What if Halloween fell on Friday the 13th, and when you go for trick-o-treats and suddenly, take a ‘wrong turn’ to the ‘haunted mansion’ and end up being ‘the uninvited’? Spooky, right? But don’t worry, you need not go through all this, just pop some popcorn, and snuggle on a couch to watch horror movies instead. This CelebrationJoy article has a list of some of the best movies to watch this Halloween.
Did You Know?
Poltergeist (1982) actresses Heather O’Rourke (Carol Ann) and Dominique Dunne (Dana) both died young (12 and 22, respectively), there were three more deaths of cast members under tragic circumstances, leading to the belief that the movie is cursed.
Evolving from an ancient Gaelic festival named Samhain, modern Halloween has become more of an enjoyment and less about ghouls and spirits. The ancient Celtics believed that the transition between the seasons was the bridge to the world of the dead and celebrated it at the beginning of winter. Over the centuries, the day has moved away from pagan rituals to mass merriment, costumes, candies, and parades. The word horror originates from the Latin word horrere, meaning shudder, or hair standing on the end. It was actually from Gothic literature that the horror movie genre found inspiration, the first horror movie The Haunted Castle was made in 1896, by Georges Melies.
But it was only in the 1960s that the horror movie Psycho shocked the audiences and made them believe that horror movies are more than just B-grade films. And the best way to commemorate Halloween is by watching some of the best horror flicks, given below is a list of movies suitable for every audience.
Top 10 Classic Horror Flicks
Basic Plot: The classic shower scene from the movie will be etched in the American psyche for generations to come. When an exhausted woman takes a night stop in a deserted motel she is met with the nervous but smiling innkeeper, who later turns out to be a psychotic killer dealing with mommy issues.
Night of The Living Dead (1968)
Basic Plot: An inspiration for an all-new genre of zombie flicks, this movie shows the zombie apocalypse taking over the Earth and several people barricade themselves in a rural house. Outside, they are surrounded by ever-hungry zombies out to get them.
The Exorcist (1973)
Basic Plot: A cult take on demonic possession, the movie revolves around a young girl being possessed by a demonic entity, and the various malicious signs that occur around her during her possession. Exorcism is the only solution, and the demon will take whatever it is to stop it. Its dramatic and disturbing and will be advisable not to watch it with kids.
Silent Night, Bloody Night (1972)
Basic Plot: A classic cult setter of horror slash flicks of the ’70s, the movie follows the proto-slasher as he goes on a killing spree in a mansion. The film has all the elements of a holiday theme, Gothic style focus on an eerie house, the menacing phone calls, the shrouded killer, a female victim, and a tragic past.
The Omen (1976)
Basic Plot: A classic cult, it revolves around a creepy child termed to be the child of Satan, the father of the child has everything obstructing his way when he discovers the truth and wants the child dead. There is an evil nanny who protects the child, and the unexplainable deaths of everyone who comes in the way of the demon spawn is worth a watch.
Basic Plot: An American girl lands up in Germany to attend a prestigious dance school but soon finds that something is amiss when her classmates start to die one by one. The school is hiding a terrible secret; which if exposed, will have all the teachers dead too. Watch to find out.
When A Stranger Calls (1979)
Basic Plot: A scream for babysitters, they would wish to finish their shift and walk home soon. The movie follows the spine-chilling occurrences in a house when the baby sitter is alone with the kids. The kids go missing, and there is a killer at hand. What will it take to survive and find the kids? Keeps you on the edge of your seat.
The Amityville Horror (1979)
Basic Plot: Based on a true story, a son goes on a murder spree in his house after being tormented from voices in his head, he hacks his own family to death. Years later, a family moves in to the same house and start experiencing malicious supernatural occurrences. Is the evil entity of the house back? Will the family survive?
The Shining (1980)
Basic Plot: A little boy has horrifying visions of a ghost in a hotel that his parents have moved into as caretakers. To matters worse, the husband is slowly turning into a homicidal maniac, there is plenty to stay frightened in this classic flick. The plot has numerous twists to make you cringe and keep you on the edge of your seat.
Basic Plot: The ultimate haunted house movie, a family starts experiencing strange things in the new house they have shifted into, from white noise on the T.V., empty in ground pools to ancient Indian burial site. And when the youngest child of the family is kidnapped supernaturally, the family realize that there are dimensions and portals that should never be disturbed, or one might unleash an evil force.
Top 10 Horror Gore Flicks
Halloween Series (1978 – 2002)
Basic Plot: What started off as a cheap budget film, turned out to be the highest grosser in slasher flicks. Consisting of ten movies in the series that revolve around the story of a six-year-old child who murders his elder sister and is admitted to the psychiatrist ward. He escapes the asylum and is on the hunt for the rest of his family. His obsession with making masks and wearing them while killing, describes his erratic behavior and his personal trauma of abuse during his childhood. Lots of gore and blood for slash fans.
