It’s Halloween, and what better way to get in the spooky spirit by settling down – or more like sitting on the edge of your seat – with a good film. From horror classics to hidden gems, the downright terrifying to dark humoured fun, we’ve got a film for everyone in our Halloween film picks.
This silent German Expressionist horror film was an unofficial adaptation of Dracula and extremely influential, setting the template for numerous horror films that followed. With a chilling vampire, the film is eerie and gothic feel. Not only is it fascinating to see the early cinematic artistry at work, this early horror film is still haunting even by today’s standards.
What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
This horror-comedy mockumentary follows a group of vampire housemates who bicker over washing up, go out partying, and are rivals with a gang of werewolves. This is a horror-comedy that as equally dark as it is funny, with many examples in the genre often lacking real darkness. With hilarious deadpan comedy about the undead, this is a perfect Halloween film choice for those who like it dark, but not too scary.
Hitchcock completely transformed cinema with ‘Psycho’ when it was released in 1960. With a shocking narrative twist never really seen before in cinema, looser morals, an exploration of Freudian ideas, and its sympathetic view on the murderer, this was something unlike what had come before, and paved the way for the slasher genre and cinema in general. This is a creepy classic horror masterpiece.
Let the Right One In (2008)
This Swedish film follows shy and bullied Oskar as he befriends a peculiar girl who has arrived in town at the same time as a series of murders take place. She turns out to be a vampire responsible for the killings, but their friendship remains strong. Despite the sinister topic, this is a sweet film about first love, blending compelling horror with a moving story, and is an extremely dark, atmospheric watch.
The Exorcist (1973)
Loosely based on true events, ‘The Exorcist’ is about a mother desperate to seek help after her teenage daughter becomes possessed by an unknown entity. This is widely recognised as one of the best classic horror films out there, and for good reason: this is a terrifying, chilling film that is sure to leave you shaking on your sofa.
It Follows (2014)
‘It Follows’ is a superb independent physiological thriller built on such a simple yet effective idea. Teenager Jay discovers she is the latest victim of a supernatural force that won’t stop creeping towards her in various human forms, however far she runs. This film shows something seemingly mundane and everyday – a person walking towards you – can be utterly terrifying, and certainly more so than an imaginary monster. Saying that, the film certainly has plenty of horrific moments, merged with an indie vibe and an atmospheric soundtrack. The idea behind this film will lodge itself in your mind and leave you constantly looking over your shoulder for weeks.
The Shining (1980)
Certainly one of the most iconic horror films, adapted from the master of horror writing, Stephen King’s novel, ‘The Shining’ centres around a family staying in a creepy isolated hotel, where an evil presence leads the father to become violent. Jack Nicholson leering through a door he’s smashed his way through is instantly recognisable and although it’s become the stuff of jokes, Stanley Kubrick’s film is still a completely frightening and chilling film.
Hocus Pocus (1993)
We had to include this ridiculous and silly Disney film, which takes childhood Halloween to an extreme: trick or treating, costume parties, pumpkins and sweets are everywhere. Of course, it’s complete with three resurrected witches and is set in Salem, where witch trials historically took place. The film follows a brother and sister as they accidentally awaken the mischief-making witches. This is a simply load of fun, and perfect if you love Halloween but not horror.
Donnie Darko (2001)
This psychological science fiction stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a troubled teenager who is manipulated by a vision of a large rabbit into committing a string of crimes. A cult classic, this is a delightfully spooky, at times darkly funny, utterly strange and mesmerising film that makes perfect Halloween viewing.
The Babadook (2014)
Widowed Amelia is struggling to cope with her six-year old son’s behaviour, insisting he can see terrifying, imaginary monsters, and disrupting their lives. These turn out to be not so imaginary when Amelia comes to believe that a monster called the Babadook is tormenting them. This is a scary film that will make you jump and fill you with dread, but what ‘The Badadook’ really explores is a mother’s psyche. Both scary and deeply interesting viewing.