30 Horror Films To Prepare Yourself For Halloween

Halloween is the perfect time of the year to do several spooky activities, from having a costume party and asking for treats if you are a child, to having a horror–movie marathon. As we love horror movies and marathons, we made up a list with the top 30 horror classic films you cannot miss. Check it out, and pay special attention to #24#12 and #3!

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#30. The Ring

As with many famous horror films, The Ring is just another American remake of a Japanese horror film. The movie is about a journalist whose sister killed herself after watching a tape that, rumor has it, everyone who watches it will die in seven days.

Photo: Courtesy of The Independent

When someone plays the tape, they will see a series of random images, followed by a real phone call that will tell you you have seven days left to live. Afterward, the ghost of a girl will appear to violently kill the victim. In Japan, Ringu is a very successful saga of horror films.

#29. Night of the Living Dead

If we talk about George A. Romero, we all know that we are talking about the father of zombie films. He is responsible for the success zombie films have in the film industry and the reason why most directors wants to shoot a zombie film sometime in their life.

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One of his most important sagas is Living Dead, composed of several films: Dawn of the Dead, released in 1978, Day of the Dead, released in 1985 and the last installment in the series, Night of the Living Dead. The latter is the one that got more reception. The reason? It’s very simple: the film is a masterpiece

#28. Scream

Scream is without a doubt one of the biggest scary movies of all time, which became an iconic chapter in horror. The film, released in 1996, helped to spark a new interest in slasher movies for a new and younger generation. With a script that gave audiences both a meta take on the genre and references to movies they already loved, like Halloween and A Nightmare On Elm Street.

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Most horror movies take place over a condensed amount of time, to begin with. In Scream, though, the bulk of the action takes place in a single night. Known as the “longest night in horror” at the time, the party sequence was a grueling shoot. For 21 days, the crew could only film at night. They even had T-shirts made to commemorate the event, that said: “I survived Scene 118.”

#27. Train to Busan

One of the few Korean horror films to make it out of Corea, Train to Busan was first presented in the Cannes Festival in 2016 and released a few months later in Corea. The story is about a father and a daughter that intended to go from Seoul to Busan in the fastest train, to avoid the viral infection that broke out in Seoul.

Photo: Courtesy of Pascal Le Segretain

Just when the train is about to start, the wheeler is attacked by zombies who will then overrun the whole train. The film rapidly becomes a survival film, while other passengers join the main character and his daughter in order to survive and get to Busan.

#26. The Cabin in the Woods

Directors Drew Goddard and Josh Whedon delivered a fresh view into the slasher genre with this satyrical comedy about horror films. As with most slasher films, a group of students go in a trip to party and get drunk, but of course they did not know what would be waiting for them.

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Taking elements of several cult horror films, like the cabin itself, the rain of blood, an evil book, among others, it is a good slasher film that will give you one hour and a half of entertainment. Although we should warn you that you will laugh more than what you will be scared!

#25. REC

In 1999, the world was spooked to death when the film The Blair Witch Project was released. Not only because it clearly was a horror film, but because it introduced a new type of horror films: “found footage” films. In this type of films, we see the movie through the eyes of the main character while he is shooting everything with his own camcorder.

Photo: Courtesy of Taste of Cinema

In 2007, Spanish directors Jaime Balaguero and Paco Plaza took this to a new leven when they made the horror zombie film REC. The film is set in an apartment building that was invaded by infected people and it rapidly becomes another survival film where the terror is seen in the first person.

#24. The Descent

Considered to be one of the most disturbing, yet more important horror films ever released, this British movie follows six women who embark on a trip to a cave, each with their own reason to do so, but specifically to find themselves.

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At first, the movie does not look like a horror movie at all, but suddenly the women are attacked by several monsters that lurk in the cave. It seems that the monster knew that these women did not know each other, and start attaching them individually. The main characters have to join forces to escape.

#23. A Quiet Place

John Krasinsky, who many of us may know him for his role as Jim in the sitcom The Office, directed the horror film A Quiet Place in 2018 and it was a complete success. Not only did John direct the film, but he also played the main role alongside his real-life wife Emily Blunt.

