*This post was originally published on 10/23/13 but has been reposted below with a few updates.
Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year. I’m sure it has to do with loving everything spooky and getting to be creative and dress up in costumes. But mostly it’s the scary part! I’m ready for Halloween so I’m sharing my favorite horror movies, in no particular order. I really had trouble narrowing down this list down into something manageable. When I looked at the original list I’d made, I realized that a lot of my favorites are foreign films; I included them at the bottom in case you’re like me and understand Spanish or don’t mind subtitles. If you love horror movies and haven’t seen any of these, I highly recommend you watch them as soon as humanly (or supernaturally, mwahahaha) possible. I don’t want to give too much away about each movie for those who haven’t seen them, but if you do watch one or all of them, I hope you enjoy!
Synopsis from IMDB: Five interwoven stories that occur on the same block, on the same night. A couple finds what happens when they blow a jack o’ lantern out before midnight, a high school principal has a secret life as a serial killer, a college virgin might have met the right guy for her, a group of mean teens play a prank that they take too far, and a hermit is visited by a special trick-or-treater.
This is probably my favorite Halloween movie of all time. I like that its stories are interwoven; it’s scary, funny, sad, and exciting all at the same time; it’s well acted; it gives you some surprises; and it’s Halloween themed. All of those make a great combination for a great movie.
2. High Tension (Haute Tension, French)
Synopsis from IMDB: Two college friends, Marie and Alexa, encounter loads of trouble (and blood) while on vacation at Alexa’s parents’ country home when a mysterious killer invades their quiet getaway.
This one STILL haunts me, especially when I enter a gas station restroom or sleep in a secluded cabin in the woods. The name of this film is basically how you feel the entire time you’re watching it. It’s an awesome psychological thriller that will leave you both terrified and shocked at the end.
3. Session 9
Synopsis from Wikipedia: The plot focuses on the growing tension within an asbestos removal crew working at an abandoned mental asylum, which is paralleled by the gradual revelation of a former patient’s disturbed past through recorded audio tapes of the patient’s hypnotherapy sessions. The film takes place in and around the Danvers State Mental Hospital in Danvers, Massachusetts.
Psychological thrillers are my absolute favorite. Probably because I have a Psychology degree and enjoy picking out what movies get right and what they get wrong. And this one gets it right, all the way. It’s creepy, it’s scary, and it’s one of the best.
4. The Descent
Synopsis from IMDB: A caving expedition goes horribly wrong, as the explorers become trapped and ultimately pursued by a strange breed of predators.
I love that this one has an all-female cast and is scary as all get out. Tight, claustrophobic spaces in the bottom of a dark cave? No, thank you! It was most definitely in the back of my mind as we were cave exploring on our honeymoon in Puerto Rico. Luckily, we only encountered murciélagos (bats) and not creepy, mutated predators.
Synopsis from IMDB: A true-crime writer finds a cache of 8mm home movies films that suggest the murder he is currently researching is the work of a serial killer whose career dates back to the 1960s.
Holy crap, the footage of those 8mm home films is the creepiest thing you will EVER SEE IN YOUR LIFE. I’m not even kidding. While most of this film is truly horrifying, the ending could have been much better, but I’ve found this is true with most horror movies these days. But the majority of it being so scary totally makes up for the not-so-great ending and it definitely worth a watch.
Synopsis from IMDB: A feature film based on a story in which a young man is stabbed to death on the evening of October 31, 2003. One year later, at a Halloween party, six people were brutally butchered in a remote location. The victims faces were carved and mutilated beyond recognition. The crime is still unsolved and is currently under investigation.
One of my favorite Halloween traditions that I share with my little brother is to watch the “they’re-so-awful-they’re-good” B-movies on SyFy. This is one of those, and it used to air every single year. I look forward to watching it every Halloween and have ever since I watched it for the first time in 2006 while studying for an exam at my parents’ house and it came on TV. I was hooked!
Synopsis from IMDB: When a videographer answers a Craigslist ad for a one-day job in a remote mountain town, he finds his client is not at all what he initially seems.
I watched this one this past weekend and it was CREEPY! It stars Mark Duplass, who I really like as an actor, as a creepy man who claims he’s dying from a terminal illness and hired a videographer to create a movie for his unborn child since he will be dead before the baby is born. Sounds *kind of* legit, right? But the more time they spend together, the weirder Mark Duplass’ character becomes. It isn’t really that scary, but it’s creepy enough to make you think twice about meeting people from the internet, as if we needed another reason for that!
Synopsis from IMDB: Tucker and Dale are on vacation at their dilapidated mountain cabin when they are attacked by a group of preppy college kids.
Okay, so this one isn’t a horror movie, it’s a comedy. But it’s sooo good! The main characters are a pair of well-meaning hillbillies who are mistaken for killers by a group of clueless college students. I think it gives you a story in the point-of-view of the possibly misunderstood horror movie killer with lots of laughs.
Foreign Films I love:
El Orphanato (The Orphanage)
The Devil’s Backbone (El Espinazo del Diablo)
Let the Right One In | The original, not the remake!
I could probably go on and on about horror movies that I really like but I’ll leave you with this.
What is your favorite horror or Halloween-themed film?