These movies perfectly punctuate Halloween and the end of the season.
As the Halloween season is looking upon us, we have gathered some all-time hit watches for you to make the season more spooky. So, lock your doors and gather your guts because this Halloween season these movies might send chills up and down our spines.
Whether you do this occasionally or you make it your entire October viewing calendar, to do it right you need the scariest films you can possibly find. If you're looking for 10 of the scariest films ever made to program into your Halloween, here's where to go.
Often billed as "The Scariest Movie Ever Made," and still appearing at the top of many such lists, William Friedkin's classic film about a possessed young girl and the priests who fight to free her is just as effective now as it was nearly 50 years ago. It's a masterclass in so many different filmmaking techniques, from sound design to Dick Smith's legendary makeup effects, that it's hard to pick just one element that makes it stand out, and that's exactly the point. The Exorcist is not just an exercise in terror, but in genuine filmmaking craft, and that makes it timeless as well as terrifying.
Deviating from the Michael Myers storyline of all the other films, it shows a doctor investigating a mysterious incident involving a mask and a commercial for the Silver Shamrock company. What he finds is an evil plot combining the witchcraft of the ancients and the technology of the '80s. The plot is genuinely creepy, and the resolution (or lack thereof) lends horrifying implications. While Michael Myers could exist on any holiday, Silver Shamrock could only do what they do on Halloween.
More and more folks have found this underrated Frankenstein-esque tale over the years, starring Angela Bettis as an awkward yet hypnotic vet’s assistant who not only keeps a creepy doll around but also puts together her own special friend from spare body parts.
If you've never seen Lake Mungo, Joel Anderson's mockumentary about a grieving Australian family and the possibly supernatural events they're experiencing, you may start watching it and think to yourself that you've just found a straightforward, solidly shot public television broadcast. But that's just the framework Anderson uses to lure you into his powerful, deeply unsettling portrait of grief, destiny, and haunting beauty. It's not laden with jump scares or gore, but Lake Mungo is the kind of film that grabs you and won't let go.
The backwoods horror comedy explodes tropes and is just pretty darn fun and clever. Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine are good-hearted West Virginia hillbillies who, thanks to increasingly nutty circumstances, are seen as homicidal rednecks by a group of campers.
A British soldier (Neil Maskell) comes home, reconnects with his family, and gets work as a hitman. Ben Wheatley's genre-mashing masterpiece sticks to being a crime thriller until it takes a turn toward the sinister and transforms into something way more terrifying.
Famously dubbed the "scariest movie" ever by a scientific study, Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill's Sinister does more than get your heart rate up. It will certainly do that, of course, and piles on plenty of now-legendary jump scares, but the film is just as effective in how it handles the quiet moments. Ethan Hawke's central performance imbues the whole film with an added air of contemplative dread, so even when the adrenaline isn't kicked into overdrive, you're left pondering every dark step the film takes, falling under its devastating spell.
This grind-house tale is one of Rob Zombie’s more recent works but far grittier in tone and style than his debut. A gang of clowns is on the prowl, kidnapping contestants for a little game. The task? Evade capture from these clowns for 12 hours. The penalty? A little bit of torture and death. This year a group of carnival employees is the contestants, and many shall meet ghastly ends. But one girl named Charly (Sherri Moon Zombie) might have what it takes to make it out alive—if the new recruit Doom-Head (Richard Brake) doesn’t get her first.
If you can't empathize with Daniel Kaluuya's victimized protagonist and his shocked, tear-stained face as he's taken to the Sunken Place, you might just be a soulless demon. Jordan Peele's social horror insta-classic is an impressively crafted take on race that changed the scary movie game.
Produced by horror visionary Guillermo Del Toro, this is the perfect film to select for a horror newbie. Blending several children’s scary stories by Alvin Schwartz, four teenagers in 1968 discover a book of these stories inside an abandoned house. As they uncover the truth about the person who wrote them, they find themselves living out these tales, some of them meeting gruesome ends. It’s up to Stella (Zoe Colletti) and Ramon (Michael Garza) to solve the mystery of the author before they’re put into the story. Featuring very well-done practical and digital effects to bring the more gruesome of Schwartz’s creations to life, it’s a delightfully old-fashioned scary movie.