All hallows eve, day of the dead, pumpkin harvest…whatever Halloween is to you, it’s a great excuse to watch a myriad of frightening films. We thrive on fear, searching for the best scare that only a select few films will bring. Hunting for the scariest scare and most frightening fright, I have finally settled on the top ten fear inducing films for Halloween… in no particular order of course.
10/ The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Possibly one of the key influences of the American Horror Story killer ‘Bloody Face’, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre has received a huge amount of sequels, remakes and references since its inception into cinema in 1974.
By and large this is because it truly is an amazing horror film that manages to use ‘Leather Face’ to an amazingly horrifying and scary advantage, making you wish you’d watched The Simpsons Halloween special instead.
9/ Halloween (1978)
The 70’s and 80’s really were a superb time for slashers. There seems to be something about a murderer’s knife based slaughter that resonates with cinema and John Carpenter’s, 1978 slasher takes that sub-genre by the helm, reinventing the way we look at psychotic slashing murderers forever. This explains why it spawned a whole array of lesser sequels that may still frighten you.
8/ Alien (1979)
Now I know many readers wouldn’t really class Ridley Scott’s 1979 Sci-Fi horror, Alien as a horror worthy of Halloween. But one cannot deny that the creatures spawned from the horrific mind of H.R. Giger, scared them a little…or a lot.
Sure, it’s set in space and the main cast have Pulse rifles worthy of any war lords arsenal, but when the Xenomorph starts picking the crew off one by one, like the Velociraptor in The Lost World, you can’t help but fearfully weep at the tagline, “In space no one can hear you scream.”
7/ The Shining (1980)
Stephen King, the king of the horror genre had one of his most famous novels brought to life by Stanley Kubrick back in 1980 and since then it has been scaring us for over three decades.
However, no one could have expected Jack Nicholson to perfectly reflect the tormented psyche of Jack Torrance, bringing him to life in an unimaginably scary manner. Audiences also couldn’t have expected twins, bartenders and a maze to be so scary.
6/ The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Jonathan Demme’s, 1991 horror is one of the more popular psychological horrors in recent history, mostly because it’s quite easy to quote. “Put the lotion in the bucket” is, to this day, the defining quote of 1991. But it’s also popular because of how creepily Anthony Hopkins manages to portray Dr. Hannibal Lecter.
There are very few things scarier than skinning somebody’s face alive, unless the procedure involves taking the facial skin, putting over your own face and then escaping custody all whilst enjoying the taste of human flesh. That’s why this film is a Halloween favourite.
5/ Jeepers Creepers (2001)
This addition might be a little biased of me as I know very few people who would actually mention Victor Salvas, 2001 horror Jeepers Creepers for Halloween. That said, this scared the bejeezus out of me when I was younger.
Something about the winged beast, Justin Long and the song by Ethel Waters are enough to scare me and to this day, holes full corpses are still not my thing – nor corn fields thanks to the sequel, Jeepers Creepers 2.
4/ The Grudge (2004)
Why is it that young girls with long black hair and nightgowns seem to be so popular in Japanese early 2000’s horror movies? The Grudge, The Ring etc. all share a common theme – creepy demonic ghost girls and their innate ability to jump out at any given moment and cheap scares are always the worst!
Takashi Shimizu’s mysterious horror is so good that I usually watch The Grudge with my hands in front of my eyes, but if you want an even scarier experience, watch the Japanese original and its subsequent sequels. The Ju-On Grudge is so scary, I flat out refuse to watch it.
3/ [Rec] (2007)
Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza’s, Spanish zombie-esq horror is the perfect combination of action and screams, partly because of its handheld camera format (made popular by horrors like The Blair Witch Project). This format lends itself brilliantly to the type of quick scares that make a horror film good.
It’s also one of those few horror films that have a rather great plot and narrative. It restricts our views of the story to the eyes of the characters confined to the apartment block. It gets even better when the religious poltergeist element is added, leaving you with a very slender demon to deal with.
2/ Martyrs (2008)
This is probably the only film on the list that left me in awe after seeing it. This doesn’t mean it is the best, but Pascal Laugier has managed to make a brutally horrific film that hones in on one of the most scary and pertinent questions around – what lies beyond…
While this question serves as an explanation of the somewhat scary events that take places, you do not realise that this is the purpose until the very end of the film and thus you’re left confused and scared throughout with no idea of what will happen next. There’s enough blood, gore and fright to make it one Halloween night worth forgetting and replacing with happier memories.
1/ Let the Right One In (2008)
As a horror, Let the Right One In is utterly brilliant and as a slightly romantic drama, it’s even better! Once again, I might be biased because I found the book by John Ajvide Lindqvist completely captivating and even though it’s described as vampire fiction, don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s anything like, Twilight.
Let the Right One In is beautiful and horrifying at the same time and is worth all your time on All Hallows Eve.
The Exorcist (1973)
The Omen (1976)
Paranormal Activity (2007)
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