To celebrate my favorite month of the year (scary + fun + cool weather + colorful leaves + pumpkin = awesome!), I’ve compiled a list of 31 horror movies I recommend. They are grouped in helpful categories but in no particular order. So pick a movie, grab a pumpkin beer, and enjoy!
NOTE: I’ll be writing short descriptions for each and adding streaming links throughout the month (and maybe adding more movies to the bonus section), so come back whenever you’re looking for a scary movie and see what I’ve added.
The Loved Ones [CLM Review | Amazon Instant]: I’ve been championing this wonderful Australian horror movie for a few years, and I’m excited it’s finally readily available to US audiences. Excellent filmmaking combined with a great script make this one of my favorites.
Trick ‘r Treat [Amazon Instant]: Proof that a horror anthology can work on film. Also, it’s one of the few horror movies that’s actually set on Halloween night, so it makes it an especially good selection this time of year.
Scream: [currently unavailable for streaming] Some people like to blame Scream for the glut of awful horror movies that followed in its wake, but this slasher movie is smart, funny, and genuinely scary. That opening scene is sadistic and brutal in the best way. And the whodunnit ending paid off better than any other slasher movie I can think of, including the classics.
Scream 3 [Netflix Instant]: I know I may get a lot of shit for this one, but I found it to be a lot of fun. Yes, it jumps the shark, but the franchise needed that. I mean, Scream 2 was just bor-ing. And how can you not love Parker Posey and Courtney Cox scooby-doo-ing their way through the studio basement archives as the two Gale Weathers? Face it, you don’t enjoy this movie, you’re just no fun.
Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn [Amazon Instant]: This is the movie horror geeks geek all over themselves about. To paraphrase Bruce Campbell: “These are goofball movies made by goofballs for goofballs.” (Currently streaming on Amazon for only $1.99!)
The Cabin in the Woods [CLM Review]
Piranha (2010) [Netflix Instant]: The 1978 version is a classic, but this remake is super fun. From the 45-second naked underwater ballet to Ving Rhames chainsawing fish with an outboard motor, what more do you want from a movie? Seriously.
An American Werewolf in London [Netflix Instant]: This one set the bar for horror comedies. Genuinely scary when it wants to be, hysterically goofy in spots, and just plain bizarre at times. A real crowd-pleaser, this one’s a pretty safe bet if you’re looking for something to watch with a group of friends.
Severance [Netflix Instant]: Not for everyone, but if you like subtle, dark humor give it a look.
Friday the 13th (1981)
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (“Part 4”)
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Psycho (1960) [Netflix Instant]
The Blair Witch Project
The Poughkeepsie Tapes
The Last Exorcism [Netflix Instant]
Martyrs: Probably the most uncomfortably torture-y movie, I’ve ever seen. But the film actually uses that to say something pretty deep and meaningful about life. Existential torture porn, anyone?
Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) [Netflix Instant]: Two things struck me about this movie. First is how different this movie looks and feels from its predecessor—almost as if it were a totally different genre. Second is how it’s completely exploitative and over-the-top yet doesn’t have that shocking-for-the-sake-of-being-shocking feel of A Serbian Film, for example. The things you see in this movie you can’t unsee, so consider yourself warned.
Quirky / Genre-Bending Horror
Kill List [CLM Review]
Bonus (aka Curtis Loves More Than 31 Movies)
Let the Right One In [Netflix Instant]
Tucker & Dale vs. Evil [Netflix Instant]
The Fog (1980) [Netflix Instant]: Not a great movie by any standard (except maybe nostalgia), but I still love it. I was 9 when it came out. I remember asking a babysitter what she would do if “the fog” suddenly showed up that night and she said, “There’s nothing we could do.” Needless to say, I didn’t sleep much that night!
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (2010) [Netflix Instant]: This near-perfect “monster in the house” movie has that great Poltergeist mix of playful and spooky. And Katie Holmes can act!
What did I miss? Any oversights that have you screaming at me through your computer screen? Hit me with comments to share your favorite movies for the Spooky Season!