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Halloween is right around the corner, but if you’re like me, then you probably try to find ways to celebrate the spooky holiday all year round. I am a self-proclaimed Halloween baby, born on November 1, which is technically the Day of the Dead. This means I spend all year looking forward to Halloween. One of the ways I satisfy my cravings for such a haunting time of year is by watching endless horror and Halloween movies. Because of this obsession, I felt it was only right that I offered up my personal ranked list of my seven favorite Halloween movies. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, of course, and if I made a list of every single good horror movie this article would be an essay. That being said, here are seven of my personal favorite films for this haunting time of year.

The SHining (1980)

Quite honestly, I think it’s an actual crime to put this movie anywhere other than first place on ANY list. This classic Stanley Kubrick film pulls number one for a few reasons. First, the story has several twists and turns meaning the viewer really never knows what’s next. The complexity of the story only adds to the eeriness created by lead actor Jack Nicholson. This film gets number one because of its ability to terrify in a way so viewers can’t look away. With iconic scenes such as “Here’s Johnny” and the bleeding elevator, this film sticks in the minds of viewers. It’s a classic film that everyone should see at least once, regardless of if you’re a fan of the horror genre or not!

Scream (1996)

This might be a slightly controversial take (I’ve seen a lot of Scream hate), but I think this movie is arguably one of the most classic Halloween movies to date. Scream is one of the most iconic slasher films, and it shows. It’s been used in tons of spin-offs and spoofs such as Scary Movie. The film is the perfect mix of gory horror and mystery, along with teenage humor. It has you on the edge of your seat, and you realize you never know who to trust. Scream ranks number two thanks to its plot twist ending, ensemble cast, and of course, its iconic Ghostface killer.

Halloween (1978)

No Halloween movie list is complete without, well, Halloween. This might be the ultimate classic Halloween film, and it has almost no blood. This is rare in comparison to other slasher films, yet the film is just as scary, if not scarier. Michael Meyers might be one of the scariest characters in the horror universe, making many fear the boogeyman. 

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Tim Burton = the epitome of Halloween. We all agree on that, right? This stop motion claymation film is synonymous with the spooky season. Jack Skellington is one of Burton’s most iconic and recognizable characters and for good reason. This film is a cult classic and has an intense following. Although not scary, it definitely is a classic Halloween film. And Christmas. And all year!

HOCUS POCUS (1993)

Another non-horror, yet equally classic film: Hocus Pocus. The story of the curse of the Sanderson sisters is anything but dull, and the spooky setting of Salem is perfect for creating a bewitching film. I would also consider this film a comedy, making it the perfect movie for someone not too keen on the bloody mess like the other films on this list.

Fear Street Trilogy (2021)

This new film trilogy is my recent obsession. Inspired by 80s/90s slasher films, it has a vintage feel with modern effects. All three parts tell different stories, all relating to the misfortune of an unusually violent town. The three parts are gory and intense, yet also extremely entertaining. Having each part take place in a different year (1994,1978, and 1666) was genius and kept the plots interesting and fresh. This trilogy was recommended to me by a friend, and at first I was skeptical, but all three films are so well done that they quickly became my new Halloween faves!

a nightmare on elm street (1984)

Last, but certainly not least, we have A Nightmare on Elm Street. Another iconic slasher film with a twist, considering much of it takes place in a dreamland. I always thought it was super creative to have a killer haunt you through your dreams, and this film created a wild killer. In fact, I think the only reason this isn’t higher is because the character of Freddy Krueger is so wild and uncut, he’s almost comedic. Nonetheless, the kill scenes in this are terrifying and make it a classic Halloween must-watch.

Honorary Mentions

The Conjuring, Insidious, The Omen, Sleepy Hollow, Us, Friday the 13th, The Exorcist, The Amityville Horror, The Witch, The Corpse Bride, and The Haunted Mansion.

Be sure to enjoy these movies this Halloween!

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Caroline Harrington

U Mass Amherst '24

Caroline is a Communications major at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She has a passion for writing and loves to tell her stories. Outside of Her Campus, Caroline likes to spend her time with friends creating memories and spending time at her hometown beach. She is passionate about helping others and loves to write about all things wellness, fashion, and life.
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