Halloween is a special day. On one side of the fence, we have trick r' treaters and families strolling around neighborhoods. On the other, blood, gore, and scares are the only thing desired. It might as well be named 'Horror Film Appreciation Day.'
So, since Halloween is the best day of the year for horror movies, it is time to celebrate the best of the best. These fifteen movies are guaranteed to scare the living daylights out of any viewer.
Think we missed a movie? Drop it in the comments below.
15. Murder Party
Long before writer/director Jeremy Saulnier was making punk rocker Antony Yelchin face off against neo-Nazi Sir Patrick Stewart in Green Room (one of the year's best films), he made Murder Party, a micro-budget black comedy about art students holding a, well, party of murder.
Scattering party invitations throughout the city, a lonely man is enticed to attend a costume party on Halloween, instead of staying at home with his cat and a stack of VHS. Once he arrives at the party, a group of art students take him captive and spend the night bickering about the best medium to capture his torture and eventual murder in an incredibly dark, and incredibly funny, mockery of the art student scene. If nothing else, let this film serve as a warning to not blindly attend parties when you find an invitation on the street.
[H/T YouTube, Momen Rawi]prevnext
14. The Guest
When most people think of Halloween, they don't envision the sun-baked desert, a family grieving the loss of their son, or an incredibly handsome stranger showing up on their doorstep. However, that doesn't stop The Guest from including multiple Halloween themes for those of you who might not have grown up in a place with trees whose colors change in the fall.
Between the Halloween decorations, Halloween parties, and wonderful finale set in a high school's haunted house (including a direct nod to another entry on this list, Halloween III!), The Guest rightfully deserves to be considered as a great movie for the season, albeit a less obvious one.prevnext
13. The Houses October Built
Not everyone has access to lavishly designed haunted mazes like Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios, so you have to settle for places like Jed's Scream Shed at Jed's House. This film follows a group of college kids hoping to find the most terrifying local haunted house they can, and bite off a little more than they can chew.
The film loses steam towards the end, but anyone who's had to settle for just a guy in a mask with a fake chainsaw shouting at you while nu metal loudly played somewhere with strobe lights will remember the unease of being surrounded by attraction workers who might genuinely crave joy from terrifying strangers.prevnext
Sure, kids can get annoying on Halloween night with all their running and their screaming and their demands of "tricks or treats," but what if they truly were out to get us?
Hellions explores the concept that these little mischief-makers might have a supernatural origin and might be interested in more than just tricks or treats. The film has quite a few horrifying sequences filled of nightmare logic and will ensure you won't look at little kids in burlap bag masks the same way again.prevnext
11. Night Of The Demons
If you're going to throw a Halloween party, you better throw it in an abandoned, haunted former funeral home or no one will show up.
Luckily, that's exactly where the party in Night of the Demons takes place! As far as stereotypical '80s characters are concerned, this movie's got them in spades. Part teen sex comedy and part The Evil Dead, this film encapsulates everything you love (or maybe hate) about goofy horror movies from the '80s.
[H/T YouTube, HORRORF3ST]prevnext
10. Monster House
Few films capture the spirit of what it's like to be a kid on Halloween afternoon, having the whole night ahead of you to experience fun and adventure with your friends. Well, in the case of Monster House, that adventure comes in the form of sneaking into a house possessed by the spirit of its former homeowner to prevent further kids from being eaten.
This adventure could have unfolded on any night of the year, but the significance of Halloween means that our heroes need to save the day before an abundance of neighborhood kids stop by expecting candy, only to be eaten. Oh, and don't worry, once our heroes eventually save the day, they still make time to go trick or treating, proving the protagonists certainly have their priorities in order.prevnext
9. Ernest Scared Stupid
Luckily, this list isn't titled "Best Halloween Movies," because any list that includes an Ernest movie on it is automatically in the wrong. Much like all Ernest movies, Ernest Scared Stupid is ridiculously silly, incoherent, and at times, will make you chuckle.
This installment in the franchise features trolls whose weakness is a "mother's care," which is a weird enough weakness on its own, and that's before even realizing a mother's care is technically milk. That's right. This film features trolls unearthed by a curse on Halloween who can only defeated by milk. But hey! It's a lot of weird, goofy fun.prevnext
8. Hocus Pocus
Currently experiencing a resurgence of popularity more than 20 years after its initial release, Hocus Pocus has almost everything a Halloween movie needs.
Mythology based on actual history? Check. Zombies, black cats, and witches? Check. A party for grown-ups featuring a skeleton band? Check. Garry Marshall dressed up as the devil? Check. The phrase "yabbos"? Check. Love it or hate it, you can't deny that the story of the Sanderson Sisters coming to life thanks to the Black Flame Candle has all the makings of a Halloween classic.prevnext
7. WNUF Halloween Special
In 1987, the WNUF news team from channel 28 conducted a live séance in a house where terrible murders occurred, exposing things no camera crews had ever seen before. Granted, it's completely fake, but this faux-Halloween special is so devoted to recreating something you could have watched on TV in 1987, the filmmakers even made fake commercials to help authentically sell the atmosphere of a spookily silly séance.
