One of my favourite Halloween traditions has always consisted of collecting as much candy as I can, gathering my friends together, and picking the scariest movies to watch together. As an avid horror film fan, I have watched everything from cult classics to gruesome slashers. In preparation for Halloween, I decided to compile a list of my top 10 all time favourite horror movies. Grab your best cuddle buddies and settle in for a night of terror with these picks:
1. Scream – 1996
This 90s Teen Thriller is considered a cult classic for a reason: it perfectly blends suspense, gore, and humour. As the first movie in the Scream series, this is an awesome choice to watch with a group of friends as it appeals to both seasoned horror lovers and novices alike. Personally, I love it for its satirical story telling and badass cast including actresses such as Nev Campbell, Courteney Cox, and Drew Barrymore.
2. The Conjuring – 2013
Not for the faint of heart, I consider this to be the most terrifying horror movie I’ve ever seen. That said, it also one of the best. The movie uses classic horror motifs to tell the story of an average family that moves into a new home only to be haunted by its past inhabitants. They enlist the help of paranormal investigators to rid their home of the demonic spirits. Extra scary bonus: this is based on a true story.
3. Halloween – 2009
There are many versions of this film, but the 2009 version directed by Rob Zombie is probably my favourite. This very disturbing movie follows the story of Michael Myers, a demented psychopath who escapes a mental asylum on a murder spree. If you are not a fan of true gore films, this is not for you. It deserves a spot on this list for its intriguing storyline that is executed in the creepiest way.
4. The Exorcist – 1973
Despite being filmed in the 70s, The Exorcist continues to be one the most disturbing and shocking movies today. Indeed, it may be seen as the catalyst for the dozens of exorcism movies that later followed in its footsteps. What makes this film standout is that instead of jump scares and suspense to evoke fear, it deeply explores the concept of pure evil and corrupted innocence. Good luck sleeping after you watch it.
5. The Shining – 1980
Considered one of the greatest horror movies of all time, The Shining is the adaption of the 1977 Stephen King novel by the same name. You may recognize it through its iconic one liners (like “Here’s Johnny!”) and/or legendary scenes (i.e blood flooding the hotel hallway). In the end, you will be left wondering if it is insanity, ghostly possession, or a combination of both that terrorize the films main characters. What is certain, however, is that it will make you think twice about living in isolation.
6. Sinister – 2012
When a True-Crime writer grows desperate for a fresh book idea, he moves his family into a home where a horrific tragedy occured. In the home, he discovers snuff films depicting real murders and soon realizes something darker than expected is at play here. This movie uses suspenseful techniques to keep viewers on the edge of their seats, all while trying to decipher the mystery of the plot along with the main character. The shocking ending will have you sleeping with the lights on.
Ever wanted to live in your dreams? These films will make you regret ever wishing that. Normally, I am not a fan of sequels, but both Chapter 1 and 2 are incredibly well done. If you are a fan of paranormal thrillers, you will love these movies. The interesting plot that continues from the first to the second will make you cover your eyes in fear, but peak through your fingers because you need to know what happens. I also especially love these films because once you watch the second movie, you gain a better understanding of the first. In other words, it takes lucid dreaming to a whole new level.
8. The Saw franchise – 2004 to present
From the iconic Jigsaw puppet (pictured above) to the disgustingly disturbing premise, the Saw franchise depicts the sadistic story of a man playing God by punishing people who he deems unworthy of their lives. The elusive mastermind behind each scene kidnaps his victims and forces them to play a “game” for their lives. These films are completely gruesome and not particularly scary, but definitely horrifying.
9. The Strangers – 2008
Also based on a true story, this movie carefully depicts how fear and hopelessness mingle. After traveling to a remote cabin for a romantic getaway, a young couple is terrorized by a family of psychopaths who enjoy the hunt as much as, or more than, the kill. Perhaps the most disturbing element, in my opinion, is how during the especially tense moments, cheerful music plays in the background. Have fun camping after you watch it!
10. The Ring – 2002
No horror movie list would be complete without this classic. The Ring was the first horror film I ever watched, and it continues to be one of my favourites. From the legendary TV scene to the shocking ending, you are sure to be provided with enough nightmare material to last seven days (excuse the pun). I also attribute this film to my permanent fear of wishing wells.
There are many other noteworthy films to consider, but this list is good place to start if you’re looking for a terrifying Halloween night. Happy watching, HC UBC, and be sure to have reruns of Friends ready to go post horror sesh.
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