Halloween is my favorite holiday. 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! To get in the Halloween Spirit, I’m sharing my favorite horror movies, in no particular order. I really had trouble narrowing down this list into the Top 5. When I looked at the original list I’d made, I realized that a lot of my favorites are foreign films and have included them at the bottom in case you’re like me and don’t mind subtitles or can understand Spanish. 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.
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.
Earlier this week someone asked me why this was my favorite Halloween movie and I was unable to really articulate it. I like that its stories are interwoven; it’s scary, funny, sad, and exciting all at the same time; it’s well acted; 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 every time I enter a gas station restroom or sleep in a secluded cabin. The name of this film refers to 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 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 is to watch the “they’re-so-awful-they’re-good” B-movies SyFy. This is one of those, and it comes on every single year. I’ve looked forward to watching it every Halloween since watching it the very first time in 2006 when I was sitting on the couch in the living room at my parents’, studying for an exam and it came on TV. I was hooked!
Foreign Films I love:
El Orphanato (The Orphanage)
A Tale of Two Sisters (Korean version) | The Uninvited (American version)
The Devils Backbone (El Espinazo del Diablo)
Rec (Spanish version) | Quarantine (American version)
Let the Right One In
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?