A Nightmare on Elm Street Series (1984 – 2010)
Basic Plot: Be afraid to dream and be afraid to scream with this slash flick, a group of small kids are abused by a psycho working in their kindergarten school, and when their parents learn of it, they get enraged and burn him. Years later, he stalks those same children in their dreams and kills them one by one, creating a surreal world through their dreams. The killer’s signature weapon, his sharp iron claws, and his burnt wicked personality could give you enough goose bumps and sleepless nights.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Series (1974 – 2006)
Basic Plot: Talk about a killer with a leather face, butcher apron covered in blood, and the menacing chainsaw that is his trademark killing unsuspecting victims that travel into his vicinity. He abducts them, tortures them with his various gore techniques and then exhibits his cannibalism. Plenty of blood and body parts flying this is not for the faint-hearted.
Evil Dead Series (1981 – 2013)
Basic Plot: Making ‘gorier the merrier’ the prime object of this film series, it revolves around a group of youngsters who visit an old cabin in the woods for some recreation, and discover the ancient Sumerian book of evil that wrecks havoc by opening up a portal and making a demon enter into the world.
Friday the 13th Series (1980 – 2001)
Basic Plot: A little boy is bullied and drowned in the lake during a school camp. Years later, it appears that the lake is cursed, and the boy returns to avenge his death. He stalks and murders the teenagers who are preparing for the reopening of the camp. No matter what you do, he will come and get you.
Scream Series (1996 – 2011)
Basic Plot: Which is your favorite horror movie? Whether you answer the question or not, you will be killed. The movie follows the life of a bunch of teenagers who are stalked and killed by a masked killer lurking in their school campus and neighborhood vicinity. When bodies start piling, they realize that the reel-life fascination for horror is now their real life.
I Know What You Did Last Summer Series (1997 – 2006)
Basic Plot: Never leave a dead man on the road. The story revolves around a bunch of teenagers who, in a drunken stupor, run over a man and dump his body in a river. Later, they are stalked by the man’s father with a fisherman hook. The killer leaves a series of notes saying that he knows their little secret, and they end up dead one by one. Is it for real, or an urban legend? You got to watch it to believe it.
Wrong Turn Series (2003 – 2012)
Basic Plot: What happens when you take a wrong turn and end up being the hunt sport for a deformed family of cannibals? You are dead meat. The story, set in West Virginia, is full of horrific and gory details, with the victims being tortured and murdered by the cannibals who love to torture, trap, and inflict pain. Survive at your own risk.
Saw Series (2004 – 2010)
Basic Plot: A killer who tortures his victims through sadism and masochism inflicting physical and psychological torture on them through what he calls ‘tests’ or ‘games’. Simultaneously watching the victims in a controlled environment. The victims in order to escape his torture mutilate their own body parts making the scenes very gory and graphic.
Final Destination Series (2000 – 2011)
Basic Plot: No one can escape fate, the movie focuses on a group of people who defy death in a tragic situation and get extended life by cheating on death’s designs. Then death starts a killing spree in order to correct its error, it is fate vs. free-will till the end. The victims have to try to escape death but at their own risk.
Top 10 Horror Possession Flicks
Basic Plot: A controversial film about the lost Gospel of Thomas which has the exact recorded words of Jesus, and that has been considered as a heresy by the Catholic Church. A young atheist woman receives a rosary from her pious mother and ends up being possessed by the spirit of an Italian priest to whom the rosary belonged. She starts speaking in Aramaic and receives all the five wounds, known as the ‘Stigmata’, that Jesus had suffered during crucifixion. It is only when the Church gets a wind of the incident, they are in a hurry to bury the evidence, and perform an exorcism on the woman to rid her of the priest’s soul.
The Ring (2002)
Basic Plot: Based on the Japanese horror movie Ringu, it’s an urban legend about a vengeful spirit that resides in a well and kills people after seven days who have watched its cursed video tape. A single-mom comes face-to-face with danger when she realizes that her son has watched the tape, and now the spirit is haunting him to take him to hell. She finds out that it’s the spirit of a girl who is bereft of motherly affection and is thrown into the well alive. The spirit only wants to possess and reside in the son’s body for motherly affection. The mother has to race against time to save her son.
The Grudge (2004)
Basic Plot: It is a remake of the Japanese movie Ju-on: The Grudge, it is about a curse that is born when someone dies in extreme sorrow or powerful rage. The movie follows a wife and son who are murdered by an extremely vengeful and jealous husband, and their death causes an evil entity to be through a curse, this entity kills anyone who comes in their way, and the curse gets reborn again and again causing a chain of deaths.
The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)
Basic Plot: Based on real-life incidents, the film is about a priest who is taken to court for negligence and homicide of a girl named Emily Rose, who is said to be possessed by a demon. The movie narrates the story in flashback, and tells the series of events that lead to the possession and the exorcism, which ultimately leads to her death.
Paranormal Activity Series (2007 – 2014)
Basic Plot: The series revolve around a family that is attacked by a demonic entity and that spreads fear, terrifies, and kills the family members along with bystanders. All of which is recorded through camcorders, security cameras, and recording devices. The films look like a footage of the events that occurred, making it look real and scary.
