Top 10 Creepy Movies To Watch on Halloween
It’s October! And that means Halloween. And Halloween means creepy movies! Here at Daemon’s Movies, we want to give you all the information that you need to make your Halloween a scream (the horrible jokes don’t end there – I’m here all month!). So buckle in, grab some holy water and your weapon of choice, and tell me what you think!
As an avid connoisseur of the horror genre I see A LOT of movies. Some of them are okay, most of them are crap (but I love them anyway!) and then there are the select few that scare the living daylights out of me. For the next three weeks, I’ll be your guide to all movies fit to scare – starting with MY top 10 favorite creepy movies (and a few honorable mentions because it was just too hard for me to narrow down this list!).
Keep in mind that this list is the movies that made MY skin crawl for one reason or another; and truthfully, there are a few on the list that I’m ashamed to admit caused me to react that way. They may not make YOU sleep with the lights on, or sleep with a crucifix under your pillow (just in case), but it takes A LOT to scare me and all of these achieved it with a vengeance!
So without further ado, may I present (as spoiler free as possible!):
Kelly’s top 10 favorite creepy (not to be confused with just horror) movies!
# 10 – THE OTHERS (2001)
I was 19 when this movie was released into theaters, and saw it on what I believe was opening weekend. The premise of THE OTHERS was something that had been done before; haunted house movies have been around as early as 1928 with The House of Usher. I went in expecting to be spooked, but did NOT expect to scream like a little girl.
The atmosphere of the film is amazing. Who couldn’t be just a little spooked looking at a giant isolated English mansion with perpetual fog swirling around it? Add to this the fact that most of the film’s lighting is primarily gas lanterns or candles, and the house becomes almost as scary as the premise.
It was a GREAT ghost story; doors slamming on their own, objects disappearing, and the poor heroine (Nicole Kidman) slowly going out of her mind. I remember thinking that I had the movie completely figured out within the first act, but the twist ending threw me.
The last 10 minutes of The Others had me and my two friends with our feet on the seats in front of us, our six hands all linked together – because apparently that was going to keep us safe from the ghosts that were ABSOLUTLY going to follow us home.
It’s a spooky movie without gore (I can’t think of one spot of blood in the film), no nudity, and minimal (if any) language. It pulls off the ghost story/haunted house premise without a hitch, and is PERFECT if you’re in the mood to be scared, but not terrified.
# 9 – SCREAM (1996)
I do NOT believe this movie came out in 1996. I feel old.
SCREAM is, hands down, my FAVORITE creepy movie. Its number 9 on this list for scare factor, but the Scream trilogy is what made me buy a DVD player. I COVETED the boxed set. Directed by Wes Craven, Scream breathed life back into the mainstream horror genre. It was smart, sassy, funny, scary, and had a GREAT looking cast.
Not to mention gutsy – who markets a movie with a star that you’re killing off in the opening sequence even before the credits roll?! I love you, Wes.
Sidney Prescott will go down in my book as probably the most bad assed “final girl” in horror history, I don’t care what people say.
It gave pop culture great references like “What’s your favorite scary movie?”, “Hello, Sidney…”, and the “rules” of horror movies. To this day that damn mask makes me shudder when I pass it in a costume shop!
Scream was a movie filled with red herrings, plot twists, and great death scenes for the slasher fans out there. Ghost Face is a killer that propelled himself right up there into a well deserved spot with Freddy, Jason, and Michael.
I was young when this was released, and it was the first horror movie I saw in the theater. My mother was not too happy about that as I ended up sleeping on her bedroom floor afterwards. Being stalked by a serial killer in a mask is not something a 14 year old should think about. I remember being CONVINCED that I was next on the list to be axed.
Kudos, Scream. I could watch you right now and not be able to walk outside in the dark without looking over my shoulder.
# 8 – Halloween (1978)
What makes HALLOWEEN such a great scary movie is that you never know why Michael is doing what he’s doing. He’s just always there, lurking around that next corner, white mask and giant knife at the ready. Poor Laurie.
It was the silent stalking and lack of emotion that scared me about Michael. Killers are supposed to talk. As an audience, we’re supposed to know why a villain is the way they are. It makes us feel safe, and in control. Halloween doesn’t do that. Sure, thanks to Dr. Loomis, we know that Michael is evil, but WHY is he evil?
