Get into the swing of the spooky season with ten of the best films guaranteed to send a shiver up your spine this Halloween.
John Carpenter’s horror classic resurrected the slasher genre for a whole new teen audience back in the 70s. Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) takes on serial killer Michael Myers as he picks off her high-school friends. Watch if only for the reason that the film heavily influenced Scream decades later.
More like this: Halloween spawned several sequels – some better than others –including Halloween H20. The film was “reimagined” recently by musician and horror director Rob Zombie in Halloween (2007) and Halloween II (2009).
Trick ‘r Treat (2007)
This underrated treasure stars True Blood’s Anna Paquin in one of four interrelating stories, where a mysterious trick-or-treater shows up whenever one of the characters breaks Halloween tradition. Clever and chilling.
More like this: Cat’s Eye (1985) is a dated but fun anthology film from horror author Stephen King, where a stray cat wanders through several interlocking shorts. Spot a young Drew Barrymore as a little girl who finds out the monster under the bed is real…
Hocus Pocus (1993)
Chances are you’ve already seen this 90s favourite starring Bette Middler. Three witchy sisters are accidentally brought back from the dead by a teenager and his little sister (a young Thora Birch). Featuring singing from Sarah Jessica Parker, a talking and embarrassing dancing parents, it’s a classic that won’t freak you out.
More like this: Casper (1995) is another kid’s film turned-cult-favourite that will tug at your heart strings and take you on a trip down memory lane.
Sleepy Hollow (1999)
Johnny Depp’s Icabod Crane takes on the headless horseman in this film adaptation of the 1820 short story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Director Tim Burton brings his usual gothic sensibility to this horror-crime tale as Crane battles to save a town, and his love, from an evil menace.
More like this: Try Disney short The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1949) for a scream-free take on the classic tale.
The Evil Dead (1981)
Directed by Sam Rami (Spiderman, Drag Me To Hell), this well-respected horror films was once deemed a “video nasty” banned in the UK during the 1980s. Bruce Campbell and friends travel to a cabin in the woods, where they unwittingly unleash an evil force that will possess them one by one, with horrifying results. Not for the faint-hearted.
More like this: If you prefer your films current, check out the remake Evil Dead (2013), or Joss Whedon’s sideways look at the horror genre, the aptly-named Cabin in the Woods (2012).
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
In a pre-Twilight world, director Francis Ford Coppela revamped Bram Stoker’s novel with an all-star cast. Jonathan Harker (Keanu Reeves) and Count Dracula (Gary Oldman) battle it out alongside Anthony Hopkins as Van Helsing.
More like this: For more famous faces in corsets and capes, try Interview With The Vampire (1994) for Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise and Kirsten Dunst, or Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994) for Kenneth Branagh, Robert De Niro and Helena Bonham Carter.
Blair Witch Project (2000)
Before found-footage horror films were all the rage, The Blair Witch Project broke new ground and terrified audiences with the story of three college students who get lost in the woods while filming a documentary. The mysterious marketing campaign added to the hype.
More like this: Paranormal Activity (2007) and its sequels rely heavily on many of the techniques set out by The Blair Witch Project, from shaky cameras to jump-inducing scares. For the hardened gore fan, see the original found-footage classic Cannibal Holocaust (1980).
The Shining (1980)
Stanley Kubrick directs Jack Nicholson in this legendary horror film about a man going slowly mad while trapped in an isolated hotel with his family. Most of us know the infamous “Here’s Johnny!” axe through the door scene, if only from the Simpsons. Stephen King, on whose book the film is based, hated the film but it is considered to be one the finest films in the genre.
More like this: Misery (1987) is another King-based effort, starring Kathy Bates as a crazed fan who rescues her favourite author from a car crash and nurses him back to health. When she finds out he’s planning to kill off the book’s lead character, things take a turn for the worse.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
This stop-motion musical combines the perfect amount of ghoul and charm. Tim Burton (again) helms this spooky family film which is routinely shown on television around Halloween. Jack Skellington accidentally opens a portal to Christmas Town and falls in love with everything festive, leaving him to replace Santa Claus with disastrous consequences.
Much like this: Frankenweenie (2012) sees Burton reworking an old short film into another stop animation delight, this time in black and white. Spark the dog is resurrected by his young owner Victor through the power of science.
Fright Night (1985)
A teenager learns that his next door neighbour is vampire, but no one else seems to believe him - well, would you? Hokey special effects and 80s fashion make this a real vintage treat rather than a film to be taken too seriously.
More like this: Fright Night (2011) stars Colin Farrell as the ominous neighbour, McLovin as a geeky best friend-turned-vamp and David Tennant doing an impression of Russell Brand. Worth a watch for at least one of those reasons.