So far, I’ve posted the scariest movie scenes ever as well as the scariest movies of all-time. This list is going to cover certain genres and the best movie from that genre. So depending what you are in the mood for Halloween night or any other time you want watch a scary movie, check these out.
SLASHER – “PSYCHO” – (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)
Most people put “Halloween” (1978) or “Friday the 13th” (1980) as the best slasher movie. Not this guy. “Psycho” invented the slasher flick. We get a knife-wielding killer, characters sliced and butchered, and a twist ending that is one for the ages. This is Hitchcock’s masterpiece and a film that changed the platform of cinema forever.
EXORCISM – “THE EXORCIST – (William Friedkin, 1973)
The scariest film of all-time, “The Exorcist” is as shocking today as it was in 1973. William Friedkin made a cinematic masterpiece. It’s a slow-burning, psychological horror film with religious undertones that will scare the hell out of you. No character in cinema has been scarier than possessed Reagan. This is one of the most influential movies ever, but nothing has come close to its greatness or horror.
FOUND FOOTAGE – V/H/S/2 – (Various Directors, 2013)
“V/H/S/2” didn’t break any new ground in the Found Footage genre, but it is a terrifying experience. Four short films that are all unique and bizarre in their own way. The film is bloody, gory, disgusting, and scary as hell. It also helps that at the screening when I saw this, someone left the theater and threw up in the lobby. That alone is legendary.
ZOMBIE – “NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD” (George Romero, 1968)
The one that started it all still holds up to this day. “Night of the Living Dead” is the godfather of Zombie flicks. In a world where zombies are infected by some disease and can run and think, this is the film that does zombies right. It also has a political message unseen in horror movies. This is the movie that made zombies cool and creepy.
HAUNTED HOUSE – “THE SHINING” (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)
“The Shining” will crawl under your skin and stay there for days. Stanley Kubrick made one of the scariest movies of all-time, led by an insane performance by Jack Nicholson. Technically astounding, with a daunt, methodical tone, and startling images, this is a vicious art-house horror film.
MONSTER – “ALIEN” (Ridley Scott, 1979)
Ridley Scott’s space horror film is one of a kind (except for “Jason X” (2001), but who counts that one?). With its lingering pace, classic monster, and legendary gut-busting scene, “Alien” is one of the best science fiction and horror movies ever made.
CLASSIC (pre-1960) – “THE CABINET OF DR. CALGARI” (Robert Wiene, 1920)
A true classic, “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” is one of the first great horror movies ever. Masterful filmmaking guides this silent film about a suspicious doctor’s patient. Beautiful gothic settings, eerie tone, and probably the first twist ending ever, watching this cinematic landmark is a must for any horror fan.
TORTURE PORN – “SAW” (James Wan, 2004)
People lost their minds when they first watched “Saw”, and rightly so. This is a sick, twisted, ingenious film that has the viewer guessing and wincing with every scene. Jigsaw is the best horror villain since Hannibal Lecter and the creativity of the traps is something to behold. The timeless ending will have you speechless. Don’t let the subsequent five films ruin the original. It’s unlike anything before it.
THRILLER – “SE7EN” (David Fincher, 1995)
If you want a pulse-pounding, edge of your seat thriller, “Se7en” is that one. David Fincher’s masterpiece is a creepy, deeply disturbing murder mystery about two detectives trying to find a killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his ways of murder. Great filmmaking and performances, especially by the diabolically evil Kevin Spacey, and arguably one of the best endings ever, “Se7en” is the perfect combination of classic thrills in a great movie.
CAMPY – “THE EVIL DEAD” (Sam Raimi, 1981)
If you want to make a campy horror film, take plenty of notes from this one. Terrible dialog, ridiculous performances, cheesy special effects, and lots and lots of blood and gore are the makings of this horror classic. It is hilarious and disturbing, and a film everyone should thank as the launching point of Bruce Campbell’s career.
META – “SCREAM” (Wes Craven, 1996)
The best example of mocking a genre while also being that genre, “Scream” is a blast to watch. It’s funny, twisted, creative, and most of all, bloody. This film reinvented slasher films forever while also paying homage to the classics of the 70’s and 80’s. This is one of my personal favorites and one everyone needs to see.
COMEDY – “YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN” (Mel Brooks, 1974)
It was a close battle between this one and “Shaun of the Dead” (2004), but it’s impossible to beat Mel Brooks. This is a perfect parody, one that makes fun of the horror genre but is also a wildly original comedy. With its quotability, tear-inducing hilarity, and one of the weirdest and best musical numbers ever in cinema, “Young Frankenstein” is Mel Brooks at his best.
FOR THE FAMILY – “HOCUS POCUS” (Kenny Ortega, 1993)
Sort of becoming a cult classic as of late, “Hocus Pocus” is now a household favorite across America. Perfectly capturing the Halloween spirit while taking us on a crazy fun ride, this is great for the whole family. Featuring a trio of splendid performances from Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy and a wildly inventive story, “Hocus Pocus” is essential Halloween viewing.
What are you favorite movies to watch on Halloween? What did you think of this list? Any omissions? Comment below or hit me up on Twitter@kevinwoz2988.
Images courtesy of YouTube.