Maybe you're a die-hard horror fanatic like me, growing numb to the predictably timed jumpscare and finding less and less thrill with every new horror flick. Or, as it's more likely, maybe you're a casual moviegoer interested in a good scare for yourself or your friends. For when you're tired of modern horror and want to return to the Halloween tradition of scaring your pants off, here's a slew of classic horror movies sure to spice up your October nights.
Watching this alone at 2 a.m. in a dark room probably wasn't a great idea, but I loved the experience nonetheless. Needless to say, I'm much more spooked by Halloween night after watching this.
John Carpenter's "Halloween" has everything you'd expect from a slasher movie: a crazed killer, a small town, a dark (yet notably not stormy) night, an expendable set of characters and a final girl whose relationship with the killer is characteristically "complicated."
All this makes sense considering the movie practically spawned the slasher genre we know today, which makes it the perfect Halloween flick for a group of friends looking for some fright.
2. The Cabin In The Woods
A modern spin on the horror genre, "The Cabin In The Woods" is a horror fan's delight. Its premise begins familiarly: a group of young adults stays in an isolated cabin, away from all forms of civilization, when things start to go terribly amiss. From that point forward, the rest is unprecedented and literally unpredictable.
To put it vaguely for the sake of not spoiling your experience, the film cleverly subverts countless horror tropes while balancing an equally imaginative story. If you're a horror fan with an affinity for cynicism and dark humor, this movie is for you.
3. Friday The 13th
"Friday The 13th" is another classic with the elements of a tried and true slasher flick. Since its release, psycho killer Jason (AKA the guy in a hockey mask) has entered the hall of fame when it comes to horror iconography and for good reason.
The movie's eerie camp setting adds some originality to its concept, and its twisted plot makes for an engaging viewing experience, even beyond its scares. Bonus points if you watch this on a Friday, on the 13th or if the calendar allows it, on both!
4. The Shining
If I had to describe my experience watching this movie in two words, they would be "chilled" and "impressed."
Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining" is one of those movies that tends to stick with you for some time after watching it. The movie builds a tangible sense of agonizing tension as its horrific plot unfolds, leaving you psychologically disturbed by the end. I certainly was, though that didn't stop me from thoroughly appreciating Kubrick's craft, as scary as it may be.
While certainly not for the faint of heart, "The Shining" is refreshing in its avoidance of jump-scares and loud noises in place of effective scares, instead opting for striking imagery and terrifying events (plenty more terrifying than this creepy pair of twins). It's a perfect film for cold weather, made even more perfect if you're stuck inside your house, home alone.
Okay, maybe "perfect" is the wrong word.
The boundless vacuum of space sure is scary, but it's nothing compared to the overwhelming horror of this ruthless predator that inhabits it.
Ridley Scott's original movie "Alien" is a classic sci-fi creature flick with a heavy emphasis on sci-fi. Not only is it one of the few truly frightening movies with an extraterrestrial threat, but its intense action and building tension make it a great movie to put on in a dark, quiet room.
Though the franchise it spawned has since ventured into action/adventure, this first installment shows just how terrifying Xenomorph aliens can be. Watch at your own risk.
6. The Exorcist
Ah, "The Exorcist." The movie whose trailer was banned upon release for causing epileptic seizures, or as the marketing team went on to claim, for being too darn scary. The film itself is simply terrifying, if not at the very least extremely uncomfortable in the purest Halloween fashion.
As one of the most profitable horror movies of all time, its popularity sparked the rise of horror films tackling demonic possession and spiritual terror, yet I would argue the sub-genre has never worked as well as it did in "The Exorcist."
7. The Ring
"The Ring" isn't so much a "classic" as it is simply a really good movie, with the terrifying image of a girl in rags crawling out of a television screen becoming one of the most iconic of 21st century horror.
I first watched "The Ring" at a Halloween party with a group of friends, all of which were on-edge for the duration of the movie. My fondest memory of the experience was unquestionably when the room jumped when a character loudly shut a filing cabinet. Beyond its shocking imagery, the movie builds an uncomfortable combo of anticipation and paranoia as its protagonist nears her impending demise (according to some creepy guy on the phone) all the way up to its satisfying conclusion.
It's a mystery, drama and horror rolled into one terrifying package of Halloween goodness.