Written by Chelsea Jenkins. Media by Miles Priester.
It’s Halloween time again, which means it’s time to break out the scary movies! Whether you’re looking for some childhood nostalgia, a mysterious thrill, or to be truly spooked, chances are that you have a favorite Halloween go-to film. If you don’t, or you’re at a loss for what to watch this year, try one of these creepy classics.
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, Starring Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins, Rated R
In this classic thriller, a secretary (Leigh) is on the run after embezzling money from her employer. She ends up at a hotel run by the disturbed Norman Bates (Perkins), an awkward man under the control of his mother. One of Hitchcock’s most recognizable films, Psycho contains some of the most iconic movie moments in pop culture.
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Directed by Roman Polanski, Starring Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Unrated (contains nudity, disturbing images involving the occult)
In this psychological horror film, a young housewife (Farrow) and her struggling actor husband (Cassavetes) move into an apartment with peculiar neighboring tenants. When the wife becomes pregnant under some bizarre circumstances, she becomes aware and paranoid of the people in her life and their threatening presence to her unborn child.
Directed by Brian De Palma, Starring Sissy Spacek, Rated R (for sexual content including full frontal nudity, language, and disturbing images)
Based on a Stephen King novel, Spacek plays the title character, Carrie, a naïve and timid teen who is abused by her mother and tortured by her peers. Carrie learns that she possesses a special ability, and it all comes to a head when she is pushed too far by a prom night prank. Recently remade starring Chloe Grace Moretz in the starring role, nothing beats the creepy, bug-eyed rage of Spacek’s Carrie.
Directed by John Carpenter, Starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Rated R (for violence, gore, and sexual content including nudity)
In this ultimate slasher flick, Curtis stars as a teen that, along with her friends, is stalked by a psychotic murderer who has escaped the mental institution he’s been confined to since childhood for murdering his sister. Carpenter’s horror formula for Halloween has long been the standard to which other horror films are held, helping the film to achieve cult status. It’s also worth noting that Jamie Lee Curtis is the daughter of Janet Leigh, the star of Psycho.
The Shining (1980)
Directed by Stanley Kubrick, Starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Rated R (for strong disturbing content, including terror, some graphic bloody images, nudity, and language)
In another Stephen King movie, a writer (Nicholson) and his family take up in an isolated hotel for the winter. An evil presence lurks in the hotel, taking over the father’s mind and coercing him to commit acts of violence, and causing the son to see horrific hallucinations of past and future. A definite horror masterpiece, enhanced further by the brilliant talent of Jack Nicholson.
Hocus Pocus (1993)
Directed by Kenny Ortega, Starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, Rated PG (for some scary sequences and language)
That’s right: the same man responsible for High School Musical directed every 90s kid’s favorite Halloween film! In Hocus Pocus, Midler, Parker, and Najimy are the Sanderson sisters, witches who were executed 300 years before for practicing dark magic. Thanks to a spell cast before their deaths, and the accidental help of a new kid in town, the sisters return to life and a reign of terror. It’s up to a young girl, a couple of teens, and a cat to put the sisters to rest.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Directed by Henry Selick, featuring the voices of Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara, Rated PG (for some scary images)
In another childhood classic, Jack Skellington is the listless king of Halloween Town who is bored with putting on the same celebration every year. One day he happens upon Christmas Town, and falls in love with the holiday. He then tries to gather the inhabitants of Halloween Town to put on Christmas instead of Halloween, but it doesn’t work out so well.
Directed by Wes Craven, Starring Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Rated R (for strong graphic horror violence and gore, language)
One of the most fascinating horror franchises kicked off with 96’s Scream, centered on teenage Sidney (Campbell) and her friends who find themselves living a real-life horror film at the hands of the rampant killer known as Ghostface. Full of twists and tongue in cheek contemplations on the “rules” of the horror film, Scream is an intense jump thrill.
The Ring (2002)
Directed by Gore Verbinski, Starring Naomi Watts, Rated PG-13 (for thematic elements, disturbing images, and language)
A remake of the Japanese horror movie Ringu, The Ring follows journalist Rachel Keller (Watts) as she investigates a videotape that seemingly caused the death of her niece. The urban legend goes that whoever views the tape will die in seven days, giving Rachel little time to find answers and sending her on a goose chase of chilling proportions. One of my personal favorites, The Ring is good, creepy Halloween fun.
The great thing about Halloween movies is that there is something for everyone. From lighthearted fare to grotesque thrillers, there’s a Halloween movie for all moods. Enjoy your Halloween Horror-thon!