Sometimes, all we want to do on Halloween is make popcorn, get cozy, and watch scary movies.
From modern suspense to horror classics, everyone has their own opinion on what defines a really scary movie, whether it’s supernatural, monsters, suspense, or just plain creepy. Need suggestions? The following list (in no particular order) rounds out some of the best movies that will keep you on the edge of your seat and scare you silly on Halloween.
1) Sleepy Hollow (1999)
Johnny Depp is irresistible as Ichabod Crane in this Tim Burton movie that revisits the legacy of the headless horseman in Washington Irving’s classic story, the Legend of Sleepy Hollow. A dark atmosphere combined with beautiful visuals makes this movie perfect for nighttime viewing. A tense thriller for sure.
2) The Shining (1980)
A remote hotel, isolation, and pure madness. That’s what you get with this movie that’s based on a book by Stephen King. As a family settles in for the winter to care for a hotel that’s closed in the off-season, the father, played by Jack Nicholson, slowly loses his mind and the situation goes from bad to worse. If that’s not enough to give you cabin fever, nothing will.
3) The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
In this animated film, Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King, discovers Christmas Town and decides to spread the joy. The residents of Halloween Town, which consists of ghosts, goblins, witches, and such, misinterpret his explanation and the result is a nightmare for little girls and boys. It’s a delightfully twisted movie that’s appropriate for adults, teens, and older kids.
4) Fright Night (1985)
Things get interesting when teen, Charlie Brewster, suspects that his new neighbor is a vampire. After failed attempts to convince anyone else of his suspicions, he turns to Peter Vincent, host of his favorite TV show, Fright Night. Vincent doesn’t believe that vampires exist, however, money talks and he needs it badly. He ends up with way more than he bargained for when he discovers that the neighbor is indeed a vampire. This movie is humorous, frightening, and a whole lotta fun. Watch for the remake due out in 2011, which keeps the basic story line intact but adds a few new twists and turns.
5) The Amityville Horror (1979) (2005)
The Lutz family moves into what should be their dream house, which happens to be the site of a gristly mass-murder that took place about one year prior. Strange things occur and the horror begins. The real scary thing about this movie is that it’s claimed to be based on a true story, though there’s controversy as to how factual it is. Regardless, it’s a must-see movie that will send chills down your spine. Was remade in 2005. Take your pick.
6) Night of the Living Dead (1968) (1990)
Everyone loves a good zombie movie and the Night of the Living Dead is amongst the most popular. The zombies are hungry and relentlessly pursue a group of people who take shelter in an old farmhouse. The 1968 flick is the cult classic that started it all.
7) Scream (1996)
Scream exploits slasher movie cliches when a masked serial killer stalks and torments his victims before he attacks. Next up is Sidney Prescott, who becomes the killer’s main target as tension mounts. This movie is a great whodunit with an array of suspects to choose from.
8) Dracula (1931)
What’s Halloween night without Count Dracula? Of all the Dracula movies to choose from, we like this classic that features Bela Legosi. The film is far from perfect but the creepy Transalvanian atmosphere and Legosi’s acting ability more than make up for it as we follow Dracula’s obsession with Mina and Lucy.
9) Paranormal Activity (2007)
A demonic presence haunts young couple, Micah and Katie, after they move into a suburban house. Though not based on a true story, you forget that soon enough, due to the camera perspective and realism. It’s scary, unnerving, and will have you more than a little jumpy for the rest of the evening. The DVD offers alternate endings for those who can’t get enough. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, put it on your list. The sequel is also creepy and you can bet that you’ll want to see it next.
10) Halloween (1978)
Who hasn’t seen this? Halloween is a no-brainer for this movie marathon list. It all starts when the now infamous, Michael Myers, breaks out of the mental institution he was committed to after his murderous rampage as a boy. Not one to beat around the bush, he starts stalking teenagers as soon as he hits his hometown. Jamie Lee Curtis is great playing Michael’s sister, Laurie Strode, and it’s directed by horror master John Carpenter. Just about everything you are accustomed seeing in a slasher flick, you can see here.