There’s nothing like a scary movie, and there’s no better time to watch one then on Halloween (arguably the best holiday). I was driving to work this morning and saw a joyous gaggle of kids in costumes headed to school, and it reminded me how much fun I used to have dressing up as a kid. Captain America, Elsa, Batman and Rocket Raccoon were all represented; it was like I was back at Comic-Con, which is one of the coolest events I’ve ever attended.
When you get back from your Halloween parties and trick or treating tonight, saddle up and fall asleep to one of these classic horror flicks. The horror genre has churned out some truly amazing movies, from cult classic to modern masterpieces. Sadly, many of my top choices weren’t available on either Amazon or Netflix (at least for streaming), but I’ve come up with ten movies you should watch to really spook yourself this Halloween.
What’s your favorite scary movie?
This one is a classic. Halloween is one of those movies that every horror fan knows and loves, and has been replicated but never duplicated. Released in 1978, Halloween follows a psychotic murderer who terrorizes a girl and her friends. The film is terrifying for the simple fact that Michael Myers never says a single word throughout the entire movie. Some role to play, huh? The killer wears a strange mask, too, which looks more mannequin that human. And as if Michael Myers wasn’t scary enough, just wait until the Halloween theme kicks in. I shudder every time.
The Cabin in the Woods (Amazon, Netflix)
You know Joss Whedon, who directed Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron? He co-wrote The Cabin in the Woods. This flick wasn’t necessarily a huge success at the box office, but it’s found a second-life as a cult hit. The movie is essentially a satirical horror film, kind of playing on the tropes of modern and traditional horror movies and monsters. You see all the scary movie cliches, but rather than make fun of them, The Cabin in the Woods embraces the familiar twists and turns, while offering up some surprises of its own. It’s not frightening in the way Halloween is, but it’s just good, solid horror fun.
Scream (Amazon, Netflix)
It’s only fitting I put Scream right under Cabin in the Woods. Wes Craven’s thriller put a major postmodern twist on the tired slasher film genre, giving viewers what is still one of the best scary movies out there. I mean, who hasn’t heard the line, “What’s your favorite scary movie?” Not only that, but the Ghostface costume has become a character unto itself, and synonymous with this 1996 masterpiece. If you’re too scared to stay home alone, I definitely wouldn’t watch this tonight. But, then again, there’s no better day to do it.
The Blair Witch Project (Netflix)
I remember seeing this in theaters when I was younger and leaving hugely confused. What did I just watch? The Blair Witch Project kicked off the found footage trend, and was unprecedented at the time because of how it was made. The film follows a group of hikers as they investigate the disappearance of three students who went looking for the Blair Witch. What made the movie so terrifying is that we never see the actual “witch,” and we’re lead to believe that the movie is actual real recovered footage. It was mysterious, and definitely unlike anything before it.
You’re Next (Netflix, Amazon)
Another slasher flick, You’re Next follows a group of assassins as they terrorize a family during a wedding anniversary getaway. This is the kind of movie that will have you second-guessing at every turn; the movie is at its best when you don’t know what will happen next. There’s a big twist, of course, and although it doesn’t wrap up with a flowery, happy ending, it’s the ride that keeps You’re Next going.
Night of the Living Dead (Netflix, Amazon)
Before The Walking Dead, Resident Evil, and before the current zombie craze, Night of the Living Dead put zombies on the map, and made George A. Romero into a living legend. We know that zombies could never truly happen, right? Right? That’s the thing that makes zombies so terrifying. Their legend rests right on the edge of reality and fiction. And, come on, there’s nothing more horrifying than a group of bloodthirsty decaying zombies trying to eat your guts. If you want to see where the zombie craze first originated, look no further than this 1968 classic.
House on Haunted Hill (Netflix, Amazon)
No, not the 1999 remake, House on Haunted Hill follows an eccentric millionaire as his wife as they host what turns out to be a deadly haunted house party. As the guests attempt to survive through the night (with thousands of dollars for whoever survives), a group of ghosts, murderers and other unexplainable terrors slowly kill the participants one-by-one. Because this was made so long ago—1959, to be exact—there’s a certain charm about the movie’s camp. Yet the setting, music and mystery still makes House on Haunted Hill a must-see.
Fright Night (Netflix)
A little known horror movie (at least until the remake came out in 2011), Fright Night is one of the earliest examples of the modern vampire movie. The film follows Charley Brewster, who quickly discovers that his next-door neighbor, Jerry, is a vampire. When nobody believes Charley that Jerry is a vampire, he enlists the help of a Vampire Hunter TV host to stop Jerry from going on a killing spree. There’s nothing better than a good 80s movies; you get funny hair styles, creative monsters and some really great music. If you are a child of the 80s, and you haven’t seen Fright Night, I recommended checking this out, pronto.
The Woman In Black (Amazon)
I know, I know, a scary movie with Harry Potter as the lead? But give the movie a chance, and you’ll actually find a pretty competent horror flick. There’s something about the remoteness of the village, the darkness of the home, and I’m a sucker for a good ghost story. The really good horror films don’t rely on jump scares, but instead slowly boil the tension. Then it’ll hit you when you least expect it. This isn’t one of the better horror films by any means, but it’ll definitely do the trick on Halloween night.
Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn
Talk about a cult classic. Is there any character in the horror genre more badass than Ashley “Ash” J. Williams? Directed by Sam Raimi (also of Spider-Man fame), Evil Dead 2 follows as Ash and a group of strangers try to survive an onslaught by blood-thirsty demons. It has blood, guts, and plenty of ridiculous moments. Pretty much everything you want in a scary movie. For what it is, you really can’t do much better than Evil Dead 2. If you watch The Cabin in the Woods, you have to watch Evil Dead 2.
I would love to keep going on and on, but then you’d have no time to actually watch any of these films. Like I said, a lot of the true classics aren’t available for streaming, so I couldn’t mention movies like The Ring, The Shining, Alien, etc. But the movies listed above are solid if you plan on staying in this Halloween. There’s really no better holiday—and no better time to turn the lights low, grab a bag of candy, and scare your brains out.