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31 Horror Movies to Watch for Halloween

31 Horror Movies to Watch for Halloween

by Jessica Gomez on October 01st, 2019 | | ,

Happy October! It’s officially Halloween season, so it’s time to ramp up the horror movie viewing. Take our challenge to watch a horror movie every day this month. Check out our personal favorite picks:

1. The Innkeepers (2011)

Let’s kick things off with a staple ghost story. An old, supposedly haunted inn is closing, and innkeepers and amateur ghost hunters Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy) try to get their last recordings in. You’ll love the relationship between Claire and Luke, but what’s especially interesting is you’re never really sure if you can trust what’s happening in front of your eyes.

 

2. Stake Land (2010)

An underrated vampire film that pulls no punches, from the very first scene. A teenager and a mysterious man named Mister join forces after the downfall of society as they fight off evil, both supernatural and manmade. It’s very 28 Days Later-esque, but instead, vampires are the antagonists. The Walking Dead seems to have pulled some of their ideas from this flick. 

 

3. The House of the Devil (2009)

Another Ti West film, because he is King of the Slow Burn, and his movies are fantastic. Set in the 80s (extremely well done, by the way), a babysitter takes on a sketchy gig from a man called Mr. Ulman (Tom Noonan), who is so creepy when he speaks that it’s uncomfortable just listening to him. The real reason for the job turns out to be a little more devilish than he lets on.

 

4. Haunt (2019)

On Halloween, a group of friends visit what promises to be an “extreme” haunted house, but they don’t realize just how extreme the masked men and women will go to take on a fresh face. The newest release on this list, and worth your full attention. Read our full review here.

 

 

5. The Thing (1982)

John Carpenter’s remake of the 1951 film blew the original away with what is arguably one of the best horror movies of all time. A team of researchers are alerted to something amiss at their remote facility in Antarctica, and before long they realize that what they mistook for a group of Norwegians gone mad was actually a response to a shape-shifting alien. Paranoia and mistrust abound…who is who they say they are, and who is The Thing? Heavy tension and amazing SFX put this classic a cut above.

6. Sleepy Hollow (1999)

The classic tale of the Headless Horseman from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is a story most of us grew up hearing. Though this film is certifiably okay for trick-or-treaters to watch, it still depicts the story of Ichabod Crane and his nemesis in a way that is serious and tense with true horror themes and dark cinematography.

 

 

7. Zombieland (2009)

Lighten things up with this fan favorite (and see the sequel, while you’re at it!), a story of four renegades who survive a zombie apocalypse alone before realizing that companionship is a necessary evil. Funny and endearing while still encapsulating the spirit of horror.

 

 

8. Phantasm (1979)

Young Mike attends a funeral with his brother and witnesses a strange, tall man carrying off the coffin of the deceased, alone. He and his brother investigate the funeral home after hours, and it reveals more than they bargained for. Though this film does show its age – for example, an extra long acoustic guitar set that has nothing to do with the story – the scenes within the funeral home are still quite scary, as is the ever-ominous Tall Man. A classic that should be included in most “best-of” lists. 

9. The Ring (2002)

I saw this in the theater in high school, and it haunted me for days. If you watch a mysterious tape, after a week of slow torture, you die – unless you learn Samara’s sad story and keep it going. She ranks right up there with the creepiest of villains – she has a thirst for death that seemingly cannot be quenched. Why is it that evil children are the scariest?

 

10. V/H/S (2012)

The Halloween horror genre is rife with anthologies, and V/H/S is one of the better ones. Broken into four segments with one terrifying wraparound story, this found-footage gem takes on aliens, the paranormal, and in Ti West’s segment (the best of the four), the most haunting of all – evil in the human form.

 

 

11. The Shining (1980)

Fall wouldn’t be complete without a viewing of The Shining. Though it takes place in the winter, the bloody and haunting imagery that young Danny sees in the hotel where he’s living, as his father descends into madness, is reminiscent of Halloween. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, so be sure to keep this in rotation.

 

 

12. Night of the Living Dead (1968)

George Romero’s original “hole up in your house with a gun” zombie film must be paid homage in the Halloween season. The black and white only adds to the spook factor. Watch it with the lights off and you’ll see that though the film is from the 60s, its legacy lives on for a reason. 

 

 

13. Trick ‘r Treat (2007)

A tragic event leaves young Sam hungry for vengeance, and he gets his chance on Halloween night. In this fun and creepy anthology, several Halloween myths are explored – for example, do werewolves exist, and are there really people putting blades in candy? Everyone in this movie gets what’s coming to them, which is as satisfying as a (bladeless) Milky Way.

 

14. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

One of the most original horror films ever made, Wes Craven delivered a brilliant film in A Nightmare on Elm Street. A man who was burned to death by a community for hurting children is back for vengeance, complete with burnt skin and clawed fingers, and he can only get you in your sleep. Alternating between the present and the dream world, Elm Street kept everyone on their toes while delivering us Freddy Krueger, one of the most recognized and most chilling antagonists in all of cinema.

15. Rec (2007)

Unless you speak Spanish, you’ll have to watch this found-footage film with subtitles, but it won’t bother you – you’ll be too freaked out to care. Most of the film is incredibly dark (it’s part of the storyline), and when you actually see what’s lurking in the darkness, you’ll wish that the lights had been kept off.

