As Halloween approaches like a shadowy monster, we often celebrate the night by watching scary movies. And one of the amazing things about the numerous movies perfect for binging around or on Halloween is that they’re either campy and borderline comical movies appropriate for the whole family or suspenseful films with low lighting that induce nightmares because of the heavy supernatural or murderous features. So, here’s a Halloween watch list that’s the perfect mix of mildly scary, classic and outright terrifying.
Friday the 13th (1980)
Friday the 13th is the mother of all campy slasher films and even features a summer camp, Camp Crystal Lake. The film led to an insane franchise with 12 films, a television show and many other adaptions despite the fact that it wasn’t well liked by critics. Just like Halloween-perfect, the plot of this flick is rather simple and based around the antagonist Jason Voorhees (the one with the hockey mask) who tragically drowned at the lake but resurfaces to mass murder the camp counsellors attempting to re-open the camp (or does he?). The film is filled with screams, gotcha moments, a small twist, and of course, a high body count.
The Babysitter (2017)
The Babysitter is a recent Netflix original film that is witty, charming and above all campy, but that’s what makes this film great. The film is visually striking with a killer soundtrack and the story is clever as it doubles as a comedy-horror and a coming of age movie. The Babysitter revolves around Cole, a young boy fighting for survival against his babysitter (and her rather stereotypical friends) who are attempting to perform a satanic ritual at his house one night.
With the craze around this year’s remake, it only makes sense that the original film makes this watch list. Based on Stephen King’s novel, It revolves around a group of adults returning home to hunt down an evil entity that takes the shape of a clown called Pennywise who threatened their lives as children. Compared to the remake this film isn’t all that terrifying and merges the present with the past as King’s novel does. Just keep in mind that this one is a three-hour movie and you’ll probably be laughing more than screaming.
Hocus Pocus (1993)
This film is a likely Halloween tradition for most 90s kids as it’s the perfect blend of nostalgia and cheese (and is decked out in Halloween costumes and decorations). Hocus Pocus takes place on Halloween when the new boy in Salem, Max, tries to impress the pretty girl with a display of bravado. Sam lights the Black Flame Candle, resulting in the resurrection of the Sanderson Sisters (a coven of witches that suck the youth out of children to stay young and beautiful). With the help of his crush, his sister and a talking cat, the group must save the children of Salem from the sister-witches.
Sinister is a goosebump-raising paranormal mystery that quickly digs its claws into you with its mystery element (to the point that you just have to watch till the end, no matter the lack of sleep you’ll get that night). Ethan Hawke plays a struggling true-crime author who’s desperate to find and write his next bestseller. So when he finds some old footage detailing the deaths of a family, he decides to move his own family into the murder house. While he attempts to solve the case, he gets much more than he bargained for as he realises supernatural forces are at play.
Don’t Breathe (2016)
Don’t Breathe is a twist on typical home invasion movies when three thieves break into the house of a wealthy blind veteran and find that they are the ones in trouble. After successfully breaking and entering the blind man’s house, the three twentysomethings enter a world of claustrophobic horror as they become trapped in the house and the only way to escape is to be as quiet as possible.
The Babadook (2014)
The Badadook is an extraordinary Australian psychological horror that achieved great success and praise from the Sundance Film Festival and the film industry. On top of the great acclaim, this film will definitely keep you awake at night with a top-hatted monster that comes from a children’s story. The story follows a troubled mother as she realises that her son might just be telling the truth about a disturbing and downright scary character that creeps off the pages of a storybook and is now haunting the house.
Phoenix Forgotten (2017)
This science fiction film is the alien equivalent of The Blair Witch Project as it has the characters document the terrifying and extra-terrestrial experiences that lead to the unsolved disappearance of three teenagers in the desert in 1997. Flashforward twenty years and the footage the teenagers gives new insight to the chilling events that befell them on their quest for knowledge about several strange and mysterious lights. Supposedly based on true events this Justin Barber and Ridley Scott film blurs the lines between fact, fiction and aliens.
The Craft (1996)
Who doesn’t want to watch a film about a badass girl gang that dabble in witchery? The Craft is a 90s cult classic starring Neve Campbell, Robin Tunney, Fairuza Balk and Racheal True. The female-centric supernatural horror is about four outcast teenage girls that use witchcraft for their own personal gain -such as becoming beautiful, getting back at a boy with a love spell and getting revenge on the popular mean girl. However, the teenage girls learn that all magic comes at a cost when the repercussions of their actions come descending upon them.
This watch list started with a classic, so it’s fitting it ends with another classic. Halloween is the perfect Halloween movie that put scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis on the map and was so successful it turned into a whole franchise with 10 films, comic books, novels and even a video game. The John Carpenter directed film tells the tale of Michael Myers, a child murderer who killed his sister before being admitted to a sanatorium. Years later, on All Hallows Eve, Myers escapes to kill again. Donning a mask, he stalks and attacks a teenage girl (Curtis) whose night of babysitting becomes a night of survival.