Scary Halloween Movie Recommendations From Legal Insurrection Authors
Making your holiday a little creepier.
We decided to make some horror movie recommendations to make your Halloween a little scarier. Not every author participated because obviously, not everyone likes horror movies.
Pop your popcorn now. Here’s what we’ve got.
I’m a firm believer that horror movies at Halloween should be based on superstitious subjects, no slasher movies or sci-fi. I’ve got five picks.
1. The Shining (1980) – Stanley Kubrick’s interpretation of the Stephen King novel is a masterpiece of horror. I have also found over the years that the more times you watch this movie, the more details you notice.
2. Let the Right One In (2008) – This vampire movie from Sweden is as original as it is unsettling. Going into the movie theater I thought to myself, how scary can a movie be in Swedish? How wrong I was.
3. An American Werewolf in London (1981) – I had to include at least one werewolf movie in my list, and it had to be this one, although The Howling is also excellent. This movie has some funny moments but it’s genuinely scary and contains the most shocking ‘dream within a dream’ sequence ever made.
4. The Witch (2015) – I loved this movie so much that I wrote a review of it when it came out. It’s a great story and the attention to period detail is outstanding.
5. Rosemary’s Baby (1968) – An obvious classic. I watch it at least once a year. It draws you in slowly and messes with your head. Like the main character, you start second guessing yourself. This can’t really be happening, can it? Also, like The Shining, you find new things with each viewing.
I am a big fan of Hammer Horror classics and Egypt. So here are my absolute favorites:
1. “The Mummy” – 1959 Version, with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.
2. “The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb” – 1964, Starring Terence Morgan and Jeanne Roland.
3. “Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb” – 1972, based on the Bram Stoker novel, “Jewel of the Seven Stars”. Stars Andrew Keir and Valerie Leon.
Halloween and scary movies go hand in hand, and there’s something paradoxically comforting about watching an old favorite while curled up with a bowl of candy corn (I’m saving my popcorn for November 8th). With that in mind, I’ll share some of my favorite horror films, perfect for Halloween. I think my first pick for a Halloween movie is still Halloween (the real one from ’78 with Jamie Lee Curtis). It’s got it all: escaped maniac murderer, creepy music, sleepy small town USA, along with cute teens and little children to up the fear factor. In that vein, I also enjoy Night of the Living Dead (the original).
Another of my horror favorites is John Carpenter’s The Thing. There is something really compelling about a “monster” that can take on human (or dog) form and function among other humans. I still shield my eyes during the dog scene, though. For creep factor, I still enjoy watching The Blair Witch Project; although found footage has become an annoying trope now, it was pretty new then, and I find the whole film incredibly creepy. I also like films having to do with the ocean, so Jaws, Deep Blue Sea, and Open Water are all contenders. Whatever you choose to watch this Halloween, may you feel that cozy feeling that comes with much-loved tradition and a little bit of an escape from the actual horrors facing our great country.
I have so many horror movies that they take up two shelves in my entertainment center. The ones below I also bought on Amazon Prime so I can watch whenever. Plus, if they’re on a streaming service I don’t pass them up.
My Top SIX:
1. Halloween: CLASSIC. Do I have to expand?
2. The Conjuring: This movie still scares the crap out of me even though I know it by heart. It’s a true story, too. For more read below. James Wan is the new Carpenter.
3. The Thing (Carpenter): I have a thing for Carpenter! Also Kurt Russell. The claustrophobia, losing trust, no communication, etc. You have one set and only a few characters. And no CGI crap.
4. Sinister: Is he going crazy? What are those noises? How did this or that appear? WHAT IS GOING ON?! The lawnmower scene….I still have to cover my eyes. Ethan Hawke is great.
5. Lights Out: Another one associated with Wan! This one, especially the beginning, will make your heart race. What are the secrets? Is it mental illness or more? Can anyone escape? Love it.
6. 30 Days of Night: Best vampire movie EVER MADE. Like The Thing it’s also the claustrophobia and no communication to the outside world. Do not skip this one. I mean it.
Honorable mentions since I’m a horror freak:
• Ghost Ship: The absolute GREATEST opening scene of a horror movie. I’m serious. Also, a great soundtrack. Criminally underrated.
