Haven’t you heard the news? Halloween is arriving soon.
Since the month started, I’ve been working on my 31 Days of Horror, in which I watch a movie from the genre everyday to get in the seasonal mood. I did it last year for the first time and it was an absolute blast.
Have you watched any movies to get you in the mood for this Halloween season? If you haven’t, shame on you! But don’t worry, I’ve got some recommendations that I’d like to share with you.
If you have fun, I challenge you to participate in your own 31 Days of Horror next year.
While some of these aren’t exactly terrifying, I think these films will absolutely get you in the holiday spirit. Make sure you lock your doors and sleep with the light on, though.
#7 INSIDIOUS (2012)
Now if you want to be scared scared, close your curtains and blinds, turn off the lights and put on James Wan’s “Insidious” — make sure you’re not alone.
For years, I had never finished watching this movie all the way through because it absolutely terrified the hell out of me. Just pure horror. Its score does an incredible job at making the viewer uncomfortable and its jumpscares are effective.
What makes me love “Insidious” more, is that you can see its influences on modern horror films that have been released since then. Now, sure it isn’t as scary as its initial release, but in my opinion, the movie is still one of scariest I have ever seen.
I personally think it still holds up well, and I will never ever forget the fantastic tracking shot of Rose Byrne walking throughout the house. EVER.
Insidious is streaming on Peacock. Rental options are available.
#6 THE CABIN IN THE WOODS (2011)
“The Cabin in the Woods” may look like your typical horror movie.
A group of teenagers, each with distinct stereotypes (the jock, the stoner, the virgin, etc.), head to — yep, you guessed it — a creepy looking cabin to unwind (party, obviously). Sounds about right, no?
Well, strap on because this movie will surprise you.
The movie has twists and turns that you will definitely not expect. Its final act is probably one of the most unforgettable, wild sequences I have ever seen.
Unfortunately, The Cabin in the Woods isn’t streaming anywhere at this time. It is only available to rent with the cheapest price on Amazon Prime Video for $1.99. Other available places for rent are on Vudu for $3.99.
#5 THE DESCENT (2005)
Claustrophobic? Let me ignite that fear further.
Neil Marshall’s “The Descent” follows a group of women who explore a cave, only for that to go wrong and the realization that they’re most definitely not alone in the dark.
The atmosphere of the film is so unnerving; the sounds of water droplets echo through an intense darkness with only a small flashlight to offer the women any light.
Putting aside the external problems of being in the cave itself, the movie goes further as there’s conflict within the group itself when startling revelations arise. There are sequences in this that most definitely will make you squirm.
If you haven’t seen this, do yourself a favor: watch it.
The Descent is streaming on Amazon Prime Video, Paramount+ and Shudder. Rental options are available.
#4 EVIL DEAD (2013)
If you’re squeamish and uneasy with gore, this may not be for you, but if you can persevere you will be in for a brutal, freakish hell of a ride. And isn’t that what the “Evil Dead” movies are all about?
Jane Levy gives an incredible performance, and in my opinion, portrays one of the most iconic final girls in modern horror (Side note: she later teams up with Alvarez again for his 2016 movie “Don’t Breathe”). What I also love about this particular sequel is that Ash Williams himself, the great Bruce Campbell, and original “Evil Dead” writer and director Sam Raimi gave their own stamp of approval as they’re both credited as producers for the movie.
If you’ve seen the original “Evil Dead” movies, you’ll definitely notice awesome nods to those movies in this one. I won’t tell you what, you’ll have to see it for yourself to find out, but I’ll give you one goodie: it’s the same cabin.
Evil Dead is streaming on Hulu. Rental options are available.
#3 A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (1984)
I love Wes Craven. He is one of my favorite directors ever and I miss him everyday. It would be insane to have a writeup of horror movies and not include the master of horror. Although he has so many movies I could list here that you should watch regardless, there’s two I’m going to include and the first is his 1984 film “A Nightmare on Elm Street”.
You can hear the song, can’t you?
One, two, Freddy’s coming for you…
Heather Langenkamp plays Nancy Thompson, who must uncover a well-kept secret that has placed a target on the backs of her and her friends. But their dangerous battles are where they can’t be reached: their dreams. And what’s worse is they’re being hunted by a razor-glove wielding maniac by the name of Freddy Krueger. Heard of it?
Krueger has haunted the dreams of not only fictional characters, but also those in the real world — mine included. He obviously has a comfortable seat in the horror icons Hall of Fame.
A Nightmare on Elm Street is streaming on HBO Max. Rental options are available.
#2 SCREAM (1996)
“What’s your favorite scary movie?”
A spine-chilling, famous sentence that almost everyone knows exactly where it’s from. We all know the story: a teenage girl gets a call while she’s home alone and doesn’t realize she’s slowly engaging in a deadly cat-and-mouse game that eventually leads to her demise.
The “Scream” franchise is probably one of my favorites of all time. There’s not a single one I dislike — yes, including “Scream 3.” All of them have been directed by Wes Craven, with the exception of “Scream” (2022). I previously mentioned that I narrowed down two Craven films for this list and here’s the other one.
Each “Scream” has their own unique fun, but you could never go wrong with the original. If you’re feeling up to it, I’d recommend watching all of the movies in their chronological order. They’re truly wicked fun.
Scream, Scream 2, Scream 3 and Scream 4 are streaming on Paramount+, while Scream (2022) is streaming on Showtime (available through Paramount+ too). Rental options are available.
#1 HALLOWEEN (1978)
This is a no-brainer.
By now, I’m pretty sure you’ve seen Michael Myers everywhere. From countless memes to children becoming mini Myers (my nephews included) to the recent legacy sequels, Michael Myers is timeless.
And like “Scream,” the original is just untouchable.
John Carpenter can truly do it all: his incredible iconic score, his brilliant camera work and his sharp screenwriting skills. He is truly one of the greatest. Scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis is phenomenal in her portrayal of one of the best final girls in the history of horror: Laurie Strode.
Halloween is streaming on Shudder and AMC+. Rental options are available.