We’re getting in that chilly, awesome season where shorts are going away, long-sleeved hoodies are coming out, our breath is beginning to be visible, and the Halloween decorations are going up across the world. Halloween is one of the most widely celebrated holidays – so it’s only natural that Hollywood would want to bank on this. The film industry has made many a scary movie – some Halloween-themed, some not. Here are my top ten examples of great horror films you should watch to freak you out this year!
I have never loved a book as much as I love the Coraline novel by Neil Gaiman. Not many people have read it – people mainly know Coraline through the animated film, which is also great, visually beautiful and with some great changes that enhance the plot. Many wouldn’t qualify Coraline as horror, but I think it’s one of the creepiest films and books of all time. About a young girl who gets more than she bargained for when she escapes to a world that’s just like hers, Coraline is an amazing film to watch in the dark, with all the lights off, and with a bucket of popcorn between your legs on Halloween night. Try your best not to get scared. It’s pretty difficult.
You can’t mention movies for Halloween without discussing Halloween itself! Not any of the cheesy remakes – the original, 1978 version. The series introduced Michael Myers to us, an iconic character who has become a staple in how people see horror. Also, it brought us a wonderful performance from Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode, and did some amazing things with visual cues. Halloween is an instant classic that fits perfectly with the holiday – not only because it’s quite literally called Halloween, but because the story is spooky enough to reel you in.
3. The Shining
It’s been years since the first time I watched The Shining, and every time I watch it I’m still chilled to the bone. The amazing direction from Stanley Kubrick really elevates this film, bringing it to a very prestige and exciting level. Also, the spellbinding performances from the actors and the wonderful scares. I find movies that are psychologically terrifying much scarier than slasher films, and The Shining excels at freaking you out in your head – so simple, yet so elegant at the same time.
4. Get Out
If you’re looking for something more current and socially relevant, Get Out is a perfect example. It’s more of a thriller than a horror, but the underlying message of the film is far creepier than a lot of prime examples out today. If you haven’t seen Get Out, it’s the story of an interracial couple gone wrong – the racism that emanates from the family of the white woman who our protagonist, Chris, is dating. It’s not only a lot of fun, but it has some great jump scares, an awesome score, and beautiful direction from Jordan Peele.
Because Pennywise is so in right now, why not revisit the character this year for Halloween? Sure, the 2017 film isn’t available on DVD yet, but it’s still in theaters – and this would make for a creepy, enthralling date night or a night out with friends. It has captured the nation because it’s not only so creepy but because the characters are so endearing and relatable. Do yourself a favor and check it out!
Alien creeped me out as a kid, and it’s still very creepy to me. Though it’s more high-concept than most of the films on here (with the exception of Coraline), Alien follows Sigourney Weaver through a creepy invasion of a space station. It’s thrilling, it’s engaging, and most of all – it’s scary.
7. The Conjuring
Still, to this day, the first Conjuring is one of the scariest films of all time – it freaked me out so much I refused to sleep with the lights out for a few days after seeing it. The film follows the mystery of strange appearances of a malevolent spirit that is tormenting the Warren family. The movie is so scary that I had to cover my eyes while watching parts of it – and I rarely do that. If you want something scary this year, The Conjuring is it.
Of all the Stephen King canon, this is the film I relate to the most deeply. The original version follows Carrie, a new and bullied girl, through high school and her estranged and sometimes harmful relationship with her religious mother. The film is deeply disturbing at parts, and it’s more of a thriller than outright horror – but there are moments that truly terrified me.
9. The Sixth Sense
Some people feel The Sixth Sense isn’t horror, but I do. If you like this, you’ll probably love Coraline or It. For some reason, horror movies following children creep me out the most – and The Sixth Sense is no exception. Following a young boy who discovers he can talk to ghosts, it’s, in my opinion, one of director M. Night Shamylan’s best films, and one of the best in the horror genre.
10. The Descent
This is like Alien, but in my opinion, it’s a lot creepier. The creatures are more terrifying, the effects are more haunting, and the cast does a really good job of conveying the horror of what they’re witnessing. It follows Sarah, a woman who goes on an expedition after a traumatic experience to escape – and finds more terror than she ever did before she left. One of the more underrated horror films – an instant classic.
These are great examples of horror films you can watch – maybe you haven’t seen some of them, maybe you have. Curl up with your costume on and make the ambiance as spooky as possible, and enjoy!