I don’t like watching horror movies. I scare easy and feel anxious enough in my daily life that the idea of feeling anxious during recreational activities does not appeal. That said, I do like to read (or be told) plot summaries of horror movies so I can just know what happened and move on with my life.
Below, I have assembled some of the scariest Wikipedia entries I have ever read so that you may also read and enjoy them in the lead up to Halloween. Major spoilers ahead.
I remember asking my friend Matt to tell me what happened in Human Centipede—how the people came to be in a place where they would be turned into a human centipede, the mechanics of creating a human centipede—while at a party one night. Once I got home, I read the Wikipedia entry for the movie.
When I got to this part I was really scared:
After Lindsay tries to escape, Heiter decides to make her the middle part of the centipede, the most painful position. Heiter performs the surgery, placing Katsuro at the lead. He removes the front teeth of both women and mutilates the buttocks of Katsuro and Lindsay to provide access to the rectums, to which he grafts their mouths. He severs the ligaments of his victims’ knees to prevent leg extension, forcing his victims to crawl.
Another appearance by my friend Matt, who this time told me the plot of Antichrist when I asked him about it on a walk home from another party or bar thing.
Then I read the Wikipedia summary, which was truly wild:
In the dark attic the man finds the woman’s thesis studies, which includes violent portraits of witch-hunts, and a scrapbook in which her writing becomes increasingly frantic and illegible. She reveals that while writing her thesis, she came to believe that all women are inherently evil. The man is repulsed by this and reproaches her for imbibing the gynocidal beliefs she had originally set out to criticize. In a frenzied moment, they have violent intercourse at the base of an ominous dead tree, where bodies are intertwined within the exposed roots. He suspects that Satan is her greatest hidden fear.
Everyone at Jezebel saw Hereditary—my brave friend Joanna Rothkopf even saw it while stoned—but I never did. Instead, I pitched a video in which my colleague Megan Reynolds would tell me what happened in Hereditary. For some reason, that pitch was rejected. Instead, I read the Wikipedia page.
It seemed really scary to have this much decapitation in one movie:
Peter awakens to find his father’s body. Annie chases him into the attic, which is decorated with cult imagery. Levitating, Annie beheads herself with a piano wire as naked coven members look on. Peter jumps out of the window. As he lies on the ground, a light enters his body and he wakes up. He follows Annie’s levitating corpse into Charlie’s treehouse, where Charlie’s crowned, decapitated head rests atop a mannequin. Joan, other coven members and the headless corpses of his mother and grandmother bow to him. Joan swears an oath to him as Paimon, stating that he has been liberated from his female host, Charlie, and is free to rule over them.
Hounds of Love
In 2014, I was in a short-lived movie club with two friends called Scary Movie Club. We saw It Follows and Goodnight Mommy before I decided that Scary Movie Club really wasn’t for me. (After It Follows, a woman who had been sitting behind me at the movie theater leaned forward and said, “You seemed really scared.”) My friend Joe would later revive the Scary Movie Club text thread to tell me and our other friend Brian that he had just seen an Australian horror movie called Hounds of Love and it was the scariest movie he had ever seen.
Naturally, I immediately read the Wikipedia page and felt incredibly scared:
With no way to escape and her murder imminent, Vicki realizes she must find a way to drive a wedge between them if she’s to survive her ordeal, and tries exploiting Evelyn’s desire to see her absent children. Unfortunately, John’s emotional hold over Evelyn is far beyond Vicki’s comprehension and her efforts to turn them against each other only fuels Evelyn’s will to see her die.
One day last year, I thought to myself, “Hey, what is that woman from Game of Thrones who slept with Jon Snow and is dating him in real life up to?” I looked her up and, as it turned out, she was in a science fiction horror movie I was too scared to see.
It is about how being married is a nightmare:
Bea (Rose Leslie) and Paul (Harry Treadaway) are newly married and off to have a romantic honeymoon in a rustic cabin set in a secluded forest. During their stay there, they go to a small restaurant where Will, the owner, initially acts hostile and asks them to leave, but later calms down, realizing he was Bea’s childhood friend. Will’s wife then comes in, acting strangely and saying they need to get away. Afterwards, everything goes normally until their wedded bliss is cut short when Bea goes missing. Paul finds her naked and disoriented in the woods with no evidence as to how she got there or why she was there in the first place. He takes her back to the cabin, where she claims she was sleepwalking due to stress, and tells him to make nothing of it.
I remember I was hanging out at home years ago with my boyfriend and my brother, when my brother suggested we all watch Hostel. I didn’t want to but my boyfriend did, so we agreed that I would go do something else and then he would tell me what happened in Hostel at a later time. While cooking dinner that night, I asked both of them to tell me the story of the movie Hostel.
I can’t remember if I read the Wikipedia summary for this one at the time, but this part is very scary to me, currently:
Paxton escapes the factory but returns after hearing cries for help. He enters another room and discovers Kana having her face and eye burned with a blow torch by the American client. After killing the American client, Paxton and Kana flee in a stolen car, pursued by guards. While driving, Paxton sees Natalya, Svetlana, and Alexei, and runs them over, killing them.
I am actually too scared to keep going. This has to end here.