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Five Classic Scary Movies to Get You Into the Halloween Spirit

Now that the weather’s getting gray and blustery, complete with falling leaves and bright foliage, you might be like me and start to crave a good ol’ scary movie. Gather some friends, a big bowl of popcorn, and some blankets and pillows. Get cozy and prepare to feel gloriously scared by these five killer thrillers, which also just so happen to be really well made films. Get cultured, and get scared with my top five horror picks. 



This movie is best watched in a large group so that at the appropriate moments you can all scream together! Scream is a interesting horror film because not only is it a slasher movie, it’s also a satirical mystery story sprinkled with light moments of comedy. When the teens of a small town began falling prey, one by one, to a masked killer, a girl and her group of friends try to get to the bottom of the mystery by examining the conventional rules of horror movies and trying to apply them to their situation. Directed by Wes Craven and featuring a young Drew Barrymore, this film is a Halloween must!

Halloween (1978)

Don’t just go for the 2007 remake  because it’s shiny and new. Go for the original, made in 1978. Like Jamie Lee Curtis? Fun fact: She had her debut acting performance in this film! Get ready for a classic slasher flick, complete with the mental child Michael Meyers who kills his sister with a kitchen knife, and then, after being institutionalized, breaks out to wreak havoc on some teenagers in small town Illinois on Halloween night, 1967. Watch on Halloween for maximum effect. 


The Shining (1980) 

One of my all time favorite scary movies, The Shining is part psychological thriller, part ghost story, and tells the story of a man who agrees to caretake a large, isolated hotel for a long, snowy winter with his wife and young son. Full of ghosts, flashbacks, and mystrious, forbidden rooms, The Shining is a classic film directed by all-star director Stanley Kubrick, starring Jack Nicholson, and adapted from Stepehen King’s 1977 horror novel of the same title. Ever wonder where the sayings “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” or “Here’s Johnny!” come from? Watch this and you’ll find out.    

A Nightmare on Elm Street(1984) 

Watcher be warned, this is one seriously scary film. A Nightmare on Elm Street might give you nightmares for the rest of your life, which, if you watch this film, you’ll find out can be deadly dangerous. Although this film was remade in 2010, once again I’m going to advise sticking with the original film, made in the 80s, featuring a young Johnny Depp in his debut role. This one isn’t just your run of the mill slasher flic, it’s also got a supernatural twist to it, and one that won’t be soon forgotten. Teenagers dying in their dreams, a dark secret kept by their parents, and the terrifying knife-fingered Freddie Krueger will haunt you for days, I promise. 

The Exorcist (1973)

Get ready for a wild ride full of demons, posessions, green projectile vomit, and mommy issues. The Exorcist deals with the demonic possession of a 12 year old girl and her mother’s attempts to rescue her little girl by means of an exorcism. If you’ve seen Rosemary’s Baby or The Omen, and know that you’re into demonic children, then this movie is a perfect pick for you. 


All of these films are scary, but they’re also renowned and respected works of art, produced by acclaimed directors, writers, and actors. So wahoos, culture yourself this halloween season, and watch one or two (or all) of these classic horror films, all of which are available at Clemons Library! 

Happy Halloween!  


Jenna Bernstein is an aspiring writer studying English at the University of Virginia. She is interested in film, television, philosophy, feminism, travel, and art. Oh, and sushi. Definitely sushi. 
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