There’s truly no better holiday than Halloween – there, we said it. Many may argue this, but hear us out. First of all, there is literally zero pressure or expectations. No pressure to buy great presents like at Christmas. No pressure to not be lonely on Valentine’s Day. No pressure to better yourself with resolutions on New Year’s Eve. Halloween consists merely of dressing up in weird outfits, demanding sweet treats from strangers, and scaring yourself with your movie choices. To be perfectly honest, that is probably our top three favourite things to do all year round.
In honour of the greatest holiday season kicking off, the team at Canstar Blue have handpicked 13 (duh) of their favourite horror movies to scare yourself with this Halloween. Some are scary good, some are scary funny, and some are just scary. Enjoy, if you dare.
13 Best and Scariest Horror Movies
- Hocus Pocus
- Don’t Breathe
- Silent Hill
- Green Room
- In the Tall Grass
- It Follows
- The Descent
- A Nightmare on Elm Street
- I Know What You Did Last Summer
- From Dusk Till Dawn
- The Loved Ones
- Let the Right One In
Hocus Pocus – Disney+
Whether you love it or hate it, you can’t deny that Hocus Pocus is the definition of Halloween nostalgia. Nothing screams “I miss my childhood!” quite like Sarah Jessica Parker and Bette Midlar dressed up as evil witches and running amuck, amuck, amuck in Salem. The movie follows a coven of witches (SJP, Midlar, Kathy Najimy) who are determined to remain immortal after the children of their town accidentally resurrect them from the house they lived in 300 years ago. What was once a cinema flop has turned into a Halloween cult classic, with constant replays throughout the month of October (some free to air channels even vow to play it every day for the entire month – love that dedication).
Don’t Breathe – Amazon Prime
If you loved A Quiet Place – then you’ll love this OG silent thriller. Don’t Breathe follows three Detroit delinquents; Rocky (Janey Levy), Alex (13 Reasons Why’s Dylan Minnette) and Money (Daniel Zovatto) who all make a living from robbing houses around their neighbourhood. Rocky wants nothing more than to raise enough money to move herself and her younger sister to California to get away from her abusive mother and her alcoholic boyfriend. After she receives a tip that a blind man in a nearby house is keeping $300,000 in cash, the three decide to rob him – but everyone knows that karma is real and that maybe they shouldn’t have been so confident.
Silent Hill – BINGE
Silent Hill takes the two weirdest things: sleepwalking and dreamscapes and turns them into your worst nightmare. Rose and Christopher have adopted a daughter Sharon, who is plagued by sleepwalking misadventures and strange dreams about a town called Silent Hill, a real town that was abandoned in the 70’s due to a massive fire. Desperate to end her disturbances, Rose decides to take her daughter to the town and see if it can provide some closure. Nothing goes as planned and mother, father and daughter are plunged into another dimension, unable to escape the fog ridden boundaries of Silent Hill. Interestingly enough, this cult classic is derived from a Japanese video game and has managed to become just as, if not more popular than its inspiration.
Green Room – Shudder
They say it’s rough when you’re starting out in a band, but I don’t think it was ever meant to get this rough. Punk band the Ain’t Rights, made up of kids Pat, Sam, Reece and Tiger, are all set to take their show on the road, so are understandably crestfallen when they find out their main gig got cancelled. To make it up to them, a radio host arranges for them to perform a gig out in the sticks, which they willingly take. Arriving there, they find out it’s actually a neo-Nazi hang out spot, which is bad enough, but they agree to do the gig and get out of there. They are so close to escaping this nightmare when Pat ducks back into the bar to grab his phone, witnessing something he was never meant to see. That’s just the beginning – from here you may as well sit down and hold on, it’s going to be a hectic ride.
In The Tall Grass – Netflix
This looks ridiculous. But also, scary. Aka, the Halloween dream team. In the Tall Grass is based off a novella by father-son combo Stephen King and Joe Hill. It follows brother and sisters Cal and Becky, who are on a road trip so that pregnant Becky can give her baby up for adoption. While stopping on the side of the road, the two hear a young boy calling out for help from a nearby field of tall grass and run in to look for him. But the two are quickly separated, and learn that evil lurks within the tall grass, and that there may be no way out.
It Follows – Shudder & Foxtel Now
There are many different types of terrifying monsters, but the idea of a relentless demon following you for eternity really takes the cake. Jaime is a university student living her best life – enjoying summer in her pool, seeing friends and hanging out with her new boyfriend, Hugh. One night, however, after she and Hugh sleep together, he reveals to her that he’s just left her with a truly poisoned gift. We can’t say too much more without spoiling the beauty of this movie, but we can say for sure that It Follows will have you looking over your shoulder for a very long time.
