If you’re staying at home on Halloween night, you’ll be visited by legions of creepy characters in masks and makeup—whether you like it or not! When deciding on the perfect horror movie to watch on October 31st, I always recommend picking a film that will exasperate the inherent spirit of the evening: Haunted houses, uninvited visitors, claustrophobic and supernatural creepers; basically, it has to be spooky!
Below, in no particular order, are films guaranteed to get under your skin this Halloween; movies that will have you questioning the safety of turning on your porchlight; films that will have you jumping at every bump in the night and hearing screaming children is every cat’s meow! Have a read and let us know what you think in the Comments section!
Did your favorite spooky creeper make the list? What are your favorite films to watch on All Hallows’ Eve? Sound off in the Comments section!
Amityville: The Awakening (2017, Directed by Franck Khalfoun)
Official Synopsis: When some footage dating back to 1976 is discovered, the case of the haunted house in Amityville is reopened. An ambitious woman who is working as a television news intern seizes the opportunity to advance her career and is soon leading a team of journalists, clergymen, and paranormal researchers into the house, but she may have unwittingly opened a door to the unreal that she will never be able to close.
Despite sitting on a shelf for half a decade, Amityville: The Awakening is surprisingly effective and the 3rd best installment in the loosely connected Amityville franchise. Even though the film doesn’t arrive on Blu-ray/DVD until November 4th, you can actually see the film for free on Google Play.
Insidious (2010, Directed by James Wan)
Official Synopsis: Parents (Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne) take drastic measures when it seems their new home is haunted and their comatose son (Ty Simpkins) is possessed by a malevolent entity.
Insidious is becoming one of the best-loved horror franchises of the 21st Century, and the idea of ghastly specters inhabiting an all-encompassing astral plane will make it impossible to sleep on Halloween night. Every installment is a winner, but the first, with its Lipstick-Faced Demon and hideous Old Lady will have you screaming out loud.
Sinister (2012, Directed by Scott Derrickson)
Official Synopsis: True-crime writer Ellison Oswald (Ethan Hawke) is in a slump; he hasn’t had a best seller in more than 10 years and is becoming increasingly desperate for a hit. So, when he discovers the existence of a snuff film showing the deaths of a family, he vows to solve the mystery. He moves his own family into the victims’ home and gets to work. However, when old film footage and other clues hint at the presence of a supernatural force, Ellison learns that living in the house may be fatal.
Halloween is all about haunted houses and creepy kids, and Sinister mixes both horror tropes into an absolutely unnerving experience. This one will have you looking for Mr. Boogey in the shadows and questioning the sinister intentions behind every child’s smile.
The Strangers (2008, Directed by Bryan Bertino)
Official Synopsis: Kristen (Liv Tyler) and James (Scott Speedman) are expecting a relaxing weekend at a family vacation home, but their stay turns out to be anything but peaceful. First, a mysterious and dangerous woman arrives at the door while James is out on an errand. When he returns, he accidentally kills his friend Mike (Glenn Howerton), mistaking him for an intruder. And then real danger does show up — in the form of three masked torturers, leaving Kristen and James struggling for survival.
The Strangers will have you jumping every time someone knocks at your door this Halloween while shuddering at every masked face you encounter. What better film to watch on the 1 day out of the year strangers are encouraged to invade your life?
Related Article: Why “The Strangers” Was SUPPOSEDLY Scary
You’re Next (2013, Directed by Adam Wingard)
Official Synopsis: The Davisons, an upper-class family, are extremely wealthy — but also estranged. In an attempt to mend their broken family ties, Aubrey (Barbara Crampton) and Paul (Rob Moran) Davison decide to celebrate their wedding anniversary by inviting their four children and their children’s significant others to their weekend estate. The celebration gets off to a rocky start, but when crossbow-wielding assailants in animal masks suddenly attack, the Davisons must pull together or die.
You’re Next is another great flick to freak out those of us staying home on Halloween night. A relentless onslaught from masked intruders will have you spooked, but the idea that the real enemy comes from within will give you a double dose of Holiday horror!
House of the Devil (2009, Directed by Ti West)
Official Synopsis: Desperate to make some money so she can move into a new apartment, college student Samantha Hughes (Jocelin Donahue) takes a mysterious babysitting job. When she arrives at the house, Mr. Ulman (Tom Noonan) mentions a full lunar eclipse and explains there is no child, but that Samantha will be watching his mother instead. After exploring the sinister-seeming house, Samantha soon comes to realize that her employers are hiding a horrifying secret and have plans to use her, dead or alive.
This one is a slow burn creeper, but it’ll have you up all night—especially if you’re babysitting on Halloween. Tension and suspense reach torturous levels in a film that never lets up, finally culminating in a hideous manifestation of Satanic Panic.
Poltergeist (1982, Directed by Tobe Hooper)
Official Synopsis: Strange and creepy happenings beset an average California family, the Freelings — Steve (Craig T. Nelson), Diane (JoBeth Williams), teenaged Dana (Dominique Dunne), eight-year-old Robbie (Oliver Robins), and five-year-old Carol Ann (Heather O’Rourke) — when ghosts commune with them through the television set. Initially friendly and playful, the spirits turn unexpectedly menacing, and, when Carol Ann goes missing, Steve and Diane turn to a parapsychologist and eventually an exorcist for help.
The haunted house flick many of us grew up with is still a perfect watch on Halloween—as long as you aren’t living on sacred burial grounds! This one brings out the kid in me while still reducing me to shivers every damn time!