 

 

16. Night of the Demons (1988)

I love the campiness that often accompanies 80s movies, and Night of the Demons has plenty. Angela, the school weirdo, hosts a Halloween party at an abandoned house for her classmates with the objective to scare the crap out of them – but everyone gets more than they bargained for during a seance that unleashes evil. Props to this flick for a person of color making it to the end. 

Watch the full movie here:

17. We Are Still Here (2015)

Bloody and unforgiving, Ted Geoghegan’s underrated film starring horror queen Barabara Crampton follows a couple who move into a haunted house in the late 70s. What happens when they decide to fight back? Indie filmmaking at its finest.

 

 

18. The Conjuring (2013)

Based on the supposedly true account of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, a family believes they are haunted and they call the Warrens for help. They find that their farm house is much worse off than they had even realized. There’s a reason this film spun off into several sequels; it’s utterly terrifying.

 

 

19. Urban Legend (1998)

What’s a Halloween list without some old-fashioned storytelling to get your blood pumping? A killer is on the loose, using urban legends as inspiration as they wreak havoc on a college campus. A unique story that was quite well done, making it one of the best teen horror movies I’ve seen. Bonus: a Robert Englund cameo!

 

 

20. Tales of Halloween (2015)

This holiday anthology is more fun than scary, but it’s definitely a horror film, and has plenty of  unsettling moments. It’s got ghost stories, witch stories, and even a killer pumpkin on the loose – what more could you ask for on Halloween. Read our full review here.

 

 

21. Creepshow (1982)

Someone new to watching this may not appreciate it, but it’s full-on nostalgia for 80s kids. The last anthology on the list, Creepshow gave us a tag-team made in heaven: Stephen King and George Romero, making a film based on EC Comics from the 50s. It’s at times bizarre and at others goofy, but it still keeps you watching. Quintessential 80s horror.

 

 

22. The Blair Witch Project (1999)

This film is really polarizing; either you love it or you hate it, and I will defend it to my grave. The most-watched found-footage film to date, the unbelievably smart marketing campaign swirling around this film is what gave it the legs it needed to really, truly scare people. Three filmmakers speak to people around town for their documentary about the local folklore tale of the Blair Witch. When they take to the woods to continue their doc, creepy things start to happen. Is it someone messing with them, or is the Blair Witch making it impossible to find their way home?

23. The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

A group of friends take a sojourn to a cabin in the woods, where, unbeknownst to them, they are purposely being pitted against all kinds of monstrosities to see who will come out of it alive. You won’t be quite sure what’s happening until you’re well into the movie. If you want the full story, read our review here. A meta love letter of sorts to the horror genre with tons of references to your favorite flicks.

 

24. Fright Night (1985)

In this classic horror-comedy, teenager Charley is convinced that his new next door neighbor is a vampire, and he enlists his friend and an old ghoul-fighting television actor to save the town from his masculine wiles. The 2011 remake is also worth watching, and is actually much scarier than the original – but this one is way more fun to get yourself into the Halloween mood.

 

25. The Changeling (1980)

One of the scarier haunted house films ever made, The Changeling is often overlooked but is worth the watch. The classic haunted, remote mansion has a different take on who is haunting it, and why. Sad, ominous and disconcerting.

 

 

26. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

Disturbing doesn’t even begin to describe what you’re in for with TCM. A group of friends on a road trip to a concert pick up a strange woman in need of help. They should have heeded her warnings. Leatherface, equipped with his chainsaw, remains one of the scariest, most deranged villains of all time. Though the remake was scary, it doesn’t hold a candle to the original.

 

27. Ginger Snaps (2000)

Ginger and her sister Brigitte are teenage outcasts obsessed with death. The female body goes through some pretty wild changes during puberty, and coinciding with getting her period and exploring her sexuality, Ginger becomes a werewolf. An allegory for becoming a woman that keeps it fun and full of the horror that is adolescence.

 

 

28. The Strangers (2008)

There’s not much storyline here – and that’s what makes it so scary. Four masked strangers target a couple for no reason at all, except that they were home. Atmosphere is important for this movie – watch in the dark with no interruptions, and you’re going to find it impossible to keep your heart rate under control.

 

 

29. Scream (1996)

A movie you can watch one million times and still love, because it’s so fun, and it’s so meta, while still remaining a true horror film. An ode to horror fans, the inside jokes never stop. The “rules” of who lives and who dies in horror movies, within a horror film, was genius. And the opening scene is still one of the best in any horror movie – ever. Read our review here.

 

30. The Witch (2016)

A period horror that tackles paranoia, religion, and the misunderstandings and fears of parents whose daughters are going through puberty. Make no mistake, though – the witches are for real, and though they are few and far between, they are absolutely terrifying. Would you like to live deliciously?

 

 

31. John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978)

No Halloween is complete without watching the film that put slashers on the map. It’s stood the test of time, not to mention spawned several sequels and remakes – and never have they ever reached the impact of the original. Babysitters being whacked left and right, for no apparent reason, by a faceless stalker, in a town like yours, on Halloween night? That’s what nightmares are made of.

Did your favorite films make it to our month of horror? What are your favorites to watch to get you in the Halloween spirit?



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