Halloween Horror Movies You Need to Watch This Halloween

Horror for every Halloween enthusiast!
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Horror was a big part of my life growing up, even more so as a kid than it has been in adulthood. My cousins took it upon themselves to regularly expose me to all the newest (new to the '90s and '00s at least) horror, including those iconic to the late '80s and '90s like A Nightmare on Elm Street and Child's Play. We laughed at all the cheesy lines and the awful decisions people make in scary movies.

My Papa Wally introduced me to the classics. Horror in black and white like The Bride of Frankenstein and all the Hitchcock's. By the time I was 11, I had a very sophisticated taste in horror flix, if I do say so myself. Though, sometimes the cheesy horror is the best.

In this list are some of the best of the best horror movies I've come to love as well as some of the best-rated horror ranging from classic, to scary, to terrifying. Let's jump in!

Note: Some of these movies are on the less scary side or take a more psychological lean in the horror genre(s). This was purposely done in order to show the wide-range of horror movies available for all kinds of horror enthusiasts and their preferred subgenre(s) of horror.

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The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
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Frankenstein and The Bride of Frankenstein are some of the most classic gothic horror flix to dig into this Halloween. Combining romance, philosophy, science-fiction, and horror into one, Frankenstein and The Bride of Frankenstein are about so much more than horror, they are movies about what it means to be human and have even been theorized as allegories for parts of "Genesis," particularly the creation of man (Adam).

Yes, Frankenstein really is that complex, and it's because Frankenstein is based on the novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, published in 1818 by Mary Shelley. It's one of the first true gothic horror novels written, though not the first. It's easy to see why so many adaptations have been over the decades.

If you're curious about Frankenstein, check out the trailer below:

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Carrie (2002)
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I'm probably going to illicit some judgement by choosing the Carrie from 2002 starring Angela Bettis and not the cult-classic, original from 1976 starring Sissy Spacek. Yes. I think Sissy Spacek was iconic in the first Carrie, but I can't help myself. The 2002 Carrie is the one I grew up watching, and it's the one I picture in my mind's eye when I think of Carrie.

If you prefer the original, go for it! They are both great films inspired by Stephen King's novel of the same name, published on April 5th, 1974. So, you really can't go wrong. If you haven't seen Carrie, get the popcorn and take a seat. Carrie is just the teen with burgeoning powers you need to see this Halloween.

See if Carrie is for you by watching the trailer below:

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Sinister (2012)
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When Sinister first came out, a friend and I went to see it in theaters. For whatever reason, on that particular showing, the entire theater was empty besides us. We sat in the back row terrified, not knowing how scary the movie would really be, and how alone we would be in a huge, dark, scary theater while watching the scariest movie we had seen in a long time.

This psychological horror movie had me scared to walk to the car, but I'm not alone since it was voted the scariest movie in 2020 according to the Science of Scare Project, which rates scary movies based on science using heart rate. Who knew Ethan Hawke would star in one of the scariest horror movies of all time? Trust me though, it's scary.

If you're going for a terrifying horror, watch the Sinister trailer below and prepare yourself:

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A Quiet Place (2018)
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A Quiet Place is one of my go-to horror movies during the holiday season, at least it has been over the past couple years. I'm a big John Krasinski fan, so this sci-fi horror was a must-watch for me. A Quiet Place is all about silence, hence the name. In order to stay safe, this family has to stay silent, which I found to be a fascinating premise for a sci-fi, horror movie. Imagine raising a family in complete silence so that you can survive.

If you like horror movies with sci-fi elements, A Quiet Place is scary, but not too scary, and who doesn't love John Krasinski?

If you're curious, check out the trailer below:

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Psycho (1960)
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I mentioned I grew up watching horror, but I didn't mention I also grew up watching Turner Classic Movies. I loved classic movies, old black and white films that told a different story, of a different time. Psycho was no different. The combination of horror with my love of classic movies makes Psycho one of my favorite horror movies of all time.

Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho is one of his most famous films. If you like psychological horror and thrillers, Psycho is a classic that you have to see at least once about Norman Bates, who runs the Bates Motel and has a pension for taxidermy.

Consider watching this classic horror and watch the trailer below:

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A Nightmare on Elm Street Series (1984-1994)
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A Nightmare on Elm Street is very close to my heart. In fact, the film series was one of the first DVD collections I owned, which I kept right next to my SpongeBob SquarePants collection. Maybe it wasn't the most "normal" movie to grow up loving and watching, but I loved Nancy and the entire concept of being haunted within your dreams. I loved it so much, I used to write Freddy fan fiction.

