While I love a good spooky movie any time of year, October is still really the best time to curl up with a cozy blanket, some popcorn, and watch a movie that will send some chills down your spine. The horror genre is really quite vast, and goes beyond the the classics and bloody slasher films we all initially think of.
From thrillers to guts and gore to the subtle supernatural, I’ve pulled together a list of some of my favorites with a little something for everyone! Before making the list I did make sure that at time of publishing, each film was available to digitally rent or stream (sadly two of my favorites were cut as they were not available) on some platform, so be sure to click the link below the trailer to see where you can watch these films!
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) G
Iconic comedians Abbott and Costello are funny on their own, but when you throw in not one, not two, but three classic horror icons, you’ve got a hilarious, yet spooky situation! Out of all of the films on this list, this is the most kid-friendly.
For fans of conspiracy theories, especially around Elvis and President John F. Kennedy, Bubba Ho-tep is a must watch. When an ancient Egyptian mummy begins sucking the life from nursing home residents, Elvis (played by personal favorite Bruce Campbell) and JFK (played by Ossie Davis) decide to fight back. Campy, with some crude humor, Bubba Ho-tep is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it is certainly an original horror tale.
Set in 1957, Christine tells the tale of a red Plymouth Fury with a blood thirsty mind of her own. Enter Arnie, a kind of geeky guy who buys the shabby Christine and as he restores her to her former glory, he finds himself changing as well. Based on Stephen King’s novel, and directed by John Carpenter, it’s my favorite of work by King, and vies for my favorite Carpenter film along with Escape from New York. It also has some of the most amazing practical special effects!
Also known simply as The Spider, this is one of my all time favorite B-horror movies. When a giant, supposedly dead, spider is discovered it goes on display at a local high school, where it is revived by the sound of rock ‘n roll and proceeds to wreak havoc on the town. For fans of Disney’s Lilo & Stitch, this is the movie Stitch watches through the store window.
When the undead begin to roam, a scientist finds a way to squash zombies’ desire for brains, and suddenly zombies are employed everywhere, including in quaint 50s suburbia where they deliver milk and do household chores. With Billy Connolly in the title role, it also stars Carrie-Anne Moss (of The Matrix films) and Dylan Baker. I’m not a big zombie fan, but I do love this movie for its camp, costuming, and its bizarrely heartwarming story.
Over ten years before Andrew Lloyd Webber turned the 1911 novel and 1925 Universal horror film The Phantom of the Opera into a musical, Brian De Palma (director of Scarface and The Untouchables) made Phantom of the Paradise, a funky rock opera starring musician and actor Paul Williams, William Finley, and Suspiria star, Jessica Harper. Fans of The Rocky Horror Picture Show will enjoy this bizarre, camp-filled trip.
If you’re more a fan of thrillers, then you may enjoy Sleeping with the Enemy. Attempting to escape a hellish marriage, Laura, played by 90s American sweetheart, Julia Roberts, fakes her own death, however her horrors don’t end there. This film utterly traumatized me as a child after my mother let me and my friends watch it for a scary movie night in middle school, yet it remained a favorite thriller of mine.
No horror movie list is complete without a film starring Vincent Price. Angered by his many critics, Shakespearean actor Edward Lionheart (Price) begins killing them in theatrical ways with the help of his daughter, Edwina, played by personal fav Diana Rigg. While gory at times, Theater of Blood is also campy, and includes a lot of easter eggs for Shakespeare fans.
While a success at the time, I feel many have forgotten about this film and it is one of my all time favorite scary movies. After her daughter goes away to college, Claire, played by Michelle Pfeiffer, begins to experience strange things and fears a ghost may haunt the home she shares with her husband, Norman, played by Harrison Ford. Directed by Robert Zemeckis of Back to the Future and Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, What Lies Beneath relies on subtle scares, with a handful of jump scares here and there.
There have only been a handful of newer horror films that I’ve enjoyed, and Willy’s Wonderland is among them. Nicolas Cage stars as a man just trying to go from point A to point B when his tire blows. A local offers to fix it if the stranger is willing to stay the night at a rundown kiddie arcade (think Chuck E. Cheese) and work to clean the place up, little does he know there’s something sinister inside. If you like the more comedic and don’t mind blood, or if you’re a fan of the game Five Night’s at Freddy’s, then I recommend Willy’s Wonderland. I was cracking up the entire time, and afterwards even went online to get myself the shirt Cage wears.
Hope you found some new spooky movies to enjoy this Halloween season! If you’ve already been enjoying some scary movies, drop a comment below and tell me what some of your favorites are or what you’ve watched lately!