We are well into the throes of fall. The pumpkin spice craze will soon give way to pumpkin carving, chilly weather will become cold weather, and as we are all aware, thanks to clan Stark, winter is coming. October is one of my favorite months. We still get a little mix of nice weather, football is in full swing, basketball is getting started, and HALLOWEEN! I’m 29 years old, but I still love Halloween. The candy and costumes are great, but my favorite part of Halloween are scary movies. I brought this up a few weeks ago in my Wes Craven post, and I emphasize it now; I’m a big fan of most tv shows and movies, but scary movies hold a special place in my heart. This time of year there are a bunch of scary movie on tv, from ABC Family’s 13 Nights of Halloween to AMC’s Halloween marathons. Those are fine, but they’re inadequate samplings of scary movies. Besides, most scary movies aren’t meant to be watched on tv, the FCC knows how to take all the fun out of them. I want to make sure you have your best scary movie viewing experience this October, so I’ve made a list of 30 scary movies to watch. That’s one for each viewing day in October (yes I know there are 31 days, but you will be watching the UK-Tennessee game on Halloween night so you’re good there). I’ve broken these down into five categories for your organizational pleasure. Please know this isn’t an exhaustive list or a “best of” list. One of those will likely come later. This is just a primer to give you some excellent options to start your scary movie journey. Enjoy!
Family Scary Movies These are movies which you can enjoy with the kids, or if you’re new to the scary movie scene. These probably won’t give you nightmares, but there will be a couple of scares.
Monster Squad (1987)
Ernest Scared Stupid (1991)
The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (1966)
Hocus Pocus (1993)- I grew up with this movie so I have a soft spot for it. It’s got a good mix of funny and ridiculous with just enough creepy. The song Sarah Jessica Parker sings is haunting.
Addams Family (1991)– The cast is awesome. Raul Julia and Christopher Lloyd shine as the primary characters in this tale of family and macabre. There are a bunch of reasons for the whole family to watch this movie, but if I could narrow them all down to one word, it’d be this: Mamushka!
The Witches (1990)
Slasher Movies– These movies are built around a simple concept, serial killer is on the loose with a knife or other sharp weapon used to (you guessed it) slash people. Known as much for their gore as their scares, slasher movies are Halloween staples and should be viewed by those who like jumping in their seats. To my knowledge Kordell Stewart does not appear in any of the following films.
Halloween (1978)- The original, the best. Everything about this movie is perfect. If you haven’t seen it, watch it. If you have seen it, watch it.
Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Friday the 13th Part III (1982)
Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Psycho (1960)- Alfred Hitchcock’s classic should be an October staple for every scary movie marathon. It has a broad appeal, as it is as much psychological horror as it is slasher horror.
Paranormal/Supernatural– Ghosts, demons, and magic are the building blocks of these scary movies. These movies usually have a slow build up, during which your nerves become frayed and tension rises. By the climax of these movies your nerves are train wrecks and the slightest disturbance around you will freak you out. Good times indeed.
Paranormal Activity (2007)- There are a lot of found footage and demon possession movies out there now, but Paranormal did it best. This movie took what Blair Witch did, made it better, and spawned a billion sequels which means it has earned its spot among the scary movie elite.
Cabin in the Woods (2012)- This movie could easily fit into almost any other category of scary movie (except the family friendly one). This is a modern horror movie classic which uses many of the classic horror movie tropes and creates an original story.
The Ring (2002)
Sleepy Hollow (1999)
The Exorcist (1973)
Realistic Scary Movies– These are the movies which scare me the most. These movies don’t have unkillable monsters or otherwordly circumstances. The essence of these movies is that they could happen. The scary circumstances surrounding this type of movie are based in reality so, theoretically, they could happen to you.
The Strangers (2008)- One of the creepiest movies I’ve seen which features one of the scariest lines I’ve heard in a horror movie. When the masked figures (below) are asked why they did what they did there response was simple…”because you were home.” Is no place safe? I’ve seen this movie twice, and just can’t bring myself to watch it again.
The Descent (2005)
American Psycho (2000)
Cape Fear (1991)- Robert DeNiro’s turn as a released convict who seeks vengeance on his defense attorney who failed to keep him out of prison is disturbing. On the outside he could be any random person you meet, but not so deep down is a monster within. It’s terrifying.
Creature Features– Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolf Man. These are the most basic tenants of scary movies, but are in many cases the most effective. These movies utilize monsters, zombies, aliens, and other types of ne’er-do-well creatures out for blood and destruction.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
The Evil Dead (1981)
The Thing (1982)