What’s the scariest thing about October? The midterm exams? The people who insist upon making bad jokes about midterms being the scariest part of October? Well, regardless, the only things that should be scaring you are the ghosts, the ghouls and maybe a few scary movies. But what movies scream “Halloween”? Well, as it turns out, quite a few — but here are a handful of recommendations to get you started.
“Halloween” (1978): Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first, shall we? The first installment of the now-exhausted franchise is quite good, and its scare factor holds up surprisingly well. Following the tale of Michael Myers’ first killing spree in the town of Haddonfield, this classic slasher flick is chilling enough to scare even the most cynical detractors of the horror genre.
“A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984): A unique premise and plenty of genuine chills have secured “A Nightmare on Elm Street” a place in the horror movie hall of fame. One of the most iconic killers in all of film, Freddy Krueger murders his victims in their dreams. As the hunted attempt to figure out what is going on, he wastes no time in dispatching them in a rather grisly fashion.
“It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” (1966): Not every Halloween must-see needs to be scary! Catch up with the Peanuts gang and their woebegone poster boy, Charlie Brown, during a rather eventful Halloween night. Team Great Pumpkin forever!
“Corpse Bride” (2005): Here’s one of the stand-out creep-fests in Tim Burton’s already illustriously unsettling filmography. This one follows a shy guy who, while practicing his wedding vows, accidentally marries a dead woman. As he tries to shake off his disturbing (yet sweet) Corpse Bride and return to the Land of Living, another, more sinister man attempts to woo his actual fiancé.
“Coraline” (2009): A young girl, bored with her home and her parents, finds a gateway to a parallel universe inside of her house. On the other side lies a seemingly idyllic world, a place where her Other Mother and Other Father always have time for her. It’s Coraline’s dream come true … until it becomes clear her Other Mother isn’t the congenial homemaker she appears to be.
“Tucker and Dale vs. Evil” (2010): Cabin-in-the-woods stories are nothing new, but here’s a film that turns the convention on its head. Two gentle-hearted hillbillies finally get a “vacation home,” only to discover that their getaway cabin once housed a psychotic killer. Through a series of misunderstandings, a group of camping college kids decide Tucker and Dale are murderers themselves, and the subsequent turn of events is both outlandish and hilarious.
“Detention” (2011): A crazed serial killer going by the name “Cinderhella” is terrorizing a local high school, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg in this utterly insane horror comedy. Honestly, the level of insanity cannot be understated: it’s like the writer couldn’t decide between zany plot points and decided to simply utilize all of them. “Detention” also features a pre-“Hunger Games” Josh Hutcherson and — fun fact — was directed by the same guy who did Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space,” “Bad Blood,” and “Wildest Dreams” music videos. See it if you love packed stories, quick dialogue, crazy side plots and a whole lot of wondering, “What the heck did I just watch?”