From slashers to seances, I’ve rounded up the 30 best Halloween movies for a scary night in.
So, turn off your lights and hold on tight. Ranked from not so scary to nightmare-inducing, here’s my definitive list of movies to give you the shivers this Halloween.
30. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)
Five sisters in 19th century England must find suitable husbands while protecting the family from an increasing population of brain hungry zombies.
This retelling of Seth Grahame-Smith’s bestselling parody of Austen’s much-loved novel is utterly ridiculous. But that’s what makes it work. Naturally this isn’t a movie to be taken seriously. My advice? Leave your delicious brain at the door and enjoy this ridiculous spectacle.
29. Blair Witch (2016)
Set 17 years after the original 2016’s Blair Witch is more laughable than scary. Expect to be terrified and you’ll be disappointed. But if you’re after a Scary Movie “Oh no you didn’t” type horror, then go ahead.
28. Coraline (2009)
An adventurous young girl finds another world that’s a strangely idealized version of her frustrating home, but it has sinister secrets like the fact that everyone has buttons for eyes. That’s hella creepy!
27. Hocus Pocus (1993)
With three centuries of beauty sleep on the clock, three witch sisters are resurrected in Salem Massachusetts on Halloween night. It’s up to two hormonal teenagers, a loud-mouthed, bratty young girl and an immortal talking cat to put an end to the witches’ reign of terror before all of Salem falls under the evil witches’ spell.
26. Ghostbusters (1984)
Three unemployed parapsychology professors set up shop as a unique ghost removal service. The oddballs become Ghostbusters, trapping pesky ghosts, spirits, haunts, and poltergeists for money. They wise-crack their way through New York, add another member to their specialist team and then randomly stumble upon a gateway to another dimension, one which will release untold evil upon the city. These guys know their USP and they know you’re going to call!
25. Sharknado (2013)
When a freak hurricane takes over Los Angeles, nature’s deadliest killer decides to mix things up and take to the sea, land, and air for snacks. Thousands of sharks terrorize the waterlogged city. It’s your classic lame horror combination of cheesy one-liners, over dramatised action scenes and well-endowed girls in tight clothing running in slow motion. Sharknado is hands down one of the worst movies I have ever seen but it’s worth a watch for the unintended comedy.
24. Beetlejuice (1988)
A dead couple attempts to scare a modern family out of their old house with the help of a “bio-exorcist” named Beetlejuice. But the obnoxious and devious ghost has more in mind than just helping the transparent duo.
23. Death Becomes Her (1992)
When a woman learns of an immortality treatment, she sees it as a way to outdo her long-time rival. Madeline is married to Ernest, who was once Helen’s fiancé. After she recovers from a mental breakdown, Helen vows revenge by stealing back Ernest and plotting to kill Madeline.
But when that doesn’t go to plan the ex-besties ditch Ernest and stick together. Death Becomes Her is the ultimate girl power movie.
22. The Sixth Sense (1999)
No Halloween list would be complete without M. Night Shyamalan’s classic thriller.
The Sixth Sense tells the story of a young boy who confides in his child psychologist that he can communicate with the dead. Unable to stop the boys “visions” the two embark on a voyage of discovery to uncover the truth.
21. Sleepy Hallow (1999)
There’s hardly a better fit for a creepy night in than a Tim Burton movie, and his take on the Washington Irving short story is ghoulish, intriguing and fun.
20. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Nothing beats a good Pegg & Frost movie especially when it combines comedy and gore. Shaun decides to turn his monotonous life around by winning back his ex-girlfriend, reconciling his relationship with his mother, and dealing with an entire community that has returned from the dead to dine on the living.
19. Scream (1996)
“Do you like scary movies?” A killer known as Ghostface begins killing off teenagers, and as the body count rises, one girl and her friends contemplates the ‘rules’ of horror movies as they find themselves living in a real-life one. I wouldn’t watch this movie with your phone in hand and certainly don’t let your prankster mates know you’re watching it.
18. What Lies Beneath (2000)
The wife of a university research scientist thinks her lakeside home is haunted by a ghost but overtime she starts to question if she is in fact losing her mind. This supernatural horror isn’t the scariest thing you’ll watch this Halloween but it sure is gripping.
believes that her lakeside Vermont home is haunted by a ghost – or that she is losing her mind.
17. Paranormal Activity (2007)
Something of a modern classic, this shocking low-budget movie plays on a culture saturated with reality television and near omnipresent surveillance.
