Top Film Picks For "The Spookiest Time of The Year"
Updated: Oct 11, 2020
So I'll be unveiling my Top 20 Myers kills and all the Halloween films ranked from best to worst closer to Halloween, but for now I thought I'd give you my other favourite film picks for the spookiest time of the year.
I think I've got the Halloween franchise well and truly covered for you closer to October 31st, but if you're not a Halloween or Michael Myers fan then surely you'll find at least one on this list or our 31 Days of Horror picks that'll take your fancy. Below you'll find my top picks for the most wonderful time I've the year. I've split the list into two sections- those set on or around Halloween and other's that are just great horror films for Halloween. Enjoy!
Set on or around Halloween
Trick 'r Treat (2007)
Five interwoven stories that occur on the same block, on the same night. A couple finds what happens when they blow a jack o' lantern out before midnight, a high school principal has a secret life as a serial killer, a college virgin might have met the right guy for her, a group of mean teens play a prank that they take too far, and a hermit is visited by a special trick or treater.
This one is a must for me on Halloween folks, it's up there with Carpenter's Halloween for me. You can't celebrate the spookiest time of the year without Sam! If you get a moment as well, it's worth checking out the original short animated film that inspired this flick. It's from the same director Michael Dougherty, you can check it out on YouTube HERE.
On Halloween, a group of friends encounter an "extreme" haunted house that promises to feed on their darkest fears. The night turns deadly as they come to the horrifying realisation that some nightmares are real.
Five tales of terror are presented. The first deals with a demented old man returning from the grave to get the Father's Day cake his murdering daughter never gave him. The second is about a not-too-bright farmer discovering a meteor that turns everything into plant-life. The third is about a vengeful husband burying his wife and her lover up to their necks on the beach. The fourth is about a creature that resides in a crate under the steps of a college. The final story is about an ultra-rich businessman who gets his comeuppance from cockroaches.
Creepshow 2 (1987)
EC Comics-inspired weirdness returns with three tales. In the first, a wooden statue of a Native American comes to life...to exact vengeance on the murderer of his elderly owners. In the second, four teens are stranded on a raft on a lake with a blob that is hungry. And in the third, a hit and run woman is terrorised by the hitchhiker she accidentally killed...or did she really kill him?
The Funhouse Massacre (2015)
Six of the world's scariest psychopaths escape from a local Asylum and proceed to unleash terror on the unsuspecting crowd of a Halloween Funhouse, whose themed mazes are inspired by their various reigns of terror.
The Crow (1994)
A poetic guitarist Eric Draven is brought back to life by a crow a year after he and his fiancée are murdered. The crow guides him through the land of the living, and leads him to his killers: knife thrower Tin-tin, drugetic Funboy, car buff T-Bird, and the unsophisticated Skank. One by one, Eric gives these thugs a taste of their own medicine. However their leader Top-Dollar, a world-class crime lord who will dispatch his enemies with a Japanese sword and joke about it later, will soon learn the legend of the crow and the secret to the vigilante's invincibility.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)
On Halloween 1968, Stella and her two friends meet a mysterious drifter, Ramón, and uncover a sinister notebook of stories.
Night of the Demons (1988)
Ten teenagers party at an abandoned funeral parlor on Halloween night. When an evil force awakens, demonic spirits keep them from leaving and turn their gathering into a living Hell.
Night of the Demons 2 (1994)
Angela, the universe's most unpleasant party crasher, returns! Angela's sister, Mouse, is taken by her bullying Catholic school classmates to a party at Angela's favourite haunt, and before long, everybody's being turned into demons and only a ass-kickin' nun, who wields her ruler like a mighty sword of steel, can save the day.
Tales of Halloween (2015)
"Ten stories are woven together by their shared theme of Halloween night in an American suburb, where ghouls, imps, aliens and axe murderers appear for one night only to terrorise unsuspecting residents."