Not knowing is what makes it scary.
Add that Michael is seemingly invincible and incredibly stealth; Carpenter created one super charged boogeyman. I try to watch this movie once every Halloween, and still get a little nervous when I look out my windows at night.
# 7 – Saw (2004)
“I want to play a game…” Words that I’d like to NEVER hear, thank you. SAW was a movie that scared me to death – probably because I have a VERY active imagination and I can see this happening in the real world.
I remember watching an interview with the writer, Leigh Whannell, where he said (and I’m going to get this quote VERY wrong) that they googled Spanish inquisition torture devices for some of the traps in the Saw series – and they haven’t even begun to touch on what humans have done to each other throughout history.
That is some SCARY stuff.
Saw was a film unlike anything I’d seen before. I was used to the everyday horror movies: the “killer kills naked co-eds who have inevitably fallen and sprained their ankle in the woods” type. I don’t care much for that co-ed; but in Saw, I CARED about these characters. I WANTED them to live!
Jigsaw’s traps are horrible, but in a way very, VERY poetic. And like he says, there’s always a way out of them. It may just cost you an eye. Literally.
The gore in the first Saw film wasn’t over the top that I can remember. The sequels tend to go over the top – it’s gore for gore sake – but the original Saw seemed to keep it to a minimum, but what WAS shown was shocking.
I remember the feeling in my stomach when Dr. Gordon says ” He doesn’t want us to cut through our chains. He wants us to cut through our feet!” I about died. I was watching the DVD and had to pause the movie several times because the suspense was just too much for me.
The ending of the movie made my jaw drop. I remember it ending and sitting in silence as the credits rolled, my mind blown, and thinking that it was probably one of the best story lines of any horror movie I’d ever seen.
# 6 – Hostel (2005)
That trip backpacking through Europe that my sister and I had planned got cancelled immediately after I had the misfortune of seeing HOSTEL. Like Saw, Hostel scared me because it really made me wonder if things like this happen!
Hostel follows three friends on their vacation through Amsterdam. They check into an AMAZING hostel, only to discover that their lodging is actually the hub of something MUCH more terrifying. The fact that the protagonists are men was great for me. Too many films center on women getting hacked to pieces; it’s expected. Having three guys, I was lulled into a sense of (semi) security that they could at least defend themselves if the time came.
There were scenes in Hostel that made me cover my eyes, gag right out loud, and caused me to be so horrified that I couldn’t look away, even though every part of me was screaming to.
The way that Hostel explores the (very) dark side of humans was terrifying. It’s not just a film full of blood and gore (although there is PLENTLY of that. Thanks, Eli); but it leads you to think about human nature at its core… which is always scary.
# 5 – The Ring (2002)
THE RING introduced Japanese horror into the mainstream film industry, and I doubt that director Gore Verbinski realized what a phenomenon he was starting. Samara’s stringy black hair, her jerky movements as she shuffles across the floor, these elements would become almost a standard in the horror industry after this film.
And why not? It was something we, as everyday film viewers, hadn’t seen before and it scared us!
Not only did the creepy little girl give us nightmares, but the premise of The Ring is this: if you watch a certain video tape, you will die in seven days. THEY SHOWED US THE TAPE! They played it right out on a big projection screen, and then expected us to go home and answer our telephones when they rang.
Let me tell you, after seeing The Ring, every time my phone rang, I let it go straight to voicemail for 8 days (one extra just to be sure).
# 4 – House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
Remember when I said that I as ashamed that some of these films scared me? This is the one I was referring to. I’m not going to lie – I cried when I saw this movie. I cried, possibly turned it off several times, and eventually ended up sleeping with the lights on.
HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES is just a disgustingly scary film that really has no rhyme or reason to it. It’s just… creepy. And will leave you feeling like you need the world’s longest shower after you’ve watched it.
To say that the Firefly clan is insane is putting it mildly. There are times when watching a film that it’s hard for me to envision the killer as a serial killer for whatever reason. I NEVER had that problem watching those characters, as far as I’m concerned if I ever see Bill Moseley or Sheri Moon Zombie on the street, I’m running FAST in the other direction.
