Halloween is fast approaching and one of my favorite parts of the season is the movies. Horror movies, Halloween-themed spooky films—all of it, but there are so many. How do you know which ones to watch? Well, this list will give you a good place to start.
10. “Beetlejuice” (1988)
A spooky season classic to start off our list, this film concerns two ghosts played by Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis, who attempt to scare a new family, including newcomer Winona Ryder as Lydia, out of their house.
One of Tim Burton’s best movies, “Beetlejuice,” is carried by the classic interactions between the characters and Michael Keaton’s titular Beetlejuice. It’s weird enough for both adults and younger ages to enjoy Beetlejuice’s insane antics and…I said his name three times already, didn’t I? Oh no.
9. “Halloween” (1978)
“Halloween” details the story of horror icon Michael Myers (Nick Castle), who returns to his hometown of Haddonfield after decades away in order to stalk citizens and cause mayhem in the town.
On a list of any Halloween movies, you, of course, have to include the movie of the same name. This completely changed the horror genre, and its impact is still felt to this day. It brought the character of Michael to the mainstream, launched Jamie Lee Curtis’ career and retains its fear factor after all these years.
8. “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993)
Is it a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie? It’s on this list, so I bet you can guess my answer. “The Nightmare Before Christmas” was directed by stop motion master Henry Selick and tells the story of Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon), the king of Halloween, who grows bored of his own holiday and tries to conquer Christmas instead.
It’s creepy, ghoulish and absolutely off the wall with iconic imagery and songs that have permeated pop culture since its release.
7. “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991)
FBI agent Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) uses incarcerated criminal Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) to get an insight into another criminal on the run, hoping to stop him and find the kidnapped daughter of a US Senator.
“The Silence of the Lambs” is an Oscar-winning thriller that stands as one of the best mystery, horror and thriller movies ever. Propelled by a fantastic screenplay, lead actors Foster and Hopkins make this gruesome tale infinitely re-watchable and fascinating.
6. “The Bride of Frankenstein” (1935)
The sequel to the original 1931 “Frankenstein,” this film brings back Colin Clive and Boris Karloff as the master and the monster respectively, as they work together to create the titular Bride (Elsa Lanchester) to give the monster a friend.
Yes, it’s old. I’m sure the release date alone is enough to turn a lot of people off from watching this, which is a shame because “Bride of Frankenstein” is incredibly sharp and stands up to this day. This is the movie that introduced a ton of important features to the Frankenstein lore and it’s safe to say the character would not be the same if not for this film.
5. “Shaun of the Dead” (2004)
A parody of zombie movies, the movie sets Shaun (Simon Pegg) and his incompetent friends during the zombie apocalypse with Shaun also dealing with issues in his personal life as everything goes down.
This is one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. Everything fits together perfectly, including the charisma of the cast, the humor, the use of music and the visual gags. You’ve probably seen “Shaun of the Dead” already, but if you haven’t—make this year the year you watch it.
4. “Young Frankenstein” (1974)
“Young Frankenstein” is a send-up of the old black and white “Frankenstein” movies. Gene Wilder plays the grandson of the original Doctor Frankenstein who tries to continue his work.
This film takes the basic premise of a Frankenstein adaptation and turns it on its head. Every second is clever and hilarious and there are more jokes to pick up on every time you watch. Honestly, it’s a movie that’s worth watching just to see Wilder going absolutely insane the whole time.
3. “Ghostbusters” (1984)
Who ya gonna call? Comedy legends Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis star as the titular team who suit up to take down and trap a legion of ghosts swarming New York City.
The brand of weird, screwball comedy that existed in the 1970s and 1980s always hits a sweet spot for me and this film is no exception. With a fantastic cast and a super smart, witty script, “Ghostbusters” really is a perfect Halloween movie for all ages.
2. “Psycho” (1960)
After Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) disappears, her sister Lila (Vera Miles) and boyfriend Sam (John Gavin) attempt to track her down. Their investigation leads to one man: motel manager Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), who has a strange relationship with his elderly mother.
Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” redefined horror. Before this, it was all about monsters and people in makeup. “Psycho” took the horror and made it more grounded. Full of memorable characters and moments, it would be an achievement for any director, but for Hitchcock, it’s just par for the course. It’s a classic I love revisiting.
1. “The Shining” (1980)
Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, “The Shining” concerns the Torrance family. When father Jack (Jack Nicholson) moves the family to the Overlook Hotel, where he works as a groundskeeper, strange and inexplicable occurrences begin to plague the family which puts Jack’s sanity into question.
What can be said of director Stanley Kubrick’s most beloved film that hasn’t been said already? Everything about this works. It’s beautifully shot, impeccably acted, features an amazing script and a ton of iconic moments. It is honestly one of the best horror movies of all time.