A New Year with New Horrors for a New Horrified You

[Photo by ramy Kabalan from Pexels]

Time to test your resilience, kiddos! I don’t know about you, but I’m already crumbling under my new year’s resolutions… Perhaps 2022 isn’t the year to turn over a new leaf. Instead of trying to shed those extra pounds, how about we focus on basic human survival?

According to UPenn professor and best-selling author Adam Grant, watching horror movies is a kind of exposure therapy, and people are unintentinally microdosing fear and anxiety in harmless situations to build up resistance to the real thing. Here’s a handy-dandy list of movies available at horror-streaming behemoth Shudder, nicely paired with their literary counterpart, to help get you through this never-ending hellscape that is 2022.

PAIRING #1: DAVE MADE A MAZE/THE HIKE

Dave Made a Maze (2017): Written by Bill Watterson & Steven Sears, directed by Watterson

What have you done with your quarantine? Did you build a maze? Did you turn your entire apartment into a labyrinth? Did you? DID YOU?! Well, there's still time… Don't let 2022 pass by without converting your cardboard into something deadly.

 

The Hike (2016): Written by Drew Margary

Sometimes the mazes we find ourselves trapped in are outside. Margary’s mountainside meandering is a labyrinth in itself, riffing on the endless ways we strands ourselves in loops of our own personal design.

 

PAIRING #2: DOGTOOTH/THE UNSUITABLE

Dogtooth (2009): Written and directed by Yorgos Lanthimos

Maybe 2022 is the year you finally re-enter the outside world just beyond the walls of your home… or maybe it's not. Just look at the children within this sun-bleached screamer and see how they've been dealing with their own lockdown. They've never left and they seem to be doing fine. Just… fine.

 

The Unsuitable (2020): Written by Molly Pohlig

A haunted esophagus? Sold. This gothic ghost story of a different ilk really gets caught in your throat. Written with the same cadence as Lanthimos first feature, the spirit that haunts our heroine may only be in her mind… or perhaps it’s really in the neck.

 

PAIRING #3: BLISS/THE ORANGE EATS CREEPS

Bliss (2019): Written and directed by Joe Begos

Some years, you just wanna dive into the deep end and indulge in the dark, dark stuff… 2022 already has me all, like, sex, drugs, and blood splattered heavy metal. This hallucinatory dirge is for all those artists out there looking to express themselves in this hellscape we call 2022.

 

The Orange Eats Creeps (2010): Written by Grace Krilanovich

Moving up the coast to the pacific northwest, Krilanich’s strung out vampires share a certain kinship to Begos’s Bliss. If bloodsucking is your drug of choice, these two pair up quite well.

 

PAIRING #4: LUCKY/THE MURDERS OF MOLLY SOUTHBOURNE

Lucky (2020): Written by Brea Grant, directed by Natasha Kermani

Some days, you just feel like the world at large is out to kill you… and nobody can help. There are forces in this world that sure seem hell-bent on crushing you, but try as you might to ask for help, none of your friends or family believe you. Don't worry. You're not alone… even if it feels like it sometimes. Brea Grant is on your side.

 

The Murders of Molly Southbourne (2017): Written by Tade Thompson

Molly’s #1 rule: Don’t bleed. Easy peasy, right? Not so much. Poor Molly finds herself caught in a creeptacular loophole: Whenever she bleeds, another molly is born, hell-bent on killing her.

 

PAIRING #5: A DARK SONG/REMAINS

A Dark Song (2016): Written and directed by Liam Gavin

You want to survive 2022? It'll take a bit of grit and determination, so look no further than the kind of grind poor Catherine endures to get what she needs for the new year. 

 

Remains (2019): Written by Andrew Cull

The heartbreak at the center of Cull’s story is so palpable, it practically bleeds off the page. A perfectly somber sister to A Dark Song’s heroine. Bring a box of tissues for both.

 

PAIRING #6: COHERENCE/THE BOOK OF ACCIDENTS

Coherence (2013): Written and directed by James Ward Byrkit

Remember dinner parties? I do, too… Vaguely. Coherence suggests we might not be missing out too much on large group gatherings, though. Makes you never want to dine with friends (or photocopies of friends) ever again.

 

The Book of Accidents (2021): Written by Chuck Wendig

The less you know about this book, the better. Go in cold… but block out the next few hours of your life because, once you start, you’re not going to want to put this book down.

 

PAIRING #7: SHREW’S NEST/THE TURNOUT

Shrew's Nest (2014): Written by Juanfer Andres, Sofia Cuenca & Angel Amoros and directed by Andres Esteban Roel

You know what, never mind. Scratch everything I said about 2022. Just stay inside. Never go out again, much like Montse in this amazing homebound horror.

 

The Turnout (2021): Written by Megan Abbott

Here we have another story revolving around sisters with their secrets… and how they simmer up to the surface at the worst possible moment. Sometimes it’s best to hide inside our homes.

 

 

MORE MOVIES YOU SHOULD ADD TO YOUR SHUDDER WATCH LIST

 

After Midnight (2019): Written by Jeremey Gardner and directed by Gardner & Christian Stella

Don't give up. Hank here doesn't let go of his love and neither should you. Sometimes all it takes is a karaoke singalong from the heart to bring balance back to the world.

Koko-di, Koko-da (2019): Written and directed by Johannes Nyholm

Some days, you just feel like you're stuck in a bit of a time-loop… going through the same motions over and over again. Well, let me tell you, there are time-loops and then there are time-loops. A new year's resolution for 2022 should be to find the best way to break out of our bad, bad habits… no matter how often we're doomed to repeat them.

Scare Me (2020): Written and directed by Josh Ruben

Here's a prime example of the resiliency of storytelling. Sometimes the best way to survive a self-imposed seclusion is to hunker down with friends and spin a good yarn.

A Book You May Enjoy

Clay McLeod Chapman

Clay McLeod Chapman is the creator of the storytelling session “The Pumpkin Pie Show” and the author of Rest Area, Nothing Untoward, and The Tribe trilogy. He is the co-author, with Nightmare Before Christmas director Henry Selick, of the middle grade novel Wendell and Wild. In the world of comics, Chapman’s work includes Lazaretto, Iron Fist: Phantom Limb, and Edge of Spiderverse. He also writes for the screen, including The Boy (SXSW 2015), Henley (Sundance 2012), and Late Bloomer (Sundance 2005). You can find him at claymcleodchapman.com.