Who doesn’t love watching a horror film from time to time? Whether it be silly overly gory ones or plain old scary ones, watching horror movies is fun. Halloween is the perfect time to gather a few friends and watch scary movies, so I’ve made a list of, in no particular order, 10 horror movies that you should see if you haven’t already (and if you have already seen them then they hold up really well on a re-watch). The list consists of both classic and modern horror cinema, but doesn’t contain all the usual suspects, so hopefully there’s something here you haven’t seen before.
Neil Marshall’s 2005 film follows six women who decide to go on a caving expedition in the Appalachian Mountains. Not a film for those who are claustrophobic or afraid of the dark, as it takes place almost entirely in dim lighting, with sometimes only the flashlights on the women’s helmets to light the screen for viewers. The film could easily be mistaken for a thriller for the first half as the women get trapped in the cave and must attempt to find a way out, but once the six women (and the audience) discover that they are not alone in the cave, the film becomes a straight up horror film, and a terrifying one at that. The less known about the plot the better in the case of this film, but trust me, this is one of the scariest (if not the scariest) film of the 21st century. Best watched with the lights out and someone to grab when you inevitably get scared.
This 1979 horror/science-fiction classic helmed by Ridley Scott still stands as one of the hallmarks of horror cinema and rightly deserves its place there. The film follows the crew of the spaceship Nostromo as they investigate a distress signal on a seemingly unexplored planet. Relying on the slow build of tension before the scares begin and also featuring one of the greatest horror movie villains of all time, Alien is definitely something worth checking out this Halloween season. Sigourney Weaver also plays one of the most beloved heroines of horror cinema.
Note: Avoid the Alien Vs. Predator franchise crossover films. They’re terrifying, but not for the reasons they should be.
Stanley Kubrick was a genius who managed to successfully tackle most genres, but his horror masterpiece remains one of his most beloved. The “HERE’S JOHNNY” scene remains one of the most iconic and parodied scenes in pop culture. The film follows Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) as he brings his family to The Overlook Hotel over the offseason, where he will be working as the caretaker. Once the snow starts and the cabin fever sets in, things get creepy as the hotel reveals its blood soaked past. Another classic that would make for perfect viewing material this Halloween if you’ve never seen it before.
The House of the Devil:
Do babysitters ever have a good time in horror films? Nope, and The House of the Devil is not around to change that trope. Samantha, a college sophomore, is desperate for money and decides to take a babysitting job in hopes of earning easy cash. Unluckily for Samantha, it turns out there’s no child for her to babysit. Director Ti West pays homage to 1980s horror and beyond with this modern classic that’s sure to have you checking that your doors are locked. Slowly building tension until a blood soaked finale, The House of the Devil is an underappreciated and under seen gem that’s available now on Netflix.
This blood drenched horror is set on Christmas eve four months after the lead character, Sarah, lost her husband in a tragic car accident. Alone and heavily pregnant, she finds herself terrorised during the night by a mysterious woman who claims to want Sarah’s unborn child. Never have I seen such a bloody film, so this is definitely one for the gorehounds. The home invasion aspect of the film provides the audience with old school scares, finding a nice middle ground between the gore and the scares. Be warned though, the violence is extreme when present and not for the faint hearted.
It’s not often you find a star of A-list calibre in a genre film, but when you do the results can be either disastrous or amazing. Luckily for Nicole Kidman, her film lands in the latter category. The Others has proven to be one of the creepiest films released this century, also boasting some of the best twists in modern cinema. This is a film that even with repeated viewing is just as effective as the first viewing. The plot follows Kidman’s character Grace in post-war Jersey as she begins to suspect that her home has become site of a haunting. Low on gore but heavy on eeriness and scares, this is an obvious choice for Halloween season viewing.
Evil Dead (2013):
It’s not often that remakes are as good as their originals but Evil Dead may be the rare example of such a film. Evil Dead follows a group of friends staying at a cabin in the woods over a weekend in the hopes of helping one of the friends kick her drug habit. The friends unknowingly unleash an evil spirit in the cabin, which then possesses the junkie. While some of the characters are undeniably stupid, such characters meet their end in a gloriously gory fashion. With more gore than you can shake a severed limb at and some decent scares, what’s not to love? This is the perfect movie to watch with a group of friends (and a few drinks) at Halloween.
Another throwback to horror of decades past, It Follows has a distinctly retro feel throughout. Jay finds herself being stalked by a sinister presence after a sexual encounter with the guy she was dating. Afterwards he informs her that this presence is going to follow her, and eventually kill her, unless she passes it on. Filled with a sense of paranoia matched by no other film this decade, It Follows is the most unsettling horror film of 2015.
Mia Farrow stars in this landmark of horror cinema as the titular Rosemary Woodhouse, a newlywed who begins to fear that her unborn child may be in danger of the neighbours she suspects are part of a cult. This is another film that’s high on the sense of paranoia throughout: is Rosemary slowly losing her mind or is her unborn child really in danger? Gradually building tension to an almost unbearable level until the climactic final scenes, Rosemary’s Baby deserves its recognition and status. It’s one of the few horror films to win an academy award, deservedly so.
John Carpenter’s original stalk and slash flick has set an example for many of the horror movies that came after it, including some on this very list. Featuring an iconic killer and a stellar performance from newcomer Jamie Lee Curtis, it’s not hard to see why Halloween has become one of the most popular horror films of the last 50 years. The film follows a killer that breaks out of a mental hospital 15 years after his incarceration and begins to kill teenagers in his home town. This film essentially kick-started the slasher genre.
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