Horror Hits to Watch Before Halloween

Aidan Simonds, Staff Writer

We’re approaching the end of October, which means the Halloween season is in full swing. With that in mind, here are 10 films recommended by yours truly to get you in the Halloween spirit.

Photo credit: movieweb
Photo credit: movieweb

Halloween (1976)

This is a film that pretty much created the slasher genre. It also gave us one of pop culture’s most infamous villains, Michael Meyers. While the story may seem a bit cliché now, that’s only because it’s what inspired the genre in the first place. The film manages to create tension without relying too much on blood and gore, and you’ll be on the edge of your seat wondering if heroine Laurie Strode will survive her encounter with the famed killer.

Scream (1996)

Photo credit: youtube
Photo credit: youtube

Another slasher film, but one wildly different from Halloween. This time, the characters are aware of horror film tropes, and the film constantly lampoons them. But make no mistake, Scream is no comedy; it’s just as dark and disturbing as the rest of the films on here. The film also spawned the fictional character Ghostface, so it certainly made its mark on pop culture.

It Follows (2014)

Some horror films don’t need to rely on jump scares to succeed. Take It Follows, a film with a main threat that is an analogy to sexually-transmitted disease. Those who are inflicted with this curse are followed by a threat that slowly approaches you, and the only way to stop it is to transmit it sexually. A film that relies more on tension than gore, It Follows is definitely a modern horror classic.

The Witch (2015)

This is a film in which the horror is created by the context. A film that takes place during the colonial period, it is made with extreme accuracy. It is established early on that our main character, Thomasin, is not a witch. Rather, the horror lies in seeing her family blame her for being one, and wondering what is causing the terror plaguing this family living alone in the woods. A third act plot twist helps to make The Witch one of this author’s favorite horror films of all time.

Alien (1976)

“In space, no one can hear you scream.” This film perfectly describes one of the scariest films of all time. Trapped in the middle of space with a hostile alien preying on them, you’ll be on the edge of your seat wondering who, if any, of the crew of the Nostromo will make it out alive.

Nosferatu (1923)

Fair warning: this is a black and white silent film. It’s also not very scary, at least not today. But, I feel it’s important to put here as it’s one of the first prominent horror films. This is a straight-up Dracula story in everything but name. It’s probably the hardest film to watch on this list, but if you’re up to it, it’s a very enjoyable film, even today.

Photo credit: goodreads
Photo credit: goodreads

The Shining (1980)

“Heeeereee’s Johnny!” One of the most famous movie quotes of all time came from The Shining, which is quite possibly the most unsettling movie on this list. Working a job that leaves him and his family trapped in a hotel for the winter, Jack Torrance slowly succumbs to the supernatural forces within the hotel. He becomes a maniac obsessed with killing his son, who has supernatural powers, and the film will never let you feel comfortable.

Photo credit: boxofficeprophets
Photo credit: boxofficeprophets

Dawn of the Dead (2004)

This film takes everything you knew about zombies and turns it on its head. These zombies are not slow-moving cravers of flesh, they are fast-paced killers. A group of survivors are left trapped in a shopping mall, and the single location helps amplify the horror.

The Babadook (2015)

“Baba-baba, DOOK, DOOK, DOOK.” The chilling words in a book seemingly made for children set in motion the events of this film. The film also contains moments of a psychological thriller. Single mother Amelia is struggling with a son displaying abnormal behavior, and she begins to suspect something supernatural is at the center.

The Conjuring (2013)

On basis this film is your average horror story, but once you watch it, you realize it’s much more than that. This film smartly restrains use of gore and instead focuses on a constant feeling of suspense. This is one of the most successful horror stories in recent years, launching a full-on franchise. This film is highly recommended.

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