10 films you should watch on Halloween.

Halloween is upon us and along with dressing up, one of the most popular Halloween traditions across the world is to indulge in viewing a plethora of horror films. Some of you may be struggling to find some new titles to watch on Halloween, but don’t worry I got you covered. I have compiled a list of ten horror films I would personally recommend watching this Halloween. This isn’t a list of the best horror films or even my ten favourite, it’s simply a selection of films that I think are perfect for this time of year. With each film on the list I will go into detail and tell you why I think it’s worth a watch so without further ado let’s get started.

IT FOLLOWS (2015)

So I’m kickstarting this list with It Follows, an unforgettable masterclass of horror and dread. I’ll never forget my experience watching this film for the first time in the cinema, and discussing the films themes and cinematic greatness afterwards with my friend. To give a basic summary of what the film is about, it follows (that pun is most definitely intended) Jay (Maika Monroe) who begins to learn that she is being followed by a supernatural force, after she has a sexual encounter with a boy she is dating. I tried to keep that as vague as possible to preserve the surprises for when you view the film. Atmosphere and dread is created from the very beginning (with a stunning long take sequence) and sustained though out the run time. The film very smartly uses a sexual infection to create a unique horror antagonist for lack of a better term, one that creates paranoia and discomfort. The concept is genius, but the execution elevates It Follows to the status of a classic. I could easily, and probably will at some point write an entire article analysing this whole film, but for now I will just say It Follows is the best horror film of this generation and you should definitely watch it this Halloween.

A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (1984)

Whenever I think of iconic films and characters that represent the horror genre, A Nightmare on Elm Street and Freddy Krueger are one of the first things that always spring to my mind. This is one of Wes Craven’s best creations and one that demands to be seen during Halloween each year. Over 30 years later and the story is still very engaging and unique. The idea of having to fight to stay awake or else you succumb to being attacked and killed in your dreams, by a child murderer in a striped jumper with a glove that has knifes on it, still works and it still remains iconic. As are the many dream sequences in this film, there’s plenty of classic moments to marvel over. Also it goes without saying, Robert Englund’s memorable and eccentric performance is perfect when it comes to getting you into the Halloween spirit.

TRICK ‘R TREAT (2007)

Those who have seen Trick ‘r Treat already consider it a cult classic Halloween film and it’s very hard not to see why. Out of all of the films on this list, this film captures the spirit of Halloween the best. If you weren’t in the mood for Halloween before watching it, you certainly will be afterwards. What makes this one so special is the interwoven narrative, it’s an anthology of a handful of different stories. What truly sets this apart from any other horror anthology is the seamless flow of all the stories, the script threads them all together so well that it’s difficult to identify when the focus shifts, from one story to the next. The film successfully blends subtle comedy within the horror as well, with some stories reaching truly unexpected conclusions. I don’t think anyone can speak about Trick ‘r Treat without talking about Sam (pictured above in the centre of the poster). Even if you haven’t seen the film you’ve probably seen Sam somewhere on the internet before, his appearance has become somewhat iconic in itself.

EVIL DEAD (2013)

Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead (1981) is one of my favourite horror films of all time. It was one of the first horror films I had ever watched and I’ve loved it ever since then. In 2012, news of a reboot had me relatively excited to see what they could do with this story with modern practical effects and filmmaking trickery. Sam Raimi enlisted first time director Fede Álvarez to helm Evil Dead (2013). The film was finally released and as a big fan of the original I must say, this is one of the best reboots you are likely to find in the genre. It’s a film that takes elements and concepts from the original and does new things with them. Instead of trying to replace the original like most reboots attempt to do, the 1981 and 2013 films can both co exist together as great films in their own right. If you want to spend your Halloween night seeing gallons of gore and blood, then look no further. This film is an intense assault of violent horror imagery and I love it.

DON’T BREATHE (2016)

Here we have yet another film on this list from director Fede Alvarez. If Evil Dead (2013) was an impressive directorial debut, then Don’t Breathe confirmed his talents and put him on the list of horror directors to keep your eye on. This is an invasion thriller with elements of horror. It follows a group of three people who learn of a blind man who has a lot of cash in his possession, so they invade his house in the dead of the night to try and steal it. Fede effortlessly generates suspense early on and sustains it for lengthy periods of time. I don’t usually use this phrase, but this film does literally keep you on the edge of your seat. Stephen Lang is terrifying as The Blind Man. If you want to have your heart racing due to the suspense, and also have some interesting revelations to uncover then you should watch Don’t Breathe tonight.

THE BABADOOK (2014)

The Babadook is one of the best horror films of this decade and in my eyes it would sit on my Top 20 horror films list. The story explores a number of mature themes such as loss, grievance and depression. This film follows a widowed mother who has to battle with her son’s fear of a monster, that he saw in a storybook that ended up on their doorstep. Once she starts seeing physical manifestations of this monster, she begins to question whether it’s real or if it’s all in her head. The imagery involving The Babadook is creepy and memorable, and the film overall is a compelling story executed in a sophisticated manner, which culminates in an ending that will confuse many, but if you give it some thought you will identify it’s metaphorical meaning.

AS ABOVE, SO BELOW (2014)

Here we have what in my eyes is a criminally underrated horror flick that is quite unique. Think The Descent but with more of a supernatural spin. To my knowledge this is the first film that was shot in the real catacombs of Paris. It’s tight and claustrophobic setting works greatly to the films benefit. It’s a found footage film about a team of explorers who uncover a dark secret within the catacombs. The tension in this film builds and builds until the final moments which are an onslaught of terror, that elevated the overall experience for me and made As Above, So Below a good piece of horror entertainment.

SCREAM (1996)

Scream is probably the most inventive slasher horror ever made. It’s a classic that understood the conventions of the slasher sub genre, and had fun picking them apart in a perfect blend of horror, black comedy and satire. Whilst I personally never found the film to be scary, I know a number of people who do. Even if it doesn’t scare you, you’ll likely end up appreciating what this film did, which at the time of release had never been done before. Ghostface’s mask has become a hugely popular Halloween mask ever since this films release, so that alone makes it very fitting to watch this film on Halloween.

KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE (1988)

If you are simply in the mood to spend your Halloween night watching a campy 80’s horror film. This should absolutely be your choice, it’s silly and at times laughable, most of the time you’ll find yourself laughing at things that aren’t intended to be funny. The title is pretty self explanatory, the film is about killer clowns from outer space who land on earth to harvest humans. Is this a good film? No. Is it an entertaining film? Yes. This is one you’ll want to watch with a group of friends whilst having a couple drinks. I do appreciate the practical effects and costumes, but aside from that the rest of the film is rather ridiculous. The acting, the dialogue and pretty much everything else is weak, but that all amounts to this film being the cult classic that it is, it’s so bad that it is good.

FREDDY VS. JASON (2003)

I cannot call Freddy vs. Jason a good film, but if you are in the right mood, it can be an enjoyable one. The story is paper thin, the dialogue is atrocious but who cares, it’s all an excuse to throw two of the 80’s most iconic horror characters on the screen together. The film is at it’s best when it’s just focusing on Freddy and Jason killing off the teenagers, and of course we eventually get them facing head to head with each other. Guilty pleasure slasher horror doesn’t get any better than this.

HONOURABLE MENTION

HALLOWEEN (1978)

How could I have a list of film suggestions to watch on Halloween without including John Carpenter’s slasher classic, Halloween.

So there you go, that’s my selection of ten films you should choose from to watch on Halloween. I hope you enjoy whichever film(s) off this list you decide to watch.

Happy Halloween!

-T.Graham.

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