Halloween is right around the corner and of course along with the candy, the costumes and the parties it is the best holiday of the year for horror fans. We love the chance to steep ourselves in the macabre and monstrous and if a horror movie is set on or around Halloween that’s even better! So here you are Horror Freaks, our guide to those very films. If we had notes and views those are included if not you at least get a plot synopsis. So have at and have fun this All Hallows’ Eve!
All Hallows Eve (2013): Kids come home from their trick r treating and someone put a VHS tape in one of their bags. This genius setup leads to two stories about the very creepy Art the Clown who likes killing people. Basically a way to deliver two older short films made by director Damien Leone Art the Clown is nevertheless one of the more memorable of the many creepy clowns we’ve had over the years.
All Hallows Eve 2 (2015): a young woman finds a VHS tape on her doorstep on Halloween. A sequel mainly in name and concept only as we get another horror anthology.
All Hallows Eve: October 30th (2015): “A group of adults on a film excursion in the woods are systematically hunted by a maniac and his family of cult-like followers.” Nothing to do with the other two All Hallows Eve movies.
All Hallows Evil: Lord of the Harvest (2012): “An Evil force is summoned on All Hallows Eve, and now the sleepy town of Hallowed Hill will endure the dark Lords vengeance.”
Always from Darkness: “When a young woman takes notice of her neighbor, she has a plan to make him hers. Only problem is, she’s a vampire.”
American Horror House (2012): “It’s Halloween night. A sorority house is inundated with ghosts while the housemother goes on a killing spree.” It’s on the SyFy channel so your mileage may vary.
Boo (2005): A group of college students stay in an abandoned hospital on Halloween night and get more than they bargained for when they discover an evil spirit wants to leave the hospital by possessing their bodies.
Cemetery of Terror (1985): A Halloween prank goes wrong when teens use magic to bring a serial killer back to life, and also the other corpses in a local cemetery. Whoops!
The Clown Murders (1976): A fake kidnapping meant as a harmless Halloween prank (is this a theme?) turns deadly when the perpetrators and victims catch the attention of a murderer. This is one of the early film roles for beloved comic actor John Candy and you can watch it for free on TubiTV.com.
Clownhouse (1989): Right before Halloween three boys alone in a house are terrorized by three escaped lunatics who have stolen clown costumes from a visiting circus. Features a very young Sam Rockwell.
Creepy Campfire Stories (2015): “It’s Halloweens Eve. Eddie and Ben want to spend this special evening together with their girls around the campfire. But Nina and Melissa aren’t very delighted about this idea. High above the town, they light up their fire to get in the right mood. The teens tell scary campfire stories to each other. But in this eerie night their lives will change forever…”
Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981): A mentally disabled man is friends with a young girl but when he saves her from a dog attack locals think he was the attacker and he is lynched. On Halloween a mysterious scarecrow appears and begins to kill the men responsible. SO creepy especially for a TV movie! Grab that sucker on DVD and enjoy!
Flick (2008): Memphis cop Lieutenant McKenzie is called in to investigate a series of strange deaths and weird sightings following the resurrection of a murder victim from the 1950s (a local boy) who is brought back to life in modern times and tries to find his teenage sweetheart who is now aged 62 and also to seek revenge for his death.
Ginger Snaps (2000): set around Halloween this movie helped define that decade of horror with it’s fantastic werewolf story where lycanthropy is a stand-in for adolescence and sexual awakening. With great performances and cool monster effects this movie still packs a punch. You can stream this one on Hulu.
Gravy (2015): It’s All Hallow’s Eve. A trio of costumed misfits with very special dietary requirements seizes a Mexican cantina and force the staff to engage in a late night of gaming, food and libations. The only caveat is what’s on the menu.
Hack O’Lantern (aka Halloween Night) (1988): A wacky low-budget horror film about a Satan worshipping grandpa and the grandson he’s grooming to take his place. It’s definitely in the “so bad it’s good” category including this awesome heavy metal dream sequence. You can watch it on Youtube right here!
Halloween (1978): You might have heard of this one, and the sequels, that followed the deadly path of Michael Myers as he sought out all of the poor souls that bore his family name. One of the most iconic killers in all of horror history, John Carpenter crafted a supremely excellent horror film which became the benchmark for the whole slasher genre. You don’t need to be told where to find this one you own it, and maybe some of the sequels too or even the remake that wasn’t bad. One of the sequels gets special mention though…
Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982): John Carpenter’s original plan for Halloween was that each film would be a different story about something happening on and around Halloween. The popularity of Michael Myers won out however but not before Carpenter helped write, produce and score Halloween III: Season of the Witch. An absolutely bizarre story about an evil plan involving kids’ Halloween masks but as our hero Tom Atkins uncovers the truth it’s about 1000% more insane than you could have imagined! Reviled by some and loved by others, it’s definitely one of the most imaginative and strange horror movies set on Halloween and well worth checking out.