To go even one step further, limited edition copies of the film were originally sold on VHS with handwritten labels to sell the authenticity of what it used to be like to watch TV on Halloween night in an era that television providers have long since abandoned.prevnext
6. Grow Up, Tony Phillips
Continuing the trend of Linus' sincerity, Grow Up, Tony Phillips is a lesser-known Halloween story of teenager faced with the decision of turning his back on his favorite holiday because it's no longer "cool," or embracing his inner child to celebrate the holiday the way he always has.
Odds are, if you're reading ComicBook.com, you love something that has been deemed "childish" at one point or another, and we've all been faced with the decision of doing what makes us happy. Whether it's the holiday itself or any other childhood joy you refuse to give up, you're bound to see at least a little bit of yourself in Tony Phillips in this charming tale of transitioning from adolescence into adulthood.prevnext
5. It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
Yes, you're right, this isn't a movie, but it also isn't a Halloween themed episode of a TV show, so…well, I'm the one writing this so I get to pick. Although it's become a staple in celebrating Halloween, the themes of this special shouldn't be taken for granted.
Linus devotes his night to waiting for the Great Pumpkin in a pumpkin patch instead of getting distracted by things like parties, for he believes the Great Pumpkin will visit the pumpkin patch this is the most sincere. If nothing else, this special should remind you that you don't have to celebrate Halloween (or anything, for that matter) in a way that holds no meaning to you and that the true reward is doing what you feel is right. Spoiler alert: Linus never sees the Great Pumpkin, so maybe the true lesson is to cave in to peer pressure or you'll end up falling asleep surrounded by gourds.
[H/T YouTube, Snoopy]prevnext
4. The American Scream
To some, Halloween is an excuse to get drunk in a costume, but to others, it's a holiday to celebrate family, community, and confront what scares us. The American Scream is a documentary that chronicles three different families in the town of Fallriver, MA as they convert their homes into haunts for the neighborhood to enjoy.
One family sets their sights on being professional haunters, one family just wants to create memories for their family, and another just wants to give back to their neighborhood, but they all share a passion for what they do and their emotions will spark nostalgic memories of what the holiday truly means to you.prevnext
3. Halloween III: Season Of The Witch
In 2016, to think of a Halloween film without Michael Myers seems insane, considering he's been the antagonist in nine out of the ten films in the franchise, but back in 1982, audiences were…still really confused.
John Carpenter never wanted more than one film featuring Michael Myers, but in agreeing to co-write Halloween II, Carpenter was able to advise writer/director Tommy Lee Wallace in the making of a completely different type of Halloween tale, this time featuring an evil Irish mask-maker who infused dust from Stonehenge into his masks to turn children's heads into bugs. Yeah, it's silly and doesn't really make much sense, but it's a ton of fun, features the last original music Carpenter wrote for a Halloween film, and you'll never be able to countdown the days to Halloween without hearing the Silver Shamrock jingle in your head ever again!
[H/T YouTube, Forever Horror]prevnext
2. Trick R' Treat
For thirty years, Halloween reigned supreme as the quintessential movie to watch on October 31st, but in 2007, a direct-to-video challenger emerged in the form of writer/director Brian Dougherty's Trick 'r Treat.
This anthology encompasses multiple aspects of what makes the holiday so exciting, from legends about what happens if you blow out your jack-o-lantern before midnight to why you should be wary of that one weird neighbor down the street, giving audiences an incredibly satisfying Halloween experience. Although not adequately appreciated on its initial release, this film has gained a cult status, leading Dougherty to create the new Christmas horror classic Krampus and with a Trick 'r Treat 2 in the works.
[H/T YouTube, MinorDemon]prevnext
It might seem cliché to include this movie on the list, but this film has truly earned the right to take its title directly from the holiday. Although the sequels tried to expand on a conceptually terrible mythology involving cults, familial bonds, and jumpsuits (I guess), the original Halloween only needed to showcase one truly terrifying element of the holiday: maybe that person in the creepy outfit truly is out to get you, and nowhere is safe.
Before Halloween, the holiday was a childish celebration of costumes and candy, but thanks to John Carpenter, Halloween has also evoked a sense of awareness and precaution that comes from the one night a year where all bets are off and you can get away with virtually anything, including stalking teenagers while wearing a jumpsuit and William Shatner mask.
[H/T YouTube, Miguel Olivas]prevnext
Honorable Mention: The Nightmare Before Christmas
Admittedly, not much of The Nightmare Before Christmas centers around Halloween. In fact, it's about a character who wants to leave Halloween and all of its traditions behind! However, for those of us who like to think about Halloween all year-round, this film is a great transition into the inevitable disposal of Halloween decorations in department stores in favor of Christmas trees.0comments
If you're looking for a movie to watch on Halloween, this might not be the best choice, but it makes a great choice to pop in at 12:01 AM on November 1st!prev