What’s Your Favorite Scary Movie?: Jessie Seitz Edition

Jessie Seitz hustles harder than most of us. Not only is she a producer, director, actor, and writer, but she is also known for her sick special effects and makeup work. Did you watch Jakob’s Wife and wondered how they did all that to Bonnie Aarons on an indie budget? Then Jessie is one of the people you should direct your questions to. Watching Seitz juggle all these multiple hats while still making time to work on a documentary celebrating women in SFX is inspiring. We know the film industry historically overlooks women and their contributions to cinema. This is why it is so hard for many of us to get our foot in the door. That is a whole other article though!

Jessie is one of the coolest people you will meet on Twitter. So, that meant she was in danger of getting a message from me asking for her favorite five horror movies. Luckily for all of us, she delivered a very iconic list with a couple of titles that are not getting mentioned enough in this column. I also appreciate that I had not heard of one of the movies, so I have homework too. Read on to see how this filmmaker knocked this assignment out of the park.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

Where You Can Watch: VOD

The infamous Count Dracula comes to England to seduce Mina Murray in this gorgeously designed retelling of a tale as old as time. Because this is such a beautifully designed movie, I can understand why it caught Jessie’s eye. It also has a cast filled with our favorite actors playing outside their usual sandboxes. The two drastically different looks they give Gary Oldman in this movie are what always sticks out to me. This movie is eye candy central and, at times, looks like a living painting. 

The Company of Wolves (1984)

Where You Can Watch: AMC+ and Shudder

A teen falls asleep reading a magazine, and dreams wolves are outside her bedroom window. This is another beautifully designed movie on Jessie Seitz’s list. It also has Angela Lansbury in the cast, so I am surprised more of my favorites have not mentioned it. This is another gothic fantasy film that lets creatures roam freely. I am starting to see a pattern with this list, and I am here for it. I feel we should have more gorgeous movies where characters live under the threat of being bitten. 

An American Werewolf in London (1981)

Where You Can Watch: Plex, Pluto TV, Prime Video, The Roku Channel, and Tubi

Two college kids touring Britain are attacked by a werewolf, which messes up the whole trip. This is one of the best werewolf movies in the history of the genre. It also has one of the best werewolf transformations I have ever seen on screen. So, it makes sense that Jessie would have this on the list. After all, if the rest of us are still blown away by how they pulled this off in the 80s, I cannot even imagine the serotonin it gives someone who actually works in special effects. I am also noting that Jessie seems to be drawn to titles where the protagonists are unsure of what is real and what is not. These first three films are pretty dreamlike, and I never put that together until today.

Ghost Stories (2017)

Where You Can Watch: AMC+, Plex, Pluto TV, and Tubi

A skeptic embarks on a trip after getting a file with three supernatural cases. I had never heard of this movie until Jessie Seitz brought it to my attention with this list. I wonder if it also shares some cool design choices or plays with the main character’s sense of reality. It has Martin Freeman and ghosts, which feels like my summoning circle. I also discovered it is an IFC Midnight title and an anthology. These are all words that trigger my spidey senses, so I am making this title a priority. I am excited to get into it and see if it becomes my new personality. 

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Where You Can Watch: VOD

When teens start dying in their sleep, one of them is forced to uncover the secret behind the man hunting them in their nightmares. I am a Petty Freddy stan account, so I love that Jessie included the movie where it all began. Not only does it have a heightened sense of reality, but it is the ultimate movie about dreams. Also, Freddy Krueger’s look is pretty iconic. He was one of the earliest monsters I saw as a child, where you could still see the actor’s face. This is good for us, but I imagine Robert Englund is tired of fans needing a second to recognize him without all the burns.

Jessie Seitz also included Scream as a sixth choice, and I will allow it. I hope more people figure out if the runner-up is a Wes Craven movie, I will find a way to mention it. On the surface, it may not fit in with the dreamy states and bold unique aesthetics of the other movies on the list. However, with Sidney’s dreams and visions paired with Sam’s hallucinations, it is safe to say it got there in the end.

I am glad Jessie Seitz chose movies almost as cool as she is. I highly recommend you get into Jessie’s work and find your new favorite filmmaker on Instagram and Twitter. You can also follow along with Jessie’s documentary, Monster Girls. The film will highlight the contributions made by women to the world of special effects.