I do love Halloween. It’s a nice holiday — lots of fun, lots of silly. But not too much stress. You’re not expected to show up at every family’s home, there’s no feast to prepare. Just costumes and candy. And lots of giggles.
In honor of Halloween, we’re creating a Halloween Movie Hall of Fame. Well, we’re actually creating two. One for adults (read: scary, don’t watch alone at night) and one for family-friendly movies.
Since I’m far from an expert on scary movies, we’re relying on others to give us their best and why.
Rent one of these for tonight! And enjoy a stress-free holiday!
10 Scariest Halloween Movies
1. Psycho, by Alfred Hitchcock (1960). Recommended by The Chicago Tribune:
A young woman steals $40,000 from work and takes off to start a new life. As luck would have it, her rest stop at the Bates Motel is her final one. Much blame and creepiness is experienced before the twist ending. Taking a shower and a mother’s love were never seen the same.
2. Edward Scissorhands (1990). Recommended by The Huffington Post
According to IMDB:
An uncommonly gentle young man, who happens to have scissors for hands, falls in love with a beautiful teenage girl.
3. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975). Recommended by Reader’s Digest:
For the ultimate Halloween experience, catch a late-night showing of the raunchy musical about a couple who get lost and stumble into an alien transvestite’s castle.
4. Halloween (1978). Recommended by Reader’s Digest:
A Halloween night turns deadly when a former child murderer escapes from the mental hospital and returns to his small hometown to terrorize a babysitter. Soon her friends start disappearing one by one….
5. The Thing (1982). Recommended by Boston.com:
What makes this the top fright fest? Could it be the fear of complete isolation in the face of disaster? Or the invisible enemy in sub-zero temperatures? How about the terrifying feeling of not knowing which of your supposed friends and colleagues are who they say they are, and not a shape-shifting alien? Yeah, all those things.
*** This movie is available to be watched instantly on Netflix!***
6. Rosemary’s Baby (1968). Recommended by The South Bend Tribune:
Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse move into a New York apartment with a bad reputation. Sounds pretty normal these days but back in the 60’s it was a rare occurrence. Soon Rosemary finds out that the tenants, as well as her husband, and probably in that order, are intent on her having a baby. The downside to this bundle of joy is that it is Satan. No happy ending here.
7. The Blair Witch Project (1999). Recommended by IGN.com:
The movie that gave birth to the whole “horror movie as faux-documentary,” that inspired such films as Paranormal Activity, is quite an effective scare fest in retrospect.
8. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). Recommended by IGN.com:
By 1984 the slasher movie had been done to death (excuse the pun). Just how many masked killers could you see before fatigue set in? But Wes Craven had a brilliant twist on these types of films. First, he created a killer, Freddy Krueger, who instantly stood out from the rest of the pack. His face was burned beyond recognition, but Freddy wore no mask and didn’t stay silent.
9. I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997). Recommended by Cosmopolitan:
Kings of the late-’90s teen genre, Ryan Phillippe and Freddie Prinze Jr. light up the screen in this classic. Plus, you can’t go wrong with a shirtless Phillippe in a locker room scene.
10. Scream (1996). Recommended by Marie Claire:
It may not pack the same punch of terror now that it did when it premiered in the ’90s, but Scream spawned numerous sequels and spoofs, birthing an entirely new genre of teen movie. And if you’re honest, the first time you saw it, you were totally freaked.
*** This movie is available to be watched instantly on Netflix!***
10 Best Family-Friendly Halloween Movies
1. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! (1966) Recommended by The Huffington Post.
No surprise here. We all know this movie. In short, the Peanuts gang goes trick-or-treating, but stop first at the pumpkin patch to ridicule Linus, who is waiting for the Great Pumpkin.
2. Beetlejuice (1988). Recommended by Seventeen.
After dying in a car crash, the ghosts of Adam and Barbara Maitland are informed that they have to remain in their house for 150 years. This is fine, until their house is sold to a family they can’t stand.
3. Monsters, Inc. (2001). Recommended by Seventeen.
At Monsters, Inc., the most important thing is scaring kids, because their screams power the town of Monstropolis. Sulley and Mike take pride in their job, and want to be the best in the business. When a little girl ends up in the monster town, mayhem ensues for the two friends.
4. Ernest Scared Stupid (1991). Recommended by Horror Movies:
I absolutely love all of the Ernest movies and one of these days I need to go out and buy them. Ernest Scared Stupid is without a doubt the darkest and scariest of the Ernest franchise so I would not watch it with your 4 year old but 8 to 10 year olds should find lots to love! After a misunderstanding, Ernest P. Worrell unleashes an evil troll on Halloween.
5. Ghostbusters (1984). Recommended by kaboose.com:
“Who ya gonna call?” Ghostbusters, of course! With a snappy theme song and the wisecracking Dan Ackroyd, Bill Murray and the rest, this movie about three unemployed parapsychology profs who set up shop to rid the city of pesky goblins is a must-see for grade-schoolers on up. DVD includes commentary from director and stars, special effects documentary and more.
6. Casper (1995). Recommended by kidsaintcheap.com:
A paranormal expert and his daughter bunk in an abandoned house populated by 3 mischievous ghosts and one friendly one.
7. Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949). Recommended by kidsaintcheap.com:
This movie is actually a fairly new addition to my families collection of Halloween movies for the kids. The movie makes up two shorts, The Wind in the Willows and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. It was originally released on the big screen in 1949 but until recently, was not available on VHS or DVD. It was the 11th animated feature that Disney released and we love it.
8. Monster House (2006). Recommended by kidsaintcheap.com:
It’s about a group of kids who believe a haunted house is planning on eating all the little kids that come to trick or treat at it’s door. They do an amazing job making the house one of the actual characters in the movie. It can be a little intense and scary at times so I don’t recommend this for younger kids.
9. Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie (2005). Recommended by Kaboose.com:
It’s a haunted Halloween in the Hundred Acre Wood, and Roo’s new Heffalump pal, Lumpy, is excited to be trick-or-treating for the first time. That is, until Tigger warns them about the dreaded Gobloon who’ll turn them into a “jaggedy lantern” if he catches them!
10. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993). Recommended by kaboose.com:
Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king of Halloweentown, is bored and depressed about the same old build-up of Halloween every year. When he stumbles through a magical door leading to Christmastown, a joyful, happy place he tries to convince the bats, ghouls, and goblins of Halloweentown to help him put on Christmas instead of Halloween. While some of the creatures might be too scary for youngsters, kids 8 and up should be fine with it.