Related Article: Kane Almost Appeared in “Poltergeist” 1982 (Sort Of)
The Gate (1987, Directed by Tibor Takács)
Official Synopsis: When Al (Christa Denton) and Glenn’s (Stephen Dorff) parents (Deborah Grover, Scot Denton) leave town for the weekend, Al uses the opportunity to throw a party while little brother Glenn and his friend Terry (Louis Tripp) decide to explore a hole left by a tree-removal service in the backyard. When unexplainable phenomena begin occurring, Terry — with the help of his extensive heavy-metal music collection — comes to the conclusion that he and Glenn have accidentally opened a gateway to hell.
A spooky choice you can enjoy with the entire family is 1987’s The Gate; this one will have you wondering what evils lurk beneath your own backyard while trembling at the possibility of a sudden apocalypse.
The Exorcist (1973, Directed by William Friedkin)
Official Synopsis: One of the most profitable horror movies ever made, this tale of an exorcism is based loosely on actual events. When young Regan (Linda Blair) starts acting odd — levitating, speaking in tongues — her worried mother (Ellen Burstyn) seeks medical help, only to hit a dead end. A local priest (Jason Miller), however, thinks the girl may be seized by the devil. The priest makes a request to perform an exorcism, and the church sends in an expert (Max von Sydow) to help with the difficult job.
While The Exorcist has the power to terrify on any day of the year, watching the seminal horror classic on Halloween is almost asking for trouble; it’s like you’re daring demonic forces to crawl out of the woodwork to lurk in your attic or basement. Is that you, Captain Howdy?
The Conjuring (2013, Directed by James Wan)
Official Synopsis: In 1970, paranormal investigators and demonologists Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) and Ed (Patrick Wilson) Warren are summoned to the home of Carolyn (Lili Taylor) and Roger (Ron Livingston) Perron. The Perrons and their five daughters have recently moved into a secluded farmhouse, where a supernatural presence has made itself known. Though the manifestations are relatively benign at first, events soon escalate in horrifying fashion, especially after the Warrens discover the house’s macabre history.
Since I’ve often stated that The Conjuring is the scariest horror movie since The Exorcist, it’s another natural choice for spooky viewing this Halloween. If you’ve got the nerve, you could attempt a double feature with The Conjuring 2, an experience that will have you praying for morning!
Dolls (1987, Directed by Stuart Gordon)
Official Synopsis: A group of motorists, including young Judy Bower (Carrie Lorraine), her horrible father (Ian Patrick Williams), her evil queen of a stepmother (Carolyn Purdy-Gordon) and a meek businessman named Ralph (Stephen Lee), become stranded at a spooky mansion during a nighttime thunderstorm. The house’s strange owners (Guy Rolfe, Hilary Mason) offer overnight lodgings, but with the dastardly intentions of making their visitors the playthings of their murderous toy dolls.
It isn’t just the hordes of murderous dolls that makes this underrated 1980’s classic perfect viewing on October 31st, it’s the stop-motion animation and old-school puppetry that will cast you into the deepest recesses of the Uncanny Valley!
Related Article: 1980’s Era Horror Movies that NEED a Remake
Paranormal Activity 3 (2011, Directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman)
Official Synopsis: In 1988 sisters Katie (Chloe Csengery) and Kristi (Jessica Tyler Brown) seem to be enjoying a normal, happy childhood at home. But when strange things start going bump in the night, their father, a wedding videographer, decides to use his cameras to discover the source, especially since Kristi appears to having conversations with an imaginary friend. While the cameras do indeed reveal a flurry of supernatural occurrences, the family is unprepared for the terror that awaits.
In a rare case of a sequel surpassing the original, Paranormal Activity 3 is the best of the bunch and definitely packs a punch for those staying home on Halloween night. With creepy kids and an inventive presentation that will have you gnawing your fingernails, you’ll definitely achieve maximum spookiness with this found footage winner.
The Others (2001, Directed by Alejandro Amenábar)
Official Synopsis: Grace (Nicole Kidman), the devoutly religious mother of Anne (Alakina Mann) and Nicholas (James Bentley), moves her family to the English coast during World War II. She awaits word on her missing husband while protecting her children from a rare photosensitivity disease that causes the sun to harm them. Anne claims she sees ghosts, Grace initially thinks the new servants are playing tricks but chilling events and visions make her believe something supernatural has occurred.
The Others is perhaps the finest, most suspenseful tale of supernatural terror produced in the 21st Century. Turn out the lights, settle in, and pray those who knock at your door are still among the living! For a spooky aesthetic and genuine scares, you can’t go wrong with this modern classic.
Related Article: The 25 Best Horror Movies of the 21st Century So Far
Night of the Living Dead (1968, Directed by George A. Romero)
Official Synopsis: A disparate group of individuals takes refuge in an abandoned house when corpses begin to leave the graveyard in search of fresh human bodies to devour. The pragmatic Ben (Duane Jones) does his best to control the situation, but when the reanimated bodies surround the house, the other survivors begin to panic. As any semblance of order within the group begins to dissipate, the zombies start to find ways inside — and one by one, the living humans become the prey of the deceased ones.
Pay tribute to the late, great “Godfather of the Modern Zombie”, George A. Romero, by revisiting this seminal classic from 1968. You’ll be amazed how well this film still delivers maximum terror, creating a scenario that will have you dreading the thought of hordes arriving at your door.
Halloween (1978, Directed by John Carpenter)
Official Synopsis: On a cold Halloween night in 1963, six-year-old Michael Myers brutally murdered his 17-year-old sister, Judith. He was sentenced and locked away for 15 years. But on October 30, 1978, while being transferred for a court date, a 21-year-old Michael Myers steals a car and escapes Smith’s Grove. He returns to his quiet hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois, where he looks for his next victims.
The “No duh!” entry is John Carpenter’s Halloween, a film that takes place on October 31st and unleashes a manifestation of pure evil. You can’t kill the Boogeyman!