The wind howls outside as shadows dance across the walls. It’s Halloween movies night, and you want to watch something scary.
Not just a few cheap jumps, but a movie that will haunt you long after the credits roll. A film that lingers in your mind, its dark visions creeping into your dreams.
Well, my friend, you’ve come to the right bloodcurdling place. In this house, we worship the chilling classics and new horrors alike.
So lock the doors, draw the curtains, and prepare to scream. I’m here to guide you through the ultimate late-night Halloween marathon. These movies will make your spine tingle, your heart race, and your knuckles turn white as you grip the armrest.
Their frightening images will follow you, step by step, long after you turn out the lights. You may never sleep soundly again. But on this twisted holiday, is that really such a bad thing?
Now, let’s begin…if you dare.
To start off the list, I’ve gotta mention John Carpenter’s original Halloween from 1978. This slasher film really defined the genre and launched Jamie Lee Curtis to scream queen stardom. The story is simple – masked killer stalks babysitters on Halloween night – but Carpenter’s direction makes it so tense and thrilling. That ominous piano theme still gives me chills!
Sleepaway Camp (1983)
No best horror movies list is complete without Sleepaway Camp and that legendary ending that turns the slasher genre on its head. Poor production values aside, the climactic twist with Angela Baker has cemented this low-budget 80s campfest as an all-timer. The haunting last shot ensures you’ll never forget it.
Jumping to the 80s, Beetlejuice is such a fun, weird haunted house comedy. Michael Keaton is brilliant as the wacky title ghost, and I love how Tim Burton mixes in his trademark gothic imagination. This one never gets old, no matter how many times I watch it. Plus, you can’t beat the “Day-O” dance number!
The Guest (2014)
If you’re looking for a slick, stylish thriller with horror elements, check out The Guest starring Dan Stevens. He’s chilling as a soldier who ingratiates himself with the family of a fallen comrade, but his charming facade hides sinister secrets. Stevens’ charismatic menace keeps you guessing in this tense, adrenaline-fueled gem.
Let’s transition to the 90s with Scream, which breathed new life into slasher films with its meta, self-aware take on horror tropes. Drew Barrymore’s iconic opening scene still slays me every time. And you’ve gotta respect how Wes Craven skewered the genre while also flawlessly executing the formula.
The Nun (2018)
Horror master James Wan expanded The Conjuring universe with the gothic frightfest The Nun. Shudder-inducing from the moment Valak emerges from the shadows. We get the demon nun’s full origin story here, soaked in atmosphere and Catholic terror. The set pieces deliver the scares.
The Evil Dead franchise remains strong with the latest installment, Evil Dead Rise. Transporting the demons to an LA high-rise was a smart way to breathe new life while retaining the franchise’s gnarly DNA. Jane Levy is fantastic as the lead, torn between protecting her family and stopping the deadites. Bloody good fun.
The Exorcist (1973)
The Exorcist, the OG possession film that has given us sleepless nights since 1973. Between Linda Blair’s monstrous transformation and Mercedes McCambridge’s bone-chilling vocal performance, it remains an undisputed genre masterpiece. The power of Christ compels you to watch!
Get Out and Hereditary
Now we can’t leave out modern classics like Get Out and Hereditary. These indie horror films prove psychological thrills and social commentary still have a place in the genre. The tension builds so slowly but surely in both, leading to chilling conclusions that stick with you for days.
Idle Hands is an underrated 90s horror romp starring Devon Sawa as a stoner teen whose right hand becomes possessed by a demonic force. Sawa’s charisma makes it work, and the scene of him fighting his own hand is a slick blend of horror and comedy.
The Descent (2005)
This 2005 British creature feature takes a group of women on a caving expedition that becomes a terrifying fight for survival. The claustrophobic setting and gruesome monsters make it so chilling. Audiences slept on this one, but it delivers thrills and adrenaline in spades.
In M3gan, killer doll mayhem gets a modern update with an A.I. companion who becomes dangerously overprotective. The demented humor makes it an instant cult classic. All hail M3gan!
The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2015)
Another hidden gem is The Blackcoat’s Daughter – this atmospheric indie film flew under the radar in 2015 but has gotten a cult following. Kiernan Shipka stars as a boarding school student left deserted over winter break, but something sinister is afoot. It’s a quiet, slow-building tale light on jump scares but heavy on eerie tone.
Event Horizon (1997)
We can’t overlook Event Horizon either. This interstellar horror from 1997 goes to some truly disturbing places. It underperformed at the box office but has since earned classic status with sci-fi and horror fans alike for its original story and visceral scares. The hallucination scenes are not for the faint of heart!
Let’s talk about freaky French horror Inside (À l’intérieur). Beatrice Dalle is blood-chilling as a woman who torments a pregnant widow on Christmas Eve. Crazy brutal at times but so gripping and suspenseful. It definitely warrants a wider audience.
And I’d be remiss not to mention a more family-friendly option like Hocus Pocus! Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy are comedic gold as the villainous Sanderson sisters. It’s the perfect Halloween movie to watch with kids or if you just need a fun break from all the scares.
So, this was my handpicked list of the best and most memorable Halloween movies across decades according to this seasoned movie geek. Let me know if you need any other creepy, crawly recommendations to get you in the spooky spirit!