16. Zombieland (2009)
Typecast Jesse Eisenberg plays his usual charming self in Zombieland. He plays a dweeb trying to reach his family in Ohio after a virus causes a zombie outbreak. He joins forces with a gun-toting tough guy trying to find the last Twinkie and a pair of sisters trying to get to an amusement park to travel across a zombie-filled America.
15. Godsend (2004)
A grieving couple agree to have their deceased son cloned under the supervision of an aclaimed doctor. However, as the boy grows up it becomes clear that something isn’t quite right and their time playing God may end up costing them their lives.
14. World War Z (2013)
Whichever phoneme you plump for, the Z stands for zombie, and the film contains, on a rough estimate, hundreds of thousands of them. All hell breaks lose and you start to question whether the planet might in fact be safer in the hands of the zombies.
13. The Girl With All The Gifts (2016)
The Girl With All The Gifts put a brand new spin on zombie movies. It’s so scarily close to modern day that it’s almost believable. This is so much more than a zombie horror, it’s a tale of love, determination and bravery.
12. The Crazies (2010)
Not exactly first date material, this gory zombie flick wont produce many laughs but rather an abundance of stifled screams. After a mysterious toxin contaminates a town’s water supply the inhabitants suddenly become plagued by insanity and then death.
11. It (2017)
Based on Stephen King’s 1986 novel, this movie tells the story of a group of downtrodden children in the late 1980’s who are terrorised by an evil clown named Pennywise. One by one children in the town continue to go missing, but the adults seem to be completely oblivious.
I wouldn’t say that It was a scary movie, it’s more creepy than anything. In fact, It is more of a horror-adventure movie; The Goonies meets Nightmare On Elm Street. You get the nostalgic weirdness of Stranger Things but with the chills you’ve come to associate with any Stephen King material.
10. Halloween (1978)
Halloween all but invented an entire subgenre of slasher horror movies, those that take place on All Hallows’ Eve. A psychotic murderer institutionalized since childhood for killing his sister escapes and starts stalking a nerdy adolescent girl and her friends, all whilst his doctor chases him through the streets. Who says men can’t multi-task?
9. The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
I know what you’re thinking but this isn’t your typical ‘things that go bump in the night’ type horror. Five friends go for a break at a remote cabin in the woods, where they get more than they bargained for. Together, they must discover the truth behind the cabin in the woods, but we all know they’ll regret it in the end. Them’s the rules.
8. 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)
10 Cloverfield Lane is a gripping and claustrophobic doomsday movie. It comes loaded with everything a psychological thriller needs to truly shatter your nerves, and then kicks it up a notch for good measure.
7. A Quiet Place (2018)
A Quiet Place is unlike any movie you’ve seen before. Following the near annihilation of mankind, a young family is forced to live in complete silence to risk being devoured by creature that hunt by sound. As mesmerising as it is terrifying, John Krasinski’s horror is nothing short of brilliant.
6. The Amityville Horror (1979)
It’s a little stupid, somewhat laughable, and full of overt freakout moments—perfect for some fun if you’re not in the mood for the really dark stuff.
5. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Certainly not a movie for the faint-hearted, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre tells the story of five friends visiting their grandfather’s house in the countryside who are hunted and terrorized by a chainsaw wielding killer and his family of grave-robbing cannibals.
4. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Several unlucky people are hunted by a cruel serial killer who likes to kills his victims in their dreams. Whilst the survivors try to find the reason for being targeted, Freddy Krueger won’t lose any chance to kill them as soon as they fall asleep.
3. The Exorcist (1973)
Fans of The Exorcist still shudder when they utter the name of this movie. This is a terrifying and gory depiction of a 12-year-old girl possessed by demons as the exorcist tries to save her.
2. Psycho (1960)
This American horror-thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock is a timeless classic. No matter how many times you watch Psycho it’s still going to scare the bejesus out of you.
1. The Shining (1980)
A seemingly ‘happy’ family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter. But there’s no time to take holiday snaps or send postcards back home because an evil and spiritual presence turns the father into a violent psychopath, whilst his psychic son sees horrific visions from the past and the future.
Happy viewing and remember this Halloween, don’t decide to split up from your group up in an attempt to find your friend. And whatever happens don’t say that you’ll be ‘right back’ because by the rules of countless horror movies you won’t be.
By Ruth Walker