• Cabin in the Woods: BRILLIANT take on all the scary movie tropes without being corny. Also Chris Hemsworth. COME ON, LADIES.
• James Wan movies (directed or produced or wrote) in general like the Insidious series and the entire Conjuring universe. The Nun is underrated. Wan is respectful of Catholicism and gets it right.
The first two Insidious movies are stellar but the others are just as good. The third one will tear at your heart though. Such a sad back story. I’m tearing up thinking about it so give ALL the Insidious movies a chance!
• Host: It’s only on Shudder but OMG I had a hard time sleeping! If you LOVE horror you must get Shudder. Just do it.
• Train to Busan: A classic. It has everything: reminds you family is the most important, petty differences don’t matter in a time of survival, and yes, you do need help to survive a zombie apocalypse. The ending will make you cry.
If you have a favorite that we didn’t mention, leave your recommendation in a comment.
Happy Halloween and happy viewing.
Featured image via YouTube.
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The Thing, definitely. What about “Alien?”
“Alien” is a horror movie!
Yeah and also political—symbolic of democrats taking control of the body politic.
Both Alien and “The Terminator’ use the form of horror movies. But when people see a spaceship they label it Sci-Fi.
Funny, “Alien” was the first thing that popped into my mind. Obviously I’m not alone. A perfect Halloween horror film.
Thank you for this list. There are many films I did not know, and I am going to check them out.
And a very Happy Halloween to all our Legal Insurrection friends. May the terrors be few and the treats be many.
No thanks. Biden is scary enough.
“The Uninvited” (1944 Still the very best ghost movie
cause it turned out to be an instructive documentary.
My wife and I would recommend the Babadook (2014) for parents.
Great list, thanks. I see 3 of my favorites above.
An American Werewolf in London… a movie that moves from hilarious to frightening with such ease.
30 Days of Night is an excellent scary movie with the creepiest vampires ever. This one doesn’t get enough respect.
The original Night of the Living Dead starts slow but once the zombies get going it is squirm in your seat scary and the ending…
Of all the zombie movies to come after that I like the 2004 version of Dawn of the Dead. In that one the zombies don’t just stagger around… they run like sprinters and jump like athletes. Also a good mixture of humor and horror with some good characters.
Amityville Horror (haven’t watched in a while, not sure how well it has aged but it was pretty scary when I was a teen)
The original Frankenstein.
One of my favorites ever is The Haunting with Julie Harris.
And I include Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow. Not especially scary and definitely not true to the legend, but Sleepy Hollow is where I was born and raised, so I gotta represent!
Oh, I forgot “The Others” with Nicole Kidman. Excellent.
The Wicker Man (1973) is the best. The locations are stunning. The acting is superb. But, best of all, Britt Ekland performs a seductive, naked dance.
@E Howard Hunt. It was a body double.
“Dog Soldiers”, a modern werewolf story of a squad of soldiers under siege by lycanthropes. (Includes a government/military “dirty trick” turn.)
“Troll Hunter”, a fun “found footage” movie about a government conspiracy.
“Pumpkinhead”, a horror movie about revenge out of control, starring Lance Henriksen.
And concerning “The Shining”, see this:
The best explanation I’ve seen (referring here to the YouTube video linked in the story) for the events in the movie. (The article only lightly skims the content of the video. Fans of the movie should definitely watch the vid, it will inspire you to watch the movie again with fresh eyes.)
Second for Dog Soldiers. The opening scene scared the shit out of me, hearkening me back to when I was a child and TERRIFIED of werewolves.
I saw The Train to Busan this past Friday, and it was horribly unfair! I felt for all the characters (except a certain someone), and yes, the ending made me sad.
The Changeling (1980) – Not a single drop of blood, but spooky as hell.
Dark Forces (1980) – A thriller with strong supernatural undertones. AKA The Harlequin,
Salvage (2006) – I’ve never been able to decide if I like this one, but it’s definitely scary and thought-provoking.
Dr. Gosnell the abortionist.
Cecile the cannibal.
Nancy “assault-style blunt object (hammer, mallet, gavel)” Pelosi regifts Obamacares.
No mention of The Exorcist? Disgraceful!
