1) 28 Days Later – While it feels like a remake of Omega Man, this film about a group of people trying to survive a viral apocolypse is well-made. Its infected people are scary. It’s like watching a fast-acting rabies virus turn innocent and descent people into hungry, man-eating zombies. The greatest fear explored in this film is fear itself. A man who isn’t infected turns from hero into psycho-killer-hero within the first hour of the film. It’s not a bad film, but it’s not a great film either. However, 28 Days Later is great for people who want to rent a movie, and enjoy the thrill of being scared in the comfort of their own homes.
2) Alien – Back in the time of its initial release in 1979, Ridley Scott scared a lot of people with his vision of this transforming alien creature with acid for blood and a skull-cracking bite stowed away aboard a mining spaceship. One by one, Lt. Ellen Ripley’s fellow crewmen are killed by the slimy beast, and finds herself battling this alien monster alone. Look out for the chest-bursting sequence, it terrified audiences back in ’79.
3) Aliens– Director James Cameron created a sequel that rivals its predecessor in brilliance. The action/ science-fiction/ horror classic is intense, scary, and energetic in its speed. Lt. Ellen Ripley, sole survivor of the alien attack on the mining spaceship, Nostromo is thrown back into the frey. Alongside a platoon of space marines, Ripley saves the life of a little girl, Newt, battles a horde of alien beasts, and takes on the mother of all space creatures, the alien queen in this essential scary movie. Rent or buy it at any Blockbuster Video, Wal-Mart, or video retail store.
4) An American Werewolf in London – This great, fun scary movie changed the way we looked at werewolves. Before An American Werewolf in London, it was The Wolf Man that scared audiences with its realistic vision. But when John Landis (Coming to America) created this film about two young America tourists exploring England, he made audiences believe in the myth once again. The two Americans discover the old, living legend of the werewolf residing in the fields of a town outside London, and from there, one of the young tourists go on a killing spree. Not only is the horror evident in the monster’s attacks, but when this young man starts seeing his victims as ghosts, it’s genuinely freaky. This is a great contribution to your Halloween viewing experience.
5) Amityville Horror (1979) – Based on a true ghost story, this scary spook show may not be as effective on the younger audiences today, but it did scare a few people back in the time of its initial release. The Lutz family have just moved into a new home, little do they know this two story old house is haunted. We never learn why or how it could be infested with so many poltergeists. But, the theory that whom or whatever it is terrorizing this happy home is just pure evil. The film isn’t perfect. At times, Amityville Horror (1979) isn’t even all that scary but if you’re in the mood for some good ol’ Halloween fun, you can’t go wrong with this old haunted house story.
6) Amityville Horror (2005) – In some ways, this remake of the old James Brolin Amityville is better than its predecessor or any of its sequels. The fear is more evident. The way in which the fear is delivered makes it all the more powerful. And, this remake’s characters are less cardboard. We even get some insight into this haunted house’s history, which is particularly dark and frightening in itself. If you’re looking for ghostly fun, make sure you at least give this scary haunted house a visit this Halloween.
7) Arachnophobia – Creepy crawlers have never been so terrifying. In this scary movie about killer spiders, Dr. Ross Jennings played by Jeff Daniels is particularly arachnophobic, on top of which he must contend with an entire hatch of anything but friendly exotic spiders. The small town in which he works as the town’s physician is subject to a few strange and unexplained deaths. He finds out that he must take on his worst fear, and stop the arachnids from killing anyone else. If you’re afraid of spiders, this is the perfect film to sit down with on Halloween.
8) Army of Darkness – Sam Raimi (Spider-Man, The Gift) created this fun, funny, and exciting “horror film” to complete the Evil Dead series. Ashley or Ash, the handless, chainsaw-wielding, wise-cracking hero from the previous films ends up falling out of the sky and into the medieval times. He is immediately subjected to slavery, torture, and hero-worship. The “boom-stick” wielding man from the future must ride to a sacred place, bring back a book, and save the people of this small community from the “deadites”. Ash is clumsy and foolish. He resights the magic words incorrectly and unearths an entire army of killer skeletons. The Army of Darkness may not be the most logical, the most frightening or the most intellectual film of the series, but the film is great for a few laughs during your scary movie viewing experience.
9) Beetlejuice – This classic horror comedy isn’t exactly frightening as it is funny. Director Tim Burton’s vision of two ghosts trying to scare away the yuppies that have moved in or ‘invaded’ their beloved home is clever, and damn hilarious at times. Michael Keaton plays the title role of Beetlejuice, a mischievous, exorcisizing ghost with a lot of power and a lot of brass. Beetlejuice tries to break free from his model prison, terrorize everyone including his fellow ghosts, and ends up saving the day in one way or another. This is essential to enjoy Halloween – if not for the laughs and entertainment, but for the colorful way in which Tim Burton tells this story.
10) Bram Stroker’s Dracula – The best remake of the Bella Lugosi classic Dracula to date. Not only is every character from the legendary novel fleshed out in marvelous detail, the way in which director Francis Ford Coppola brings the story to the screen is as beautiful and hypnotic as only the classic vampire would want it. Everyone in the film delivers a top-notch performance, especially Gary Oldman as the title character himself and Anthony Hopkins as his rival, Van Helsing. It’s great Halloween fun. As mesmerizing as some of the scenes in this scary vampire movie can be, don’t be taken in by the count’s spell too much, you might just end up with a pair of fangs in your neck.