You may not know this, but FarBridge loves the horror genre!
So many of our favorite films, games, and novels tilt toward the “spooky”. When left to our own devices, many of our game jams and original game ideas are horror-ish. They can range from lighthearted trick-or-treating vibes to darker themes and subject matters. In fact, every summer as a studio we try to host a “Summerween” game jam where we riff on our favorite spooky things and kick off our extended Halloween celebrations.
When folks on our team think of horror, we don’t gravitate toward one specific character or how many buckets of blood were used — for us, it’s about that lingering sense of dread that sticks with you long past the last page or final credits. As a team, we love discussing spooky media, and we’ve even been known to tell our own ghost stories on team travel trips.
Recently we asked the FarBridge team to tell us about their favorite horror films, and beyond that, any movie that comes to mind when they think of “horror”. Read on if you dare ;)
Richard: I’m a huge Alfred Hitchcock fan, and though you may not think of his films as horror, two of his biggest films are horror classics. There’s The Birds, which I love because it takes very real-world things that we as humans barely understand (birds) and then turns them into this looming threat. After seeing the movie you just walk outside and see a bunch of crows parked on a jungle gym and it freaks you out. It can be a life-altering film. Then there’s Psycho, probably his best-known film, which takes a little roadside motel and makes it terrifying. And it really layers on its terror — it starts out feeling like a crime film, then it turns into a peeping tom film, then it goes full-on psychopath. It’s impossible for us to watch it today the same way audiences watched it in 1960, when it was so much more severe in its portrayal of violence than other films of the time, and it being in black & white just makes it worse.
Pam: I’m not a huge fan of gore, paranormal stuff, or spiritual situations. I like being able to sleep at night, sue me! But of the horror movies I do enjoy, 2016’s Hush is one of my favorites. Nothing gives me more dread than knowing or thinking someone is in my home without my permission or knowledge. Hush makes these feelings a reality, with an added layer of suspense when you realize that the protagonist can’t hear the threat but has to count on her other senses to survive. This film is the reason I triple-check that every door and window is locked before I go to bed.
Religious & Supernatural Horror
Adam: Hereditary is my favorite horror film. I love religious and supernatural themes. It pulls in some very intense realistic trauma, and of course, cults. The casting and acting are great, and it has one of my all-time favorite moments in film. I like this movie so much that I based a D&D character off of it, in a very roleplaying-focused campaign that lasted over three years. It’s also the sort of movie that ties all the threads together at the very end when suddenly everything makes sense.
Joy: Religious-themed supernatural movies are my kryptonite. They make me afraid down to my toenails. Movies like The Exorcist, Stigmata, the first Poltergeist, and The Omen freak me out. Prince of Darkness still scares me today and I only saw it once back in the day.
Patrick: Scream is probably my all-time favorite horror movie. It revived the entire horror genre with its combination of humor, classic whodunit, and some really genuine scares. Not to mention two twists — one from the opening and the other from the reveal of the killer’s identity — that were so innovative back in the nineties that they’ve become not just franchise mainstays but practically genre cliches.
Joy: Slasher films make me laugh. I used to be afraid of Freddy Krueger but then the series got silly so it wasn’t scary. I also love the parodies that the Wayans brothers used to do of all the horror movies. And Us scared the bejeezus out of me because of what they did with the music. Jordan Peele ruins all my R&B favorites.
Peter: I will agree with Joy on the older slasher movies like Nightmare on Elm Street, for instance: a cult classic series, sure, but not super scary. Films such as Get Out and Us do have a more scary tone for me, perhaps because they are also thriller movies.
It takes more than jump scares to really scare me, even if they can be surprising in the moment.
Melissa: Stories with themes about loss of bodily autonomy or identity will 100% shiver my timbers. Alien (1979) is deeply horrifying to me, although the actiony-er sequels just become more and more adventuresome and camp, and while still fun, they’re just not that scary. And while the adult Xenomorph is something to fear, the facehuggers are the real source of horror in these films, with their ability to rob anyone of bodily autonomy, while imparting evolving unknowable risks to their victims.
The Fly (1986 Geena / Jeff reign supreme) holds a similar place in my nightmares. The loss-of-self and loss-of-humanity coupled with body horror are something truly disturbing to my well-being.
Patrick: To echo Melissa’s sentiment, I love horror with a sci-fi twist, especially when the character’s physical and mental humanity is at stake. Along with Alien and The Fly — the original Terminator and Robocop films really messed with me, as did Ex Machina. If you haven’t seen Upgrade, it’s a great twist on these themes in a frighteningly-familiar near-future setting.
Dealing with The Inevitable
Jeff: My favorite horror movies, that leave me spooked for a little bit longer, are ones that deal with inevitability, like something that can’t be reasoned with, and if left unchecked, cannot be stopped. The Ring films — both the original and remake — have caused the longest-lasting brain-spookies for me. While there is an interesting backstory around the ghost and her family, it really boils down to implying that there is no reasoning with your fate. The only way to save yourself is to spread the curse to somebody else! This even goes a step further, breaking the fourth wall in a creepy way, having shown the cursed tape to viewers of the movie!
Richard: Hitchcock was a big inspiration for John Carpenter, whose first hit was of course Halloween. Halloween is probably still my favorite Carpenter film, though I also dearly love The Thing and Escape from New York. I feel like Halloween is the inspiration for probably my favorite modern horror film, which is It Follows. The way It Follows depicts the suburbs feels like it’s a slightly more surreal version of Carpenter’s suburbs. It Follows also does that thing from The Birds or Psycho, where you’ll never look into a crowd the same way again — is that person walking toward me, or is that my dark and tormented imagination?
More to come!
These are just some of our team’s favorite horror movies. As we said, we celebrate Halloween time for several months of the year here at FarBridge, so watch this space for more spooky and terrifying recommendations. We might even hint at what we’re working on next… you never know!
[Editor’s note: Submissions have been edited for clarity or summarized for this post but the participants would probably love to talk about these thoughts next time you see them. Just ask!]