Yeah, or Rosemary’s Baby, or The Omen… I’m surprised.
Why not Nosfreratu, it’s it’s 100th Halloween
From Dusk Till Dawn
Growing up, I thought that House on Haunted Hill was the scariest movie I’d ever seen. Watching it as an adult, it seems silly.
My all-time favorite now is the two-part mini-series adaptation of Stephen King’s novel, Salem’s Lot – the 1979 version with David Soul. The graveyard sequence at the end of Part 1 is classic. It’s available now on Amazon Prime video.
Salem’s Lot and I would add “Let’s Scare Jessica to Death” from the 70s. Creepy
Also the TV Movie “The Night Stalker” W Darren McGavin also 70s
1. Horror Hotel aka City of the Dead.
2. REC1 and REC2
3. The Witches 1966 with Joan Fontaine
4. Invaders from Mars. 1953
5. Satan’s Little Helper.
6. Black Christmas
7. The House of The Devil
8. Intensity. A TV movie that is hard to find but it will give you the creeps.
9. The Host.
10. Tale of Two Sisters.
12. Curse of the Demon AKA Night of the Demon. Get the longer British version.
Classically Kenneth Brabaugh’s Frankenstein is the closest adaptation to the book. Not much in terms of “horror” elements, but very thoughtful.
Hitchcock’s The Rope.
In the less traditional role, Alex Kister’s Mandela Catalogue:
Wendigoon’s The Haunted Story of Brown Mountain lights. A collection of folk stories from the Appalachians.
One I am very hestitant this last one. Ot is gross, disgusting, horrifying and oh yeah –illegal. The guy who made it is in jail, and the movie can only be found throufgh illegal channels. Let me emphasize that I have never seen the movie, only a description. That description has left a deep scar on my soul and I wish I could have forgotten it. It is called Daisy’s Destruction.
I must be older than dirt … modern horror / fright-night flix don’t scare me near as much as the old black and white films of the 50’s – 60’s when I was a kid and the genre is new to me …
Giant ants in the catacombs in Them!
A crawling hand in Invasion of the Saucer-men
Outer Limits episodes …
I suppose in those days, being young, imaginative and impressionable, the scary had deeper emotional effect. Modern scary movies aren’t because they’re somewhat predictable – some relying on gore to be frightening, rather than suspense and something never before seen / experienced by a young mind.
I remember one movie as a kid – people on a deserted island being hunted down and crushed by giant crabs – one of which crashed through the grass walls of a hut to grab some schmuck in its pincher. My brother and I watched it in our room just before bedtime and we couldn’t sleep – scared sh!tless – because we lived next to the Puget Sound and feared a giant crab might crash through our bedroom wall. To calm us down, dad showed us his revolver and said he’d shoot it dead, but we’d seen in the movie that bullets had no effect on them.
Oh to be a kid again, and genuinely scared by a movie. With childhood innocence a thing of the past, I don’t think it’s possible to be scared by a movie any more. Yet another way getting old sucks. 😉
You would probably love Svengoolie – he’s a Chicago figure on MeTV but it’s often available on cable. Saturday nights he has a program where he airs the good old classics like T.H.E.M. and offers interesting trivia about the actors, directors, etc in these gems.
Thanks, NP. Much as I like MST3000 spoofs, Svengoolie sounds like fun.
What seperates a great horror movie from a merely good one is, IMO, the audio. Audiences are easily desensitized to visuals because they are literally in your face, but a well-crafted soundtrack can build uneasiness, suspense, or dread without you even realizing it’s happening. Just playing “regular” music or sounds slightly off-key–or even going to complete silence–in an otherwise completely normal scene, subconciously cues the audience in that something is Wrong.
carrie–psycho–the stand–dead calm–alien–dracula(gary oldham ’92)
A few episodes of night galley scared me as a kid.
Idiocracy is one of the most unsettling horror movies. It is the Democrat playbook written as a comedy but coming true today.
Gargoyles (1972) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0068622/
The Wicker Man (1973) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070917/
The really scary ones to me are those which are more plausible.
The Twilight Zones have held up over time, as have The Outer Limits.
Who doesn’t check the wings of the plane a few times during the flight?