Whether you watch them to be scared, for laughs, or for a wave of spooky nostalgia, scary movies are an essential part of the Halloween experience. I’ve compiled a list of 10 great horror films for people to discover or re-discover. This isn’t a scariest-movies-of-all-time list; It’s a list of great movies taken from a couple different horror sub-genres in hopes of recommending a movie for everyone.
1. Hellraiser: Is there a creepier group of villains than Pinhead and the Cenobytes? This film is not only my favorite horror film ever, but it also has the best special effects of any 80’s movie I’ve seen. The plot involves a puzzle box that summons the Cenobytes, masochistic demons who travel through time and space, who inflict their own brand of pain and pleasure on Christie Cotton and her broken family.
2. Killer Clowns From Outer Space: If you’re scared of clowns, watching this film could test the limits of your ability to handle scary. If not, it’s just fun film from the 80’s about clowns killing people with their clownish alien technology. This film is good for a late night laugh, but I have to admit, the clowns are pretty creepy.
3. Hocus Pocus: As an adult who is very skeptical about kids movies I think this movie is fantastic. Bette Middler and Sarah Jessica Parker star in this movie about 3 witches who suck the life out of children to stay young and beautiful. It’s up to some teenagers, a little girl, a zombie, and a cat, to stop the Sanderson sisters from stealing the souls of children.
4. Dead Alive: From the man who brought you The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Peter Jackson, comes the bloodiest Zombie movie ever. When a strange animal spreads the zombie virus in New Zealand it’s up to a mama’s boy to prevent the zombie apocalypse. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to fight zombies with a lawnmower you must watch this film.
5. Planet Terror: In this Robert Rodriguez creation Rose McGowan’s character proves why having an M16 for a leg might be the best defense in the zombie apocalypse. Bruce Willis, and Quentin Tarantino also star in this film about a military experiment imploding and turning people in a small town into zombies.
6. Young Frankenstein: Filmed in black and white, this Mel Brooks classic picks up when Dr. Frankenstein’s grandson, who goes by the same name, inherits the Frankenstein castle and travels to Transylvania to understand his grandfathers work in re-animating dead tissue. Gene Wilder kills in this comedic rendition of Frankenstien.
7. Nightmare On Elm Street: Imagine if Wolverine of the Ex-Men was not only a psycho but the ugliest man on earth, and he had Leonardo Dicaprio’s job on the film Inception. Now imagine the carnage that would result. This is one of the best horror films to come out of the 80’s, and it will make you nervous about having a bad dream.
8. The Shining: This film brings a trifecta of excellence to the table with Jack Nicholson pulling off the best crazy-man performance of all-time, Stanley Kubrick as director, and Stephen King writing the book that the film was adapted from. The film combines elements, psychological, supernatural, and slasher horror into one classic film. Creepy twins, a crazy writer, a hysterical wife (Shelley Duvall did an excellent job), and the classic “red rum” scene make this movie a must see.
9. Frankenweenie: This is the only film on my list that is currently in theaters right now. I admit that I was skeptical going into the theatre, but I loved this movie. This is Tim Burton’s best work since The Nightmare Before Christmas. The film is animated in black & white in vintage-Burton style. What makes this movie so great is the morbid humor and cleverness infused throughout the movie. It’s great for the whole family.
10. House of 1000 Corpses: This movie gave me nightmares. When a group of young writers are told about the Dr. Satan Tree and decide to research this myth they run into a sadistic family, and the legend of Dr. Satan becomes reality. Captain Spaulding who runs a chicken joint/gas station/murder ride provides a little bit of comic relief in this intense film. Rainn Wilson of The Office stars in this film by Rob Zombie. Warning: This film is extremely scary and violent.