Horror movies not to miss this Halloween season


Created by artist Tom Carlton.

Tom Carlton’s rendition of Pennywise, the main antagonist from Stephen King’s IT.

With Halloween just around the corner, the Stinger has rounded up the best films for a scary night in. The following movies, expressed in no particular order, are the best of their genre and should absolutely be on your Halloween must-see list. It’s no trick, these films are always a viewing treat.


1. The Shining (1980)TheShiningPoster

This horror classic tells the story of troubled writer Jack Torrence (Jack Nicholson) who travels to an isolated cabin for the winter with his wife and young son. During their stay, Jack goes crazy and turns on his family with an axe as his weapon of choice. This film shines (no pun intended) mainly because of its director Stanely Kubric and lead actor Jack Nicholson. Kubric’s unique cinematography gives off a satisfyingly creepy feel, and Nicholson pulls off a brilliantly mad performance with such memorable lines as: “Heeeeeeere’s Johnny!”.





ANightmareOnElmStreetPoster2. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

This slasher flick, which is now a Halloween staple, was an instant hit upon release, making over $25 million box office with less than a $2 million budget. In the film, a grotesquely scarred killer stalks teens in their dreams, killing them in a number of delightfully gory ways. The film went on to have many sequels, a 2010 reboot, and even a crossover with Friday the 13th in 2003’s Freddy vs. Jason. This film is notable because of its mind-warping dream versus reality moments. It also features Johnny Depp in his first major motion picture role.





3. Friday the 13th (1980)FridayThe13thPoster

Probably the most recognized horror franchise today, Friday the 13th certainly earns its slasher film status. At Camp Crystal Lake, an unseen killer is taking out campers and counselors a few at a time, throwing the rest into a panic. Honestly, there is really nothing to set this film apart from the others in the slasher genre, except its longevity and odd memorability. This film has spawned countless sequels, a reboot in 2009, and a new Friday the 13th movie is even set to appear in theaters in November of 2015.





TheEvilDeadPoster4. The Evil Dead (1981)

From reading its description, this film could not sound like a more stereotypical horror film; a group of kids travel to a cabin in the woods (not The Cabin in the Woods, we’ll get to that later), awaken evil spirits, and are attacked and killed by ghastly ghouls. While all the clichés may make the film sound like one to skip, this film is actually anything but boring and certainly worth the watch. The effects are satisfying, the scares are real, and lead actor Bruce Campbell’s performance is instantly likable. Also, there are two phenomenal sequels, which cross into horror-comedy territory, that are well worth a viewing for both the scares and for the laughs.





5. The Thing (1982)TheThingPoster

Now, here is a movie that may not be on many people’s Halloween must-watch list, but deserves a well-earned spot. The film follows a research team stationed in the remote Arctic. While collecting their data, the men come across an alien life-form that can impersonate anyone or anything alive. From there, it’s a race to eliminate the creature before it eliminates them. This film is not only a wonderful example of sci-fi cinema but can also serve as an amazing horror film. The gory and grotesque antics of the alien shape-shifter are some of the best (and grossest) practical effects ever put to film, the actors are all likable, and the ‘anyone can be the monster’ premise is suspenseful in spades.





HalloweenPoster6. Halloween (1978)

Naturally, a movie named after this very holiday must be on this list. On Halloween night, a small boy, Michael Meyers, kills his older sister by stabbing her with a kitchen knife. Many years later, he escapes from the psychiatric hospital where he was being held and returns to his old hometown to prey upon teenagers. Meanwhile, his psychiatrist pursues him to try and stop the killings. This film is credited by many as being the first slasher film, but by today’s standards, there is little graphic violence or gore. Does this mean this seemingly tame film is safe to show to the kiddies? No, but if you are looking for a pure gore-fest, you may prefer to look elsewhere.





7. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)TheTexasChainsawMassacrePoster

A group of friends fall victim to a family of cannibals while on their way through Texas. Knowing that, this plot summary should really speak for itself. This movie, upon release, was banned from many theaters and even countries. The excessive gore (for the time), made it an instant attraction for all horror fans. With this film, one can enjoy the bloody scenes that stem from a chainsaw massacre that takes place in Texas.





AlienPoster8. Alien (1979)

This film has been called by many over the years ‘a haunted house in space movie’. It is a title that perfectly encompasses the claustrophobia, suspense, and jumpy scares that permeate this movie. The crew of the space ship Nostromo gets a distress call from a nearby planet. They go down to investigate, and one of the crew gets infected with an alien parasite. The creature breaks free, grows into a huge monstrosity, and begins taking out the crew one by one. This film owes a lot to its claustrophobic and creepy atmosphere created by director Ridley Scott. But the creepy factor is truly capped off by the chilling creature designed by Swiss surrealist H. R. Gieger.





9. Scream (1996)ScreamPoster

Scream pulls off the dual role of being a good horror film, while also making fun of some of the genre’s cliches. The plot is simple enough: a killer dons a ghost-face mask to stalk his victims. However, as simple and ordinary as that sounds, the actual movie is anything but so. The film injects humor and a little satire into the tired horror tropes, thereby making the film both a nod to horror as a genre and a sort of parody. The film raked in the money at the box office, grossing over 15 million dollars, one of the highest of its time.





TheCabinInTheWoodsPoster10. The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

The tagline for this film is “you think you know the story,” which could not be a better summary of the film. The plot for the film is rather difficult to summarize without spoiling the entire movie. So, in a nutshell, some college students take a drive to an isolated cabin in the middle of the woods, and some great twists and turns ensue. Though the ending twist, has disappointed many, the film is still well worth the watch.





Movie posters provided by IMDb.