Hell House LLC (2015)
Five years after an unexplained malfunction causes the death of 15 tour-goers and staff on the opening night of a Halloween haunted house tour, a documentary crew travels back to the scene of the tragedy to find out what really happened.
Hell Fest (2018)
A masked serial killer turns a horror-themed amusement park into his own personal playground, terrorising a group of friends while the rest of the patrons believe that it is all part of the show.
House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
On the eve of Halloween, on October 1977, four friends--Bill, Jerry, Mary, and Denise--embark on an exciting cross-country road trip to write a guidebook about offbeat roadside attractions in America's less-travelled roads. Before long, the young explorers chance upon Captain Spaulding's Museum of Monsters and Madmen, only to become infatuated with the local legend of a deranged serial-killer doctor, and cross paths with the mysterious hitchhiker, Baby. However, when the unsuspecting group meets Baby's eccentric family after having a flat tyre, an endless night of terror, torture, and murder ensues. Has anyone ever got out alive from the House of Thousand Corpses?
On Halloween night, Tara Heyes finds herself as the obsession of a sadistic murderer known as Art the Clown.
The Houses October Built (2014)
Beneath the fake blood and cheap masks of countless haunted house attractions across the country, there are whispers of truly terrifying alternatives. Looking to find an authentic, blood-curdling good fright for Halloween, five friends set off on a road trip in an RV to track down these underground Haunts. Just when their search seems to reach a dead end, strange and disturbing things start happening and it becomes clear that the Haunt has come to them...
Idle Hands (1999)
Seventeen year old slacker Anton Tobias wakes up one Halloween morning to discover that both of his parents have been turned into two headless Halloween decorations. After speaking to his equally irresponsible friends, Mick and Pnub, he discovers that his right hand has a blood-thirsty mind of its own and is hell-bent on wreaking havoc whether he likes it or not.
A no-nonsense detective tries to track down a mass murderer named Trick, who is terrorising a small town.
Candy Corn (2019)
It's Halloween weekend and a group of bullies are planning their annual hazing on local outcast, Jacob Atkins. When they take things too far, he's resurrected to seek revenge against those that wronged him.
Other Great Films for Halloween
The Monster Squad (1987)
Young kids form a club that is devoted to monsters, but soon get more than they bargained for when Count Dracula adjourns to Earth, accompanied by Frankenstein's Monster, the Wolfman, the Mummy, and the Gillman. The Monsters are in search of a powerful amulet that will grant them power to rule the world. Our heroes - the Monster Squad are the only ones daring to stand in their way.
The Conjuring (2013)
In 1971, Carolyn and Roger Perron move their family into a dilapidated Rhode Island farm house and soon strange things start happening around it with escalating nightmarish terror. In desperation, Carolyn contacts the noted paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren, to examine the house. What the Warrens discover is a whole area steeped in a satanic haunting that is now targeting the Perron family wherever they go. To stop this evil, the Warrens will have to call upon all their skills and spiritual strength to defeat this spectral menace at its source that threatens to destroy everyone involved.
If I'm honest here, I'd recommend checking out entire franchise if you've got time. These include The Conjuring, The Conjuring 2, Annabelle, Annabelle: Creation, Annabelle Comes Home The Nun and The Curse of La Llorona. They're all pretty enjoyable, admittedly The Nun and The Curse of La Llorona are the weakest in the franchise but they're still worth a watch. And of course we've still got more to come, the third Conjuring film has been delayed but it sounds great. You can read more on it with our 'Exclusive Interview With Steve Coulter'.
Digging Up The Marrow (2014)
A documentary exploring genre based monster art takes an odd turn when the filmmakers are contacted by a man who claims he can prove that monsters are indeed real.
The Exorcist (1973)
More and more, Regan, the otherwise happy twelve-year-old daughter of the successful actress, Chris MacNeil, is showing signs of erratic and disturbing behaviour, after an ill-advised contact with the supernatural. As a result, as the situation is rapidly getting out of hand, with perfectly healthy Regan becoming increasingly violent and obscene, desperate Chris is willing to do everything in her power to keep her child safe, including seeking spiritual help. Now, Chris' only hope rests on the inexperienced Greek-American Catholic priest, Father Damien Karras, and the weary exorcist, Father Lankester Merrin, to perform the intricate purification rite that will rid Regan of the malevolent spirit that is tormenting her. But, can they confront the embodiment of evil?
