So it’s almost Halloween and I’m trying to get into the mood by watching my favorite Halloween movies. Some are scary, some are silly, and some have nothing to do with Halloween but they’re just creepy. This isn’t a complete list, just some of my go-to October spooky viewings.
All of the synopses are courtesy of IMDB.
1. Halloween (the original 1978 movie)
Fifteen years after murdering his sister on Halloween night 1963, Michael Myers escapes from a mental hospital and returns to the small town of Haddonfield, Illinois to kill again.
I didn’t see this movie until years after it debuted on the big screen….on a night when I was in high school and I was babysitting!! It terrified me and is still one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen.
2. The Shining
A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where a sinister presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from both past and future.
I loved this book so much that when the movie came out I was first in line at the movie theater. And it didn’t disappoint! Even though the movie left out parts of the book, and it was made so many years ago, it’s still a terrifying movie that’s worth watching with a bowl of popcorn and the lights out!
3. Rosemary’s Baby
A young couple moves in to an apartment only to be surrounded by peculiar neighbors and occurrences. When the wife becomes mysteriously pregnant, paranoia over the safety of her unborn child begins to control her life.
I found this movie to be even scarier than the book. It’s still, even all of these years later, one of the creepiest movies ever made. The seeming normalcy of the people involved make it that much scarier. And I love Mia Farrow’s authentic 1960s dresses!
4. Hocus Pocus
A curious youngster moves to Salem, where he struggles to fit in before awakening a trio of diabolical witches that were executed in the 17th century.
I just saw this movie recently and loved it. It’s fun and silly and a great movie to watch with the family.
5. The Haunting of Hill House
Flashing between past and present, a fractured family confronts haunting memories of their old home and the terrifying events that drove them from it.
Another book adaptation that I loved as much as the original short story. This Netflix mini-series is so good you need to make time to watch all of the episodes within a few days–you’re just not going to want anything to interrupt you until you’re finished. And this one you’ll need to keep the lights on. Yes, it’s that scary!
6. Bram Stoker’s Dracula
The centuries old vampire Count Dracula comes to England to seduce his barrister Jonathan Harker’s fiancée Mina Murray and inflict havoc in the foreign land.
This movie is a bit over-the-top with costumes and settings and plot, but I love this movie. It’s kind of steampunky yet still stays true to the original story.
7. The Birds
A wealthy San Francisco socialite pursues a potential boyfriend to a small Northern California town that slowly takes a turn for the bizarre when birds of all kinds suddenly begin to attack people.
I saw this Alfred Hitchcock movie in Halloween night when I was 12 and I don’t think I slept for six months. I was so terrified and it had nothing at all to do with Halloween. It didn’t even have a bad guy–it just had birds!! I still can’t watch this movie if I’m home alone. I have to be surrounded by my family and dog!
8. The Nightmare Before Christmas
Jack Skellington, king of Halloween Town, discovers Christmas Town, but his attempts to bring Christmas to his home causes confusion.
Such a cute, clever animated movie with a great story and even more wonderful music. A great family-friendly movie!
9. The Blair Witch Project
Three film students vanish after traveling into a Maryland forest to film a documentary on the local Blair Witch legend, leaving only their footage behind.
When I first saw this movie, I was astounded at how scared I was when it ended. At first I thought the moving camera was annoying but before I knew it I was so afraid I couldn’t leave the theater to use the restroom. I didn’t want to go anywhere alone! Now that I’m older, I don’t find it as scary–but it’s still super creepy and I can’t watch it alone.
10. The Witch
A family in 1630s New England is torn apart by the forces of witchcraft, black magic, and possession.
I just saw this movie a few months ago (it was made in 2015) and I had to immediately rewatch it. It takes place during early colonial times in New England with authentic language that took time to understand. But once I realized what was going on, I was totally hooked. It’s a terrifying story that seems so real you can feel every character’s emotions. It’s definitely a movie that you’ll want to rewatch and even study because there are so many layers to this compelling story.
11. Psycho (The 1960 Original)
A Phoenix secretary embezzles forty thousand dollars from her employer’s client, goes on the run, and checks into a remote motel run by a young man under the domination of his mother.
Another Alfred Hitchcock classic that is the standard by which all other horror movies must live up to. A terrifying story with an ending that is still so disturbing and powerful that I can’t watch it alone or in the dark. It can still give me nightmares!
12. The Thing from another planet (the 1951 original)
Scientists and American Air Force officials fend off a bloodthirsty alien organism while at a remote arctic outpost.
This was my father’s favorite scary movie and we used to watch it together every Halloween once we got a VCR. It’s a bit corny but it’s still a great movie and another one for the family to watch together–as long as the kids aren’t too young.
13. Mary shelley’s Frankenstein
When the brilliant but unorthodox scientist Dr. Victor Frankenstein rejects the artificial man that he has created, the Creature escapes and later swears revenge.
I’ve seen a number of Frankenstein movies, but this one is my favorite because it stays fairly close to the book. The costumes are beautiful and the acting is great. It’s not super scary but it is very, very compelling.
14. Young Frankenstein
An American grandson of the infamous scientist, struggling to prove that his grandfather was not as insane as people believe, is invited to Transylvania, where he discovers the process that reanimates a dead body.
One of my all-time favorite movies that never fails to make me laugh and cry at the same time. The humor is a bit “adult” but a fun movie to watch with teenagers!
Now I’d love to know about your favorite Halloween movies!
Sharon Wray is a librarian who once studied dress design in the couture houses of Paris and now writes about the men in her Amazon bestselling Deadly Force romantic suspense series where ex-Green Berets meet their match in smart, sexy heroines who teach these alpha males that Grace always defeats Reckoning.
Her bestselling debut book EVERY DEEP DESIRE, a sexy, action-packed retelling of Romeo and Juliet, is about an ex-Green Beret determined to regain his honor, his freedom, and his wife. It’s available at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | IndieBound| Kobo| Google | Books-a-Million | Audible
Her second book, ONE DARK WISH, a passionate redemption of Othello with a HEA, is about an ex-Green Beret who must give up the woman he loves in order to redeem his honor and save the life of his men. It’s available at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | iBooks | Google | Kobo |IndieBound | Audible