korean), another exceptional horror film well worth your time is “The Wailing.” Set in remote rural South Korea, this film opens as a stranger arriving in town seems to coincide with the spread of a mysterious murder-inducing illness. Things only get more distressing from there as this film charts a tangled course into increasingly sinister and paranoia-inducing territory.

All three of these films are available in the library’s collection on physical DVD as well as via our streaming services Hoopla and Kanopy, as are thousands of other films and much more. So, if you too feel like indulging in a scary film or two, keep in mind the physical and online collections available through your Ames Public Library.