In the spirit of Halloween, this list provides a must go to guide for what to watch when the lights go dark, the moon rises and the wolves start to howl. So turn on the TV, get the popcorn ready and lock the doors.
#5: Alien (1979)
The classic, Alien is about the crew of a commercial space vessel who awaken from their cryo-sleep to investigate a distress call from an alien ship. Not only does this film hold up in 39 years since it’s initial release with the special effects still being on top to this day, but the acting from everyone involved is exceptional. Yet, the reason it’s so low on the list is due to it being more an action film by the end, but still doesn’t discredit it being one of the best horror films of all times.
#4: Trick ‘r Treat (2007)
Trick or Treat is an anthology film following many stories throughout the night of Halloween where breaking tradition is the worst horror of all. This small time film has gained a cult following and with good reason. With its interesting plots being cleverly woven together to bring it to an interesting ending that both scares and intrigues the audiences with its twists, flips and so many tropes. It also brings an underrated horror monster, the jack-o’-lantern boy, who terrifies the audience and makes them sympathize with him at the same time.
#3: The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
Cabin in the Woods is about five college friends who arrive at a remote forest cabin for a little vacation where they don’t expect the horrors that await them. Not only does this film do what Trick ‘r Treat does with turning tropes on its head, it does it better with more detail given to the understanding of such tropes. As well, an explosive ending that is worth more than the price of admission, Cabin in the Woods is a modern classic that deserves even 15 minutes of someone’s time, which is all it’ll take to captivate a viewer to watch the whole thing.
#2: The Exorcist (1973)
The Exorcist is about a girl who, when she starts acting strangely, is visited by a local priest that believes the girl may be seized by the devil. Not only can this film hold up to modern standards of filmmaking, but it can also still scare watchers with the enticing characters of the priest and the girl, the modern horrors that the film captures and the philosophical ideas that it presents with morality and religion in general. The Exorcist is one of the most profitable horror movies out there, though it falls short on this list to one movie specifically.
#1: The Shining (1980)
Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining deserves every accolade it acquires with it following Jack and his family who are stuck in a grand hotel for the winter season. The film’s expert directing, cinematography, acting and themes are the only reason a person at home needs to both watch and rewatch this film again and again. The idea of rewatchability, I believe, began with this film, with the tone never being sacrificed for its intrinsic plot and horrific maddening of Jack.