If you get a kick out of being so petrified while watching a movie that you could actually pee your pants, then you’re probably no stranger to Halloween movie marathons. I’m talking about real horror movies here, the kind that creep into your nightmares and your daydreams. If that’s your jam, then grab your friends, some popcorn, and maybe something/someone to cuddle. These are must-sees for any horror fan looking for a legit fright on Halloween night.
The Exorcist (1973)
This is an oldie but a goodie about a teenage girl who becomes possessed by a mysterious entity, and her mother who seeks the help of two priests to save her life. It boasts some of the most frightening demonic imagery you’ll ever see, with such controlled, mounting suspense that your jaw will remain dropped.
This film follows Michael, a homicidal maniac who escapes from a mental hospital and returns to the town where he stabbed his 17-year-old sister to death on Halloween, fifteen years prior. He’s an unsavory character, to put it mildly. If you thought the masks in Scream were scary — this is something else.
The Shining (1980)
A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter. What starts out as beautiful and picturesque soon transforms into violence and insanity when the father (Jack Nicholson) is influenced by some kind of spiritual force. This is a film that warrants multiple viewings, because you get something new from it every time, whether it be a pattern on the hotel carpet that links to a previous image, the windows appearing in impossible places, or the furniture mysteriously disappearing.
Silence of the Lambs (1991)
This film should be on any must-see list, but it’s perfect for Halloween. Jodie Foster plays a young F.B.I. cadet who must confide in an incarcerated, highly intelligent and manipulative killer (Anthony Hopkins, in the best performance of his career), in order to catch a killer who skins his victims. The film won five Academy Awards, including Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Picture.
28 Days Later (2002)
A mysterious, deadly virus has spread throughout the UK, and a handful of survivors try to find sanctuary. Oh, and it features fast zombies! It’s the ultimate zombie apocalypse movie that separates itself by making you care about the characters — not an easy feat.
If want to see the scariest haunted house movie ever, with a clown attack scene that’ll keep you awake and trembling for days, see this film. Watch the trailer above, if you think you can stomach it.
Ju’on (The Grudge)(2002)
If you dare enter this house, you will pay the price. The children in this movie are the creepiest you’ll probably ever see, and that scene with the staircase… okay, this is a true visual masterpiece of horror. You should watch this with Poltergeist in a double-feature.
Now, this was remade by Gus Van Sant in 1998 with Vince Vaughn and Anne Heche, but I’m telling you — the original is the one you need to see. It’s about a secretary who steals thousands of dollars from her employer’s client, and goes on the run to a remote motel, where things are not exactly what they seem. Anthony Perkins is terrifying as the man who “takes care” of his mother in the house on the hill. This is a motel you don’t want to stop at. Want to know what I mean? Check the trailer above.
Friday the 13th (1980)
This movie spawned a million sequels (nine, to be exact), but you need only focus on this one. It was maybe the first “slasher” movie to really go big with the scares. I don’t know about you, but I always find it creepy when young people are murdered in movies. It’s just that much worse, and a lot of teens draw the short straw in this one. The film uses music to its advantage, meaning there isn’t much of it and the scares happen organically.
A middle-aged widower falls for a beautiful actress, but she isn’t who she appears to be… This movie is terrifying because it could happen to any of us. The film packs in a lot of story, character and emotional depth, making it a horror film that stands out from the rest. Definitely a must-see for someone who is a fan of cinema and horror. Is that you?
Based on a short story by the masterful Stephen King, John Cusack stars as a paranormal investigator who checks into room 1408 at the Dolphin Hotel. What he thought would be a routine investigation… turns sour, to put it lightly. If you’re into old-fashioned psychological tension, try the trailer above out for size.
Happy Nerdoween! Let us know which film was your favorite in the comments below.
IMAGES: Madame Tussauds, Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons