It’s October 1st! That means it’s time to bring out all the Halloween favorites! Since everyone likes to see lists, I’ve worked up my personal list of my must-see Halloween movies. Obviously everything is subjective and this list doesn’t represent my Top 25 critically, but a whole bunch of my favorites I get around to watching every year.
There are so many movies that you can choose from, so I feel the need to mark some Honorable Mentions like Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, The Haunting of Hill House, The House with a Clock in it’s Walls, Night of the Living Dead, The Haunted Mansion, Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist, Get Out, US, Silence of the Lambs, The Saw Franchise, Train to Busan and so much more.
The best thing about Halloween Movies (like you’ll see in this list) is the fact that they can be really stupid or really serious. They can be critically acclaimed or just plain all-around stupid. That’s the best thing about this time of the year… there are so many movies to choose from for every type of mood. Every year I dive into my favorites, but another fun aspect of the Halloween season is searching for random horror films you’ve never heard of on streaming platforms.
What even constitutes a Halloween movie? Is it just the horror genre? Does it have to be Halloween focused? I think you can argue it’s all of the above, depending on your preference — for me it’s a little bit of everything. The way I went about it was “What do I have to watch in October?, Which movies mean the Halloween season for me?, Which movies will I always reach for?”
Give it a scroll below and let me know your favorites in the comments. What’s the best and most stupid Halloween movie you watch every single year?
25. Hocus Pocus (1993)
After moving to Salem, Mass., teenager Max Dennison explores an abandoned house with his sister Dani and their new friend, Allison. After dismissing a story Allison tells as superstitious, Max accidentally frees a coven of evil witches who used to live in the house. Now, with the help of a magical cat, the kids must steal the witches’ book of spells to stop them from becoming immortal.
24. The Purge Franchise (All of them)
The Purge is an American media franchise centered on a series of dystopian action horror films distributed by Universal Pictures and produced by Blumhouse Productions and Platinum Dunes, mainly created by James DeMonaco. The films present a near-future dystopian America which celebrates an annual national holiday known as the Purge, a day in which all crime, including murder, becomes legal for a 12-hour period.
23. Hell Fest (2018)
On Halloween night, three young women and their respective boyfriends head to Hell Fest — a ghoulish traveling carnival that features a labyrinth of rides, games and mazes. They soon face a bloody night of terror when a masked serial killer turns the horror theme park into his own personal playground.
22. The Witch (2015)
In 1630 New England, panic and despair envelops a farmer, his wife and their children when youngest son Samuel suddenly vanishes. The family blames Thomasin, the oldest daughter who was watching the boy at the time of his disappearance. With suspicion and paranoia mounting, twin siblings Mercy and Jonas suspect Thomasin of witchcraft, testing the clan’s faith, loyalty and love to one another.
21. Halloweentown (1998)
Marnie and her kids get a big shock when they follow grandma home to Halloweentown – and find out they come from a family of witches. The town is the only place where supernatural beings can lead a `normal’ life, but trouble is looming, and on her 13th birthday Marnie not only finds she is a witch, but that she and her family are involved in a fight against the evil that is threatening to take over the world.
20. The Conjuring (2013)
In 1970, paranormal investigators and demonologists Lorraine and Ed Warren are summoned to the home of Carolyn and Roger Perron. The Perrons and their five daughters have recently moved into a secluded farmhouse, where a supernatural presence has made itself known. Though the manifestations are relatively benign at first, events soon escalate in horrifying fashion, especially after the Warrens discover the house’s macabre history.
19. Texas Chainsaw Massacre Franchise (All of them)
The franchise focuses on the cannibalistic serial killer Leatherface and his family, who terrorize unsuspecting visitors to their territories in the desolate Texas countryside, typically killing and subsequently cooking them. The original film was released in 1974, directed by Tobe Hooper and written by Hooper and Kim Henkel. Hooper and Henkel were involved in three of the later films.
18. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Found video footage tells the tale of three film students who’ve traveled to a small town to collect documentary footage about the Blair Witch, a legendary local murderer. Over the course of several days, the students interview townspeople and gather clues to support the tale’s veracity. But the project takes a frightening turn when the students lose their way in the woods and begin hearing horrific noises.
17. Ghostbusters (1984)
After the members of a team of scientists lose their cushy positions at a university in New York City, they decide to become “ghostbusters” to wage a high-tech battle with the supernatural for money. They stumble upon a gateway to another dimension, a doorway that will release evil upon the city. The Ghostbusters must now save New York from complete destruction.
16. Poltergeist (1982)
Strange and creepy happenings beset an average California family, the Freelings — Steve, Diane, teenaged Dana, eight-year-old Robbie, and five-year-old Carol Ann — when ghosts commune with them through the television set. Initially friendly and playful, the spirits turn unexpectedly menacing, and, when Carol Ann goes missing, Steve and Diane turn to a parapsychologist and eventually an exorcist for help.
15. Scream (1996)
Wes Craven re-invented and revitalised the slasher-horror genre with this modern horror classic, which manages to be funny, clever and scary, as a fright-masked knife maniac stalks high-school students in middle-class suburbia. Craven is happy to provide both tension and self-parody as the body count mounts – but the victims aren’t always the ones you’d expect.
14. Creep 1 (2014) & Creep 2 (2017)
(1) Aaron answers an online ad and drives to a stranger’s house to film him for the day. The man wants to make a movie for his unborn child, but his requests become more bizarre as the day goes along. (2) A video artist who craves shocking stories realises she has made a mistake when she meets a serial killer in a cabin.
13. Under Wraps (1997)
Three twelve-year-old children, Amy, Marshall and Gilbert, encounter a mummy which has been undiscovered in three thousand years. While investigating, they accidentally revive him, but he must be returned to his resting place by midnight on Halloween or he will never find his long lost love.
12. Nightmare on Elm Street Franchise (All of them)
The series revolves around the fictional character Freddy Krueger, a former child killer who after being burned alive by the vengeful parents of his victims, returns from the grave to terrorize and kill the teenage residents of Springwood, Ohio in their dreams.
11. IT 1 (2017) & IT: Chapter 2 (2019)
Seven young outcasts in Derry, Maine, are about to face their worst nightmare — an ancient, shape-shifting evil that emerges from the sewer every 27 years to prey on the town’s children. Banding together over the course of one horrifying summer, the friends must overcome their own personal fears to battle the murderous, bloodthirsty clown known as Pennywise.
10. Hereditary (2018)
When the matriarch of the Graham family passes away, her daughter and grandchildren begin to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry, trying to outrun the sinister fate they have inherited.
9. The Halloween Tree (1993)
A group of eight boys set out to go trick-or-treating on Halloween, only to discover that a ninth friend, Pipkin, has been whisked away on a journey that could determine whether he lives or dies. Through the help of a mysterious character named Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud, they pursue their friend across time and space.Along the way, they learn the origins of the holiday that they celebrate, and the role that the fear of death, ghosts, and the haunts has played in shaping civilization.
8. Friday the 13th Franchise (All of them)
The franchise mainly focuses on the fictional character Jason Voorhees, who drowned as a boy at Camp Crystal Lake due to the negligence of the camp staff. Decades later, the lake is rumored to be “cursed” and is the setting for a series of mass murders.
7. Zombieland (2009)
After a virus turns most people into zombies, the world’s surviving humans remain locked in an ongoing battle against the hungry undead. Four survivors — Tallahassee and his cohorts Columbus, Wichita and Little Rock — abide by a list of survival rules and zombie-killing strategies as they make their way toward a rumored safe haven in Los Angeles.
6. The Adventures of Ichabod & Mr. Toad (1949)
Two animated adaptations of classic literature make up this Disney film. In “The Wind in the Willows,” wealthy Mr. Toad (Eric Blore) yearns for all the newest fads. When he wants an automobile, Mr. Toad sets out to get one any way he can. In “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” gangly schoolmaster Ichabod Crane falls for the beautiful Katrina Van Tassel. Caught in a love triangle with Katrina and Brom Bones, Ichabod fears a local legend called the Headless Horseman.
5. The Shining (1980)
Jack Torrance becomes winter caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel in Colorado, hoping to cure his writer’s block. He settles in along with his wife, Wendy, and his son, Danny, who is plagued by psychic premonitions. As Jack’s writing goes nowhere and Danny’s visions become more disturbing, Jack discovers the hotel’s dark secrets and begins to unravel into a homicidal maniac hell-bent on terrorizing his family.
4. Trick R Treat (2007)
Interwoven stories demonstrate that some traditions are best not forgotten as the residents (Anna Paquin, Brian Cox, Dylan Baker) of a small town face real ghosts and goblins on Halloween. Tales of terror reveal the consequences of extinguishing a Jack-o-Lantern before midnight and a grumpy hermit’s encounter with a sinister trick-or-treater.
3. Monster House (2006)
No adults believe three youths’ assertion that a neighboring residence is a living creature that means them harm. With Halloween approaching, the trio must find a way to destroy the structure before innocent trick-or-treaters meet ghastly ends.
2. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is a 1966 American prime time animated television special based on the comic strip Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz. A Halloween special, it was the third Peanuts special to be produced and animated by Bill Melendez. The Peanuts gang celebrates Halloween while Linus waits for the Great Pumpkin.
1. Halloween Franchise (All of them — but especially 1978, 1998, 2007, 2018)
The films primarily focuses on serial killer Michael Myers who was committed to a sanitarium as a child for the murder of his sister, Judith Myers. Fifteen years later, he escapes to stalk and kill the people of the fictional town of Haddonfield, Illinois. Michael’s killings occur on the holiday of Halloween, on which all of the films primarily take place.
Enjoy the month of October (Cheers),
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