Don’t walk upstairs. Don’t turn out the light. And whatever you do, don’t say “I’ll be right back.” It’s the season for scares, so here are ten great horror films to give your spine a shiver as we get close to Halloween.
1. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) – Tobe Hooper set out to create one of the most disturbing and unsettling films ever, and boy did he succeed. And none of the Leatherface films that followed, even the super-gory 2003 remake, have ever come close to matching its power. Available on Tubi and IMDb TV.
2. Black Christmas (1974) – Widely considered the birth of the slasher film, Bob Clark’s chilling movie tells the story of a group of sorority sisters terrorized by a creepy, prank-calling stalker. Bob Clark also made another famous holiday-themed movie: A Christmas Story. Available on Tubi.
3. Halloween (1978) – Of course. Following Black Christmas’ lead, John Carpenter’s masterpiece cemented the slasher as a cornerstone of the horror genre, made a star out of Jamie Lee Curtis, and became a staple of many fans’ Octobers. Available on Hoopla.
4. Alien (1979) – Like the shower scene in Psycho, the moment where the title creature bursts from John Hurt’s stomach has become so well known that it may lose a bit of its power— but it remains one of the most iconic moments in scary cinema. Available on HBO Max.
5. The Shining (1980) – The twins in the hall. The blood in the elevator. The woman in room 237. The final chase through the hedge maze. REDRUM. It’s a bit unfair to most other horror films how many classic moments there are in Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Stephen King’s novel. Available on Sling Premium.
6. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) – One, two, Freddy’s coming for you…Wes Craven changed the face of horror movies more than once, and his most enduring creation is knife-fingered dream killer Freddy Krueger. Available for rent on demand.
7. The Vanishing (1988) – George Sluizer’s 1988 Dutch film asks the question: How far would you be willing to go to find out what happened to the person you loved? The movie was remade in English in 1993 with Jeff Bridges and Kiefer Sutherland, but trust us— you want to stick to the Dutch version. Available on the Criterion Channel.
8. The Blair Witch Project (1999) – “Found footage” was not a thing in 1999. Viral marketing was barely a thing. Making over $250 million with a movie that cost only $60,000 to make? That was REALLY not a thing. Blair Witch changed all of that. Available on Sling TV.
9. [REC] (2007) – Speaking of found footage, this Spanish-language horror masterpiece follows a TV crew as they become trapped in a building under the influence of a mysterious virus. You can check out the American remake Quarantine if you like, but we prefer the original. Available to rent on demand.
10. Get Out (2017) – It’s a bit weird now to remember that before he became a heralded voice in modern horror, Jordan Peele was mostly known as half of the hilarious comedy pair Key and Peele. Then he unleashed Get Out on the world, a modern classic of suspense and scares that won him an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Available to rent on demand.