The spookiest time of the year calls for a few (not too) scary movies to watch stoned. They’ll go great with your “Halloween party on the couch” plans. So sit back, pass around a joint, and press play. Because, who goes out anymore anyway?
But while getting stoned and watching all-out horror movies might sound like a good time to some of us, others among us are not 22 anymore. Call me a Grandma, but when I’m high I like my horror movies to be less genuinely terrifying and more delightfully “spooky” either because they’re hammy and over-the-top or because they’re smart. Or funny and creative. And if they’re a combination of all of those things—like the ones below—well, let’s party.
Famous (in my books) for introducing “dirty pillows” as slang for boobs and “plug it up” as slang for inserting a tampon, Carrie is seen more as a moodboard for classically feminist horror than as an actually-scary movie.
It’s the kind of film where your horror-obsessed little brother might complain that “nothing happens” but actually, everything happens; high school bullying, telekinesis, Christian indoctrination, an archetypal abject mother, and pig’s blood. You probably know the rest. Watch it anyway. And yes, I’m talking about the original. Geez! No offense, Chloë Moretz, you’re chill.
Like you need an excuse to watch this again. Practical Magic is right up there for witches and muggles alike, thanks to its cutie pie cast of Nicole Kidman, Sandra Bullock, Dianne Wiest, and Stockard Channing.
It’s a romantic comedy but it’s also genuinely frightening—the only thing worse than an abusive ex is an abusive ex ghost, ya know? Mostly though, it’s about the redemptive power of sisterhood, why it’s hard being a slut in a small town, and the fact that magic happens. It’s a classic for a reason. And if you don’t agree, get out of my house.
Is your stoned mind even ready for this? Maybe or maybe not, but it’s coming at you anyway. And by “it” I mean vagina dentata. That’s the old myth about women with teeth down there. And for this movie’s lead, Dawn, that’s the situation. As a “no sex before marriage” type, she’s only just coming to grips (sorry) with her secret weapon. And what a weapon it is. The real monster in this movie though, is the patriarchy. Dawn’s dentata is more a defense mechanism against all the creeps that surround u̶s̶ her in everyday life. And what a bunch of creeps. From doctors, guys at school, to her own disgusting step brother. Don’t worry—they’ll get what they deserve. *CHOMP*
If you haven’t seen Get Out yet, please accept my condolences—to you and whoever’s in that '50s underground bunker with you—because you’re missing out. Not only is it the most legitimately scary film on this list, but the political and cultural horror of white supremacy that it represents so brilliantly makes sure it goes way beyond just pools of blood or jump scares. Why is it on this list then? Because it’ll make you think, stoopid. And what’s social commentary or cannabis made for, if not that? Together, they’re unstoppable. Hence this movie’s instant canon status. P.S. You really need to watch it twice (minimum) to get the full effect. To think: Marnie from Girls could get even scarier.
If you’ve never felt compelled to murmur “We are the weirdos, mister!” at a bus driver or hiss in the face of a jock, then congratulations. You were well-adjusted in 1996. Meanwhile, I was being pushed off the edge of lonely puberty chasm and this movie was the teen witch drama that broke my fall—light as a feather, stiff as a board style. Retrospectively, it’s obvious to see this movie’s messaging has all the race and class issues (as Cassie Wagler brilliantly pointed out on an episode of defunct feminist film podcast, Bonnie & Maude). But for all of its many failings, the fashion is sick, the “villain” is a badass, and the stakes are awfully low as far as scares go. Unless you consider flashbacks of ‘90s hallway quips from Breckin Meyer and Skeet Ulrich scary.
If you like Jungian psychoanalysis and/or late ‘70s hyper-feminine aesthetics, this is the film for you. It’s not so much scary as it is totally mind-bending and intensely dream-like and deeply disturbing, but also kind of funny and definitely gorgeous to look at. Shelley Duvall and Sissy Spacek rule, but Janice Rule is the Queen Mother of spooky, good eyeliner coolness. The best part of watching this movie stoned though? Discussing all your best theories for what TF just happened with your friends. And you will have theories. Oh yes, you will have theories. If you hate movies that resist interpretation, then don’t even watch it. But if you like movies that make you feel something (even if it’s vaguely like a nervous breakdown) instead of just hammering in one specific message, this. Is. Your. Shit.
The Love Witch
It’s made in 2016 but it looks like it’s from 1969. It’s about a single witch, just looking for love with a groovy guy, whose love spells backfire in spectacular—and murderous—fashion, much to her annoyance. Yes, lead character Elaine is a sociopath, but she’s also the hero; motivated by trauma, revenge, and a need to be accepted and understood as much as she is by simple desire. Having said that, this isn’t a film that resists interpretation. It’s a John Waters meets Russ Meyers ironic homage to retro cinema and its far-out heroines, fueled by sexual empowerment and placed in a hostile setting. In Elaine’s case, she may be surrounded by some conservative witch-haters in her new small town, but loneliness, codependency and (TBH) boredom are the real enemy. Lucky she has a spell for that. A 10 for fashion inspiration.
Speaking of fashion inspiration and revenge, meet Sugar Hill, played by actress Marki Bey. She’s the “foxiest, sexiest, deadliest chick in town” in this blackspoitation meets (not at all scary) horror cult classic. So basically, after her boyfriend is murdered by gangsters, Hill enlists the help of a “Voodoo Queen” to call on Baron Samedi (an actual Loa in the Haitian Vodou tradition—so yep, not offensive at all). And you guessed it: the death deity unleashes an army of the undead to take revenge on anybody whoever wronged Sugar or her dead boyf. Sure, she had to give Baron Samedi her soul in order to exact this plan. Sure, her previous boyf is in charge of the zombie police investigation and it’s messy for all involved. But all things considered, this movie kicks ass and has the best one liners ever.
Winona Ryder! Geena Davis! Micheal Keaton as a malicious, chaotic spirit that talks and acts like a dirty old man dialed up to a hundred! What’s not to like? In my honest opinion, this is one of the best Halloween-friendly movies to light a joint in front of. It’s objectively funny, its visuals and score are as strange as they are delightful (this is ‘80s Tim Burton we’re talking about), and it’s spooky-themed while not being actually scary. Although I did get slightly spooked as a kid in that scene where Betelgeuse terrorises the house guests by transforming into a snake...with the head of Michael Keaton. But I’m pretty sure I’m passed that now, and that you are too. Highlights include: The “Banana Boat” possession at the dinner table scene, Winona’s red wedding dress (Bella Hadid’s costume this year, look it up), and everything Geena Davis says and does.
Named after a Hole song, this film was Diablo Cody’s unlikely follow up to Juno. Like Juno, this one’s set in high school, but it stars Megan Fox as a cheerleader who gets turned into a real-life succubus after a black magic ritual goes wrong. She begins murdering male classmates and eating their limbs, but luckily, her best friend Needy (who’s played by Amanda Seyfried) is on the case. Also a revenge horror, the film has some clever things to say about slut shaming and groupie culture (the villains are a rock band made up of evil douche lords, and Jennifer is as much their victim as she is a teen murderer). It’s silly and fun but also smart, and by the time it’s over, you’ll be saying “And THAT’S why you don’t mess with teen girls!” which is always nice.