Correction, 10/29/2019, 12:40 p.m.: The original published version of this list only went to No. 26, due to a publisher’s error. The list has been corrected and now also shows No. 27-31.
September came and went. Fall has come, and October is already coming to a close. Personally, this is my favorite month of the year. Pumpkin carving, crunchy leaves, cooling winds, and of course, Halloween! The spookiest holiday of them all. Well, besides July 4 (those who are pet owners understand that one). There’s costumes, spooks, scares, and of course, candy!
So, to celebrate this scariest and most frightening of months, I decided to compile a 31 Days of Frights list of movies to watch each day of the month. This is a list of movies that aren’t all necessarily horror movies, but instead, movies that put me in the Halloween spirit and that I really enjoy. Now, I know the month is already practically done, but I still think these movies need to be watched by all. So if you’re like me and have nothing to do this Halloween, I highly recommend watching one or even a few of these great films.
Without further ado, I present my Halloween Horror Flick Horde (along with some honorable mentions by the 42Fifty staff).
1. “Nosferatu” (1922)
To kick off the list, I have placed one of the first vampire movies ever made at the top. There’s no better way to pay homage to the long-standing holiday and spooky season than with the movie that started the horror genre.
2. “Evil Dead II” (1987)
Second, on this list is the perfect example of the sequel being better than the original. “Evil Dead II” is practically a gorier and funnier version of the original film that cemented Bruce Campbell as an action hero/horror icon.
3. “ParaNorman” (2012)
Laika is known for their spooky and beautiful stop motion films. (“Coraline”, “Kubo and the Two Strings”, etc.). After the first two horror movies, a light-hearted family friendly spooky movie is a perfect balance.
4. “Eraserhead” (1977)
Diving right back into the darker side of this list, we have a movie that is incredibly wacko and wonderfully twisted. David Lynch, in his first feature length film as both writer and director, brings an industrial world that is dark, sickening, and a perfect addition to this list.
5. “Beetlejuice” (1988)
“It’s actually Betelguese.” Along with the huge cult following this movie has including the musical that recently came out, another reason to watch this movie is that it is a fresh macabre look at death and haunting that will have anyone spilling their guts. Hopefully not literally.
6. “The Fly” (1986)
No. Not the one from the 50s. This is the twisted work of David Cronenberg that just has to be seen by any lover of practical effects, gore, and excellent visual acting. and, believe me, Jeff Goldblum’s performance as a driven scientist turned fly monstrosity is a transformation that should be seen by any aspiring actor.
7. “Odd Thomas” (2013)
I did not read the book, I know, a mortal sin, but if it’s anything like the movie I for sure will be adding it to my library. Anton Yelchin, who passed away a little over three years ago, brings this odd character a lovable charm that makes any viewer root for him at every turn.
8. “The Elephant Man” (1980)
Another classic from David Lynch, one that my dad has told me has terrified him since he was a little boy. John Hurt plays John Merrick, a man born horribly disfigured, with such sincerity and pain it brings a tear to the viewer’s eyes. While he is scary, believe me, he’s no animal.
9. “Plan 9 From Outer Space” (1959)
Journeying back into the light-hearted, I present a movie that any film student has to watch at least once. The opus of Edward D. Wood Jr., “the worst director of all time,” is a really hard to follow film about an alien plan to raise the dead and kill the living. If that ridiculous plot isn’t enough, it has horror icon Bela Lugosi (“Dracula”) in it in one of his very last performances before he passed away.
10. “From Dusk Till Dawn” (1996)
Speaking of Bela, I offer a vampire movie that has spawned several sequels and even a television series. However, the original is by far the best and offers a comedic yet dark tale of a small group trapped in a bar full of blood-sucking vampires. This also sparks the first partnership of filmmakers Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez.
11. “Hausu” (1977)
At first, I knew literally nothing about this movie before a friend mentioned it to me a couple of years back, but since then it has become a horror favorite of mine. This film marks the first film to come from Japan that utilized video effects and the first film to come from director Nobuhiko Ôbayashi. There’s a haunted house, teenage girls, and cats. What’s not to love?