The Descent – Shudder
Props to the coworker who recommended this – just watching the trailer is going to provide enough trauma for the next few months. The Descent follows Sarah, who, a year after a severe emotional trauma, reluctantly agrees to accompany her friends cave exploring as they try to cheer her up. However, the women quickly learn that a) the only way out is down and b) they are not alone in the dark caves as underground predators (with a taste for humans) inhabit every crevasse. We’d be spewing if we were Sarah. It doesn’t seem like an overly scary concept, but the combination of cave diving and flesh-eater things has got to be up there with one of the worst.
Hereditary – BINGE
Hereditary looks absolutely terrifying. Some of the staff have said it was fantastic, and some *cough* are too scared to even watch it. The movie stars Toni Collette and Gabriel Byrne as the parents of Alex Wolff (he was a lot less scary in The Naked Brothers Band) and 13-year-old Milly Shapiro (she is extremely scary in this). It’s difficult to explain the plot of this one without giving anything away (and trust us, the plot twists are part of what makes the film) – but basically, the family is haunted by a demon after the death of their secretive grandmother.
A Nightmare On Elm Street (the original) – Shudder
We’re going to be honest here. This movie may have been forced upon us, at a very young age, to an innocent mind who had previously only watched The Saddle Club. This movie may hold some extremely traumatic memories, but it also is the epitome of horror. We mean, sleep is the best thing ever, and they literally can never sleep or they’ll die. That really is a nightmare. For those living under a rock, A Nightmare On Elm Street is an American slasher in which teens are invaded and killed in their dreams by Freddy Krueger and thus killed in real life as well.
I Know What You Did Last Summer – Foxtel Now & Shudder
It would be wrong not to include this Freddie Prince Jr. classic in the list. I Know What You Did Last Summer, which also stars Jennifer Love Hewitt and real-life Mrs. Prince Jr. Sarah Michelle Geller, has long been credited (alongside Scream) with revitalising the slasher genre in the 1990s. The movie follows four young friends who start receiving notes claiming “I know what you did last summer”, and are stalked by a hook-wielding killer exactly one summer after they covered up a fatal car accident.
From Dusk Till Dawn – Stan, BINGE, Foxtel Now, Shudder
This Quentin Tarantino horror movie isn’t scary as such, but has all the elements you need for a great movie; George Clooney in the lead, Tarantino acting alongside, and vampires. From Dusk Till Dawn begins as a crime drama about a pair of murderous brothers on the run who abduct a family and force them across the border into Mexico. But then, the movie has one of the greatest and strangest 180-turns as it morphs into a horror film as the characters try to survive vampire attacks in a biker bar. No, we’re not making this up.
The Loved Ones – Shudder
Xavier Samuel has been in some questionable movies in his time (that one where he and his friend fell in love with each other’s mums, the entire Twilight Saga), but he is both beautiful and talented so we’re always happy to watch whatever he’s in, with The Loved Ones no exception. The movie follows Samuel’s character Brent, who is struggling to recover from the trauma of accidentally killing his own Dad in a car accident six months ago. He’s going through a rough trot, but after he rejects his classmate Lola’s invitation to the school prom and finds himself the sole guest of a demented fake prom, he realises his life is going to actually get worse. You’ll get a comedy kick at the start of the movie, but will swiftly be reminded why it’s really labelled a horror after Lola and her Dad nail Brent’s feet into the ground so he can literally never leave the party. And you thought your prom was bad.
Let The Right One In – Shudder
This is a strange, Swedish, Twilight-esque horror/young love story. If that sounds like your thing, then we’d suggest giving it a watch. Let The Right One In follows a lonely 12-year-old boy, Oskar, living in a small suburb in Stockholm, desperate for even one friend (is there anything scarier than having no friends?). One night he meets Eli, a pale looking quiet girl who has moved in next door. She initially informs him that they can’t be friends, but gradually they form a close relationship. Poor little Oskar will take any friends he can get, so he is a bit oblivious to Eli’s weird behaviour, and the killings that seem to have only started happening since she came to town.
So there you have it. Don’t tell us you have no reason to get into Halloween this year. Get spooked, get freaky, get amongst it. If this list STILL doesn’t satisfy your need for screams, check out horror dedicated streaming site Shudder. And if you need to watch something a bit more light-hearted before you turn the lights off and go to bed, check out our guides on the best movies available on Netflix, Stan and Apple TV – it may help you sleep a bit easier.
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