For those of us who love a thrill at this spooky time of year here’s a bunch of movies that will give you the shivers, make you hide behind your cushions and spill your popcorn. Beware though… some of them may give you nightmares… mwah ha ha ha ha!
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence
Director: John Carpenter
Scare factor: 9
Fifteen years after murdering his sister on Halloween night 1963, Michael Myers escapes from a mental hospital and returns to the small town of Haddonfield to kill again.
Yes its an obvious choice for a Halloween horror but it’s impossible to ignore as horror fans everywhere rate this as the undisputed king of Halloween. This classic horror ticks all the boxes and is guaranteed to scare. It’s a movie that can be watched over and over again, with John Carpenters signature music flowing through it creating the tension and fear that made this movie a piece of cinematography history. Jamie Lee Curtis excels as the heroine and after watching, babysitting will never be the same again.
House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
Starring: Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, Karen Black
Director: Rob Zombie
Scare factor: 10
Two young couples travel across the backwoods of Texas searching for urban legends of murder end up as prisoners of a bizarre and sadistic backwater family of serial killers.
Definitely not for the faint hearted or squeamish – this movie pushes horror to the extreme! Filled with hideous sadistic characters who take nothing but joy from their evil actions. You really go on the journey with the young group of teenagers and it soon becomes clear that it can only end one way.
Trick ‘r’ Treat (2007)
Starring: Anna Paquin, Brian Cox, Dylan Baker
Director: Michael Dougherty
Scare factor: 6
Five interwoven stories that occur on Halloween: An everyday high school principal has a secret life as a serial killer; a college virgin might have just met the guy for her; a group of teenagers pull a mean prank; a woman who loathes the night has to contend with her holiday-obsessed husband; and a mean old man meets his match with a demonic, supernatural trick-or-treater.
This movie really captures the essence of Halloween and is extremely clever by linking the stories. It plays on the urban legends we all know and love and has twists and shocks that you don’t expect. It’s a fun movie – dark also but an easy watch for those of us who revel in this time of year.
Tales of Halloween (2015)
Starring: Adrienne Barbeau, Hunter Smit, Cameron Easton
Scare factor: 5
Ten stories are woven together by their shared theme of Halloween night in an American suburb, where ghouls, imps, aliens and axe murderers appear for one night only to terrorize unsuspecting residents.
Similar to Trick ‘r’ Treat with more of a comedic take on Halloween. The stories are a mixed bag with very different takes on a Halloween themes but there is something for everyone and all done with tongue in cheek. It’s much more of a fun watch than any of the others in this list and a good recommendation if you have friends over.
The House of the Devil (2009)
Starring: Jocelin Donahue, Tom Noonan, Mary Woronov
Director: Ti West
Scare factor: 7
In 1983, financially struggling college student Samantha Hughes takes a strange babysitting job that coincides with a full lunar eclipse. She slowly realizes her clients harbor a terrifying secret, putting her life in mortal danger.
From the credible Ti West, this horror has a look and feel of a classic horror from the 1980’s. It has tension and atmosphere throughout and a start that nods to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre setting the scene for what is to follow. Ti knows how to create terror and keep a viewer watching. Enjoy!
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Starring: Marilyn Burns, Edwin Neal, Gunnar Hansen
Director: Tobe Hooper
Scare factor: 8
A brother, sister and their friends are on a road trip to visit their grandfather’s grave in Texas and become the prey of a twisted family of cannibalistic psychopaths who will stop at nothing to get what they want.
Known as one of the scariest horror movies of all time and banned for some time too, this classic tells the tale of unsuspecting friends and their terrifying journey in the depths of the countryside. Director Tobe Hooper, who directed other gems such as Poltergeist and Salem’s Lot creates disturbing scenes and sounds that will chill your bones. It is also noted to be inspired by the famous killer Ed Gein. This movie is a masterpiece of the horror genre. Brace yourselves for Leatherface and that famous chainsaw!
Starring: Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, David Arquette
Director: Wes Craven
Scare factor: 7
A year after the murder of her mother, a young girl, Sidney is tormented by a new killer, who targets the girl and her friends by using horror movies as part of a deadly game.
With one of the best scenes ever to start a horror movie and for a brief time starring Drew Barrymore, Wes Craven’s Scream breaks boundaries within horror in this revolutionary slasher movie. It has it all, including scares that will have you jumping out of your seat! It manages to salute and at the same time poke fun at the horror genre whilst keeping you guessing at who the murderer is. A piece of genius.
The Exorcist (1973)
Starring: Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Linda Blair
Director: William Friedkin
Scare factor: 10
A teenage daughter of a famous actress is possessed by an evil entity but can the church save her?
One of the most famous horrors of all time which centers on demonic possession of an innocent girl and contains very disturbing scenes that will shock the viewer, the most famous being a backwards crab walk down stairs. This movie was deemed so scary it was banned from viewing. Despite the subject of possession being difficult to believe in the normal world, the tale is told so well you will have no doubts whilst watching and there are many who feel this film has stayed with them for a long time!
Black Christmas (1974)
Starring: Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder
Director: Bob Clark
Scare factor: 8
During Christmas break in a sorority house, the girls are tormented by an unknown villain.
Ok, ok, it’s not Halloween, it’s Christmas but as my favorite of the lesser-known horrors I had to include it. This movie is dark, moody, unnerving and at times funny, but it is not to be underestimated as a Christmas warmer. It’s not over complex and manages to shock without being too graphic or gory. Despite no visual of the villain throughout the film, he/she has the ability to creep anyone out. This is another great girl’s night horror.
What we do in the Shadows (2015)
Starring: Jermaine Clement, Taika Waititi
Director: Jermaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer
Scare factor: 1
A hilarious spoof documentary about a group of vampires living in a house in New Zealand and the challenges they face day to day.
If you’ve got to the bottom of this list and realised that scares are not your thing, then this comedy is one for you. And if you just love horror in all its guises then give this a try too! It’s hilarious. It really isn’t to be missed and will have you laughing all the way though. It’s the vision of the boys behind the cult TV series Flight of the Concords from 2007-2009 and has quickly become a cult film in its own right. The characters are endearing and quirky….well what vampire isn’t?!