Do you like scary movies?
It’s time to “be afraid, be very afraid” as SpoilerFreeReviews is dropping 13 spooky movies for fans to enjoy this PSL season. We will be posting our most frightful Halloween favorites over the next 13 spooky nights. So come join us around the fire as we tell our 13 creepy Halloween favorites. 🎃
From scaring the team with THE HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL to making us fall in love with THE HOUSE ON BLY MANOR, Mike Flanagan is quickly becoming a favorite here at SpoilerFreeReviews. This Halloween, Mike, Jami, and Aaron discuss why we are 🤩🤩🤩 with MF (Mike Flanagan).
AARON: Alright – let’s start with the obvious question – what’s your favorite MF TV show?
MIKE: Controversial, but I’ll say it – BLY MANOR is my favorite because it’s such a twisted love story. It’s beautiful, haunting, and romantic at its core. Incredibly different from HILL HOUSE, but no less emotionally resonant.
JAMI: Whoa! My favorite work so far is THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE. I was absolutely mesmerized and terrified by that limited series. I loved how each episode gave us insight into the Crain children and connected their childhood haunted home to their adult issues.
AARON: Nice! We all have different favorites. I’m going to go with MIDNIGHT MASS. Even though it had a lot of monologuing, it was challenging television that kept me terrified and glued to my seat.
MIKE: Yeah, If I had to rank them, I would go with BLY, MASS, than HILL (but I love them all).
JAMI: I’d put the order as HILL, MASS, BLY – but I enjoyed each very much!
AARON: My order is ranked by how challenging the stories are. It goes – MASS, BLY, HILL.
AARON: Next question – what’s the scariest moment in an MF experience?
JAMI: Ooh, this is a tie between the moment Maddie in MF’s 2016 film HUSH realizes she’s in danger and when Nell goes missing in episode six of THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, THE TWO STORMS, yet she can still see and find her family – they just can’t see her.
MIKE: Nell’s discovery about the truth behind the Bent-Neck Lady is something that stays with you forever. It’s sad and horrifying.
AARON: Plus one to Mike’s comment about the Bent-Neck Lady, that still haunts me at night. However, it’s not the scariest moment – but one that stays with me forever is how MF uses Neil Diamond’s HOLLY HOLY in episode three of MIDNIGHT MASS. It’s brilliant foreshadowing for what’s to come and a perfectly creepy montage.
AARON: What is it about MF’s work that separates him from other horror creators?
MIKE: Everything he does is rooted in atmosphere and character. Where it’s easy for people to go with the James Wan “jump scare,” an element that seems to be what the state of horror coasts off these days, MF wants everything rooted in the tragedy and emotional pain behind each of his demons and characters. Because we can connect with his characters on such a real, human, emotional level, the scares and horrors they go through affect us even more. It’s storytelling over cheap scares, and it needs to be celebrated and embraced in horror today.
AARON: YES! When horror is about the story more than the scare, it evokes classic Guillermo del Toro (THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE), Roman Polanski (ROSEMARY’S BABY), and Scott Derrickson (SINISTER). Looking at MASS specifically, it was a love letter to figuring out what happens when we die, alcoholism, and religious zealotry. He does this, and yet his work somehow feels familiar and entirely new at the same time. Oh – and there are notable jump scares. Not just a cat wanders into the frame for a fake jump scare.
Jami: Outside of HUSH, which I really enjoyed, I haven’t loved other MF features as much as some do. I think he did the best with what was given for DOCTOR SLEEP, but I’ll add that I don’t think THE SHINING (a near-perfect film IMO) needed a sequel. On the other hand, his Netflix anthologies have been wonderful. Ryan Murphy started the modern horror anthology series thing with AMERICAN HORROR STORY. Still, where Murphy’s stories blend elements of horror, campiness, musicals & more, MF gives us more serious horror (whether it be ghost or monster) that still manages to ask important societal questions about family, nature vs. nurture, religion, and beliefs.
AARON: What comes next for MF?
JAMI: Not so much a prediction, but more of a hope. I hope MF uses his success and fame to lift up new underrepresented voices in horror, especially those from BIPOC creators, LGBTQIA+ creators, etc.
AARON: Agreed, but he kind of already did this with MASS? I mean, Muslims, domestic abuse survivors, a lesbian of science all randomly become the heroes. Also, this quote from MASS sums up why what’s next doesn’t matter as much as just seeing more work from MF: “Well, that’s the thing about where we’ve been. It’s important, sure. But it’s not as important as where we’re going. And every place I was before where I am now, well, they were just leading me here. Even if I didn’t know at the time. Even if I didn’t see it.”
MIKE: No need to predict. He’s making an adaptation of Poe’s Fall of the House of Usher for Netflix.
AARON: Any final thoughts?
JAMI: I know MF often casts his wife Kate Siegel and “Flanagan faves” Rahul Kohli, Annabeth Gish, Michael Trucco, Henry Thomas, and I love each of them and what they’ve brought to their roles in his projects. I wouldn’t mind seeing him branch out with entirely new folks and, at the very least, shifting all of his faves back to more supporting roles if they’re interested.
MIKE: MF is an artist. I love his films and shows. He needs to be the example of how horror moves forward in this day and age.