If you’re planning a movie get-together this Saturday, here are the 10 best movies to watch on Halloween.
10. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Okay, it’s set at Christmas, but Henry Selick’s The Nightmare Before Christmas is much more of a Halloween film.
Following a skeleton from a town that only celebrates Halloween who discovers Christmas, the film is a visually stunning piece, with its bizarre stop-motion making for a slightly unnerving watch, whilst it’s full of good songs too that you can sing along to.
It may not be the best horror film ever, but you can definitely appreciate The Nightmare Before Christmas for its artistic ingenuity, and if you’re a fan of Tim Burton’s unique genre, then this is a must-watch.
9. Suspiria (1977)
Suspiria, directed by Italian Dario Argento, is easily one of the weirdest films of all time. Effectively a B-movie, it’s a film about a ballet dancer who discovers that the academy she is learning at is being controlled by a witch conspiracy.
You may not have heard of it, but the reason that it’s so apt to watch on Halloween is twofold. Firstly, it is full of uneasy set pieces, a haunting score and some truly nightmarish sequences (including a woman falling into a pool of barbed wire in the middle of the night), and so will be very satisfying to hardcore fans of the horror genre.
Secondly, most people will see this as extremely outdated, and therefore pretty laughable. With some exceptions, most of the scares and gore are very weak, and as fake as anything, so it can easily be a good film to laugh at with friends.
8. Friday The 13th (1980)
Friday The 13th, despite not being the most critically acclaimed film, has become an iconic symbol of the modern horror genre.
The original Friday The 13th (before the countless sequels and remakes), is about a group of teenagers who are periodically murdered on a terrifying Friday night. Again, nowadays, it might feel a little outdated, but it is a hugely important film for the horror genre, being one of the first truly violent and disturbing slasher films that has gained a huge cult following.
What’s more, after this film, you’ll never be able to look at anyone wearing a hockey mask quite the same again…
7. Coraline (2009)
Now, Halloween may not be the most family-friendly holiday, but there are still some films that everyone can watch together on October 31st, and Coraline is probably the best of all.
Written and directed by Henry Selick of The Nightmare Before Christmas, the film features the same beautiful stop-motion animation, but goes above and beyond with a mesmerising story. It’s cartoonish enough for kids to enjoy, and subtly unsettling enough for adults to be immediately intrigued.
However, once you do get into the bulk of what turns out to be a pretty disturbing story, be warned: your kids will be scared. Really scared (and I know, because even at 12 years old I was freaked out by this), but it’s nothing too traumatising or scarring that they won’t get over, so give it a go!
6. Zombieland (2009)
Another genre that doesn’t normally produce the best films is horror-comedy. There’s often too much focus on gore for the films to be properly entertaining, and simply not enough good jokes to make you laugh.
However, 2009’s Zombieland brilliantly bucks that trend, and is easily one of the funniest films of the 2000s, as well as a properly exciting film to watch. There is still a lot of gore and violence, but that’s contrasted fantastically by the light-hearted atmosphere to everything, helped by the excellent script and stunning performances, particularly by Emma Stone and Woody Harrelson.
So, if you want to watch something that’s still got a Halloweeny feel to it, but is it a little more easy-going, this is the one to pick.
5. American Psycho (2000)
And now we move to a truly messed-up film: American Psycho. As the picture above suggests, it’s not for kids, and is a really violent and disturbing psychological horror about a New York businessman with a terrifyingly dark secret.
However, the film is still stunning. Christian Bale gives arguably his best performance of all, as the deranged and frightening main antagonist, whilst the story is full of amazing twists and turns that will definitely disturb you if you really think about it, as well as an incredibly darkly comic atmosphere that, worryingly, makes the film a lot of fun to watch.
American Psycho is definitely the best and most intelligent film on this list, so if you’re looking for a genuinely good horror film, try this out: you will be amazed.
4. Birdemic: Shock And Terror (2008)
Birdemic: Shock And Terror is the lowest-rated film on this entire site. Currently, there are over 1100 films, and this is the worst of all, with a rating of 0.0 out of 10.
Why? It’s a so-called ‘romantic thriller’ with pushy environmental undertones about a flock of rabid birds that attack a town, featuring the worst visual effects of all time and some of the worst performances ever seen on screen that all come together to make a shockingly badly-made film.
However, that’s why it’s a great film to watch at Halloween. You don’t have to focus on it at all, and can chat with your friends as it drones on, and then, when the 2D birds edited in with what looks like Microsoft Word attack, you can all wet yourself laughing. What could be better than that?
3. Scary Movie (2000)
The one that started them all. Over the past 15 years, we’ve had countless parody movies ranging from Date Movie to Scary Movie 5, but the first Scary Movie, from 2000, is easily the best.
It’s a parody of all the classic modern horror movies, many of which are on this list, and, although it is a really juvenile and often irritating film to watch, does feature a lot of good laughs that are perfect to watch and enjoy if you turn your brain off.
It’s definitely not a stunning comedy, and will likely outstay its welcome after one viewing, but, as a movie for a gathering, this is a very good choice.
2. Halloween (1978)
The name says it all. Halloween is another example of the early days of modern slasher films, but is a completely different animal to the genre that you’ve come to love and hate all at once.
Following the story of a murderer who escapes from a psychiatric hospital and then stalks a group of high school students, Halloween isn’t actually that gory or violent. Of course, there’s a lot of implicit horror, but it very effectively leaves it up to your own imagination to think about what’s actually happening, which we all know is so much scarier than anything that can be shown on screen.
So, for film buffs and horror fans, this is a must-watch on Halloween, as it’s an example of what the slasher genre can actually do, in comparison to the slew of rubbish we get in cinemas nowadays.
1. Scream (1996)
The inspiration for millions of people’s costumes, 1996’s Scream is a hugely significant horror film, but also a great one to watch on Halloween.
The strange thing about Scream is that it’s a combination of almost every genre on this list (apart from musical and family), because, whilst it is a violent slasher film, it’s actually a comedic satire of the horror genre, and a very effective one too, and is as such a lot of fun to watch as well as being pretty scary too.
Although it’s been followed by countless disappointing sequels, the original Scream is important in the world of horror, because it changed the feel of horror films from gritty B-movies into big, anticipated Hollywood productions with a sense of fun and excitement alongside fear, and that’s why it’s the best film to watch on Halloween of all.