Halloween Hell (2014): “Halloween Hell is a biting, satirical horror movie where a reality show’s contestants are trapped on set with a deadly Devil Doll from Hell, and a psychotic host who thinks he is Dracula.”
Halloween Night (2006): From the low budget schlockmeisters at The Asylum: “The film follows Chris Vale (Scot Nery), a young man who was wrongly convicted of murdering his family in 1982, and admitted into an insane asylum based largely on the fact that Chris had been found at home with the bodies by the police. After 10 years of life in the asylum, in which he has been bullied by inmates and staff alike for the incident, Chris has now quite literally turned insane and, to prove his innocence, he escapes from the asylum on October 31 to his home, which is now occupied by a new family who are holding a Halloween party.” You can scream it on Streambox. I mean you can stream it on Screambox.
Halloweenight (2009): “A school janitor devises an evil scarecrow to exact revenge on those who have tormented him, but then loses control of his fiendish creation”
Hellbent (2004): “Two gay men on a date are murdered the night before Halloween in West Hollywood, California. Eddie and his friends Joey, Chaz and Tobey are going out the following night to the West Hollywood Halloween festival when they encounter the psycho, who sets his eye on them. The killer stalks them through the festival as Chaz parties, Joey chases his jock crush, Tobey tries dressing in drag, and Eddie pursues Jake, the bad boy he wants to get to know better.”
Hollow Gate (1988): “At a Halloween party, a young boy is almost killed by his drunken, alcoholic father. Ten years afterward, the boy goes on a murder spree.” Check this out for free on Youtube courtesy of Troma!
House II: The Second Story (1987): A sequel in name only, this features a couple moving into an ancestral mansion discover supernatural forces are at work, looking for a long lost crystal skull. It’s heavy on the comedy and you can stream it on Shudder for rent on your VOD service of choice.
House of 1000 Corpses (2003): Rob Zombie’s feature film debut after years of music and directing music videos is a lurid and brutal homage to the likes of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and 70’s exploitation cinema. Filmed in 2000 it would not see release until 2003 as original distributor Universal got cold feet after deciding it might get an NC-17 rating which would rule it out for most of the major movie theater chains in the US. Eventually Rob Zombie was able to get the rights back and it was released by Lions Gate. It has developed a cult following in the years following its release and established Rob Zombie as a viable film director.
House of Fears (2007): “The night before a local haunted house opens for Halloween, six friends sneak in for a few hours of fun. Soon after entering, they find themselves trapped inside with no way out. Their evening of fun rapidly turns into their worst nightmare as they begin to die and disappear in the most freakish of manners.”
Jack-O (1995): A cult favorite! “A long long time ago a wizard was put to death, but he swore vengeance on the townsfolk that did him in, particularly Arthur Kelly’s family. Arthur had done the final graces on him when he came back to life as Mr. Jack the Pumpkin Man. The Kellys proliferated through the years, and when some devil-may-care teens accidentally unleash Jack-O, young Sean Kelly must stop him somehow as his suburban world is accosted and the attrition rate climbs.”
Lady in White (1988): “An author tells the story of how, as a young boy growing up in a small town during the 1960’s, he was haunted after witnessing the murder of a little girl.”
The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (1976): A seriously odd film starring a barely teenage Jodie Foster as an extremely unlikely femme fatal. Living by herself, claiming her poet father is away in New York, Rynn Jacobs has something hidden in the basement. Rynn will lie, manipulate and far worse to protect her secret. This movie is so weird and definitely would not get made today!
May (2002): Lucky McKee’s breakout film was this very melancholy story about May (Angela Bettis). May is very socially awkward and strange but when she starts to interact with “regular” people she is spurned and heartbroken, causing a horrifying series of events on Halloween night. This tops many people’s favorite horror movie lists and has earned its cult classic status.
The Midnight Hour (1985): Another cult fave! “Phil, Melissa, Mitch, Mary, and Vinnie are high school friends, who unwittingly raise the dead on Halloween night. Once the dead have returned, Pitchford Cove will never be the same again….or will it?”
Mischief Night (2013): “Emily Walton is a young woman who suffers from psychosomatic blindness caused by a car accident that killed her mother. Emily is trying to adjust to her blindness and at the same time is being smothered by her father. On Mischief Night, when her father goes out on a date leaving her alone, she is terrorized by a hooded figure. Emily must fight for her life in order to survive and protect herself and everyone she holds dear from the intruder.”
