The Shining – Jack Nicholson, I mean Jack Torrance, is one of the most terrifying movie characters. The actors who play the wife, child, and ghosts, create an unpredictable and inescapable atmosphere inside this secluded hotel. The crazy and desperate plot is also why this is one of the greatest movies for Halloween.
The Silence of the Lambs – Anthony Hopkins evokes shivers with the twisted, manipulating Dr. Hannibal Lecter. As FBI agent Clarice Starling interviews Lecter to better understand a serial killer, we get to know all of Lecter’s secrets too – sure to give anyone nightmares.
Poltergeist – One of my favorite movies for Halloween. This film is frightening because the fright is super natural, something we can’t see or control and it’s invading a family’s home. Chandni Jhunjhunwala from Reader’s Digest recommends you, “Watch this before you go haunted house hunting this Halloween.”
The Exorcist – “The Exorcist” is synonymous with scary movies and Halloween. Actress Linda Blair’s performance is tremendous as a possessed 12 year old. She’s exceptionally freaky, yet there’s a sense of sympathy for this poor child who cannot control her world.
Seven – This psychological drama makes the list for its amazing, talented cast (Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, and Gwyneth Paltrow) as well as its story that twists religion and murder together. Psychological thrillers make great movies for Halloween.
Beetlejuice – This is one of the best Halloween films because it’s more comedy than gore. “Beetlejuice” feels like the haunted fun house at a carnival – lots of laughs and high jinks, but enough surprise to keep you jumping.
The Birds – Birds seemingly coming after you is something every tourist has experienced while walking down a sidewalk with food. This behavior is what Alfred Hitchcock capitalizes on in this movie that will have you running in the other direction when there’s a large congregation of feathered “friends.”
Scream – One of the best modern day slasher films because: it keeps you guessing, it’s funny and plenty of jump-out-of-your-seat moments. The actors are genuine and not campy and the bad guy is really tricky. Combine everything to make an excellent scary movie that shouldn’t be watched alone.
Final Destination – “Destination” makes the list due to its utter creativity and originality for portraying how many “freak accidents” can happen when Death is hunting you. The afraid-for-your-life feeling could not be recreated for the sequels, which makes the original film that much more worthy of watching on the scariest day of the year.
Arachnophobia – The title alone makes me cringe at the thought, the nightmare, of an entire town becoming infested with spiders. The fear of spiders is pretty common and this movie only makes it worse. It may have you rethinking those fake webs and plastic spider look alikes this Halloween.
Chandni Jhunjhunwala, Top 20 Scary Halloween Movies, Reader’s Digest