In addition to all the leaf-peeping, apple-picking, sweater-layering, and festbier and pumpkin beer-drinking we’ve been waxing poetic about as of late, fall is of course also characterized by one crucially important--because it’s crucially fun--holiday. We are obviously talking about Halloween, and its entire spoOoOky season. If you don’t start buying candy before October even starts, we salute your strength.
There are so many ways to throw yourself into the Halloween spirit in the weeks leading up to October 31. Maybe you’re an all-out scare stan, here for the chills, thrills, and gore, dragging your friends to every haunted house. Maybe you love turning your own home into a haunted house, even if your roommate has begged you to stop covering the doorways in that fake spiderweb stuff because now it’s stuck everywhere. Or, maybe you love decorating, but are more in the cute Target Halloween camp. Maybe you start planning your costume in January, or maybe you’ve been hard at work sewing a grand masterpiece for your dog to debut at your local Halloween pet parade. Maybe you do all of the above--but one thing we’re willing to bet is that you get a little more into horror movies around this time of year. ‘Tis the season, after all.
There are, of course, also different levels of indulging in horror movies. Some of us are lifelong scare flick connoisseurs, some of us have only seen a few and only through a very tiny space between our fingers that are ready to shield our eyes if things get too hairy. And plenty more of us are somewhere in between. Wherever you stand on the matter, the fun of watching horror movies in the build-up to Halloween is undeniable. Even if you have to watch with the lights on, this tradition is fun alone, with friends, with family, with pets--and it totally gets everyone excited about the season and the holiday. Naturally, too, a major part of said tradition is snacks and beverages. What really is a horror movie sesh without making a complete event out of it, complete with your favorite candy and a great craft beer or two?
To help you plan a perfect October night on the couch, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite horror movies--for all levels of horror movie fandom--and paired them with just the right adult beverage. We turned to our rad staff, too, for some of these movie picks, so now’s your time to get to know some TapRm team members a little better through their viewing faves.
Hausu and Japas Cervejaria’s Neko IPA
Hausu is a recommendation from Mary Kate, our Director of Brand Partnerships. It’s a 1977 Japanese film from Nobuhiko Ôbayashi, in which a teen girl takes a group of friends to stay at her aunt’s country house in order to avoid spending time with her dad and his creepy new girlfriend. The girlfriend may have been the less frightening option, though, because spoiler alert: the country house is haunted. Chaos ensues, with lots of thrills, jumps, gross-outs, and even some laughs.
We’d curl up to take this madness in with the Neko IPA from Japas. For one, this complex yet crushable, citrusy IPA toasts Hausu’s Japanese roots, as the Japas brand is a beautiful fusion of Brazilian and Japanese heritages. This beer, in particular, is named for the Maneki Neko, a famous Japanese amulet of a “lucky cat.” There is a cat in Hausu named Snowflake, so that’s another tie-in right there, but perhaps more importantly, you may feel you need a little luck while watching this movie, and when in doubt, you can avert your eyes and focus on the cute cats on the can.
It Follows and Willie’s Superbrew Mango & Passionfruit Hard Seltzer
It Follows is the horror movie for you if you want to watch something a little more contemporary than, say, some of the classics like the Nightmare on Elm Street series, and if you’re looking for serious creepy vibes and chills without going the gory route. In this film from David Robert Mitchell, Jay, played by Maika Monroe, is stalked by something mysterious and, frankly, terrifying.
Even though this movie is indeed a modern horror flick, made in 2014, it’s got a real ‘80s mood happening. It takes a page from all those classic teen slashers--or even classic teen rom-coms, if you fancy--balancing its nightmarish tone with a sort of nostalgic innocence. As it turns out, Mitchell told The A.V. Club that he purposefully kept the time period of It Follows enigmatic. He incorporated elements from the 1950s to today to create the movie’s own era. It’s retro meets modern.
A beverage that feels so in line with that is the Mango & Passionfruit Hard Seltzer from Willie’s Superbrew. It conjures up the fruity cocktails popular in the ‘80s and ‘90s, but is distinctly current with its balanced, and refreshing hard seltzer character. It also feels like something fresh and fun, like friends--friends over 21!--might enjoy hanging out together on a lazy summer night, as the friends in this film do. Plus, at 4.5%, this crushable seltzer is so light and irresistible, you could say “it follows”--you’ll definitely want another one after your first.