Mischief Night (2014): “The night before Halloween, a teenage babysitter is stalked by a masked killer; but in an unusual turn of events, victim and victimizer begin to develop romantic feelings for each other”
Murder Party (2007): Before creating the indie breakout Blue Ruin Jeremy Saulnier wrote, shot and directed the modest and quite hilarious Murder Party. A slightly odd, lonely guy finds an invitation to a mysterious Halloween party where he ends up being the intended victim for a group of pretentious artists in costume who intend to murder him as an art installation. While this is overtly a horror comedy fans of Blue Ruin and Green Room will definitely see trademark flourishes such as utterly incompetent attempts at committing violence that are blackly hilarious. Saulnier mainstay Macon Blair also stars.
Night of the Demons (1988): another 80’s classic set on Halloween shows a group going to a party at an abandoned mortuary. The party is being held by weirdo goth chick Angela who holds a seance which, as we know, is always a really terrible idea. Demonic possessions happen and we have some of the craziest special effects in an 80’s horror including Linnea Quigley doing something very strange with her lipstick. The sequels are fun if not a patch on the original but the 2009 remake with Edward Furlong can be avoided entirely because it’s pretty lousy.
Pet Cemetery Two (1992): Speaking on Edward Furlong, over two decades earlier he starred in the sequel to one of the best Stephen King adaptations ever made. Another cautionary tale about playing with life and death this time a dog is resurrected in the cemetery of the name and it mauls a mean stepfather. His stepson and a friend bury him in the same place and as you can imagine, things don’t go well.
Primal Rage (1988): a “rage virus” is accidentally created while a scientist tries to reanimate dead brain cells in baboons. Of course, the virus spreads to humans who go on violent killing sprees culminating in brutality at a Halloween party.
The Pumpkin Karver (2006): After a Halloween prank goes badly wrong and someone dies, two siblings try to start a new life in a different town. Unfortunately, a year after the incident the dead young man returns from the dead for revenge.
Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave (2005): The second of two random-as-Hell sequels to the cult favorite Return of the Living Dead series tells a ludicrous tale. The much-dreaded chemical that turns people into zombies somehow ends up getting made into a drug and sold at a college rave on Halloween night. There’s zombies.
Satan’s Little Helper (2005): A young boy obsessed with a video game where you are… Satan’s little helper ends up helping a killer in a Satan costume thinking it’s his sister’s boyfriend. A wacky horror comedy.
Scary Movie (1991): before the parody series, this Scary Movie is about a paranoid young man who starts to believe that a local haunted house attraction is secretly housing an escaped lunatic.
Silver Bullet (1985): Another Stephen King adaptation, this shows a small town being terrorized by a werewolf while a dysfunctional family has to learn to work together to survive the deadly attacks.
Sleepy Hollow (1999): Long before that trainwreck of a TV show Tim Burton made one of his most important, career-defining movie about the Headless Horseman. Johnny Depp as Ichabod Crane goes to Sleepy Hollow, New York from the big city to investigate a series of murders. He’s skeptical of the locals’ claims that a supernatural force is committing these murders by decapitation until he has to face off against the Headless Horseman himself.
Tales of Halloween (2015): A terrific horror anthology set on Halloween night where every year this one small town goes completely nuts. Ten stories from genre filmmakers like Neil Marshall, Lucky McKee, Dave Parker and Mike Mendez run the gamut from comedy to seriously messed up and every point in-between. A great collaboration between a group of friends in the LA horror community this film is rich with references, cameos, gore and laughs. Check it out!
Trick or Treat (1986): A seriously wacky 80’s horror movie where the fan of a dead rock star hears messages from the rocker when he plays his last, unreleased album backwards. With cameos from Gene Simmons and Ozzy Osborne, the latter playing a Catholic preacher on TV, this movie is goofy fun.
Trick or Treats (1982): “A baby sitter is stuck watching over a young brat on Halloween night who keeps playing vicious pranks on her. To add to her trouble the boy’s deranged father has escaped from an asylum and is planning on making a visit.”
Trick ‘r Treat (2007): the cult favorite Halloween-themed horror anthology is one of the best. Famously shelved after the failure of Superman Returns which Michael Dougherty had written, when the film finally came out it became a cult classic almost immediately. Not only does it look slick and deftly combines horror and comedy it tells its stories in a way that ties them all into each other in creative ways. The movie has became a favorite with horror fans spawning a graphic novel, a beautiful coffee table book, and a sequel is in the works! Pretty much essential Halloween viewing.
V/H/S (2012): Yeah it’s just one story from this horror anthology but it’s really great: 10/31/98 from Radio Silence shows four dorks going to a Halloween party but go to the wrong house. It’s a terrible, terrible mistake.
Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines (2012): A direct sequel to the previous Wrong Turn film Bloody Beginnings it shows the monstrous killers of the series escape from Glensville Sanatorium and go on a bloody rampage around Halloween.
So there we have it! There were some movies that were listed on websites like Wikipedia but we couldn’t verify that they were actually set on Halloween so we didn’t include them but you can see that list here if you like.