Thrills and chills: 31 days of horror for fright-feature fans
In celebration of Halloween, here are 31 horror movies that are perfect for the spooky-season. The movies are in no-particular order.
“Nope” – Jordan Peele’s third film released in 2022 blends elements of horror, science fiction and comedy to create a massively successful horror flick that’s great for both the hardcore horror fans, and more casual enjoyers of the genre.
“Scream” – More broadly the “Scream” franchise, but the first is certainly one that any fan of film should check out. Perfectly walking the line between horror and satire, the first “Scream” film, and the franchise as a whole, does a phenomenal job of engaging the audience through genuinely clever mysteries, and wonderfully crafted jabs at the horror genre.
“X” and “Pearl” – The trilogy being told by Ti West has had two successful entries, both releasing in 2022, in the form of “X” and “Pearl,” and with the third film, “Maxxxine,” currently in production, there’s no telling where this series will head. Both “X” and “Pearl” were great films with interesting characters, fun set-pieces, an engaging story and a genuine purpose behind their films. These two movies, along with many on this list, show how the genre of horror is used to elevate social issues in a (sometimes) digestible manner.
“Get Out” – And while we’re at it, “Us” as well. Jordan Peele’s first and second films respectively both follow the trend of horror movies that are using the genre as an outcry for justice. And while they do a phenomenal job of that, they’re also very good films to watch. Peele as a director can’t seem to turn out a bad product, and with “Nope” being one of the best films of 2022, his horror movie record is currently three-for-three.
“Friday the 13th, Part 2” – Taking it back a bit, one of the first ever horror sequels, and one that introduced us to one of the “big three” of horror, those being Freddy, Jason and Michael. “Friday the 13th, Part 2” shows Jason seeking revenge for his mother’s death who was seeking revenge for his death in the first one, and well these movies get a little complicated, but they absolutely are a fun time. If you’re ever looking for a good popcorn flick, look no further than the “Friday” movies, because they are some of the best slashers out there.
“Skinamarink” – Now to get a little more experimental. “Skinamarink” may not be for everybody, it may not even be for most people, but if you’re in the market for a genuinely terrifying and experimental horror movie, look no further than this film.
“American Psycho” – Arguably one of the most infamous films and books of all time, “American Psycho” has been popularized by many for the wrong reasons, but it still stands out as one of the best horror films ever released. With an actor like Christian Bale, you know you’re in for a great performance, but he knocks it out of the park with this movie. Both the film and the book are great pieces of media, and wonderful works of satire of 1980s Wall Street.
“Psycho” – The 1960s saw a resurgence of horror in film, and one of the movies which brought about this renaissance was Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho.” One of the most influential films in the genre, made by arguably the most influential director, there is no doubt that it makes for a wonderful thriller-mystery for any Halloween watch-party.
“An American Werewolf in London” – A classic werewolf film, and one of the few that does a great job of making the werewolf terrifying. While it has its comedic moments, the mix of horror and dark humor makes for an entertaining watch.
“The Invisible Man” – A film released in 1933, with a 2020 reboot, both make for great watches, although, the 2020 reboot is definitely one of the best slashers released in the past few decades and makes for a great introduction to the genre.
“Nosferatu” – Arguably the most important horror movie to ever release, “Nosferatu” is the 1922 adaptation of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula,” and was the introduction of the horror genre to film. While it is very influential, the film has aged poorly. It makes for a good watch to a completionist, but can be hard to get through.
“The Evil Dead” – The world’s introduction to the mind of Sam Raimi, “Evil Dead” is one of the most successful horror franchises ever, and has proved time and time again to make for a great watch. Raimi’s direction and style is something that is felt no matter what genre, allowing for him to make the seamless transition from horror to action to superheroes and back to horror again. “Evil Dead” is a movie that any horror fan should check out.
“The Thing” – John Carpenter’s 1982 release makes for a great horror-mystery and has one of the best endings of any horror film. It’s hard to watch an early-Spielberg movie and not be blown away, but “The Thing” is genuinely one of the best films he’s ever made.
“Hereditary” – Ari Aster’s “Hereditary” is one of the most intense and heart-racing films that can be watched on Halloween night. The blending of cryptic-mystery and slasher-style horror makes for not only an entertaining watch, but a horrifying watch. One of the best movies on this list, and a must-watch for any fans of contemporary horror.
“The Strangers” – “The Strangers” is a great indie-horror film. It was made with a small budget, features a single-location for most of the film and has a limited cast of characters allowing for more intimate moments with the protagonists, which most horror movies struggle with, opting for bigger casts so there can be more kills. Overall, “The Strangers” is great for anyone looking for a shorter, more controlled horror film.
“Halloween” – The film series that essentially built the slasher genre, “Halloween” has passed through many hands and recently had a soft-reboot for a new generation of horror fans. While those films did not do as successfully as the older ones, the series itself still holds up as one of the best slashers in the genre.
