Architerror: 7 Well Designed Horror Movies for This Year’s At-Home Halloween

Happy Halloween, design lovers! While this year’s festivities may be about different, there is no reason not to end October on a scary note. Because the scares will likely be indoors and onscreen this year, we have rounded up seven horror movies – some classic and some new – that are perfect for a creepy night in. These films use their interiors and architecture as a major element of their stories, establishing eerie, atmospheric settings for the twisted scenes to take place. Iconic directors from Stanley Kubrick to Lars Von Trier have relied on sets to be major characters in their stories, affecting plots and haunting viewers for decades (there’s a reason that the orange hexagon carpet from “The Shining” is not a popular design choice). Tonight, choose one of these seven films, grab a small group of friends, a pet, a comfy sweater, and some candy corn (or skip the candy corn, up to you) and make this one-of-a-kind Halloween a well-styled one. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Shining (1980) 

Genre: Horror

Where to Watch: Rent on Amazon Prime

English decorator David Hicks’ iconic (or should we say, infamous) patterned hexagon carpet for the Overlook Hotel set in “The Shining,” has been dubbed the most memorable carpet in film. This horror classic directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall tells the famed story of a family who looks after a secluded hotel during a particularly brutal winter. Based on the Stephen King novel, the story goes off the rails when Nicholson’s character begins to unravel. The hotel – whose interior shots were actually a recreated hotel in a studio- is the antagonist of the story, which makes for a claustrophobic and creepy build up to a wild climax. If you make this your Halloween movie choice, good luck getting that carpet pattern out of your head!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crocodile (Black Mirror, Season 4, Episode 3) (2017)

Genre: Horror, Science Fiction

Where to Watch: Netflix 

While “Crocodile” is not exactly a feature film, this installment of Charlie Booker’s sci-fi/horror anthology series is shot in the vast, white world of Iceland, which sets the tone for the story of isolation and paranoia. The story focuses on a woman who is attempting to cover up a murder, but faces a challenge when an investigator with futuristic technology arrives for questioning about an unrelated incident. Lead actress Andrea Riseborough steals the spotlight in this episode, which is arguably one of the best of “Black Mirror”’s releases so far. Plus, the incredible modernist house the episode takes place in is great eye-candy, even with the walls metaphorically closing in. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Suspira (1997, 2018)

Genre: Horror

Where to Watch: Tubi TV (1997), Amazon Prime (2018)

Both “Suspiria” films; Dario Argento’s 1977 original and Luca Guadagnino’s 2018 remake, are two of the most visually stunning horror films ever made. If that assertion sounds too bold to be true, take this Halloween to watch one and see for yourself. “Suspiria” is the strange, unpredictable story of Suzy, a dancer who arrives at a prestigious German dance school, where she realizes that the girls and teachers there are not exactly who they appear to be. Both editions feature wonderful acting, complemented by psychedelic, Art Nouveau, colorful sets that make up the mysterious school. Both versions feature actress Jessica Harper; as Suzy in the 1977 original, and a smaller role in Guadagnino’s reimagining. The design expertise in the 2018 rendition should come as no surprise; director Luca Guadagnino doubles as an interior designer when he isn’t making movies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The House That Jack Built (2018)

Genre: Horror, Fantasy 

Where to Watch: Hulu

Let us start by saying that Lars Von Trier does not hold back. Like his previous works (“Nymphomaniac,” “Antichrist”) the Matt Dillon-starring serial killer movie “The House That Jack Built” is not for the faint of heart. But, for those who do make it until the end, this could make your Halloween the scariest ever. The unconventional story follows a serial killer as he meets his victims one by one. Without spoiling too much, we will leave you with this: Von Trier worked with iconic Danish architect Bjarke Ingels on the film, which he later described as “the most morbid, macabre architecture I will ever work with.” With that said, check this one out if you dare.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let the Right One In (2008) 

Genre: Horror, Fantasy 

Where to Watch: Hulu

Architecture is one of the most evident horror elements from the beginning of this Swedish movie. With a set covered in snow and leafless trees, the film builds the relationship between a young, bullied boy, and an otherworldly girl next door, building up to a gruesome ending you may need to watch through your fingers. The bleak, suburban setting for this film inspired an essay in the Journal of Scandinavian Cinema, which discusses how the divergence form the typical gothic, wealthy, mansion setting in horror movies in exchange for municipal housing affects the eeriness and memorability of the movie. See for yourself, and take a look at Sweden you’ve likely never seen before.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crimson Peak (2015)

Genre: Horror

Where to Watch: Hulu

No horror movie list is complete without a Guillermo Del Toro entry. The famed director is a master of fantasy, and his gothic ghost story, “Crimson Peak,” is no exception. The entire film takes place in a gothic-as-it-gets English mansion that is slowly sinking into the ground. When an American heiress comes to stay with the brother and sister who reside in the secluded home, a strange, unforgettable love triangle begins to threaten age-old secrets. Perhaps the most mind-blowing aspect of “Crimson Peak” is that the extremely intricate, haunting mansion is not a mansion at all – Del Toro’s vision for the set came to life on a soundstage, which brought the film’s budget to $55 million, a high cost for a horror film.  Oh, and the famed director rounded up an all star cast of Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain. If you are looking for a creepy Halloween movie that is not necessarily splattered in blood, “Crimson Peak” is a good choice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rosemary’s Baby

Genre: Horror

Where to Watch: Rent on Amazon Prime

This horror favorite starring Mia Farrow as Rosemary, a soon-to-be mother in 1960’s New York is a snapshot of old New York, cloaked in paranoia and fear. When Rosemary and her husband move into a luxurious mid-century apartment with 13-foot high ceilings (based on The Dakota, but really a set in a soundstage), she makes it over and plans for a perfect life as a new mother. But, as the baby gets closer, she begins to doubt that she and her child will be safe in her new home. The apartment becomes a picture of glamorous, now-vintage Scandinavian style so good that “Bright Wall/Dark Room” magazine calls it “lifestyle eye candy.” Although Rosemary tries to make everything in her new life perfect, she learns that some things you cannot simply decorate away. Based on the classic horror novel by Ira Levin, the film adaptation is nothing short of a classic itself.