It’s that time of year again! Spooky season is finally here! I don’t know about you, but for some reason, I am always more excited about Halloween than I am for Christmas.
I mean what’s not to love? Trick or treating, the candies, the costumes, the decorations, the parties, the food, the late-night visits to graveyards, haunted houses & attractions and of course the scary, spooky Halloween movies.
Watching horror movies on Halloween is like an unspoken tradition that we all love to indulge in. Let’s admit it, getting scared on Halloween is what it’s all about, right?
Whether you watch special programming on TV or go for an online movie marathon, October is the time for jump scares and for things that go bump in the night.
We love horror movies
Believe it or not, there are actually some really good psychological reasons why we love getting scared while watching creepy Halloween movies. There’s something about huddling up with friends and family, digging into the big bowl of popcorn, dimming the lights and watching your favorite horror classics.
Horror is one of the oldest genres of film and is perhaps the most entertaining. According to Søren Birkvad, film scholar from Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, horror films are highly entertaining and it helps us get rid of boredom. People who get bored easily have an increased preference for horror films. This is known as sensation seeking. This is similar to going for bungee jumping, going for roller coaster rides and opting for various extreme sports. Since you can’t bungee jump anytime you want, you watch horror films.
Birkvad believes another reason why we love watching horror films is that it enables us to cope with anxiety and fear. Horror movies allow us to test our fears and limits in a controlled, safe environment. According to Psychologist Svein Åge Kjøs Johnsen, scary movies help us to activate emotional regulation by giving us a sense of control over simulated threatening situations and experience. Being able to control the feeling of fear simply by covering your eyes, allows you to get better control over your other feelings. This opportunity of controlled fear is the main attraction of horror films, just like any other adrenaline-fuelled extreme sports.
Fear is fun on All Hallows’ Eve
Research shows that people who enjoy horror movies, especially on Halloween, enjoy the feeling of getting scared. It’s part of the fun.
Psychology Lecturer Dr. Bryan Roche at Maynooth University in Ireland, says
“Fear and pleasure are very closely related. The same physiological reactions occur in both cases…For some people, the experience of watching a horror film creates physiological feelings that are always interpreted as “fun”, “a short thrill” and so on.”
Fear specialist and sociologist Dr. Margee Kerr believes
“…being scared in a safe place is a source of enjoyment and makes them feel good physically and can even serve as a confidence boost by reminding us that we can make it through a scary situation, we are strong.”
Studies have discovered that willing exposure to simulated threats like watching Halloween movies can help us manage stress and anxiety in a better way and even boosts our resilience and mood.
Top 12 horror movies to watch this Halloween
So now that you know why you love horror so much, let’s get right into which horror movies you need to watch this year. Finding the best horror movies to watch on this night that will get in the Halloween mood can be a real challenge. You want to watch something that’s scary, fun, bit gory and something that the whole gang can enjoy.
So here is my list of the absolute best horror movies, both new and old, for Halloween that you can watch this year or any year or even any time of the year to get scared and entertained. These Halloween movies will surely get you and your friends in the Halloween spirit (pun intended).
Here are my top 12 horror movies that are just perfect for Halloween (in no particular order though):
1. Trick ‘r Treat (2007)
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IMDB Rating: 6.8/10
Trick ‘r Treat is perhaps the best Halloween-themed movie you can watch this spooky season. Brimming with the spirit of Halloween, Michael Dougherty’s Trick ‘r Treat is an anthology horror film that will get you right into the mood. Consisting of 4 finely crafted interwoven stories, the movie is set in a small town where nothing is what it seems. From the loveable tiny terror Sam, to a child-murdering serial killer, werewolves and even ghosts, Trick ‘r Treat has everything you can wish for. This movie is a loving homage to the spooky holiday, it’s traditions and experiences. Trick ‘r Treat not only wants to scare you, but it wants you to have fun and it greatly succeeds in that department. If you ask me, this is the quintessential Halloween film that everyone needs to watch and rewatch on All Hallows’ Eve.
2. Halloween (2018)
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IMDB Rating: 6.6/10
Instead of rewatching the original 1978 John Carpenter’s slasher masterpiece, you need to check out the latest sequel in the franchise. With all due respect to the original, Halloween (2018) is actually an excellent horror movie packed suspense, jump scares and more than enough blood and gore. Ignoring all the forgettable sequels & spinoffs in the franchise, Halloween is a direct sequel to the original film and an excellent gory and graphic slasher movie. Set 40 years after Halloween (1978), the movie focuses on Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) who is hellbent to protect her daughter and granddaughter from the carnage of the infamous masked killer Michael Myers. If you want stabbings, bludgeonings, slashings, beheadings, impalings and a whole lot of gore, then this is exactly what you want to watch.
