The horror genre has certainly matured over the years: directors are no longer slaves to jump-scares, torture, gore, or scary makeup to terrify their audiences. Even as early as the 1960s, directors began to employ creative techniques to scare the hell out of audiences in untraditional ways. Some of these horror movies have become so iconic over the years that they serve as role models for the next generation of directors. Now, the younger generation of directors take inspiration from the previous crop of directors, and routinely deliver some excellent quality horror movies. The following are our top picks of horror movies to kick of the Halloween season.
Stanley Kubrick’s take on Stephen King’s novel by the same name, “The Shining,” is probably the most unnerving horror movie in this list: it’s one of those masterpieces that are impossibly difficult to outclass. But then again, that can be said about anything with Stanley Kubrick’s name on it.
The Shining follows the events at an empty hotel where a writer, Jack (Jack Nicholson), facing writer’s block is working as an off-season caretaker with his wife and son. His son begins to get psychic premonitions, and a mysterious supernatural power’s presence forces Jack to attack his own family. The scene where Jack hacks at the bathroom door and screams, “Here’s Johnny!” will give you chills, even if you’ve seen it one hundred times.
“The Ring” is essentially a product of Hollywood’s obsession with Japanese horror movies. The American remake has now become an integral part of American culture, and you will hear references to the film in countless other movies and TV shows. If you haven’t already watched it, then be warned: do not watch it alone! It will give you creeps like nothing you’ve ever felt. The movie is a result of sweet love between Gore Verbinski’s directorial skills and Han Zimmer’s masterful music. The plot revolves around a VHS tape that leads to a viewer’s death in seven days if watched. The climax will be etched in your memory.
The Blair Witch Project
“The Blair Witch Project” is sheer talent at work. This movie was made by independent filmmakers who had no money, no acting experience, and certainly no limit of imagination. The ultra-low budget movie turned out to be a massive blockbuster, and brought into vogue an entire sub-genre of found-footage horror movies. The movie follows a group of friends who go into the woods researching the story of a witch who was executed centuries ago. There, they witness blood-curdling horrors that will scare the hell out of you.
Ask any horror buff: they will swear by “The Exorcist” as one of the scariest movies of all time. The movie used the classic possessed-by-evil-spirit theme, but its execution was masterful. It was released in 1973, yet it is still unwatchable for many weak hearted people among us. The story of a 12 year old possessed by a demonic spirit might sound typical, but nothing about this movie is typical. When it initially premiered, many theaters provided barf bags for the audience to throw up in during the movie. The head turning scene, the scene where the possessed child walks on all fours the wrong way, and other iconic scenes are classic. If you plan to watch this movie alone in a dark room, make sure you have enough bank balance for a couple years of therapy sessions.
“The Conjuring” is the story of a family who buys and moves into an older home in the country: unsurprisingly, the family begins to experience the presence of a supernatural power in the house. Eventually, the mother becomes possessed by an evil spirit who is forcing her to kill her own children. A husband/wife couple, who are basically ghost hunters, have to perform an exorcism to save the family. The story may sound run-of-the-mill, but here is the real kicker: the movie is based on true events. That little fact will have you thinking about the movie for weeks.
The Evil Dead
This movie is another gem of a watch in the horror genre. It was made by completely untested filmmakers, and yet, they delivered a horror experience that is widely regarded as one of the best of all time. Despite being made over 35 years ago, this movie’s special effects and scary makeup are guaranteed to send chills down your spine. Make sure you see the original and not the 2013 remake.
“The Mist” is director Frank Darabont’s adaptation of Stephen King’s novel. The movie is based in a small New England town that gets shrouded in a mysterious mist that appears to emerge from a nearby military base. It soon transpires that the mist is full of dangerous creatures from a totally different dimension. The cast does not include any big names, but the performance was spectacular across the board. Forget those beasts from the mist: the most frightening thing in the movie is Marcia Gay’s religious zealot!
This movie focuses on a widow and her son; the son begins to act strange, which the widow promptly labels as behavioral problems. However, as the time progresses, she realizes that her son is being possessed by a supernatural spirit; it soon possesses her too. This movie ups the creepy levels of the horror genre. While most movies generally show spirits possessing one member of the family and use them to attack the others, or kill the possessed person, this movie shows both the mother and the son being haunted by the spirit. If you believe in the supernatural, then you are left with the question – what are you going to do if such a spirit targets you or your loved one?
The very title of the movie demands a watch during its namesake holiday. The movie made the careers of many people involved, including Jamie Lee Curtis and John Carpenter. The movie features a mentally disturbed man, Michael Myers, who murdered his elder sister some 15 years ago, and has now escaped a psychiatric institution. This time, he aims to kill his younger sister. This movie spawned an entire sub-genre of slasher-horror feature films.
This legendary original movie began a cultural movement that resulted in multiple sequels, prequels, video games, home videos, comics, and novels. “Alien” follows the events that occur after a distress signal is released from an unknown planet’s spaceship. When the crew members go to investigate, an alien face-hugging creature attacks a crew member; later, a far worse creature emerges out of the victim’s chest by breaking his ribs. This creature promptly tries to kill all the humans, and as the chances of their survival dwindle, you will be on the edge of your seat. This movie has been consistently ranked among the top horror movies of all time.