Halloween horror breakdown

A guide to the scariest Halloween-time movies


As Halloween approaches, get in the mood by watching a scary movie. Grab your favorite buttery popcorn, hop on the couch and press play. Here’s a list to give you future nightmares.

The Exorcist (1973)

The Exorcist is a frightening horror story following the demonic possession of a 12-year-old girl named Regan (Linda Blair, Tweet Out). This supernatural horror film was the first horror film be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture and is also one of the highest grossing films of all time. The Exorcist is scary not only because of the demonic themes, but also because the main protagonist is a child. Regan goes from being an innocent kid to a demonic spirit. When the film premiered, several moviegoers left the theaters with nausea and fear due to the disturbing content. The Exorcist spawned several sequels and spinoffs in recent years, but nothing beats the original.

Halloween (1978)

Thirty-six years ago, director John Carpenter’s low-budget independent film sparked the slasher genre. Halloween pays homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. Actress Jamie Lee Curtis is the “scream queen” due to her perfectly sounded screams of terror. The movie follows high school student and babysitter Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis, Only Human) as well as her friends who are being stalked by the mentally disturbed Michael Myers. As Myers kills each student off one by one, his impassive, haunting demeanor, accompanied with Curtis’ shrieks and a frightening horror score, adds a darker tone to the flick making it a cult classic.

Paranormal Activity (2009)

Director Oren Peli tries to make Paranormal Activity’s audience feel as if they are the ones being followed by a supernatural presence by shooting it like a documentary. The film focuses on a young couple, Katie (Katie Featherston, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones) and Micah (Micah Sloat, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones) as they document their fear of having a demon in their house. With Paranormal Activity being shot like a documentary, the viewer becomes more invested and engaged in the story and feels Katie and Micah’s horrors of the eerie unknown. During the original premiere of the film audience members left speechless, will you be able to handle it?

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

Based on a true story, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre isn’t for the faint-hearted. Directed by Tobe Hooper and set in scorching hot Texas, the film was originally banned in several countries and theaters due to it’s violent content. In the film, Leatherface and his slaughterhouse serial killer family murder a stranded and innocent group of friends. The faceless ringleader Leatherface sadistically butchers his victims and uses their body parts for food and furniture. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a must-see for horror buffs, and it’s sure to send a chill over your spine.

The Strangers (2008)

Inspired by several breaki-ns in director Bryan Bertino’s childhood neighborhood, The Strangers, creates a level of fear in the audience. Young couple Kristen McKay (Liv Tyler, The Leftovers) and James Hoyt (Scott Speedman, October Gale) arrive at a small remote, ranch house in the woods and are immediately met by three mysterious masked individuals. This psychological thriller captures the tension between the masked murderers and the victims, illustrated through the shadowed lighting effects before each attack. The film will have you looking over your own shoulder to make sure the doors and windows are locked when the credits finally start to roll.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

A Nightmare on Elm Street focuses on a group of teenagers terrorized by Freddy Krueger, a crazed, burned-alive villain with knife blades as fingers. This demented murderer kills his victims in their dreams. The supernatural slasher directed by Wes Craven, plays with the audience’s perceptions of what is reality as opposed to a dream sequence. With Krueger living in a dream world his appearances cause frenzy as the teenagers begin to die one by one in their nightmares. “Whatever you do don’t fall asleep,” is a catchphrase in the film, which makes this the perfect all-nighter aid, doesn’t it?

The Conjuring (2013)

Based on a true story, The Conjuring follows paranormal investigators Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson, “Stretch”) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga, “The Judge”) as they attempt to examine supernatural disturbances in a Rhode Island farmhouse newly owned by the Perron family in 1971. Directed by James Wan, the interestingly gore-free movie is an intense ride as several ghosts and spirits begin to attack the Perron family. “We waited 30 years to tell our story, because 30 years ago the world was not prepared for this,” said the real-life Perron family. “The Conjuring” is filled with captivating jolts of fear that puts a spell on the viewer as the Warrens try to uncover the truth of what happened all those years ago.

Scream (1996)

Scream” is a smart and intriguing satire of classic horror slasher films. The suspenseful film centers on Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell, Mad Men) and her friends who become targets of a cryptic murderer named Ghostface. Directed by “A Nightmare on Elm Street” alum Wes Craven, Scream gave the horror genre a new face in the 90s with its savvy, sardonic style. Ghostface’s weapons of trade are his kitchen knife and his voice-changing device, which throws his victims off his true identity. Although this film is well over a decade old, it’s still a movie you can enjoy.

The Blair Witch Project (1999)

This “found footage” horror film follows three student filmmakers hiking to film a documentary on the Blair Witch. They disappeared and the film is the recovered footage found a year later from their terrifying journey. Instead of being a spectator, while watching The Blair Witch Project, the viewer becomes a part of the hiking trip subjected to eerie supernatural situations. The film is enhanced with the filmmakers anxiety and fears along the journey as well as our own. The Blair footage looked so authentic there have been various arguments over the Internet as to whether the documentary was real. The movie will have you in a cold sweat the entire movie, until the iconic ending … but no spoilers!

The Ring (2002)

The Ring focuses on Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts, While We’re Young) a journalist who watches a frightening tape and then gets a phone call stating she only has seven days left to live. Directed by Gore Verbinski, this psychological horror film is a remake of the Japanese film Ring. After watching the tape, she determines what caused her late cousin’s death. Keller finds herself in petrifying supernatural circumstances as she is terrorized by the tape’s evil spirit, Samara. Filled with grotesque, bloodcurdling moments, The Ring will cause you to never watch a random tape again.

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