Photo: Courtesy of Nicholas Hunt

The film is set several years in the future, in a world invaded by creatures that attack anything that makes even the slightest of sounds. As such, humans have started to live without making a sound, a nearly impossible task, all the while trying to fight off the creatures!

#22. Suspiria

Released in 1977, Suspiria was a ballet-themed horror film that focused specifically on the lives of the students of a ballet academy and what they were put through in order to shine. The film covered several mental health topics and was incredibly disturbing

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In 2018, the film saw a remake with actresses Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton and Chloë Grace Moretz. The film is split in several acts that lead up to the final encore, and most of the scenes do not have any primary color, in opposition to the original film in 1977. What they have in common is the amount of blood they have!

#21. It

Based on the classic horror book by the Master of Horror, Stephen King, the film follows a group of kids, known as The Losers Club, while they try to get rid of the evil clown Pennywise. Both the book and the film are told from the view of the kids. The second part takes place 27 years later, as Pennywise appears every 27 years to continue feeding on his victims.

Photo: Courtesy of Kevin Mazur

The 2017 version of the film, directed by Argentinians Andy and Barbara Muschietti, sticks to the original material more than the 1991 version with Tim Curry as Pennywise the Clown. In these two films, It and It: Chapter Two, the incredible performance of the killer clown is in charge of Bill Skarsgård.

#20. The Omen

One of the most exploited types of horror in movies is the my-little-kid-turned-into-a-monster kind of film, and the 1976 film The Omen is not an exception to this rule. Several films have used kids to terrify their viewers, such as Children of the Corn and Pet Sematary among others.

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But no film got an acting as perfect as that of Harvey Stephens in The OmenThe little actor was only six years old when he gave one of the best performances that a kid gave in a horror film in more than two decades, playing the so-called Son of the Devil.

#19. The Witch

Released in 2015, this American-Canadian film was the debut film of director Robert Eggers, and that focuses on a family that was separated and isolated from the rest of the society due to the suspicion of the town that they performed witchcraft and black magic.

Photo: Courtesy of George Pimentel

The film was nominated for several awards, and the film won several of them. Actress Anya Taylor-Joy won the award to Best Female Newcomer, and Best Horror Film, both by Empire Awards. Sadly, the film did not win any award in the visual department, even though it excelled at it.

#18. Trick ‘r Treat

In 2007, the film Trick ‘r Treat saw the light in an attempt to pay homage to classic horror and slasher films like Halloween and Scream. The story in itself is not focused on one main character, but instead, it comprises several stories in one big film.

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Each of the stories builds up their own characters, that will ultimately meet by the final scenes of the film and the incredible climax that it offers. The film in itself will have several terrifying moments and in contrast, several moments where you will laugh a lot. A good film for a night with friends!

#17. Nosferatu

One of the most classic films in this list is the 1922 film Nosferatu. This might be one of the first films to present us with a Vampire, which would later become one of the most classic monsters in the horror genre cinema. Taking into account that the film is almost one hundred years old, it was really creepy.

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As opposed to modern films that rely on the new technologies to scare every viewer, Nosferatu relied on the amazing acting by Max Schrek. The film was directed by Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau and based on the best selling novel by Bram Stoker.

#16. Alien

Usually, slasher films follow the story of a group of teenagers in a city, but Alien took the slasher-genre to space, specifically to a space ship. Some might argue that the film has not aged well…claiming that if you watch the film now you will probably laugh at the Xenomorph, but to those, let me tell you: you may jump from your seat more often than you believe.

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This is probably the film that made Sigourney Weaver into the great movie star that we know today. The final scene of the movie, a one on one fight, is impossible to forget. The film had such an impact that it begot several sequels and prequels, and even video games!

#15. Rosemary’s Baby

Rosemary’s baby is not just another supernatural possession film at all, as it tackles several real-life issues such as paranoia, anxiety, depression, and the occult, among others. Main actress Mia Farrow was nominated for several awards, such as the Golden Globe for Best Actress.