Although the sequels were worth a watch at least once I was never a fan. However, definitely watch the Fox Series that released in 2016. It was a direct sequel to the original film, and was a truly incredible show. Unfortunately Fox cancelled it after just two seasons and left it on a huge cliffhanger.
When passengers on a train are attacked by a creature, they must band together in order to survive until morning.
"REC" turns on a young TV reporter and her cameraman who cover the night shift at the local fire station. Receiving a call from an old lady trapped in her house, they reach her building to hear horrifying screams -- which begin a long nightmare and a uniquely dramatic TV report.
Sequels wise, stick to the second and venture no further as they drastically went downhill after that.
The Lost Boys (1987)
A mother and her two sons move to a small coast town in California. The town is plagued by bikers and some mysterious deaths. The younger boy makes friends with two other boys who claim to be vampire hunters while the older boy is drawn into the gang of bikers by a beautiful girl. The older boy starts sleeping days and staying out all night while the younger boy starts getting into trouble because of his friends' obsession.
In 1960, a group of social outcasts (aptly named the Losers Club) who are bullied by a gang of greasers led by Henry Bowers are also tormented by an evil demon who can shape-shift into a clown and feed on children's fears and kill them. After defeating the demonic clown as kids, it resurfaces thirty years later and they must finish it off as adults once again.
Whilst this film is truly fantastic and has scared millions of children growing up, myself included, I think the remakes also deserve some recognition here. Yes the ending to Chapter Two was a bit of a let down but they were both great films. Regardless of whether you choose to go with Curry or Skarsgård for Halloween, you need to make time for a bit of Pennywise!
The Omen (1976)
Robert and Katherine Thorn seem to have it all. They are happily married and he is the US Ambassador to Great Britain, but they want nothing more than to have children. When Katharine has a stillborn child, Robert is approached by a priest at the hospital who suggests that they take a healthy newborn whose mother has just died in childbirth. Without telling his wife he agrees. After relocating to London, strange events - and the ominous warnings of a priest - lead him to believe that the child he took from that Italian hospital is evil incarnate.
Thir13en Ghosts (2001)
Arthur and his two children, Kathy and Bobby, inherit his Uncle Cyrus's estate: a glass house that serves as a prison to 12 ghosts. When the family, accompanied by Bobby's Nanny and an attorney, enter the house they find themselves trapped inside an evil machine "designed by the devil and powered by the dead" to open the Eye of Hell. Aided by Dennis, a ghost hunter, and his rival Kalina, a ghost rights activist out to set the ghosts free, the group must do what they can to get out of the house alive.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
A newly-engaged couple have a breakdown in an isolated area and must seek shelter at the bizarre residence of Dr. Frank-n-Furter.
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
The zombie apocalypse has hit Earth. Two personnel from a TV station and two policemen set off in a helicopter to find a safe place to hide out. Their search leads them to a shopping mall where they manage to find a place that, while not zombie-free, is quite secure. So far, so good.
I could've included an endless list of Romero films on here, so ticking with just one I thought I'd recommend one of my personal favourites. If you've got time for more just make your way through his entire filmography...just fantastic. And on another note, Zack Snyder's 2004 remake is brilliant and definitely worth watching.
Phoenix office worker Marion Crane is fed up with the way life has treated her. She has to meet her lover Sam in lunch breaks, and they cannot get married because Sam has to give most of his money away in alimony. One Friday, Marion is trusted to bank forty thousand dollars by her employer. Seeing the opportunity to take the money and start a new life, Marion leaves town and heads towards Sam's California store. Tired after the long drive and caught in a storm, she gets off the main highway and pulls into the Bates Motel. A secluded motel managed by a quiet young man called Norman who seems to be dominated by his mother.
