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Finally! Spooky season is upon us. I know what you’re thinking: hasn’t all of 2020 been downright terrifying? Well, yes. But it’s officially October, and with Halloween fast approaching, there’s no better way to celebrate the season than binge-watching some of the best scary movies Hollywood has to offer. 

In no particular order, here is a list of the 10 most iconic scary movies of all time to help you get your spook on:

1. Scream (1996)

This eerie thriller takes place in the town of Woodsboro where a masked psychopath murderer goes on a killing spree and anyone could be the suspect. Drew Barrymore, Neve Campbell, and Rose McGowan star in this epic horror mystery. Not to mention there’s a bunch of chilling sequels to keep you biting your nails in fear, including a new installment hitting theaters in 2022. Whatever you do, don’t open the door…

2. The Conjuring (2013)

If supernatural horrors are your favorite kind of fright, then this movie will have you screaming in no time. The plot follows the Perron family who move into an isolated farmhouse where they quickly begin experiencing supernatural hauntings. The family brings in paranormal investigators who reveal that the farmhouse has a murderous history.

3. The Exorcist (1973)

It is common knowledge that The Exorcist is the reigning supreme of all exorcism movies. In this timelessly scary possession storyline, Linda Blair plays a young girl who is all-consumed by Satan himself. The 12-year-old is cursed with all the classic symptoms like speaking in tongues, vomiting green sludge, and moving furniture. She can even turn her head 360 degrees and have you cringing in disgust.

4. Paranormal Activity (2007)

This one is far too realistic for what I can handle personally––but of course, that’s what makes it so completely terrifying. In a home-video style documentation, a couple records the ghostly happenings taking place right in their own home. The trailer alone will give you the spooks.

5. The Shining (1980)

Seasoned actor Jack Nicholson plays Jack Torrance, a man that takes his wife and son to a secluded Colorado hotel in hopes of curing his writer’s block while he oversees the hotel in its off-season. Jack’s descent into an axe-wielding maniac experiencing twisted delusions is the key ingredient for a perfect can’t-look-away psychological horror flick. Heeeeere’s Johnny!

6. The Sixth Sense (1999)

“I see dead people.” It’s one of the most unnerving and memorable lines in all of scary movie history. The Sixth Sense was incredibly popular when it premiered over 20 years ago, and I’m here to tell you that the sook factor still holds up. This movie deserves the praise, not just because it’ll have you jumping out of your seat, but also because of the epic twist that had audiences genuinely shocked.

7. IT (1990 & 2017)

The story of Pennywise the demonic clown was originally a mini-series based off of the novel by literary horror legend Stephen King. He’s responsible for frightening tales like Carrie and Pet Sematary, to name a few of his masterpieces. The sheer evil of Pennywise preying on kids stirred up a universal fear of clowns, or coulrophobia, in the early 90s. The story was made into a feature-length film for the first time in 2017, bringing the terror of child-eating clowns to a new generation of viewers. 

8. The Blair Witch Project (2016)

A small group of film students disappear after visiting a small town to record a documentary centered on the local Blair Witch legend. If you haven’t seen it yet, you have a treat in store for you. It’s freaky AF.

9. Poltergeist (1980)

A blockbuster hit from the ‘80s that follows a family living in a house haunted by a poltergeist. Spielberg’s producing credit is responsible for the movie’s magical feel, but director Tobe Hooper (Texas Chainsaw Massacre) gives the film a legitimately scary edge that ranks the film amongst the rest in this super spooky lineup. Don’t forget to turn off the TV before you go to sleep.

10. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

The classic that continues to define the horror genre. Jodie Foster stars as Clarice Starling, an FBI agent who seeks help from an unlikely ally. This ally, of course, is the notorious Hannibal Lecter, a psychopathic serial murderer, and former psychiatrist. Hannibal is tasked with helping Clarice track down a fellow serial killer and stop the murders. Just typing out the plot of this movie was enough to make me shudder. If you ever find yourself tracking a serial killer, beware of who you ask to help hunt them down.

Ellie Hooker

Bucknell '21

Ellie is a senior at Bucknell University. She is a double-major in psychology and geography and a minor in dance, as well as a member of the Bison Girls dance team. She joined Her Campus as a way to feel more involved on campus and to express herself through writing!
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