Halloween Calls for Haunting Horror Movies


The Conjuring features many horrifying creatures, including Annabelle, a demon-possessed doll. (photo courtesy of New Line Cinema)

As we get older, it becomes less acceptable to participate in the tradition of dressing up and going trick-or-treating. Suddenly, Halloween is transformed into a holiday in which teenagers and adults dress up to attend a themed party.

However, on years when Halloween falls on a weekday, the question of how to celebrate is raised. What should we be doing on Oct. 31? Answer: watching horror movies.

Horror movies are an exciting, accessible way to celebrate the spookiest day of the year. With so many options available and only one night to watch them, listed below are the best horror movies to binge Halloween night.


The Classics: Psycho and The Shining

Though not the scariest of the movies on this list, these classics set the precedent for future films. Beautifully made, Psycho and The Shining are worth a watch, especially if you are just beginning to dabble in the horror genre.

Psycho is known as one of director Alfred Hitchcock’s best films. With the perfect mix of suspense, jump-scares, and gore, this classic embodies the traditional structure of the horror genre. This film follows a dissatisfied office worker (Janet Leigh) who steals $40,000 to marry the man she loves. When escaping to meet her lover, she stops at The Bates Motel where she encounters the hotel’s lonely manager (Anthony Perkins) and his controlling, psychopathic mother. Featuring the iconic shower murder, Psycho set a new standard for acceptable sexuality and horror in American television and film.

The Shining, directed by Stanley Kubrick, tells the story of Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall), and his son Danny (Danny Lloyd), who is haunted by psychic visions, during their time at the secluded Overlook hotel, where Jack accepted a job as the winter caretaker. As Jack discovers the hotel’s dark secrets, he becomes a homicidal psychopath determined to murder his family. The Shining utilizes Danny’s visions to build suspense as Jack’s maniacal mission to kill his wife and son advances. The Shining provides many jump-scares and stimulates increased anxiety and horror in the audience.


The Jump-Scare: The Conjuring

James Wan’s The Conjuring is filled with enough jump-scares and horrifying creatures to haunt your dreams. With a jump-scare every 20 minutes, this film is sure to increase the heart rate of its viewer. The Conjuring develops each character while wasting no time getting straight into the horror. Following a family haunted by several evil spirits and a pair of fearless spirit-hunters, The Conjuring will ensure that you never look at dolls, jack-in-the-boxes, or hide-n-seek the same way.


The Thrillers: Hush and A Quiet Place

Mike Flanagan’s Hush will have you on the edge of your seat in suspense as the deaf protagonist is stalked and taunted by a murderous psychopath. Showing surprising resourcefulness, she suffers several gruesome injuries while trying to escape death. By introducing the main character as deaf, Flanagan creates a unique horror film that is all the more  terrifying because of this limitation placed on the protagonist.

Even more suspenseful is John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place. Living in a world in which a single noise can result in death by a mysterious creature, the Abbott family is fighting for survival. The constant fear of the family making a noise will have you biting your nails, especially when the mother is forced to give birth without making a sound. Furthermore, A Quiet Place thoroughly develops each character, causing the audience to become fully invested in their well-being.


The Horrifying: The Witch

Directed by Robert Eggers, The Witch is one of the most terrifying horror movies to date. The film follows a pilgrim family who is living on a secluded farm when mysterious events cause them to believe they are cursed and that one of the children is a witch. With constant suspense, several horrific scenes, and multiple jump-scares, this film will be haunting you days after watching it.