If you are at all interested in dreams and the subconscious, A Nightmare on Elm Street is a cult-classic for a reason. Give it a watch, and whatever you do, don't fall asleep!

Watch the A Nightmare on Elm Street trailer below and check out an '80s Johnny Depp:

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30 Days of Night (2007)
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There had to be a movie on this list with vampires. After all, much like Frankenstein, vampires go way back. In fact, they go even further back. I've always wanted to visit Alaska, so a vampire horror set in Alaska, where the sun doesn't come out for 30 days, was a winner in my book before I even saw it. It's a pretty cool concept for a vampire movie, removing some limits placed on the bounds of vampirism in other vampire movies (removing the sun from the picture and allowing them to roam and destroy).

If you like your horror movies a little bloody, with some classic monsters and concepts, 30 Days of Night is an interesting take on a vampire horror movie.

See if vampires in Alaska are scary enough for you by watching the 30 Days of Night trailer below:

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Paranormal Activity (2007)
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I can't help it, the Paranormal Activity movies always scare me and probably always will. They don't have any gore or blood or the typical monsters you see in most horror, but they are absolutely terrifying. Maybe it's the found footage style of horror that is Paranormal Activity that makes it feel more real, more scary, and more plausible. Whatever it is, the series is a well-done found footage horror series.

If you've never seen any of the Paranormal Activity movies, or a found footage horror movie, Paranormal Activity is a good place to start this Halloween.

If you want to try out some found footage horror, watch the Paranormal Activity trailer below:

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It (2017)
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When I was 11, though I was warned not to, I watched the original It from 1990. I thought my love of horror made me immune to being scared of horror like other people seemed to be, but Tim Curry was the scariest thing I'd ever seen. Unfortunately, I've been scared of clowns ever since. As I get older, and older, the fear lessens, but that means that the 2017 adaptation of It was off limits for me, even though I'm a fan of Bill Skarsgård.

However, that doesn't mean the rest of you shouldn't enjoy it. I've heard nothing but amazing things about this adaptation. Plus, it's based on the 1986 novel by the same name by Stephen King.

If you aren't scared of clowns like I am, check out the It trailer below:

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Get Out (2017)
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I never saw Get Out coming. I had no idea how scary it was going to be. Though Get Out is a psychological horror, and psychological horror doesn't tend to scare me, Get Out was just the kind of psychological horror I couldn't shake for days after watching.

Get Out is iconic in both the world of movies and of horror. Jordan Peele's Get Out helped in the creation of a new subgenre of horror called Black Trauma films. Not only is it horrifying, but it's a horror movie that touches on important, socially relevant aspects of racism.

If you've never watched in, watch the Get Out trailer below to see if it's your cup of tea:

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Saw Series (2004-2017)
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Saw, and the Saw film series, was huge when it came out. The idea was so original and unique, because of the many complicated "games" characters are put through by the antagonist, Jigsaw. Each of the characters are corrupt cops, lawyers, and other people that Jigsaw finds worthy of death. There is a lot of blood and a little gore in this film series, so if you are looking for a movie with more action and gore than the previous horror flix in this list, consider giving Saw a try.

See if Saw is the horror you're looking for this Halloween by watching the trailer below:

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The Strangers (2008)
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The Strangers is a thriller, horror movie that was really popular in the 2010's. It's scary and sad and extremely well done. I know that I looked out my windows a few times the first time I watched it. Of course, we have all been there after watching a thriller, horror movie. Right?

The Strangers and The Purge have a lot in common, though a different approach is taken in The Purge as far as social commentary. I'm not sure if The Strangers informed The Purge, but the parallels are hard to ignore. If you liked The Purge, but have never seen The Strangers, check it out.

If you're curious, watch The Strangers trailer below:

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Return of the Living Dead Series (1985-2005)
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Zombies and the undead are a classic part of the horror genre. In fact, if you love zombie movies, you have the Return of the Living Dead movie series to thank for it. Though it wasn't the first zombie movie, it was one of the first big contributors to the genre and horror as a whole. Plus, it's a cult-classic.

If the "effects" are too dated for you, check out some newer adaptations of the_Return of the Living Dead _ film series. There are a few out there with more modern makeup and effects.