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On the other hand, actress Ruth Gordon won the Academy Award for Supporting Actress. The film was directed by Roman Polansky, who earned the respect of the masters of the horror genre. The film was selected in 2014 by the Library of Congress to be included in the National Film Registry.

#14. The Babadook

Released in 2014, this Australian horror film follows the story of widow Amelia, who after losing her husband in a terrible car crash, has to raise her only son, Samuel, all on her own. Samuel’s character is depicted as having a set of mental issues, and on top of that, he is obsessed with a children´s book called The Babadook.

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Every night Samuel would ask her mother to read a bit of the book, about a monster who lived in children´s closets. After reading the book a few nights, Amelia starts to feel a terrible presence all around her and Samuel, and as such, she has to battle the horrible monster and her inner beasts to save his son.

#13. Carrie

Another film based on one of Stephen King´s book, Carrie tells the story of 16-year-old high-school student Carrie White, who grew up all alone with her Catholic fanatic mother. Not only Carrie has to deal with her mother, but also with the ever-present bullies at high school, while she also deals with her new body.

Photo: Courtesy of Silver Screen Collection

In the film, we get glimpses suggesting that Carrie is also a gifted girl, as she has telekinetic powers, which she uses to defend herself. The film starts to build up every character and every dramatic thing until the night that every high schooler wishes, prom night. Sadly, the things won’t go as everyone expected and we’ll have a full glimpse of Carrie’s powers!

#12. A Nightmare on Elm Street

A Nightmare on Elm Street, released in 1984, was a pretty impressive film for the time. Directed by Wes Craven, the film was considered a dark, twisted, and consistently clever piece of horror cinema. Every horror lover went to see the film, and as a consequence, the box office exploded. Over the years, the popularity of the film would only increase.

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You would probably be shocked to learn that the film is slightly inspired by real events, as director Wes Craven got the idea for the film after reading several newspaper articles about “mysterious death dreams” of several young Asian men in 1991. In 1991, the then-Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley proclaimed September 13th as “Freddy Krueger Day,” mainly because so much of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise had been shot there.

#11. Dracula

At first, it was Bram Stoker’s Dracula, then Nosferatu, and in 1931, Universal Pictures started to introduce themselves in monster films, creating what would come to be the “Dark Universe”. It is not a coincidence that Universal decided to bring monsters to the big screen with the ending of the mute cinema era!

Photo: Courtesy of Silver Screen Collection

Dracula himself was portrayed by talented actor Bela Lugosi, and his name would echo for decades and remembered thanks to this role. English was Lugosi’s second language, and as such, he spoke very slowly and with a quiet rhythm, creating a more creepy atmosphere around him.

#10. 28 Days Later

Considered to be one of the greatest zombie movies ever made, surpassing that of the father of the genre, George A. Romero, 28 Days Later sets the ground for a new type of zombie-infected enemy. We were used to slow-walking zombies that only wanted to eat your brain, but this is not the case.

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The ones introduced in this film could walk as fast as anybody, they had supernatural strength and they had a kind of a hive mind: all of them knew, at the same time, what they had to do. The film was done under an $8 million budget but it grossed more than $82 million worldwide!

#9. Jaws

Another type of horror film focuses on big animals on a killing spree and in the group of main characters that are supposed to find them and kill them. This is the case with films such as Anaconda or the one in this list, Jaws, released in 1975.

Photo: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Even though the shark appears only a few times throughout the film, the filmmakers made such a great job with the music direction that you were always on the verge of your seat waiting for the shark to appear or attack any character. Forty-four years later, the film continues to be a jewel within the genre.

#8. The Silence of the Lambs

The first film of Hannibal’s trilogy portrayed by Anthony Hopkins, and starring Jodie Foster in the role of FBI Trainee Clarice Starling, The Silence of the Lambs was released on February 14, 1991. As incredible as it may seem for a horror film, it won several awards, and the most important one was Best Picture award.

Photo: Courtesy of Kevin Winter

While Anthony Hopkins turned the crazy serial killer into an unforgettable cultural touchstone, the role was originally supposed to go to Gene Hackman, who backed because the film was too dark for his taste. The hissing sound he used to scare Jodie Foster’s character was improvised by Anthony Hopkins. Scary!