“A Quiet Place” – The directorial debut of John Krasinski proved to be one of the best sci-fi thrillers ever released. “A Quiet Place” is the perfect blending of the end-of-the-world survival story, and an action-thriller that has a ton of heart. Definitely worth watching for someone who enjoys more action than horror.
“Train to Busan” – “Train to Busan” is a South Korean action-horror film that shows several passengers stuck in a high-speed train during a zombie apocalypse. The film is one of the best zombie stories ever told and features a phenomenal cast of characters.
“The Mist” – “The Mist’ is a 2007 film which shows several members of a small-town trapped inside a grocery store after a mysterious mist arrives, unleashing blood-thirsty creatures on the town. Between the amazing work done by both the actors and the practical effects department, as well as having one of the darkest and most iconic ends to a horror movie, “The Mist” is one that can be highly recommended to any fan of the horror movie genre.
“Godzilla” – The 1954 release of “Godzilla” was impactful not just on the horror genre, or more specifically the subgenre of monster-horror, but also the entire world. With this one movie, an entire section of pop-culture was created, and without it monster movies and destruction movies would be nowhere near as popular. Not only did “Godzilla” revolutionize the way monster movies are viewed, it also served as an allegory for the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and was an outlet for the Japanese people to show their fear of these weapons which had just been used on them nine years earlier.
“Bodies, Bodies, Bodies” – The 2022 release “Bodies, Bodies, Bodies” is one of the best uses of satirical humor and contemporary analysis in a horror movie. That’s the best part too, it isn’t truly a horror movie, it’s more of a comedy than anything, but it walks the line between comedy, mystery and slasher so well that it’s a must watch for the modern-horror fans.
“Barbarian” – “Barbarian” is one of the best horror movies released in the past decade and has a phenomenal cast of characters. Another film on the long list of genre-defining horror movies, “Barbarian” likes to hit the viewer with fast cuts to other scenes and a lack of clear story, which adds to the mystery and suspense of the whole film. There’s no real moment where the movie stops. It also does a great job of analyzing and deconstructing themes of abuse, violence and feminism all in its fairly tight run-time of just under two hours.
“The Silence of the Lambs” – One of the most popular movies in the world, and there’s a reason for that. “The Silence of the Lambs” is one of the best on the edge of your seat thrillers that can be watched. It has an enticing mystery, a terrifying villain and one of the most iconic horror movie moments of all time. A definite watch to anyone just getting started with the genre.
“The Shining” – Another iconic horror movie, with probably one of the most famous lines of dialogue in film history. “The Shining” features a wonderful cast of characters and one of the best performances by Jack Nicholson, but it’s not just the characters or actors that give this film life, the score also builds out the horror of the movie. Fun fact about this film, the original writer of the book, Stephen King, hates the adaptation of his work.
“The Red Shoes” – While not being a straight horror film, the 1948 drama film, “The Red Shoes” has definitely had its influence on the horror genre, and is worth a watch for any fans wanting to delve into the origins of the genre.
“Black Swan” – Following in the footsteps of “Red Shoes,” “Black Swan” is another film which isn’t a direct horror movie, but is inspired by many of the elements of the genre. This film works as a more human horror movie, as it is about the idea of losing yourself to your passion and craft. It’s something that is tangible and that’s what makes it scary. It also features one of the best Natalie Portman performances ever.
“Prisoners” – “Prisoners” is one the best crime-thriller films that can be seen. Between a star-studded cast, and an amazing director there is no way anyone should miss out on seeing this film. Another movie which features a very real-life horror in the thought of a child being abducted, “Prisoners” is one of the best mysteries ever crafted for the big-screen.
“The Brood” – David Cronenberg at his best, “The Brood” is another phenomenal film that blends the genres of horror and mystery so perfectly and cannot be missed out on. Cronenberg is one of the best to ever do it in the horror genre and while he goes largely unnoticed by larger audiences, watching one of his films will leave you on the edge of your seat the entire time.
“Eyes Without a Face” – “Eyes Without a Face” is a classic French film from 1960. It was one of the earlier films in the more disturbing side of the horror genre, but that’s the subgenre that the French revolutionized during the early years of horror. At a time when everyone was pushing the envelope, none quite did it like many of the French filmmakers, and that’s what led to many revolutionary horror films.
“Ma” – A relatively recent horror film, the 2019 release “Ma” is certainly more on the entertaining slasher side of the horror genre, while still offering a lot of psychological thriller at the same time. There are many great moments throughout the film and it’s another one that should be on any modern-horror enthusiasts list.
“The Exorcist” – A classic horror movie which recently had a reinvention for the modern audiences. While the sequels that followed were nothing revolutionary, the first film is easily one of the best supernatural horrors ever made. A true classic that’s perfect for any fan of the genre.