The spooky silver screen: Best Halloween movies of all time


With Halloween just around the corner, many are eager to celebrate one of the nation’s most popular holidays.

Some students go to parties or dress up in costumes, but for those of us who like to celebrate in a more laid-back fashion, here’s a list of great flicks to get spooky with.

“The Exorcist” (1973)

Genre: Drama/ Horror

It may not be the latest in all things horror, but this movie is definitely a classic. It is one of the most profitable horror movies ever made, grossing $66.3 million dollars and has had many other spinoffs since its release.

This first story of an exorcism to hit Hollywood is based loosely on actual events, which gives the watcher a more “real” scare. This flick is not one to watch alone, but will definitely provide the chills that you’re looking for.

“Hocus Pocus” (1993)

Genre: Fantasy

“Hocus Pocus,” one of this generation’s favorites childhood movies, is great no matter how many times you’ve watched it.

The movie tells the story of teen Max Dennison (Omri Katz) and his sister Dani (Thora Birch) who recently moved to Salem, Massachusetts. The two, alongside their friend Allison (Vinessa Shaw), stumble upon an abandoned house and accidentally free a coven of evil witches who used to live there.

In order to save the day, the kids need to steal a book of spells to prevent them from becoming immortal.

A tale of adventure and fantasy, this flick is sure to get you in the Halloween spirit without scaring your pants off.

“Ghostbusters” (1984)

Genre: Fantasy/Comedy

“Ghostbusters,” the original version that is, is a movie from the past generation but is timeless nonetheless.

Three scientists are fired from their high-paying positions at a university and decide to start hunting ghosts for a living instead. They recruit one more to their team and start hunting.

The group finds all kinds of supernatural beings, encountering some funny and sticky situations along the way, including a gateway to another dimension, which they must close in order to save the city.

This film was so widely appreciated for both its actors (looking at you, Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray) and its laughs. It even called for a sequel and a remake, both of which have not been as well received as the original.

“It” (1990)

Genre: Horror/Mystery/Thriller

If your thirst for scary clowns hasn’t be quenched by the news, this movie is a must-watch. Based on the Stephen King novel, “It” is sure to give you a good scare this Halloween.

The story follows seven children as they are terrorized by an eponymousbeing which who exploits the fears of its victims in order to disguise itself while hunting its prey. The demon generally disguises itself as a clown to attract its young victims.

Stephen King is known for his psychological and horror writing, so if scares are what you seek out, this will fulfill your movie checklist.

“It” is also being remade for a 2017 release, so now is a great time to watch the original.

“The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993)

Genre: Fantasy/Musical

This movie isn’t at all scary, but does get into the spirit of both Halloween and Christmas. This film was one of Tim Burton’s claims to fame for his creepy children’s movies and unique animation.

The story follows the character Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon and Danny Elfman), Halloweentown’s pumpkin king, who is becoming bored with his job of scaring the “real world” every year on Halloween. Jack accidentally finds himself one day in Christmastown, a place of all warmth, bright colors and cheer.

Amazed by his discovery, the king plans to take over Christmastown by kidnapping Santa Claus. The movie follows Jack’s journey trying to connect two holidays with two totally different ideologies.

A unique spin on our perspective of the holiday season, this is a movie for all audiences to appreciate.

“The Shining” (1980)

Genre: Drama/Thriller

This film is also based on a famous Stephen King novel and is well known for scaring its viewers half to death.

Whether it’s the creepy setting or the murderous tendencies of the main character, “The Shining” is sure to give you the scare you thirst for.

Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) becomes the winter caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel in Colorado, hoping to cure his writer's block. He settles in along with his wife, Wendy (Shelly Duvall) and their son, Danny (Danny Lloyd). Jack’s writing doesn’t improve and his son starts to have strange psychic premonitions.

As Danny's visions become more disturbing, Jack discovers the hotel's dark secrets and begins to unravel into a maniac, hell-bent on murdering his family.

Lindsay Gilder is a staff writer and can be reached at