For fans of horror films, there are many genres to choose from; zombie, slasher, psychological thrillers and more.

For its Halloween programming this year, The Cinematheque in Vancouver chose to showcase the surrealist subgenre of director David Lynch, said Shaun Inouye, the theatre's programming associate.

"David Lynch was having a banner year with the return of Twin Peaks, and this recent season has dipped into horror more than he has in the past so we wanted to look at his particular brand," Inouye said. 

'Damn Scary' movie series

The series of movies running this weekend, leading up to Halloween, is called Damn Scary, a favourite expression of Lynch's.

Inouye said Lynch takes a "nightmare" approach to his film making. 

"You're kind of terrified but it's for reasons you don't really understand fully," he added.

Lynch's magic is tapping into the primal unconscious of audience members, he said.

Movie-goers aren't given the kind of psychological clues to the characters in the film that are typical in other types of cinema. The audience has no idea what the characters' motivations are, which makes it more difficult to engage with the story.

"It makes for really unnerving and unsettling experiences watching those films," Inouye said. 

Lost Highway

Considered David Lynch's scariest surrealist horror movie. (Theatrical Release Poster)

The Cinematheque is playing Lost Highway on Halloween night.

The series also includes other films that influenced Lynch: Ingmar Berman's Hour of the Wolf and Herk Harvey's Carnival of Souls. 

They aren't full of jump scares or gore but both are seen as deeply frightful.

Why do we love scary movies so much?

Inouye said believes some people find pleasure in the pain of scary movies and they like the communal experience of watching a very scary movie in the theatre. The terror is turned up because the image in a movie house is massive and the sound is all around.

The Damn Scary series runs Oct. 27 to 31. Halloween night also includes a 90-minute DJ set from the Astoria's Dark 80s dance parties. Participants are urged to dress up in goth-style. 

Watch Shaun Inouye in conversations with Gloria Macarenko on Our Vancouver in the video segment above.  

Our Vancouver