No one does screams like Blumhouse. They’re one of the leading production companies in horror, with some of the biggest hits and franchises–Paranormal Activity, The Purge, Creep, and Happy Death Day just to name a few–and they’re never stronger than they are in October. Loot Fright is currently celebrating the season with a Blumhouse Takeover crate. On Instagram, Loot Crate had a celebration of our own.
For that last week, we’ve been hosting a Blumhouse Tourney on our Instragram stories. We started out with sixteen of the biggest films, then asked our Looters to vote for their favorites. From there, we narrowed it down to eight, and then we finally reached our top four. So here they are! The top four best Blumhouse Productions, as voted by our own Loot Crate community.
Insidious is one of the most popular modern horror series out there, so it’s no wonder it made it this far in the tournament. It takes the concept of the average haunted house film and gives it an extra twist–one that opens up the mythology to all kinds of surprising possibilities.
It starts like any other haunting film: with a family moving into a new home. Instead of scratches in the walls and apparitions, the haunting manifests in their son, Dalton, who falls into a coma without any sort of warning. After months of doctors treatments with absolutely no effect, the family decides their only hope is to move to a new house. (Because that always helps in a horror movie.) When they move into their new-new home, they’re forced to face the reality that the house isn’t the problem; it’s Dalton.
For a movie that reveals an entirely new concept halfway through the film, Insidious does a great job dragging the audience along with it. Every new detail comes as a surprise, but one that’s only so confusing as it is to the main characters. It has all the scares and demons of The Conjuring, along with all the multidimensional mind-bending of a show like Stranger Things.
Something else to be said of Insidious: it has an incredible cast. The parents are played by Rose Byrne along with Patrick Wilson, who of course also stars in The Conjuring series. Even little Dalton is recognizable! (You may remember Ty Simpkins from Iron Man 3 or Jurassic World.) Joined by renowned scream queen Lin Shaye, the film is in good hands when it comes to delivering on its promised horror.
As a white girl who loves horror, I know to stay away from Ouija boards. I once picked up a Stranger Things Ouija board in a store because I thought it was Monopoly, and I immediately put it down and left to sanitize my hands. (Seriously, why is there a Stranger Things Ouija board? Do you value your life at all?!) As you can guess, I’d never watched Ouija before this week so…I guess thanks for that, Looters.
Ouija is just about what you probably expect it to be: a blonde girl plays with a Ouija board she found in her attic, and things spiral out of control from there. However, as someone who is terrified of Ouija boards, this movie certainly packs a punch. It’s always a marvel to me how I can go into a horror movie knowing that half or more of the cast is going to die, and I still let myself get attached. The characters in this movie feel real, and Olivia Cooke and Shelley Hennig do an incredible job as Laine and Debbie. Their connection feels genuine, and so does their grief.
As a horror movie, Ouija checks all the obligatory boxes: jump scares, flinch-worthy deaths, and a plot twist or two. All of that, I knew I would get going in. At the same time, the plot stays grounded by one very real concept: the grief we feel when we lose a loved one. All of us yell at the screen when a character does something stupid in a horror movie, and taking all of your friends to an empty house to play with a Ouija board definitely qualifies. But the writing did a great job reminding viewers why the characters make stupid choices. They’re not being reckless for the hell of it. They’re being reckless because love and grief both drive people to do questionable things.
So credit where credit is due, this movie deserves major props for making me understand why someone might use a Ouija board. Still never gonna touch one, though.
This is a film that needs no introduction. The original John Carpenter Halloween is more than an icon of the horror genre; it’s a staple. Michael Myers is one of the most recognizable horror characters of all time, with a legacy to protect. So it’s no surprise that when the franchise was picked up again a few years ago, the story was put into Blumhouse’s hands.
One thing that makes Halloween special is that it’s not a remake, the way we’ve seen with a lot of other franchises. A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th both made modern attempts to remake their films with a new twist, though neither were quite successful. In Halloween, the story stems straight from the original story, where years and years have gone by, and Michael Myers finally escapes from the psychiatric facility where he’s been imprisoned. He has just one target–but she is all too ready for him. The movie brings the story back to our classic heroine and our classic villain: Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode, and Nick Castle as The Shape, or else Michael Myers.
Halloween (2018) is a story of generational evil, the kind that never really goes away. Laurie must convince her daughter and granddaughter just how real the danger is before it’s all too late. While that leads to the same formulaic killings that the classic Halloween movies are known for, the 2018 film is undoubtedly a modern take. Horror in the 80’s hinges a lot on the “rules,” the kind poked fun at in Scream. The most important rule has always been: you only die if you sin. Drinking, partying, sleeping around, all lead to an inevitable and bloody death.
In modern media, we have a darker opinion of violence. Take a look at any popular TV show–The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, The 100–and you’ll see a very different philosophy: anyone can die. Halloween (2018) nods to the old rules of the genre and then dismisses them out the door. There’s a very specific turning point halfway in where the viewer suddenly realizes, “Wait. This isn’t the Michael I knew.” Different fans responded in different ways, but undoubtedly, it gives the film a stroke of originality that sets it apart from its predecessor.
After Jordan Peele’s directorial debut with Get Out, horror fans were rabid for his next film. Peele delivered with Us, a movie about race, wealth, an uncaring government, and violent doppelgangers. While Get Out was explicit and on-the nose with its message, Us is a bit more abstract. That gives audiences a lot more to discuss and dissect.
Like Insidious, Us is a story that’s told in two phases. The first half of the movie is a home-invasion thriller, where the Wilsons are under attack from their doppelgangers. This half is more predictable and formulaic. As the film goes on, things only become stranger and stranger, as we learn about the clones, where they come from, and what their collective plan is for the nation.
One thing to keep in mind: this movie necessitates a certain suspension of disbelief. There isn’t an answer to every question, and not everything is handed to you. The only details discussed are the ones that lend immediately to the plot and to the overall theme of the movie. Spend too much time worrying about the semantics of the plan, and you’ll miss out on what the story is truly all about.
Us is one of the rare horror movies that understands the definition of horror. The fear that the movie evokes doesn’t come from its plot twists or jump scares; it comes from the realization of what humans do to each other, and the foundation that our society is built on. That is one of Jordan Peele’s greatest strengths as a writer and producer.
The Final Rounds
These were our top four movies of the Blumhouse tournament–but there can only be one winner. Wednesday, Looters voted between all the films above. Insidious went up against Halloween, but lost, and Ouija was no match for Us. That brought us down to the final two: the legendary Halloween versus the groundbreaking Us.
Any guesses who won?
Yeah, we weren’t surprised either. Halloween has a history behind it that makes it beloved to fans, sacred even. Say what you will about the remake, but it brought nostalgia, conversations, and new content to a community hungry for more. And that’s what Looters had to say!
What’s your favorite Blumhouse Production? Let us know online, and make sure to check out Loot Fright’s Blumhouse Takeover Crate before the changeover!