Horror movies have been around since the late 19th century, beginning with “Le Squelette Joyeux” by the Lumière brothers, which features the most basic spooky creatures, such as skeletons, bats, witches and ghosts.
The film industry has come a long way since then, and now there are movies all across the spooky spectrum from “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” to “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”
Here is a list of movies to get you in the Halloween spirit from least spooky to downright terrifying.
‘Hocus Pocus’ (1993)
Ultimately the greatest Halloween movie of the ‘90s baby generation, “Hocus Pocus” focuses on three witches, the Sanderson sisters, who have been resurrected after 300 years by a couple of teenagers in Salem, Massachusetts.
The teenagers, along with a magical cat, only have until the end of the night to keep the witches from becoming immortal.
In a thrilling conclusion, are the kids able to outlast the Sanderson sisters and save the children of Salem?
“Hocus Pocus” is a great starting point if you want to dip your toes into the pool of Halloween-themed movies.
The film adaptation of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” tells the story of a monster created from the remains of corpses stitched together by the obsessed Dr. Frankenstein.
Once he has accomplished his mission, his friends and family believe that he is treading in dangerous waters by playing God and that his creature should be destroyed.
Before they are able to get rid of Frankenstein’s creation, it escapes and accidentally kills a little girl. This results in the village demanding the death of the monster.
During the sequence of the witch hunt, Dr. Frankenstein nearly dies himself, but ultimately makes it out alive from the burning house in which his creation meets his demise.
‘The Shining’ (1980)
Stanley Kubrick and Stephen King come together to create the ultimate skin-crawling thriller.
When Jack Torrance, played by Jack Nicholson, decides to bring his family to a hotel that is closed for the season so he can work on his book, things take a turn for the worst.
Influenced by an evil presence in the hotel, Torrance becomes violent toward his wife Wendy and his son Danny after seeing horrific hallucinations from the past of the hotel.
The suspense in this film is palpable from the beginning, and the starring actors put viewers on edge from the get-go.
There are many conspiracies about this film, and it brought about the theory that Kubrick faked the moon landing.
If you dive into the metaphorical background of the story of “The Shining,” you may get lost in the meaning of every scene. For first-time viewers, just watch it for what it is — a supremely brilliant film that brings the ultimate creep factor.
‘The Exorcist’ (1973)
When you think of the scariest movies ever made, “The Exorcist” is at the top of the list.
Disturbed 12-year-old Regan (Linda Blair) is still to this day one of the most frightening images in film history.
Her mother, Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn), begs for help when she doesn’t recognize her daughter anymore when she begins exhibiting strange behavior such as telling the guests of a party, “You’re gonna die up there,” and then subsequently returning to a bed that then starts to shake and levitate.
The possibility of demonic possession is brought up after Regan throws the doctors who are trying to help her across the room. Only then does her mother begin to think that her daughter may need an exorcism from a priest.
It is also questioned whether or not the actual set of the movie was cursed due to the nine cast and crewmember deaths associated with the film.
“The Exorcist” shocked the world with its obscene imagery never before brought to the big screen.
‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ (1974)
Probably one of the most horrific movies of all time, “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” isn’t for the faint of heart.
When I saw this movie for the first time during a showing last Halloween at the Fargo Theatre, I found myself leaning back in my seat to get as far away from the screen as possible. Some scenes were just that hard to watch, and I’m not one to scare easily.
I knew I had to see this movie when I read about the filming experience and wanted to push the limits of the fear a movie could give me. They used actual animal remains on set to induce true disgust in the actors, which only amped up the anxiety in its viewers with its gruesome realism.
A classic slasher movie featuring oblivious teenagers, “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” takes the cake for fear factor with the introduction of “Leatherface.”
Leatherface gets his name from the mask he wears made of another human’s face. Viewers first start to realize that things are taking a turn for the worst when he drags Pam (Teri McMinn) and Kirk (William Vail) into the house where they meet their unfortunate end.
The true horror of this movie comes from the fear of the unknown — this movie is filled with questions without answers and viewers are meant to come to their own conclusions about the unsettling circumstances the group of five teenagers happen to come across.
Throughout the movie you hope for the best for the characters, but like all slasher movies, only one survives.
The scariest movies of our time happen to be the classics. I’m still waiting for a horror movie to be released today that will do its predecessors justice.