This is another flick that got a surprisingly great sequel. Psycho II sees a rehabilitated Norman Bates return home and try to fit in with what we all deem normal society. Of course it doesn't all go as planned and the past comes back to haunt him. And if that's not enough to sell you the screenplay was in fact penned by Fright Night and Child's Play director Tom Holland.
Fright Night (1985)
Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale) believes that his next door neighbour Jerry Dandridge (Chris Sarandon) is a vampire. His belief is strengthened when mysterious deaths of girls are reported. When Dandridge confronts Charley in his own bedroom one night and tries to kill him, Charley concludes that the monster must be destroyed. But since nobody believes his story, he enlists the help of Peter Vincent, the vampire killer from his favourite horror TV show, who is in fact skeptical about vampires existing for real.
The Fog (1980)
Against the backdrop of spine-chilling stories of drowned mariners and a 100-year-old shipwreck lying on the bottom of the sea, the peaceful community of the coastal town of Antonio Bay, California is making preparations to celebrate its centennial. However--as strange supernatural occurrences blemish the festivities--an impenetrable opaque mist starts to shroud the seaside village, leading to unaccountable disappearances and the spilling of warm bright-red blood. One long century ago, a hideous crime was committed by the town's elders. Now, the restless dead have returned for revenge, demanding justice. Is there something evil lurking in the fog?
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
En route to visit their grandfather's grave (which has apparently been ritualistically desecrated), five teenagers drive past a slaughterhouse, pick up (and quickly drop) a sinister hitch-hiker, eat some delicious home-cured meat at a roadside gas station, before ending up at the old family home... where they're plunged into a never-ending nightmare as they meet a family of cannibals who more than make up in power tools what they lack in social skills...
Again there's a few decent film's in this franchise that also need to be watched. Whilst they are all enjoyable enough and have their moments, the second film and the remake and prequel (TCM: The Beginning) were the highlights for me.
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Perplexed by a string of grisly murders elaborately executed by the elusive mass-killer nicknamed "Buffalo Bill", the vulnerable and untried F.B.I. trainee, Clarice Starling, is assigned by the Special Agent, Jack Crawford, to assist in the manhunt. Hoping to attain a clearer perception of the psychopathic serial killer's modus operandi, the young investigator reluctantly accepts the help of another hideous monster: the brilliant psychiatrist and cannibalistic mass-murderer, Dr Hannibal Lecter. Now, with every visit to the manipulative doctor's heavily reinforced prison cell, Clarice delves just a little bit deeper into the dark mind of a homicidal maniac; however, how far is she willing to go to unearth pure evil?
Friday the 13th (1980)
A group of camp counsellors are stalked and murdered by an unknown assailant while trying to reopen a summer camp which was the site of a child's drowning and a grisly double murder years before.
Of course you can't go through October without any Jason Voorhees. He's one of the most iconic slashers of all time. I'd say work your way through the franchise starting with this and ending with the 2009 remake (which is pretty decent to be fair). Make up your own mind about which the best in the franchise is, Jason Takes Manhattan is a personal favourite for me as it's the first Friday the 13th flick I remember watching...blew my innocent little mind.
The Thing (1982)
A US research station, Antarctica, early-winter 1982. The base is suddenly disturbed a helicopter from the nearby Norwegian research station. They are trying to kill a dog that has escaped from their base. After the destruction of the Norwegian chopper the members of the US team fly to the Norwegian base, only to discover them all dead or missing. They do find the remains of a strange creature the Norwegians burned. The Americans take it to their base and deduce that it is an alien life form. After a while it is apparent that the alien can take over and assimilate into other life forms, including humans, and can spread like a virus. This means that anyone at the base could be inhabited by The Thing, and tensions escalate
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)
The next great psycho horror slasher has given a documentary crew exclusive access to his life as he plans his reign of terror over the sleepy town of Glen Echo.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
On Elm Street, Nancy Thompson and a group of her friends (comprising Tina Gray, Rod Lane and Glen Lantz) are being tormented by a clawed killer in their dreams named Fred Krueger. Nancy must think quickly, as Fred tries to pick them off one by one. When he has you in your sleep, who is there to save you?
