Though it has a number of religious and cultural rituals and meanings attached to it, Halloween has become synonymous with costumes, candy, and above all, horror movies. So, what better way than to celebrate than with the kind of movies that are sure to have you keeping every light in the house on.
1. Night of the Living Dead (1968): Though the gore may seem dated to some, Romero contextualizes the zombie apocalypse with enough realism, character, and social commentary to make a truly memorable and haunting film.
2. Halloween (1978): Skip the remakes; stick to the classic. With a grounded story, realistic approach, and unforgettable score, Halloween is a mesmerizing classic that’ll have you checking your family tree.
3. Pyscho (1960):Hitchcock’s 1960 masterpiece undoubtedly reshaped and legitimized the horror genre. With unsettling performances, tense and tight pacing, and infamous imagery/scenes, Psycho will leave you thinking twice before a shower.
4. The Evil Dead (1981): The Evil Dead is an unforgettable experience. It pushes the limits of horror by utilizing many of the genres strong points; however, it also critiques the genre it inhabits through a morbid sense of humor. The result being a must see cult masterpiece.
5. Trick R’ Treat (2006): With a tight script that covers everything from werewolves to serial killers, Trick R’ Treat provides a top-notch chronology of Halloween tales. With four interwoven stories, and a shared universe, the film creates a vast world where anything seems possible.
6. The Exorcist (1973): Surrounded by controversy upon its release, The Exorcist maintains its reputation even years later. Through adept usage of imagery, incredible special effects, and chilling atmosphere the film is still one of the scariest movies of all time.
7. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984): Not even handfuls of lackluster sequels can diminish the greatness of Freddy Kruger. With dark themes and an intelligent script this original classic is sure to haunt your dreams.
8. Freaks (1932): A film from a time long gone, Freaks’ horror is disturbing and authentic. Relying not on gore or make up, but on its sideshow cast, unflinching theme/social commentary, and eerie story, Freaks is sure to freak you out.
9. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966): Though its not a horror film, this 1966 special is a Halloween classic. Written by the creator himself, Charles M. Schulz, the animated short provides a fun and thoughtful examination of Halloween and the season, as well as their effect on youth. Atmospheric, thoughtful, and fun, this is one special you shouldn’t pass up this October.
10. Universal Monsters (1930’s-1940’s): Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, The Mummy, just to name a few, are iconic horror films that spawned dozens of sequels and spin offs over the years. However, none can compare with the original classics that helped start it all.
Honorable Mentions: Re Animator (1985); The Shining (1980); Scream (1996)