If you've always wanted to watch Return of the Living Dead Series (1985, try the trailer out below:

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Van Helsing (2004)
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Yes, Van Helsing is a horror. It's movies like Van Helsing that show how diverse the horror genre is. Van Helsing is one of my favorite movies, horror or not. I've always loved Dracula, the many Dracula adaptations, and the origin of vampirism in horror. Dracula, werewolves, Hugh Jackman, and tons of action all in one movie with moody, gothic vibes is perfect for Halloween.

For those who want to watch something a little less scary and a little more gothic, Van Helsing is my recommendation this Halloween.

If you love horror movies with a bit of vampirism, check out the Van Helsing trailer for below:

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Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
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Little Shop of Horrors is another horror that most people don't think of when they think of the horror genre. However, comedy horror is a thing, and big, scary plants that can eat you sound pretty horrifying to me. '90s and '80s babies know what I mean. Imagine plants that literally survived on your blood. Now, add a little music and laughter, that is Little Shop of Horrors in a nutshell.

Looking for horror that makes you giggle? Little Shop of Horrors is just the thing.

Watch the Little Shop of Horrors trailer below:

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The Evil Dead (1981)
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The Evil Dead is another cult-classic horror film from the '80s that helped pave the path for the horror we know, and love today, especially zombie horror. It's one of my favorites, because I grew up watching it every Halloween, so I always try to make time for it each year. Of course, there are several more modern adaptations with much more convincing makeup, but '90s horror has its charm.

If zombies are what the doctor ordered this Halloween, give the original The Evil Dead a try. If you aren't convinced by '80s makeup and effects, try out one of the more recent adaptations.

Watch The Evil Dead trailer below to see if it's classic horror for you:

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Pans Labyrinth (2006)
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Though not typically what one thinks of when thinking of horror flix to watch, there's been some debate about if Pans Labyrinth is gothic horror or not, it is a brilliant horror movie with unique fantasy elements. I watch Pans Labyrinth each and every year right around this time of year, and have since I was 16, It's the perfect, creepy horror to get me in the Halloween mindset, and it's not too scary, so it works for any kind of movie lover.

As long as you speak Spanish, or don't mind subtitles, this is the perfect movie to ease you into horror this Halloween.

Check out the trailer for Pans Labyrinth below:

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Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
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Believe it or not, there are a lot of horror musicals out there, but Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is by far my favorite. Tim Burton, Alan Rickman, Johnny Depp, and Helena Bonham Carter? Makes for a great director and an amazing cast. Johnny Depp (Sweeney Todd), plays a vengeful barber with a knack for murder after spending a long time in prison.

If you like musicals, and you like horror, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is the horror movie for you this Halloween.

See if Sweeney Todd is the horror for you by watching the trailer below:

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Poltergeist (1982)
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If you are an '80s or '90s kid, you know how absolutely terrifying Poltergeist was and how iconic Carol Anne was. I saw Poltergeist uncountable times growing up, and it never seemed to get any less scary. Now that times have changed, of course, and I've gotten older, it's not quite as scary as it once was.

However, if you like horror movies with ghosts and poltergeists, this classic cannot be overlooked. It's a well-done adaptation with a scary poltergeist sure to have you scared to go to sleep at night, depending on your scary movie threshold of course.

If you want to check it out, watch the Poltergeist trailer below:

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Us (2019)
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Us is another genius horror by Jordan Peele. This thriller, horror movie has major psychological elements that blew my mind when I first saw it back in 2019. Imagine the monsters after you, are you (or at least they look exactly like you). It's scary and thought-provoking, and an absolute must-watch for anyone who likes horror. Plus, I'm a huge Lupita Nyong'o fan.

Us is just the horror film for the psychological horror fan. It's pretty scary, so buckle up.

Watch the Us trailer below:

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Gremlins Series (1984-1990)
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I wanted to have one more comedy horror movies on this list. It's pretty underappreciated as a subgenre, but it's funny and a little scary and perfect for those who want to ease themselves into horror this Halloween. Another '80s and '90s kid favorite, Gremlins was an extremely influential part of pop culture. Plus, the gremlins are cute, and they look like Furbies.

For those that have never seen Gremlins, it's a must-watch for those who love comedy horror and Furbies.

Watch the Gremlins trailer below and see what I mean:

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The Ring (2002)
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The Ring was incredibly scary, at least in 2002 it was, and also a little sad. The idea was new and exciting, especially considering it was still in the age of the VHS and the relevance of the movie was real. Imagine watching a movie that gives you only seven days to live, and the search for answers and hope that would occur in those seven days. Interesting concept, right?