Much like Michael, Jason, Pinhead and Chucky (who both appear further down) you can't celebrate October without a visit from the infamous Springwood Slasher. Get on watching all of nthem, yes even the remake. Whilst the remake was pretty poor and lackluster, there are a few pretty cool moments throughout. And it does feature a pretty cool performance from Jackie Earl Hayley, just a pity the rest of the film sucked. Aside from Craven's original, Dream Warriors and New Nightmare are personal favourites.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
The infamous story of Benjamin Barker, aka Sweeney Todd, who sets up a barber shop in London which is the basis for a sinister partnership with his fellow tenant, Mrs. Lovett.
What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
Viago, Deacon and Vladislav are vampires who are finding that modern life has them struggling with the mundane - like paying rent, keeping up with the chore wheel, trying to get into nightclubs and overcoming flatmate conflicts.
You've gotta throw in some nice horror-comedy flicks to break up the gore and horror...and this is one of the best. Brilliantly written and made, no wonder this is a fan favourite within the horror community. If the films not enough head over to BBC iPlayer to watch both series of the spin-off TV show which is easily just as hilarious as this.
The Fly (1986)
A brilliant but eccentric scientist begins to transform into a giant man/fly hybrid after one of his experiments goes horribly wrong.
The Blob (1988)
A deadly entity from space crashes near a small town and starts to consume anyone in its path. Panic ensues, as shady government scientists try to contain the horrific creature.
Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)
The centuries old vampire Count Dracula comes to England to seduce his barrister Jonathan Harker's fiancée Mina Murray and inflict havoc in the foreign land.
A man finds he is given more than he bargains for when he solves the puzzle of the Lament Configuration - a doorway to hell. But his ex-lover has found a way of bringing him back, and his niece, Kirsty Lawrence, finds herself bargaining with the Cenobites, angels to some, demons to others, whose greatest pleasure is the greatest pain.
To be honest, all of these are pretty enjoyable. They did go down in quality considerably after the third though. Bradley as Pinhead is perfect throughout though, I would say avoid Revelations though as they re-cast Bradley (idiots!)
The Last Showing (2014)
A couple trapped in a cinema are manipulated into becoming unwilling actors in a film being captured by CCTV cameras.
Pet Semetary (1989)
As a doctor, Louis Creed must face death all the time, but his wife and two young children shouldn't have to. When the family pet is killed in the road, Louis' well meaning neighbor introduces him to a mystic place beyond the old pet cemetery in the woods behind his house: the place where the dead walk.
Great film with a kick-ass soundtrack from The Ramones. I wish I could say the same about the remake; avoid it at all costs. You have been warned.
Bill is worried that he is 'different' to his sister and parents. They mix with other 'upper class' people while Bill is more down to earth. Even his girlfriend seems a bit odd. All is revealed when Bill returns home to find a party in full swing. Not for the weak of stomach.
Just a friendly word of warning for this one folks. Imagine the most messed up thing you've ever seen. Right now take that, multiply it by 100 and you aren't even close to the 'shunting scene' in this film. Kudos to you if this flick doesn't make you feel nauseous or like you need to clean your eyes out with bleach when the film ends.
Paxton, Josh and Oli are backpacking across Europe when they are told about a hostel in Slovakia. Once they hear that this hostel is infested with beautiful European woman who only want tourists, they quickly get on a train to the wonderful promise land. As soon as they get there, they start having the time of their lives. Soon after they arrive, they slowly start to realise that this hostel is hiding a terrible and dark secret.
A medical student returns from Austria after working in regenerative experiments with a well known scientist who died under mysterious circumstances. He enrols at Miskatonic University where he begs to differ with his professor on issues of the time of death, and eventually enlists his roommate to help him continue experiments on re-animating the dead. Based on a story by H.P. Lovecraft.
