Halloween movies do many things. They shock us, make us laugh, scare us, and in some cases, provoke us to think. Yes, that’s right. Halloween is a moment for horror movies to shine. The list I’ve provided could also double as a “Top 10 Greatest Horror Movies” list as well. However, Halloween is a holiday has a supernatural element to it, so the movies I’m presenting also have a supernatural feel to them. It’s too easy to select a movie like “Halloween” or “Friday the 13th“. This isn’t to say that slasher movies don’t qualify for this list, but there’s something more spooky about things we can’t understand. Please pop these in your Beta/VCR/DVD/Blu-Ray/whatever player this Halloween season.
10. The Blair Witch Project (2016): “The Blair Witch Project” is one of those movies that people either loved or hated. I don’t want to get this list off on a bad foot, so I’ll just keep it to this: children’s voices mixed with the rattling of a tent in the middle of the night in the middle of the woods equals what nightmares are made of.
9. Bride of Frankenstein (1935): The sequel to the 1931 original is the best horror sequel ever made. The performances are amazing and touching, considering this movie is in its seventies and the main actors are under layers of makeup.
8. Alien (1979): The original “Alien” is dark, foreboding, gut-wrenching, and sometimes gut-churning. While many classify this as a sci-fi movie, it is one of the greatest and most effective horror movies ever made. The entire movie is one big probe (pardon the alien-related pun) into the unknown.
7. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984): Freddy Kreuger may be one of the best horror villains in cinema history. The way he kills his victims is in their dreams while they sleep. No one is safe from this burned-alive, Christmas sweater-wearing child murderer.
6. Evil Dead (1981): Make sure you see the original, not the near-remake sequel or the third one, “Army of Darkness”. That’s not to say that the sequels are no-good, just that if you’re in it for scares rather than screams, it’s hard to top the original. Possession, chainsaws, and tree rape are all things that can be found in this movie.
5. Dawn of the Dead (1978): This is the king of the original gory zombie movies. It happens to be the sequel to “Night of the Living Dead”, but you don’t need to see the original first (but I recommend it). All you need to know is that zombies decide to converge on a mall and eat humans. Need I say more?
4. The Thing (1982): Isolation and suspicion fill this sci-fi horror film. It takes place in an Antarctic research base where aliens are taking over the bodies of the humans. Go for the super-gory special effects. Stay for the guessing game.
3. Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974): This is the only true slasher movie on the list. What sets it apart from other slasher movies is its documentary-like feel to it. It’s gritty, dark, realistic, and incredibly disturbing. What’s scarier than coming across a mentally ill, cannibalistic, chainsaw-wielding, human skin-wearing family?
2. Dracula (1931): While not as scary as the other movies, it sets the right atmosphere for Halloween. It’s beautiful black-and-white casts an eerie glow and Bela Lugosi as Dracula is perfectly cast. Listening to wolves outside, he says, “Listen to them! Children of the night!” in his distinctive Hungarian accent. That line always sends shivers up my spine. Be sure to look for the armadillos roaming around inexplicably in his castle.
1. The Exorcist (1973): There’s a reason this movie has been on so many top horror lists. It’s scary! It’s disturbing! It’s violent! It’s disgusting! Here’s how scary it is: it’s a movie about demonic possession and the meaning of faith. I’m an admitted atheist and “The Exorcist” is a movie that gives me nightmares. Yeah. Happy Halloween!