12. “Sleepy Hollow” (1999)
Ahh. Now, this is a Halloween movie if I’ve ever seen one. Not only is it a Tim Burton movie, but it’s also a more refined and wonderfully wicked telling of the tale of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman. The setting and the characters all give off the spooky and chilly October vibe that makes this a mainstay in my spooky season collection.
13. “An American Werewolf in London” (1981)
It seems odd that there aren’t more werewolf movies on this list, however, I do believe this addition all but makes up for it. This movie is a favorite of any lover of practical effects due to its charming yet terrifying Lycan transformations that make any viewer cringe with discomfort. It’s visually stunning and terribly funny, making it a worthy watch.
14. “Christine” (1983)
I personally am a huge John Carpenter fan and, while this may not be his best work, I think it is another movie that’s practical effects are truly outstanding. This movie’s killer Christine is an excellent example of how sound and effects can make anything truly terrifying. Even a ‘58 Plymouth Fury.
15. “Alien” (1979)
There weren’t a lot of alien movies that I found really Horde worthy, however (even though I prefer the sequel, Aliens) I feel Alien is a great addition to this list. Ridley Scott’s first venture into the future world of Weyland-Yutani is a bone-chilling psychological thriller that will make any viewer become cautious around strange eggs and check for Xenomorphs every night before hitting the hay.
16. “Burying the Ex” (2014)
This is a movie that not many have heard of, and that’s great! Because now, everyone can hear from me that it is an awesome low-budget horror movie. Anton Yelchin returns again, but this time as a man with a brain-hungry undead psycho ex-girlfriend. If that synopsis doesn’t sound crazy enough to give it a watch, it also stars True Detective star, Alexandra Daddario, as Yelchin’s living love interest.
17. “The Shining” (1980)
18. “Halloween” (1978)
Another classic from Carpenter. Now this movie has a title that should make it pretty apparent as to why it’s on this list. It’s a classic that has spawned a miles-long list of sequels and not all of them were good ones. But nothing can beat the original. Carpenter’s terrifying score, Jamie Lee Curtis’ final girl awesomeness, and Nick Castle’s down-right scary performance as “The Shape” make this an unbeatable film.
19. “Corpse Bride” (2005)
A wacky film by Tim Burton? Unheard of. Anywho, this film is a classic by Burton that brings his twisted fantasies and pictures to life utilizing stop-motion of his characters that look like they came straight from his head. Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp play Emily and Victor respectively, helping bring life to this tale of the undead.
20. “Scream” (1996)
I know this movie is not everyone’s go-to Wes Craven movie. (Mine either. Mine is Vampire in Brooklyn. Just kidding. Maybe?) However, this movie has a lot of merits and still holds up today for its meta jokes and the fun it pokes at the horror genre as a whole. And the movie still delivers us a great story with an iconic killer whose costume can be found at almost any dollar store.
21. “Mars Attacks!” (1996)
Okay, hear me out. This movie is…different, to say the least. It most certainly is that. I’m sure there are far more superior alien invasion movies (Monsters vs. Aliens), but this one has a charm and odd sense of comedy that makes it thoroughly enjoyable throughout. Plus it has one, of many, great collaborations between Tim Burton and Danny Devito.
22. “Frankenstein” (1931)
This movie is another one that has to be seen by any true movie monster fan and horror movie fan alike. Boris Karloff’s terrifying visage as Frankenstein’s Monster is one that is instantly recognizable. Plus, the film itself has inspired numerous remakes and stories that have only spread the public’s knowledge of the story of Frankenstein and his monster.
23. “Matinee” (1993)
This movie is not really a horror movie in the usual sense, but instead, it offers a look at what effects a monster movie can have. The film focuses on a monster movie coming out during the Cuban Missile Crisis with the public deeming the movie inappropriate. It’s an interesting comment on the petty concern of the public over a movie, as opposed to the real threats in the world.
24. “Natural Born Killers” (1994)
One thing I tried not to do with this list was to put too much of one monster on it. Not too many vampires, or werewolves, or anything of that sort. That’s why this movie is perfect for it. This movie is about a different kind of monster, Mickey (Woody Harrelson) and Mallory Knox (Juliette Lewis), a pair of violent killers terrorizing Route 66.