A small town is taken over by an alien plague, turning residents into zombies and all forms of mutant monsters.
Return of the Living Dead (1985)
When a bumbling pair of employees at a medical supply warehouse accidentally release a deadly gas into the air, the vapours cause the dead to re-animate as they go on a rampage through Louisville, Kentucky seeking their favourite food, brains.
Second and third sequels are also worth checking out.
Paranormal Activity (2007)
After a young, middle class couple moves into a suburban 'starter' tract house, they become increasingly disturbed by a presence that may or may not be demonic but is certainly most active in the middle of the night. Especially when they sleep. Or try to.
This one still gives me the creeps. The second and third films are a fantastic continuation of the story from the first. Adds more depth and delves even deeper into the mythology and mystery surrounding the events of the first film. Stop there thought folks as they are considerably worse after number 3.
The spirits of a deceased couple are harassed by an unbearable family that has moved into their home, and hire a malicious spirit to drive them out.
The Changeling (1980)
After the death of his wife and daughter in a car crash, a music professor staying at an old mansion is dragged into a decades-old murder of a child by an inexplicable presence in the mansion's attic.
The Evil Dead (1981)
Five college students take time off to spend a peaceful vacation in a remote cabin. A book and audio tape is discovered, and its evil is found to be powerful once the incantations are read out loud. The friends find themselves helpless to stop the evil as it takes them one by one, with only one survivor left with the evil dead and desperately tries to fight to live until morning.
A cult classic, and a franchise that has yet to feature a bad entry. Honestly every film is fantastic, including the remake from Fede Alvarez. And the Starz TV Series Ash vs Evil Dead...my God it's just Ash at his best!
Dog Soldiers (2002)
A British Squad is sent on a training mission in the Highlands of Scotland against Special Operations squad. Ignoring the childish "campfire" stories heard about the area, they continue with their mission and come across the bloody remains of the Special Ops Squad, and a fierce howling is pitching the night sky... With two mortally wounded men, they make an escape, running into a zoologist by the name of Megan - who knows exactly what hunts them. What began as what they thought was a training mission turns into a battle for their lives against the most unlikely enemies they would have expected - werewolves.
Six friends hire a medium to hold a seance via Zoom during lockdown, but they get far more than they bargained for as things quickly go wrong.
When a group of misfits are hired by an unknown third party to burglarise a desolate house and acquire a rare VHS tape, they discover more found footage than they bargained for.
Another fantastic anthology of short horror stories, with Hannah Fierman really making her mark in the 'Amateur Night' segment. The sequels that followed are half decent follow ups as well. Furthermore, the spin-off film featuring Fierman's terrifying character Lily (SiREN) is definitely worth a watch!
The Mist (2007)
The Draytons - David, Steff and their son Billy - live in a small Maine town. One night a ferocious storm hits the area, damaging their house. The storm is accompanied by a strange mist the following morning. David and Billy and their neighbour Brent Norton go into town and find themselves trapped in a grocery store with several other people. There they discover that the mist contains something frightening and intent on killing humans.
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
A ragtag group of Pennsylvanians barricade themselves in an old farmhouse to remain safe from a bloodthirsty, flesh-eating breed of monsters who are ravaging the East Coast of the United States.
Two strangers awaken in a room with no recollection of how they got there, and soon discover they're pawns in a deadly game perpetrated by a notorious serial killer.
Honestly I loved the first three so I will recommend all three to anyone. After that they really went downhill. Some of them feature some cool traps but all in all just stop at the third folks. It's a strong trilogy.
When a group of tourists in a New Orleans haunted swamp tour find themselves stranded in the wilderness, their evening of fun and spooks turns into a horrific nightmare.
Get on all four films if you get time! They're fun slasher flicks with some truly incredible kills and special effects throughout the entire series. Not to mention the fact it's the great Kane Hodder playing Victor Crowley!