Basic Plot: A remake of the South Korean film Into the Mirror, the movie revolves around a night watcher who is in charge of a burnt down highrise departmental store, which is supposedly haunted by an evil force residing in the mirrors. Battling his own past and the increasing supernatural activities which threaten to ruin his relation with his wife and children, he has to find a way to out of what the mirrors really want him to know and do.
The Last Exorcism (2010)
Basic Plot: The plot revolves around a priest who has lost his faith, and performs fake exorcisms on supposedly possessed victims. He is met by a film crew who ask him to take part in their documentary in exposing exorcism as a fraud. The crew are called to a farmhouse to cure the farmer’s daughter, but soon realize that demons are real, and evil entities do exist.
The Rite (2011)
Basic Plot: The film is based on the book The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist, which is based on true accounts of witnesses and possessions. The movie shows the journey of a novice priest who has to been given the task of learning the art of exorcism from an experienced priest. He encounters a pregnant victim who is possessed by a demon and on whom exorcism is performed, but later the victim and the unborn baby die. The experienced priest takes the blame on himself and is encountered by the same demon who threatens to take his life apart.
The Devil Inside (2012)
Basic Plot: Based on a true story, a horrifying tale of a woman who is possessed and murders three priests. During the act of exorcism, the church gets involved, and she is sent to a psychiatric ward in Rome. Years later, her daughter sets out to investigate what really happened to her by filming a set of documentaries on exorcisms, but ends up being possessed herself by the same demons that tormented her mother.
The Conjuring (2013)
Basic Plot: A family shift into a new house and start experiencing disturbing activities around their house. The mother calls in the famous demonologists Ed and Lorrain Warren to investigate the matter. They find out that their property is being haunted by the spirit of a supposed witch who is vengeful about the family shifting over to her place. In a classic turn of events, the mother gets possessed and needs an exorcism before she can kill her own children.
Top 10 Horror Flicks for Kids
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
Basic Plot: A classic American prime-time animated television Halloween special based on the popular comic strip Peanuts. Linus truly believes that the Great Pumpkin exists and writes a letter to it hoping that it will come and visit them in the process getting ridiculed by his friends. The kids have a nice time during Halloween trick-o-treating, and in the end, Linus is left disappointed. One can watch it with the kids, reminiscing one’s childhood.
Basic Plot: A fun and comic take on paranormal, this movie is about three eccentric parapsychologists who establish a ghost-catching business. After initial success, they are threatened by the presence of an ancient god in a highrise building that is a risk for the team as well as the world.
The Addams Family (1991)
Basic Plot: Based on the cartoon of the same name, the movie is a fantasy comedy that shows the weird family living the lives of a macabre and wealthy rich along with a detached hand as the servant. The pesky accountant of the family wants his son to fit into the family as a long-lost relative, and the plot revolves around finding the true identity of who is really the real relative.
Hocus Pocus (1993)
Basic Plot: This movie has got the trappings of a true witch classic along with lots of fun. Around 300 years ago, three sister witches have been executed in Salem during the witch hunt, and they have now come to life during Halloween, due to a spoken spell just before their death. They have set on avenging their death by turning their wrath on trick-o-treats and want immortal life, but its on a 300-year-old cat to save the day.
Basic Plot: Based on the cartoon and book, it’s a fantasy comedy movie on a cute little friendly ghost who befriends a girl who has recently shifted to the rickety mansion. The other ghosts in the mansion are not too thrilled with the idea of humans living in their property and want them to go. Hence, ensues a hilarious occurrences of events that will leave you in splits.
Tower of Terror (1997)
Basic Plot: An old hotel is terrorized by six ghosts of people who have vanished without a trace many years ago. Now, a reporter and his niece set out to find what really happened inside the hotel. They are advised by an old women to find and return the belongings of the six ghosts in order to free them.
Harry Potter Series (2001 – 2011)
Basic Plot: Based on the popular book series by the same name, the movie revolves around the quest of a wizard child to find his true identity, and with the help of his trusted friends and teachers, is set to defeat the evil force that had killed his parents many years ago and is unable to take over him.
Monster House (2006)
Basic Plot: An animated story about a little boy who is suspicious about the house across the street, and the cranky old man who lives there. The old man eventually has a heart attack is carried over to the hospital making the kid realize that the house is empty. Later, he and his best friends discover that the house has plans of its own and will be eating all the kids who will be trick-o-treating on Halloween.
Paranormal Movie (2012)
Basic Plot: An animated movie about a little boy who can communicate with the dead but no one believes him except his best friend. In a turn of events, the boy has to save his town from a century-old curse, cast by a witch, that threatens to engulf him and his town.
Basic Plot: A sweet animated movie about a little boy who is so attached to his pet that when it dies, he decides to bring it back to life. But when the pet returns to life, he is a monster dog and wrecks havoc in the neighborhood, so it’s the task of the little boy to prove that his pet is still the same old loyal friend.
The list could be never-ending as horror is a vast genre, yet, the above films are some of the best ones to watch on a Halloween Night. Pick one that suits your style and Happy Halloween!