Halloween is just a few weeks away, and there’s nothing better than preparing yourself with some good horror movies to celebrate.
The horror genre is vast, but lately, except for a couple of exceptions, it has fallen in quality quite a bit from the past.
It’s tough to find a good horror movie that is innovative or likely to turn into a cult movie like they did years ago.
In this list, you’ll find a mix of old but great horror movies, some non-American gems, and a wide range of horror covering the main subgenres like slasher, demonic possessions, ghosts, zombies, etc.
So if you’re a zombie movie fan, love a haunted house, enjoy a serial killer story or class Freddy Krueger as one of your heroes, read on!
Get your candy and popcorn ready! Trick or treat! You choose!
Where to watch the movies
Before we dive right into the selection of horrors, it’s worth knowing where you can watch these movies.
You can stream most of these horror films on Netflix or Amazon Prime.
However, many are restricted to specific regions so you’ll need a VPN from ExpressVPN to unblock them.
If you have a Canadian Netflix account, for example, you can use a VPN app to unblock the US Netflix website. You can also access other regions giving you a greater choice of scary movies.
1. The Exorcist (1973)
One of the most successful horror films in history that has become a classic and a cult movie.
Released in 1973 and based on William Peter Blatty’s novel and adapted to the big screen by himself, The Exorcist shocked the audience with the realistic approach of demonic possession.
When 12-year-old Regan begins acting weird and showing strange symptoms after playing with an Ouija board, her mother finds herself with no medical solution. She decides then to call two priests to perform an exorcism on her daughter.
The movie launched to fame Linda Blair who played Regan.
Ellen Burstyn completed the rest of the main cast as Chris MacNeil (Regan’s mother) and Max von Sydow as Father Lankester Merrin
2. Halloween (1978)
Now a significant franchise comprising of eleven movies, comics, novels, and video games. Halloween was released in 1978, and it was the massive starting point for the slasher sub horror genre.
The story is about Mike Myers seeking revenge after being secluded in a sanitarium for years because he killed his teenage sister on Halloween night.
John Carpenter directed and scored this classic inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960).
Donald Pleasence in the role of Dr Sam Loomis and Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode head the casting.
3. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Created by Wes Craven, this is another slasher horror franchise that includes nine movies, a TV series, comics, novels and video games.
The first movie was released in 1984, and the story revolves around Freddy Kruger (Robert Englund), a former child killer who was burned alive by the parents of his victims.
Years later, he returns from the grave to terrorize the teenagers from Springwood, Ohio, in their dreams.
4. Ringu (The Ring) (1998)
Ringu was the first Japanese horror hitting the Western world, and it became a cult movie right away.
By now, it has become a franchise that includes a series of American movie remakes known simply as the ‘Ring’.
Based on the novel of the same name by Koji Suzuki, the story follows a reporter who is investigating mysterious deaths that supposedly are caused by a cursed videotape that kills the viewer within seven days of watching it.
Once someone watches the videotape about a woman coming out of a well, they received a mysterious phone call saying “in seven days”.
The person appearing in the video and making the call is Sadako Yamamura, a young psychic woman who was killed by her stepfather and thrown into a well.
Until now, Ringu is one of the best Japanese horror movies, and Sadako is among the most iconic horror characters worldwide.
5. The Conjuring (2013)
Directed by James Wan, creator of Saw, The conjuring has become a cinematic horror universe including Anabelle and The Nun series.
Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga play Ed and Lorraine Warren, who were real American paranormal investigators and authors associated with prominent cases of hauntings such as the famous and controversial Amityville case.
In The Conjuring, the Warrens assist the Perron family who has been suffering from disturbing events in their farmhouse in Rhode Island in 1971.
The movie had a budget of 20 million dollars and grossed 319 million dollars, becoming a massive success for Warner Bross and New Line Cinema.
6. The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
This horror-comedy movie was directed by Drew Goddard and written by Joss Whedon. The casting comprises of Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, and Bradley Whitford.
The story follows a group of college students who seclude themselves in a remote forest cabin, and they become the victims of zombies and the technicians who manipulate everything from an underground facility.
The movie is somehow parodic of the horror genre, and according to Whedon, it was a “love-hate letter to the genre”, mocking and criticizing some very known tropes.
7. The Omen (1976)
Another classic in the supernatural horror subgenre, it was directed by Richard Donner and starred Gregory Peck and Lee Remick.
This movie was the first instalment of a franchise which comprises five films including a remake, and two TV series.
The story revolves about Damien Thorn, a young child who Ambassador Robert Thorn (Gregory Peck) decides to take in the place of his stillborn son without telling his wife (Lee Remick).
The truth is Thorn’s son was murdered at the hospital in a move to make Satan’s son grow up in a wealthy and influential family.
Mysterious deaths start to happen around the Thorn family, mostly caused by Damien, who is the Antichrist.
8. Poltergeist (1982)
Written and produced by Steven Spielberg and directed by Tobe Hooper, Poltergeist is a classic in the supernatural horror subgenre.
The story focuses on a family whose house is invaded by evil ghosts that end abducting their youngest daughter Carol Anne. She can communicate with them through the static in the TV.
Right after these conversations, strange events begin to happen at the house until a horde of evil spirits invades it all.
Poltergeist became a franchise with two sequels and a remake.
9. Train to Busan (2016)
A Korean film which broke the audience record of 10 million theatregoers.
The film initially premiered at the Midnight Screening section at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival on 13 May. Train to Busan mostly takes place in a train while a zombie apocalypse suddenly breaks out across the whole country.
Seok-woo, a divorced workaholic and absentee father, takes his young daughter, Su-an, to Busan to visit her mother as a birthday present.
Among the several passengers who board the train, there’s a convulsing young woman who has a bite in one of her legs. The woman becomes a zombie, and the contagion begins.
An animated prequel, Seoul Station, was released less than a month later.
Even though the movie covers most of the tropes of the zombie genre, what sets it apart from the Hollywood productions is the realistic approach to the human drama, and how the characters react to such situation.
10. The Orphanage (2007)
El Orfanato, by its original Spanish title, is a Spanish supernatural horror film and the opera prima by director J. A. Bayona (A Monster Calls, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom).
Laura, who grew up in an orphanage returns to the abandoned place 30 years later with her husband Carlos, and their seven-year-old adoptive son Simón.
Simón claims to have befriended a boy named Tomás, and he often draws him wearing a sack mask.
After an arguing between Simón and Laura, the boy goes missing, and six months after his disappearing, Laura decides to contact a medium to help her find him.
As you can see, when it comes to horror movies, there are plenty of options belonging to the different sub-genres.
I must confess that it was challenging to reduce the list to just ten movies because the amount of variety of stories and sub-genres is enormous.
But, with this list, at least you assure yourself to celebrate Halloween in a terrifying and fun way with slasher flicks and small town mysteries while rediscovering classics and unearthing something new including a few international gems.
Don’t forget you can access most of these on the usual streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. However, they’re best used with ExpressVPN that allows you to unblock different regions and watch more content.
Just remember – don’t frighten yourself too much!
What’s your favourite horror movie from the list or do you have something that I haven’t listed? I would love to know so why not drop a comment below.
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