# 3 – The Strangers (2008)
Based on a true story, THE STRANGERS is about a young couple who are terrorized by three strangers simply because “they were home”. SO! CREEPY! The three strangers constantly have their faces covered with masks which just add to the spookiness, and they come and go silently without the main characters having any idea of their presence.
There are scenes in The Strangers that made me yell right out loud at poor Liv Tyler in all her unsuspecting glory. The sound effects are a huge part of the suspense. For the most part, the movie is silent and then out of no where, someone is banging on a piano, pounding on a door, and rapping on the windows. It’s for sure jump worthy.
Since this is based on a true story, that already over active imagination I keep mentioning flipped into overdrive. This is more realistic than Saw or Hostel, and MUCH scarier. The Strangers is subtle, and doesn’t use cheap scares or gallons of blood to make you sweat. It plays on primitive fears – the ONE place we should be safe is our own home; and The Strangers break that rule perfectly.
#2 – Paranormal Activity (2007)
I’m fully prepared to be ridiculed for this choice. I understand that most audiences were split down the middle about PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, but I had to travel an hour to see it, the theater was sold out, and it played at midnight. I think all of those factors combined to make this movie terrifying. It’s hard not to be scared when the six foot guy next to you has his eyes covered and is leaning into his girlfriend for comfort.
Paranormal Activity was released in 2007, but didn’t hit theaters until October of 2009, when America “demanded” it. It’s shot on a hand held camera and is one of the “mockumentary” films that have become popular in the last few years. Paranormal Activity follows Katie and Micah, a young couple who are experiencing some… well, paranormal activity.
The scares generally happen when the couple is asleep and are focused around Katie. There are instances in this movie that required me to sleep with absolutely no blankets hanging off of my bed, a lamp on all the time, and I think I might have even burned some sage to cleanse the house… just in case.
I think the acting helped a lot with the scare factor. There was never a point where Katie or Micah weren’t completely believable in their roles. Micah especially, played the typical guy cards really well, doesn’t want to leave the house and thinks that just because he’s the “man” that he can fight whatever it is that’s hurting his girlfriend.
As an audience we never actually find out WHAT it is that’s causing all of these things to happen to Katie and Micah, but really, we don’t need to. Paranormal Activity is one to watch if ghosts and haunted houses are your thing. If gore is what you’re looking for in a horror movie, you won’t find it here – I think that was where the divide happened with this film.
** Just a disclaimer: If you get motion sickness, like I do, be SURE to take something to help before you see this movie. The first time I saw it in the theater I had to leave because the camera work made me physically sick.
# 1 – The Exorcist (1973)
It’s on Blu-Ray!!! I don’t own it yet, but I will! Oh, I will.
THE EXORCIST is my number one scariest movie of all time. Why? Because it’s got EVERYTHING. Demons, creepy children, special effects that still scare the heck out of me, blood, and possession!
Let’s all be honest here The Exorcist is scary. The thought of a little girl being possessed for no reason, and having horrible, HORRIBLE things happen to her is an AWFUL premise. The build up of the demon before he fully possesses Regan is scary enough, and then once he’s inside of her? FORGET IT.
I don’t know about you, but the scene when Father Karras and Merrin walk into Regan’s bedroom and she’s full out demon-fied STILL gives me nightmares. The levitation of Regan’s body, the demon’s voice, and of course, the 360 head spin and pea soup, make this film terrifying.
And let’s not forget NOTHING seems to stop this thing, and Regan’s poor mother has no idea WHAT is happening to her daughter. “It’s a lovely day for an exorcism…” is a line that will FOREVER give me goose bumps.
Honorable Mentions — If you’re looking for a film that isn’t so much scary, but will set the Halloween mood try one of these: THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, SLEEPY HOLLOW, and BEETLE JUICE. I understand these are all Tim Burton films, but he holds a soft spot in my heart.
That sums up Kelly’s top 10 creepiest movies. What’d you think? I’d love to hear your opinions and comments, and debate with fellow horror fans!
Next week I’ll be guiding you through the top 10 scariest movies of all time (based on various sources), so stay tuned!