25. “Fright Night” (1985)
Charley Brewster, a teenage boy who is an avid fan of monster movies, discovers that his next-door neighbor, Jerry Dandrige, is a blood-sucking vampire. With the help of TV personality, Peter Vincent, Charley must defeat Jerry before he turns Charley’s girlfriend into his undead bride. This movie is my absolute favorite vampire movie of all time and believe everyone should see it at least once.
26. “The Thing” (1982)
Carpenter’s best film, in my opinion. “The Thing” creates tension and horror, not only with the beautifully practical monsters themselves but with the fear that anyone can be this monster. Kurt Russell plays McReady so perfectly, making him not only an action hero but as the only man who can outsmart this “thing.”
27. “Hollow Man” (2000)
I was originally going to put “The Invisible Man” on this list but realized another black and white movie might have been too boring. So I decided to add a movie that uses the same idea of an invisible man, but with a modern and more updated look to it. The effects alone make this movie an instant classic.
28. “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2” (1986)
While I will admit that the first one is far scarier (and better), the second film is more comedy oriented and this is what makes it stand out. Need proof? Check the movie poster. It is almost an exact replica of “The Breakfast Club” poster. Another upside is Bill Moseley’s performance as “Chop Top”. It’s one of the weirdest performances ever put on film.
29. “The Descent” (2005)
I always thought this movie was really bizarre when I saw it, but it is definitely an original concept. A group of female spelunkers go into an unmapped cave system of the Appalachian mountains, searching for fame and glory. However, what they find are disgusting man-eating cave dwellers who can hear every sound they make.
30. “H.P. Lovecraft’s Re-Animator” (1985)
My second to last movie is a cult classic, one of which I’m sure very few people know. This beautifully wicked film follows a young medical student, Herbert West, who creates a reagent that can bring dead tissue back from the dead. Jeffrey Combs places this devilish mad scientist fantastically, which helped cement his career as a horror icon.
31. “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993)
Finally! Number 31! A movie that I think perfectly encapsulates the end of October. Tim Burton’s tale of the lamenting king of Halloween town and his plan to “steal” Christmas is one that virtually everyone is familiar with. Even those who have never seen this stupefying stop-motion show-stopper can find Jack Skellington and other remnants of Halloweentown anywhere. Walgreens, Hot Topic, Walmart; anywhere! It is a perfect movie and a great one to cap off the month before the big holiday season hits!
Honorable mentions from other 42Fifty staff
“Scary Movie 3” (2003)
“Monsters Inc.” (2001)
One of Pixar’s finest. A movie about a world of monsters that power their city on the screams of children.
A movie that I deem overrated, however, many find extremely terrifying. Involves rituals and elderly breast-feeding. Yuck.
The scariest adaptation of King’s opus, “It”, which features a lovable cast of kids fighting a psychotic, blood-thirsty, clown.
Hitchcock’s greatest film, featuring one of the most infamous scenes in the history of cinema. Also spawned a prequel/reboot television series.
“Annabelle Comes Home” (2019)
Another venture into the world of Ed and Lorraine Warren as the evilest doll they’ve ever faced releases every spirit in their collection on their daughter.
“The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” (1920)
A beautiful piece of German cinema that offers bizarre settings and disturbing visuals. Both of which keep the audience’s attention throughout.
“The Silence of The Lambs” (1991)
The cinematic debut of Hannibal Lecter, the murderous cannibal, as he aides Clarice Starling in capturing the serial killer, Buffalo Bill.
“The Conjuring” (2013)
The first film to bring to light the investigations and lives of Ed and Lorraine Warren as they attempt to free a family from a demonic haunting.
“The VVitch” (2015)
Deemed the most accurate view into the time of Salem and the world of witchcraft, “The VVitch” transports the audience back as a family is plagued by witches.
“The Bye Bye Man” (2017)
A teen horror film that features a monstrous antagonist, The Bye Bye Man, who can enter into the minds of people and make them commit heinous acts against one another.