Halloween 2012: Scariest Halloween Movies
Ready for a fright this Halloween? Here are our top 25 scariest Halloween flicks for your horror movie marathon.
The Omen (1976)
Starring Gregory Peck and Lee Remick.
Directed by Richard Donner.
20th Century Fox
An American ambassador learns that his son (which is really not his but one he picked up at the hospital) is the literal antichrist. Naturally, grisly deaths occur. Call Nanny 911!
Silent Night, Bloody Night (1974)
Memorable quote: “I have wandered in bitterness until all seasons have become as one. And that is a season of vengeance.”
Scare factor: The movie that birthed the modern slasher flick. This forgotten classic - which takes place in Arlington, of all places - features the creepy atmosphere, disturbing backstory, and out-of-the shadows violence that have become staples of the slasher films of the '80s and '90s. Some mansions are best left deserted.
Starring Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh.
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
A young woman steals $40,000 from work and takes off to start a new life. As luck would have it, her rest stop at the Bates Motel is her final one. Much blame and creepiness is experienced before the twist ending. Taking a shower and a mother's love were never seen the same.
The Amityville Horror (1979)
Starring James Brolin, Margot Kidder and Rod Steiger.
Directed by Stuart Rosenberg.
American International Pictures
Based on the true story of George Lee and Kathy Lutz, the movie follows their troubled stay at their house in Amityville. Buying the house for a steal in the fall of 1975 because of a multiple murder barely a year before, they move in to experience a series of increasingly disturbing paranormal events. Eventually they flee. George, a land surveyor, probably should of had his license revoked because the house was supposedly built on a tribal burial ground. Memo: don’t build your house on a gravesite.
Fire in the Sky (1993)
Memorable quote: “Get back in the truck, Travis!”
Scare factor: One of the most realistic alien abduction scenes (if you believe in that sort of thing) ever put to film. While pop culture pokes fun at alien “probes,” you won’t be laughing during this one. Instead, you may just be giving a second glance to that blinking star in the sky or that slow-moving airplane. Is that an airplane?
Rosemary's Baby (1968)
Starring Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, and Ruth Gordon.
Directed by Roman Polanski.
Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse move into a New York apartment with a bad reputation. Sounds pretty normal these days but back in the 60’s it was a rare occurrence. Soon Rosemary finds out that the tenants, as well as her husband, and probably in that order, are intent on her having a baby. The downside to this bundle of joy is that it is Satan. No happy ending here.
When a Stranger Calls (1979)
Memorable quote: “Have you checked the children?”
Scare factor: This slow-moving thriller is sure to be scariest to babysitters. It will send chills down the spine of anyone who has put the kids to sleep and waited anxiously for mom and dad to return with your $20. You may need to spend it on therapy.
The Exorcist (1973)
Starring Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow and Linda Blair.
Directed by William Friedkin. Based on the novel by William Peter Blatty.
Pea soup never looked so good! (Satan made me say that.) This movie has made the top of many critics' list as the scariest movie of all time. A young girl is possessed by a demon and her mother calls on the help of two priests to save her soul.
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Memorable quote: “I know that there are some things worse than death. And one of them is sitting here waiting to die.”
Scare factor: Some of the scariest scenes come in the opening moments of the film, when a zombie outbreak is just beginning to spread, and a little girl — well, we won’t spoil it for you. While the film is technically a remake of George Romero’s 1978 zombie epic, it’s different enough to be enjoyed as an original.
Friday the 13th (1980)
Starring Betsy Palmer and Adrienne King.
Directed by Sean S. Cunningham.
A group of young counselors are working to get Camp Crystal Lake up and running for the summer. But someone isn’t too happy with the camp and one by one they are knocked off in dramatic gory ways. The big surprise ending was whom the killer turned out to be and introduced the next family member to take up the Camp Crystal cause. Go Team Voorhees!
The Mothman Prophecies (2002)
Memorable quote: “Are they trying to warn me?”
Scare factor: It’s bad enough when you start getting predictions of doom from a strange-sounding, shadowy figure who looks like he could be one of Satan’s minions. It’s worse when those predictions start coming true. Let’s not even mention the fact that this movie is based on a book chronicling supposedly true events from the late '60s. What horrible prophecies will come next? Here’s one: you, frightened.
Starring Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams.
Directed by Tobe Hooper, Produced by Steven Speilberg and Frank Marshall.
They’re Here! A suburban family is first visited by what appears to be friendly ghosts. Before anyone can say Casper, things turn nasty with a pool full of corpses, an evil tree and one of the nastiest stuffed toy clowns you’ll ever meet. Memo: don’t build your house on a gravesite.
Memorable quote: “Eeeeeeeooooooooooow.”
Scare factor: There is perhaps no movie in history with creepier children than this classic Japanese haunted house/ghost story. The one that stands there, frozen-faced, mouth-agape, while meowing will keep you up at night. Add in a creepy low-key soundtrack and some legitimately striking visual scares and you have a recipe for instant nightmares. Oh, and don't forget the single scariest scene involving a staircase in cinematic history.
The Shining (1980)
Starring Jack Nicholson, Shelly Duvall and Scatman Crothers.
Directed by Stanley Kubrick. Based on the novel by Stephen King
A family spends the winter taking care of an evil hotel that makes the dad crazy, the mom really hysterical and the little boy run around at night in a frozen maze. Growing up, family time was never so fun in my house.
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Memorable quote: “They’re coming to get you, Barbara! They’re coming for you! Look, there's one of them now!”
Scare factor: Not only did George Romero’s movie essentially spawn a whole genre with this zombie classic, it also set the standard for the barricade-yourself-in-the-house survival tactic. Admit it: You have assessed your dwelling’s defensive strengths and weaknesses because of this film.
You might also want to take a look at newer movies such as:
- The Saw movies
- Paranormal Activity, which has a fourth installment coming out soon to celebrate halloween and peeing your pants.