The Thing and KCBC’s Bug Hug Fruited Sour
Emily, our Director of Special Projects, says of The Thing, "I watched it for the first time last Halloween and I was so scared at one part that I literally started crying and had to pause the movie to take a break (the dog scene ahhhhh). But Kurt Russell is great, and it was genuinely scary!"
The Thing is a classic because as a film, it had that journey that so many iconic horror movies do: it was totally panned when it came out, and then over the years, people started to fall for its wild ride and now it’s got its own cult following. This 1982 flick from John Carpenter sees a group of American researchers in Antarctica terrorized by an extraterrestrial monster situation, perhaps scariest because it can change into different life forms. It’s a super fun watch, though, as Emily warned, get ready to cover your eyes during the dog scene.
When the going gets rough during The Thing, take a sip of KCBC’s irresistibly delicious Bug Hug Fruited Sour. It’s got strawberry, watermelon, and lime, so it’s sweet and tart--it’s like getting a big handful of sour gummies but better, because beer. (Though, it would pair perfectly with your gummy of choice, and also with chocolate for a stellar contrast.) The can art and name of this hazy pink brew conjure up a serious sci-fi mood. And if that doesn’t life your spirits after the shock of The Thing’s scares, follow Emily’s advice and watch her favorite annual tradition, Hocus Pocus!
The Witch and Hudson North Cider Co.’s Toasted Pumpkin Cider
Robert Eggers’ 2015 film The Witch is a slow burn of nightmarish gloom and mounting distrust and fear, focusing on an English family of Puritans who are trying to survive a bad harvest in New England. It’s hard to decide which is scarier: the actual witches in the woods, or a family coming apart at the seams believing each other is possessed by the devil. This movie is a modern classic to watch for Halloween because it’s just so creepy, but in case you haven’t noticed yet, it’s super dark, and a stellar drink option will definitely help inject some fun into the viewing situation.
What could possibly be more perfect than the Toasted Pumpkin Cider from Hudson North Cider Co.? For one, it’s a pumpkin cider, and it’s October, so, duh! To go a little deeper, enjoying a cider is actually a historically authentic choice for a movie set in 17th century America, where colonists would have been more likely to make cider from local apples than give beer a go. There’s even talk about looking for apples in the woods among The Witch’s family. If only our doomed protagonists had a little delicious pumpkin cider, exquisitely balanced between a sweet flavor and a dry, crisp mouthfeel!
The Love Witch and Ditto’s Piquette Spritz
And now for a very different kind of “witch” story...Anna Biller’s 2016 movie The Love Witch is a decidedly more fun sort of retro romp, a celebration of all things 1960s horror. The protagonist is a witch with a penchant for making men fall in love with her and then getting rid of them in various--pretty final--ways, and the murderous mayhem makes for a great watch, especially if you’re a fan of vintage fashion, hairstyles, and makeup. The imagery in The Love Witch is as compelling as the plot.
For this, you’ll instantly be in the mood for something in the wine family, something you might drink out of a bejeweled goblet with your coven. Enter: Ditto’s Piquette Spritz, a wine and hard seltzer fusion with red raspberries. It’s elegant and decadent but totally fun and irresistibly fresh and easy-drinking. Just like the film’s heroine, the Piquette is all too capable of enchanting.
Oculus and Allagash Brewing Haunted House Hoppy Dark Ale
Abigail in Customer Experience picked Oculus, the 2013 film from Mike Flanagan. “I love psychological thrillers, and this one is particularly scary,” she says. “It's about a haunted mirror, and I was on edge the ENTIRE movie, right up until the end. I covered my mirror for weeks after and am still a bit suspicious of any picture or mirror with a fancy frame. I am a bit biased because I was an extra in this movie, but it's a really great creepy story for Halloween!”We couldn’t possibly go through a Halloween-themed beer round-up and not pick Allagash’s Haunted House Hoppy Dark Ale, could we? This spooky season brew is a must-have match for Oculus and its story of, essentially, an entire home and family haunted by a mirror. It’s roasty and features notes of coffee, and is perfectly balanced with hoppy bitterness. Haunted House will feel festive for this time of year, and is something tasty to concentrate on when Oculus gets a little too real.