Tis the season to be scared!
With Halloween just around the corner no doubt you are in need of some good movies; have no fear because whether you need something to laugh or scream at, alone or with a few friends, we have you covered. While this is by no means a definitive list we would love to hear from you about your favorite scary movies for Halloween so let us know in the comments below!
Starting off with a movie from the golden age of Hollywood monster movies, Them! is quite a bit more serious than one would imagine a movie about giant ant being and is rather intelligent even by today’s standards (don’t let the cheesy trailer fool you). The film opens on a series of unsolved murders and then builds a legitimate sense of dread by giving the audience relatable characters and keeping its monsters well hidden most of the movie, much like Jaws and Alien; Them! also features a strong female scientist who never becomes arm candy, something modern movies need more of in general. Yes it can still be hokey, like all movies from the 50’s, but Them! is well worth a watch if you prefer something classic this Halloween.
Tucker and Dale vs. Evil
Evil rednecks have long been a horror movie staple ever since Deliverance taught us to fear banjos and somewhere along the line sexy college kids became the favored victim. Tucker and Dale vs. Evil turns all the inbred redneck cliches on their severed heads and gives us Tucker and Dale, two rednecks with hearts larger than brains but played to comedic perfection by Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine respectively. The movie definitely doesn’t skimp on the blood and gore but has more in common with Monty Python than Saw, never becoming overly serious and keeps its sense of humor from start to finish but it’s Tucker and Dale who are the biggest surprises as the most surprisingly endearing horror heroes since Bruce Campbell first strapped a chainsaw to his hand.
If you’re in need of a double feature that will leave you winded and very, very afraid then look no further than this double offering from Spain; subtitles be damned because you will rarely find scarier movies than these two. Although the novelty of “found footage” movies wore off long ago the first two [Rec] movies are very much the high watermark of the genre as the cinematography never feels cheap and only serves to heighten the horror that unfolds. Taking the Alien/Aliens approach, [Rec] is a slow, excruciating burn as a camera crew follows a group of firemen responding to a distress call at an apartment while [Rec]2 kicks into action immediately as a SWAT team responds to the aftermath of the first movie. Even if you manage to just watch one of these, don’t expect to sleep any time soon.
This one is for all the kids at heart; honestly if you don’t have a soft spot for this movie then you might just be the real monster. Coming from the golden age of Pixar and right after the success of Toy Story 2, Monsters Inc. is a delight in every way and is filled with colorful and imaginative monsters and witty dialogue driven by the perfect comedic pairing of Billy Crystal and John Goodman. Like all the best Pixar movies there is quite a lot of heart on display in the movie, just try not tearing up at that ending, along with tons of references to classic monster movies. This is a movie you’ve hopefully already seen and it’s one that’s perfect for Halloween audiences of all ages.
Zombies are a big deal right now with The Walking Dead gaining legions of fans with each new episode but if you’re looking for something with a bit more “brains” then look no further than Pontypool. While the movie mostly takes places in a single location, a basement bound radio station, this works exceedingly well to build up the tension as the cast and audience have to rely on phone calls to the station for information about the chaos unfolding outside; only this might just be the cause of the problem but to say more would ruin the surprises in store. Backed by a great supporting cast, Stephen McHattie gives a wonderful performance as a grizzled radio DJ, his gravely voice perfect for the radio, and keeps this thinking man’s apocalypse anchored in reality; just don’t expect to hear radio announcers the same way afterwards.
Cabin in the Woods
The less you know about this movie before seeing it the better, in fact just skip the trailer below and go watch it. All you need to know is that it involves college kids, a cabin in the woods, and geek king Joss Whedon with awesome results.
John Carpenter’s The Thing had the misfortune of being released just a few weeks after E.T. and as such it quickly disappeared from the box office but thankfully has rightfully achieved status as a classic in the decades since. Featuring Kurt Russel in the lead with a truly amazing beard, The Thing also boasts some of the most creative gore you are likely to see as claws, paws, and tentacles sprout from any unfortunate victim of the rampaging alien parasite; the practical effects are still a sight to behold. What makes The Thing much more than just a gorefest is the fact that it’s also a well acted and well scripted movie; the characters are relatable and intelligent, the scares never come cheap, and the films gives off a legitimate feeling of isolation and paranoia in the frozen Antarctica landscape.
Let Me In
Kids in movies are usually creepy, even more so when they have a penchant for draining your blood. Let Me In, a rare remake that actually surpasses the original, features two such children; both acted to unsettling perfection by Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloë Grace Moretz as the two young teens wrestle with themes of innocence, growing up, and the nature of evil. This is the vampire movie that deserved all of the money that the abominable Twilight series received as Let Me In is one of the creepiest and well-acted horror films in recent years. Moody and atmospheric, Let Me In often acts more like a fairy tale as it explores its two young characters, director Matt Reeves’s use of 80’s Cold War paranoia setting is brilliantly inspired, which makes the horror all the more unsettling when the blood begins to flow.
Night of the Living Dead
Here it is, the movie that gave rise to the modern zombie as we know it. Directed by George Romero, who went on to film five more movies in his Dead series, Night of the Living was quite controversial for its now seemingly tame violence but the film holds up very well in the half-century since its release in thanks to the timeliness of the social commentary bheind the blood and guts. Released in 1968, the movie is one of the first to feature an African-American in a protagonist role at a time in the United States when the Civil Rights movement was reaching critical mass and Night of the Living Dead offers an unique perspective on race, one that is still relevant in light of recent national events. Thanks to a error by the distributor the film has passed into the public domain and as such you can enjoy the whole movie on Youtube as we have provided for you below.
Finally, we end this list on a movie that knows the reason for the season. For years Trick’r’Treat was stuck in development hell but finally in 2007 it was released to limited theaters but also to great word-of-mouth and as such has achieved a cult status among those who have had a chance to see it. Weaving multiple stories lines out of order, think Pulp Fiction, Trick’r’Treat blends many typical horror story beats but heavily laced with a vicious sense of dark humor. Candy, costumes, and jack-o-lanterns are all celebrated, with bloody results, as the terrifying yet endearing masked Sam wanders around celebrating the holiday and dispensing his brand of justice to those who break the rules of Halloween. Hilarious and creepy, Trick’r’Treat understands what makes Halloween so great and celebrates the holiday that keeps us glancing at the dark corners of the house as we eat our candy.
Photo Source: collider.com