3. Haunt (2019)
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IMDB Rating: 6.4/10
In case you haven’t heard about it, Haunt is an all-new horror film that takes place on All Hallows’ Eve. Produced by Eli Roth and written and directed by writers of A Quiet Place, Haunt is one of the scariest and finest haunted house attraction films I’ve seen yet. This low-budget hidden gem may have a familiar plot about a bunch of teenagers visiting a shady and creepy haunted house attraction on Halloween and getting trapped inside, but it more than makes up for it with a palpable sense of tension, atmosphere and pure brutality. This is a claustrophobic and intense gore-fest that will keep you hooked till the very last scene. This movie is pure fun and amusement in a freaky funhouse way.
4. Goosebumps (2015)
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IMDB Rating: 6.3/10
If you are looking for a family-friendly horror movie, then nothing’s better than Goosebumps (2015) and it’s sequel Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween (2018). Based on the popular based on the horror book series by R.L. Stine, Goosebumps is an excellent spine-tingling horror movie that the whole family can enjoy. This funny and eerie movie tells the story of a fictional version of R.L. Stine (Jack Black) who is trying to save his town from impending doom after creepy characters from his popular books come to life. The sequel Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween is even more fun with an all-new plot and a cameo from Jack Black. Goosebumps is a solid and fun horror movie for kids and adults alike with a lot of craziness, gags and a ton of freaky monsters.
5. Hereditary (2018)
Halloween movies 5
IMDB Rating: 7.3/10
This is perhaps the most disturbing horror movie you can watch this Halloween season. I can guarantee you that you haven’t seen anything like this before. This movie will stay with you long after you have seen it and that ending will linger in your mind giving you sleepless nights for a long, long time. Directed by Ari Aster, Hereditary tells the story of a mother (Toni Collette) who is trying to take care of her family in the face of an unimaginable tragedy. As the family dynamics become complicated and completely breakdown, something more sinister reveals itself. Unsettling, disturbing and harrowing, Hereditary will scare the shit out of you. Just wait till the ending.
6. Drag Me to Hell (2009)
Halloween movies 6
IMDB Rating: 6.5/10
This is the most terrifying, crazy and fun horror movie on this list. Directed by horror maestro Sam Raimi, Drag Me to Hell is a scary, suspenseful, clever, funny, grotesque and disgusting ride in a good way. The plot follows a beautiful and kind woman Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) who gets cursed by a powerful old gypsy after refusing her a bank loan. Soon after she is tormented by the goat-headed demon Lamia who wants to drag her to hell…alive. This is a pure gem of a horror movie that is dramatic, scary, and super fun. Packed with suspense and jump scares, this entertaining Halloween movie will keep you guessing with its twists till the very last scene. This movie will leave you cringing and completely satisfied by the end.
7. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)
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IMDB Rating: 6.4/10
If you love Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark book series, then this is a must-watch for you this Halloween. Produced by Oscar-winner Guillermo del Toro, the movie adaptation is a family-friendly, old-fashioned, creepy film that is fun for both children, teens and adults. Combining the short stories into a single narrative, the movie deals with a group of teens who find an ancient scary book in a haunted house. Things start going awry as the stories and the monsters come to life. With heavy atmosphere and jump scares, the movie does justice to its source material. It delivers excruciatingly effective set-pieces that will creep your bones. Gross, frightening, spooky and wonderful, this frightening film is deliciously made and smartly employs the right terror tactics to deliver some shivering scares. Del Toro successfully proves once again why he is one of the greatest horror masterminds we have at present.
8. V/H/S/2 (2013)
Halloween movies 8
IMDB Rating: 6/10
No horror movie list for Halloween can be complete without at least one found footage film. And hence, here I have included what I believe is the BEST found footage horror movie ever made. In case you haven’t seen the first one, V/H/S/2 is an experimental anthology horror film that has a frame narrative connecting all the segments and it does a phenomenal job at that. Apart from the main narrative, the film consists of 4 different stories that deal with an entertaining mixture of genres and styles from techno horror, zombies, a mysterious cult to even aliens. This brilliant yet nasty found footage horror movie will keep hooked through each segment, with the segment ‘Safe Haven’ clearly standing out to be the best. V/H/S/2 is lean, mean horror machine that is intense, scary, shocking, gory and fun. In my opinion, this is the perfect horror anthology out there.
