Halloween season means savoring those dreary, wearisome nights to search for the perfect horror movies to binge-watch with your friends. When it comes to festivities involving blood, screaming and terror, the words “exciting” and “enjoyable” don’t generally come to mind. But in October, you can’t help but feel the holiday spirit (or spirits) floating in the air.
Cover your eyes, plug your ears, because you’re about to enter a world of horror with the 21 scariest movies.
1. High Tension
A must-see for those who think ghouls and goblins are too cheesy, the relentless violence and gore serve as mere contributing factors to the overall structural excellence of this film. “There’s no room to breathe, and what’s more, the subtle suggestion of the fragility of human psychology strikes a nerve with the final twist,” said Galvilan College senior Andres Hernandez.
“The tension and anticipation is amplified by the fact the main character cannot hear,” said Florida State University sophomore Courtney Schear. You’ll scream aloud with your friends as you realize that escape, like in so many other horror films, depends on the utilization of ALL your senses. But what happens then when you’re being chased and can’t hear what’s lurking behind you?
3. The Babadook
I remember watching this movie last year with my two roommates. We kept eyeing each other since the scares were so unwarranted and intense, we didn’t even want to look at the screen. “The cinematography and effects were very realistic which, for me, made the movie creepy,” said FSU sophomore Sofia Colon Rivero. Consider this a Netflix must.
4. Amityville Horror
This movie holds a special place in my heart as one of the first horror flicks I saw growing up. I thought that since it came out in 1979 it would be tame with its suspense and jump-scares. Boy, was I wrong―the hair on the back of my stood up the entire time. This stands out as a classic haunted house film all should go see.
5. The Descent
“It’s scary because I’m sure almost anyone would be frightened to death being stuck in total darkness with something other than yourself lurking in the shadows,” said San Jose State University senior Louie Viray. This beloved horror movie immediately sets the creepy tone by depicting a brutal car crash in the first scene, thirsting viewers or just making them squeamish, to egg on more action.
6. Paranormal Activity 3
“The way the movie builds tension so slowly in the beginning and releases it all in a series of scary moments, is why this is the scariest movie I’ve seen,” said CSU Monterey Bay senior Jacob Baxter. To add on, the framing of the film makes the viewer more invested in the spirits terrorizing the home as they almost become a part of it and are more susceptible to think what they would do in dire paranormal situations.
This movie, unlike most others in this genre, legitimately left me in a pensive state once the credits started rolling. The acting can come across as a bit cheesy, but the deadly suspense and overall “scariness” of this movie still seems golden. The grainy video-footage, no sound and an ambiguous demon together that has a way of putting me on edge.
8. The Conjuring
“This is the scariest movie I’ve seen because it makes the viewer believe that it is a true story. In addition, it had many startling moments that make you jump out of your seat,” said Cal Poly senior Dillon Romero. The Conjuring, too, has many quality scares. With perfect acting and glum scenes, the storyline emerges as coherent and engaging.
9. Halloween (Rob Zombie Remake)
I may be biased because I have yet to see the original, (I know) but I can’t help but include this slasher on the list. In this version, you have an over-the-top, psychotic rendition of Michael Myers. Blood, guts, murder and darkness aren’t in short supply with Zombie’s rehash of the world’s most famous serial killer.
10. Lights Out
“The ‘monster’ has the power to turn lights off, so when lights flicker, like they do all the time, I get scared,” said Cal Poly senior Mitra Fakhry. The monster appearing solely in darkness builds an uncomfortable suspense: soon, every shadow or silhouetted figure in your house will seem out to pounce at you.
11. Woman in Black
I first saw this in theatres and damn, was it a good time. Not only was each scare twisted and unconventional, but the movie itself had an engaging plot. Of course, Daniel Radcliffe did an amazing job embodying a demented, haunted soul. This Halloween, turn off Harry Potter and watch this instead.
12. Insidious 2
“Insidious 2 [would be my recommendation], because it was scarier than the first one; it gave me goosebumps,” said Ohlone College sophomore Navjot Virdi. You’ll find few things scarier than demons: They have neither shape nor form, and can attack without warning. To spice up the mix, this sequel throws in creepy, possessed kids. Fun, right?
13. Hard Candy
I knew little about this film when going into it, but only that Ellen Page, famous for the film Juno, would be the protagonist. Her acting leaves your nerves unsettled, she does a thrilling job―insanity gleams in her eye as she takes on the screen as one of the most unsettling, realistic psycho killer out there.
14. Shutter Island
“It’s based on true events, and asylums freak me out,” said University of Hawaii, Manoa freshman Mary McClelland. Never in my life would I have guessed that DiCaprio would successfully do his part in making me uneasy. He makes up the essence of the film. Without his disturbed character, the film wouldn’t have done its part in successfully meshing psychological terror with fantasy.
What first appealed to me was how Scream took typical horror movie tropes and made them into an original film. Each moment of suspense, jump-scare and character-interaction all had a divine purpose which led up to one of the most thoughtful plot twists in a horror film history.
16. The Shining
“Every second of the movie had me on the edge of my seat. One of my favorite moments is when Jack Nicholson says, ‘Here’s Johnny!’ ” said San Jose State University senior Andrew Natividad. Another Stephen King classic, the macabre soundtrack gets me every time; it’ll totally scare you without the movie as context.
17. Silence of the Lambs
If you’re in the murder-mystery type of mood, this film would be just right for you. Hannibal Lecter comes across as a killer like no other. His flawless genius and tactful escapades have you questioning his next move during every scene in the movie.
Watch out to the science-fiction fans, because this horror film will make you freeze in place. I think the film’s greatest achievement stands out as making the viewer claustrophobic. Despite outer space being an infinite setting, you have nowhere to run when trapped by the confines of physics.
19. Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Leatherface was my first favorite horror-movie character. I like this series because the films don’t rely on excessive gore, blood and/or sex to add shock value. Instead, the film creates its own fast-paced, anxiety-inducing atmosphere which gives viewers a different kind of fear.
20. It (Original)
Unforgivable responsibility falls on Stephen King for making us afraid of clowns. But don’t burn your pocket seeing the remake in theatres; it feels like an unscary, unthrilling rendition of the original film. Instead, stay inside and gawk over the sheer terror CGI-less-Pennywise inflicts upon his victims.
Since most of the films here are American, I need to mix it up a bit by including a French title. I think the film’s synopsis fits college life pretty well. The ongoing pressure of academia and rush week definitely make for an infinite struggle. Yet, I don’t think any student has swallowed a rabbit kidney and gone fully bonkers. School can be pretty scary on its own, though-don’t forget Halloween does land on a Tuesday.