If you like the idea of watching a movie that seals your fate, and the consequence that comes with it, try watching The Ring this Halloween.

Watch The Ring trailer below to see if it's your kind of horror film:

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The Exorcist Series (1973-2005)
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Once upon a time, The Exorcist was considered the scariest of all time. Of course, time changes and what's considered scary evolves. The Exorcist, at least the original, was pretty revolutionary in 1973. It was one of the first horror films that didn't focus on the thrill, but that held its watchers in horrifying suspense.

For those who enjoy the climb of suspense with their horror movies, and haven't seen this cult-classic, give it a try over some candy corn. Of course, there are also some newer, more modern adaptations in the film series if that's more your style.

Watch the trailer below to see if The Exorcist is for you:

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The Purge Series (2013-2021)
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The Purge film series is probably one of the most well known of the bunch, but that's for good reason. The social commentary that comes with The Purge series has made it extremely popular, and the relevance has only improved as the series has grown. A world where any crime goes for the day, no consequences or responsibility, makes for an interesting dystopian horror that has been a long favorite of mine.

If you love dystopian films, horror or otherwise, The Purge should definitely be on your radar this Halloween.

Check out The Purge trailer below and see if this dystopian horror is up your alley:

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The Blair Witch Project (1999-2016)
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The Blair Witch Project has gotten some flack over the years, but there's a reason it survived so long. The Blair Witch Project might not have been the first found footage horror film, but it was the horror film that made it as popular as it is today, which directly inspired many of the movies on this list. They were incredibly realistic in comparison to the '90s horror most '90s kids were used to.

If you love found footage films, or have always been curious about The Blair Witch Project, watch the series and just remember it's just a movie!

Watch the The Blair Witch Project trailer below:

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The Birds (1963)
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The Birds is nostalgic for me. I watched it for the first time on a tiny box TV in my childhood bedroom after watching Psycho and fell in love with it. The directing and scenes are iconic to even those who've never seen The Birds. Though most people know about The Birds as an important piece of pop culture, there are many who still haven't seen it.

If you've never seen The Birds, or an Alfred Hitchcock film, it's time. You'll never look at wild birds the same.

Watch The Birds trailer below and see what I mean:

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The Conjuring (2013)
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The Conjuring is one of the most popular horror films and film series of recent years, especially with The Conjuring 3 coming out this year (2021). The Conjuring follows paranormal researchers (A.K.A. ghost hunters) through their exploration of various haunted houses. What makes the series so scary is that the movies are inspired by an apparent true story about paranormal researchers Ed and Lorraine Warren.

For those who like horror based on true stories, The Conjuring is often considered one of the scariest horror movies inspired by true events.

Watch The Conjuring below and see how it rates on your fear-o-meter:

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The Train to Busan (2016)
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The Train to Busan is one of the best zombie movies of all time. This Korean zombie movie is insanely well done. Imagine being on a train, trying to get to Busan, trying to find safety, during a zombie pandemic. Pretty suspenseful, right? The Train to Busan reminds me of World War Z, which only came out a few years prior to The Train to Busan. In fact, I actually like The Train to Busan better because of the action and suspense.

The Train to Busan is just the zombie film to add to your must-watch list this Halloween. It won't disappoint.

Watch The Train to Busan trailer below:

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The Witch (2015)
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Before the well-known The Queen's Gambit, Anya Taylor-Joy starred in The Witch. The Witch is not your average horror movie. Not to be confused with The Witches or The Witcher, The Witch is a scary period horror film in 17th century, settler New England. It's moody, dark, and way scarier than the trailer does justice.

For those who love period films, but also love horror, The Witch is a scary, genius melding of the two.

Watch the chilling trailer of The Witch below to see if it's for you:

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Bird Box (2018)
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Bird Box is the viral sci-fi horror film of 2018. Watchers were either in love or baffled, so I am sure there are many readers who find this an odd choice, but I found Sandra Bullock's performance amazing, the concept new and intriguing, and there is a hopeful spin. This movie isn't too scary, but just scary enough to get you in the Halloween mindset.

If you were a fan of A Quiet Place, you love dystopian horror, and you enjoy horror that is thought-provoking and suspenseful, Bird Box is an enjoyable watch.

Watch the Bird Box trailer below and see what you think:

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