9. Annabelle Comes Home (2019)
Halloween movies 9
IMDB Rating: 6/10
If you’re a fan of The Conjuring universe, then Annabelle Comes Home is a must-watch, especially on the creepiest night of the year. The most entertaining movie in the Annabelle franchise, in my opinion, the latest installment in the trilogy is a classic, uncomplicated scary movie that’s packed with creepy atmosphere, pulsating suspense and effective jump scares. Targeted at younger fans, this chapter deals with Judy, the daughter of Demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren, who is left alone at home with her babysitter and the possessed Annabelle doll. It’s no surprise that Annabelle gets out of her sacred case and wreaks havoc on Judy, her babysitter, and her friend. Filled with some great humor, suspense, dread, and genuine chills, it is a surprisingly excellent, well-shot, well-acted and frightening house-of-horrors film. You and your friends will be seriously impressed with this one.
10. Monster House (2006)
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IMDB Rating: 6.6/10
Monster House is an animated horror comedy that’s perfect for the whole family this Halloween season. Executive produced by Steven Spielberg & Robert Zemeckis,
this underrated horror gem uses all the true horror movie tropes in the best way imaginable and delivers an effectively scary and funny animated movie in a kid-friendly way. It is visually spectacular and tells a fascinatingly great story with excellent characters and a really epic twist ending. The movie focuses on 3 friends who try to unravel the mystery of a creepy-looking house in their neighborhood on Halloween night. There are enough mystery, action, scares and even a perfect backstory that makes the film even more enjoyable. This is a rare movie that’s full of creepy surprises and delivers them smartly in a family-friendly package.
11. Evil Dead (2013)
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IMDB Rating: 6.5/10
This is perhaps the scariest and goriest movie on this list of Halloween horror movies. Yes, it is bloody, gory and damn terrifying. A remake of the original 1981 film, Evil Dead tells the story of a young girl (Jane Levy) trying to overcome drug addiction in a remote cabin in the middle of a forest with the help of her brother and her friends. Unfortunately, they stumble onto the Book of the Dead called Naturom Demento and unleash an evil entity. Although the plot remains pretty faithful to the original it greatly amps upon the blood and gore department. The movie smartly avoids any use of CGI and greatly relies on practical effects which make it that much more realistic, terrifying, disgusting and amazing at the same time. The movie is rich in atmosphere and a foreboding sense of dread that will rattle your bones long after the movie is over. Evil Dead will scar you and keep you awake for nights.
12. Sinister (2012)
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IMDB Rating: 6.8 /10
If you prefer a slow burn supernatural mystery that gradually delves into terrifying and ‘sinister’ conclusions, instead of blood and gore, then this movie is perfect for you. This is a well-crafted horror movie that pulls you into it’s dark, frightening world of loud noises, distant moans, thunderstorms and creepy children with a hypnotic appeal. It’s amazing how finely the movie transitions from a crime investigation into supernatural horror with an all-pervasive encroaching dread. Heavy on atmosphere, Sinister tells the story of a true-crime author (Ethan Hawke) with a large ego who moves into a new house, along with his wife and two kids, to investigate a horrifying murder that took place in the same house. As he finds a box with Super 8 films showing gruesome murders, he sets out to investigate the truth behind it only to realize the truth is far more sinister than he expected. Sinister is undoubtedly a smart scary movie that creeps up on you slowly.
Tales of Halloween (2015)
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IMDB Rating: 5.5/10
When you’re in the mood to celebrate Halloween but feel too old to go out trick or treating, then Tales of Halloween is exactly what you need. This anthology horror-comedy movie consists of 10 tasty stories about ghosts, demons, monsters, and ghouls that terrorize a suburban neighborhood on All Hallows’ Eve. This creepy anthology is good fun and will remind you of classic horror movies like Creepshow. This tongue-in-cheek movie is scary, gory, fun, entertaining and highly enjoyable.
So you want to binge-watch Halloween movies with friends all night long? Do you need more horror movie options to spice up your Halloween night? Well, here are some more great horror movies that are my personal favorites. Check it out.
It (2017) & It Chapter Two (2019)
The Conjuring (2013)
Hell Fest (2018)
Would You Rather (2012)
Boys in the Trees (2016)
Fun Size (2012)
The House of the Devil (2009)
Pet Sematary (2019)
Happy Death Day 2U (2019)
Escape Room (2019)
The Orphanage (2006)
The Others (2001)
The Descent (2005)
The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)
Don’t Breathe (2016)
The Ritual (2017)
Hotel Transylvania (2012)
The Midnight Meat Train (2008)
There you go! That was the most comprehensive list of all the best Halloween horror films you need to watch to get spooky.
Did I miss any of your favorite horror movies that you like to watch on Halloween? Do let me know below.
Happy Halloween folks!