For Halloween, we explored some of the most chilling, creepy horror movies of all time. We looked at the scare factor from a variety of positions, including suspense, our own fears and story quality.
The chosen movies were made decades apart, from the original “Halloween” in 1978 to “Saw” in 2004.
So, this Halloween, sit back and put some of these in your blu-ray player.
This list is comprised of our top six.
“Halloween” is a simple, yet suspenseful movie. A young child brutally kills his sister with a large kitchen knife. After being locked away for fifteen years, he escapes and starts to terrorize the babysitters in his hometown. It really is the one that all others should be judged by. With a limited budget, the effects were kept to a minimum and suspense was used instead of fake blood.
Add to it the most chilling horror music of all time and this movie instantly goes to the top of our list.
The 1978 movie, unlike its remake and countless sequels, really knows how to scare.
“Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984):
The original “Nightmare on Elm Street” gave us a new type of villain, one who knew your fears and could exploit them via your dreams. Before all of the countless sequels and a forgettable remake, this too was a simple story. Freddy Krueger was a child molester who escaped prison on a technicality. The townsfolk burned them buried him, but he wouldn’t rest. He came back and invaded the nightmares of the children of Elm Street.
Before Freddy became a joke, as he did in most of the sequels, he really was quite creepy.
Unfortunately, most people do not remember the scary Freddy due to the large volume of sequels.
What do you get when you build a housing complex on an ancient burial ground? Nothing good. What do you get when you go cheap and only remove the headstones? Something bad, something very, very bad.
This movie features on of the most creepy movie lines in history, “They’re here.” The film starts out as Diane Freeling (JoBeth Williams) discovers that her family’s new house is haunted. (The poltergeist actually rearranges the chairs in the dining room). Instead of running for the hills, the family stays and starts investigating.
This movie features something for every fear, including a maniacal clown doll and a tree limb that reaches in and grabs a little boy out of his bed.
This movie was directed so well that it was able to pull off all of the fright sequences in a horrifying manner.
It would have been easy for this movie to delve into camp, but it keeps its dark, chilling tone throughout.
Unlike its many sequels, this movie is not about inhuman monsters. Instead, the main monster of this movie is a woman named Julia (Clare Higgins) who moves into the countryside with her husband Larry (Andrew Robinson). After Larry cuts himself bleeding in the attic, his dead brother Frank (Sean Chapman) begins to come back to life. After finding Frank, Julia is not horrified, but finds it seductive and starts to kill people for their blood to bring Frank back.
The only problem with this plan are the cenobites, who Larry’s daughter Kirsty (Ashley Laurence) accidently unleashes via a puzzle box. However, the cenobites are not the monsters of this movie, Julia is. The cenobites serve to make right what went wrong and take both Julia and Frank to hell.
This is on the list not because of the horrific cenobites, but because of the movie’s true monster, Julia.
The concept is simple: a victim wakes up in a trap. They have to do something horrific in a set amount of time, such as digging a key out of someone’s stomach, in order to live. If they do not succeed, something awful will happen, such as their head will explode.
The traps are elaborate, but what was more terrifying about this one that really isn’t found in its sequels, is this one is also a mystery. Until the end, the viewer does not find out who Jigsaw is.
There are numerous red herrings all of the way until they end. This adds to the creep factor because, until the end, you really do not know what is going to happen next.
And there is nothing scarier than the unknown.
“The Ring” (2002):
Another movie with a simple concept: when a person watches a disturbing videotape, they will receive a phone call immediately afterwards. The voice on the other end of the line says, “seven days.” Seven days later they die horrifically.
The movie goes into the backstory of the videotape in order for the hero, Rachel (Naomi Watts) to find a way to stop the curse from killing her and her son, who accidently watches the tape as well.
Creepy direction and writing make this movie the classic it’s almost nonsensical sequel could never be.