Halloween is just around the corner. It is that time of the year again where we love to snuggle under a blanket at night, enjoy the crisp air, and immerse ourselves in the world of scary movies. This is, after all, spooky season, isn’t it? Here, we have selected some of the must-watch horror films that will get you right in the mood for Halloween.
From nightmare-inducing thrillers to scary classics that will be perfect for the whole family, these films are all excellent for the season (but may give you sleepless nights). So, get ready with your popcorn and a pumpkin spice latte and take a dive into these scary flicks. Make sure that door to your room is properly shut, though!
1. Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
We are all aware of the classic story of Frankenstein – the monster who was brought to life by a wacky scientist. But do you know that the popular story was taken forward in a sequel? James Whale’s 1935-film, ‘The Bride of Frankenstein’, made a unique twist to the tale. Here, both Henry Frankenstein and his monster have survived and were not killed as previously believed. Dr. Frankenstein now wants to get out of the evil experiment business. However, his wife is kidnapped by a mad scientist, Dr. Pretorius, who wants help creating another monster. This time, however, the creature would be a woman, to become the companion of the original monster. Bride of Frankenstein was deliciously creepy and zany and is the perfect classic horror film that you should indulge yourself in.
2. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
George Romero’s ‘Night of the Living Dead’ has become a cult classic and remains a favorite among countless horror aficionados. In fact, it is widely considered a benchmark for monster films and was responsible for the robust zombie sub-genre that it inspired. The story is quite simple – two siblings visit their father’s grave in a remote cemetery when they are suddenly attacked by zombies. To remain safe from a bloodthirsty, flesh-eating breed of monsters, people barricade themselves in an old farmhouse. However, the monsters are relentless and escape wouldn’t be so easy.
While the undead in this film don’t have over-the-top makeup effects, they are still pretty scary and their appetite for human flesh is horrifying. Night of the Living Dead is a solid horror movie that remains enjoyable even after so many decades.
3. The Exorcist (1973)
This isn’t a surprise, is it? No horror movie list can be complete without mentioning this film. William Friedkin’s The Exorcist was the first horror film to be nominated for Best Picture in the Oscars and received nine other nominations, too, including one for Linda Blair playing the possessed Regan MacNeil. The story follows a 12-year-old girl who is possessed by a mysterious entity. Her desperate mother then seeks the help of two priests to save her. One of them realizes the necessity for a show-down with an old demonic enemy and it all culminates in a hair-raising ride.
We have, of course, seen several films like this by now – about some evil spirits possessing some innocent family member. However, the Exorcist was the touchstone of such movies and continues to be one hell of a scary film. The Exorcist eventually won two Oscars: Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Sound.
4. Carrie (1976)
This chilling adaptation of Stephen King’s horror novel is the story of a shy and sensitive teen Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) who is bullied both at school and by her mother. The constant abuse begins to overwhelm Carrie and in time, through some strange occurrences happening around her, she realizes that she has supernatural powers. Eventually, Carrie decides to fight back and get revenge on those who wronged her through her telekinetic powers.
Carrie is a dark, violent, and creepy film that had a wonderful performance by the titular character. It inspired various similar stories and also struck a chord with many who have faced bullying in their life.
5. Halloween (1978)
What can be a better movie to get you in the mood for Halloween than a movie titled ‘Halloween’? This 1978 film by John Carpenter is the story of Michael Myers who, after murdering his sister on the Halloween night of 1963, escapes from a mental hospital 15 years later and returns to the small town of Haddonfield, Illinois to kill again. Halloween is considered the godfather of a particularly gory genre and is the only ‘slasher’ film thus far to be inducted in the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry. The library noted that the film “launched Carpenter’s career and started the slasher genre.”
Interestingly, though, the film has very little literal blood. Apparently, this was intentional as the makers felt that too much gore and special effects could distract the audience. It’s a good move because Halloween is never over the top but still manages to petrify you bit by bit.
6. The Shining (1980)
Based on the gothic horror novel by Stephen King of the same name, ‘The Shining’ is easily one of the finest horror films ever made. It tells the story of an aspiring author and recovering alcoholic, Jack Torrance (played spectacularly by Jack Nicholson), who takes his wife, Wendy, and his gifted son, Danny, to an isolated hotel for the winter. Once there, however, the family realizes that there is a sinister presence in the hotel and many rooms there hold some terrifying secrets.
Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is dark and unsettling. It has an incredibly eerie atmosphere that pulls you into its world little by little. Make sure you don’t watch the film alone or you will be forced to go to bed with the lights turned on.
7. An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Who doesn’t like a good old werewolf movie? And what could be better than the horror-comedy ‘An American Werewolf in London’? The film was ahead of times both in terms of storytelling and makeup effects. The story started with two American college students backpacking through Britain when they are attacked by a ferocious werewolf. One of the friends is brutally killed while the other survives with a bite. The surviving youngster begins to have nightmares and visions of running wild through the woods. Much to his shock, he realizes that he has become a werewolf – he transforms when the moon is full and goes on a murderous rampage through London.
An American Werewolf in London was unique in its time and scared the living daylight out of unsuspecting viewers. Moreover, the makeup effects used in the film were considered groundbreaking and had never been seen before. Practical FX guru Rick Baker won the first-ever Best Makeup Oscar for his work on the film.
8. The Ring (2002)
Even if you haven’t watched the film, it is more than likely that you have heard of The Ring. It is easily one of the most popular horror flicks of the last couple of decades. The concept was unique – a mysterious videotape which seems to cause the death of anyone one week after they view it. Journalist Rachel Keller stumbles upon the videotape and begins to investigate it after her son accidentally watches the tape. As the mystery keeps unfolding she must run against time to save her son’s and her own life.
The Ring is a remake of Hideo Nakata’s Ringu which is regarded as one of the most influential international horror films of all time. Gore Verbinski did a fine job remaking the film and it scared people so much that it inspired a sequel three years later.
9. A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)
A Tale of Two Sisters is a brilliant Korean horror film that deserves more recognition. The story follows two sisters who, after spending time in a mental institution, return to the country home of their father and cruel stepmother. However, as the sisters attempt to resume their normal lives, they soon begin to feel peculiar events happening around the house. Things take a turn for the worst when they realize that it is their late mother’s ghost that is haunting them.
A Tale of Two Sisters is twisted, gritty, and shocking in so many ways. Its setting is perfectly spooky and the direction is flawless. This is a psychological thriller, a heart-wrenching drama, and a riveting horror all immersed in one exquisitely arranged package.
10. Get Out (2017)
Get Out is the most recent entry on this list and has received plenty of accolades already for being a terrific modern-day horror-thriller. It is difficult to talk about the film without giving away key elements of the plot. The story revolves around a young African-American who visits his girlfriend’s parents for the weekend. There, the family is overly accommodating at first and makes the man doubtful of their intentions. However, as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries are revealed that lead the man on an extremely dangerous path.
Get Out is the only horror film to win for Best Original Screenplay and wowed audiences and critics alike with its chilling and disturbing story.
Liked this list? Share it with other horror aficionados…