#7. Psycho

In the 1960s, one of the most important psychological horror films would be released, Psycho. Directed by none other than Alfred Hitchcock and featuring Janet Leigh as the main character, it was based on the 1959 book by Robert Bloch, that took its inspiration from the real killings by serial killer Ed Gein.

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Most of the movie happens in a motel managed by Norman Bates, portrayed by Anthony Perkins. After receiving Marion Crane and hosting her in Room #1, a series of events unfold that kept every viewer astonished, as the main character gets killed right away. The rest of the movie unfolds trying to discover who commited the crime.

#6. The Conjuring

Horror films have been on the rise again for a while but have tripped more than once in the last two decades. To solve this problem, in the last decade, there have also been amazing box office hits that have stood out among the rest. Such is the case of The Conjuring by director James Wan.

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The film, released in 2013, tells the story of a couple, Lorraine and Ed Warren, two parapsychologists that are contacted after a series of strange events happening at a family home. The Conjuring only had a relatively modest budget of $20 million but went on and won nearly 16 times that budget to become one of the most profitable scary movies of all time.

#5. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

The mute cinema era was a gold mine for horror films, as they relied heavily on the atmosphere they could create with their acting and the settings they could construct. The film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, released in 1920, told the story of a sleepwalking killing machine that was controlled by an evil doctor.

Photo: Courtesy of John Springer Collection

If you are a horror cinema lover, you will notice that a monster being controlled by an evil doctor is pretty familiar, as that concept was later used in films such as Frankenstein and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The film is a portrayal of German society after World War I, Dr. Caligari being the German Government and Cesare a mere soldier or commoner.

#4. The Shining

Another famous movie based on a best-selling horror book by Stephen King, The Shining was released in 1980 and was produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick. Released in 1980 with actor Jack Nicholson in the main role of Jack Torrance. According to one of Kubrick’s biographers, King wrote an entire draft of a screenplay for The Shining, which Kubrick did not even look at.

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Stephen King, in his review of the film, stated that:

Although Kubrick made a film with memorable imagery, it was poor as an adaptation and that it is the only adaptation of his novels that I came to hate”.

The film may not have been nominated for any Oscars, but movie historians consider it to be a truly timeless terror.

#3. Get Out

Actor Jordan Peele is commonly known for acting in several comedy films, such as Little FockersKeanu, and giving his voice for the film Captain Underpants. As such, it was a shock for the whole world when he stated that he would direct a horror film, Get Out, which was released in 2017.

Photo: Courtesy of JoBlo

The film has a very strong critique of racism, one of its main themes. The main character, Chris Washington, will have to endure a weekend with his girlfriend’s family. As soon as he enters the house, although his girlfriend’s family is very welcoming, you can sense in the air that there is something wrong…really wrong. The film scored a 98% in the Tomatometer!

#2. The Exorcist

We all know the story of the cursed film, the one in which every person that had something to do with the film either killed themselves or died misteriously. Of course, we are talking about The Exorcist, which was released in 1973, and told the story of an innocent girl possessed by a merciless demon.

Photo: Courtesy of Sunset Boulevard

One of the most amazing things at the time was the fact that we could see every actor’s breath on the scenes, and this was done thanks to the amazing director, William Friedkin. He had installed four giant air conditioners and put them to run all night, reaching temperature of -30 or -40 degrees. The air on set got so cold that when cast and crew members sweat, it froze on their skin.

#1. Halloween

If we are doing a list about films to watch in Halloween, we could not leave the film by the same name out of the list. Halloween, released in 1978, maybe one of the most famous horror films ever made, and Michael Myers is also considered one of the most terrifying killers in horror cinema.

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Directed by John Carpenter, with Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode and Nick Castle as the horrifying killer Michael Myers, the film had a $300.000 budget but earned approximately $47 million. As with Rosemary’s baby, the film was selected by the Library of Congress for the National Film Registry.

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    Luke H.

    Certified Translator recently graduated at the Universidad de Buenos Aires.
    Gamer. Bookworm.

    What we do in life echoes in eternity.

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