In a sad attempt to get into the Halloween mood, I recently watched some really awful horror movies. The first, “The Lazarus Effect,” was clearly a cheap knock-off of “Flatliners” with a taste of “X-Men.” I then followed up that fail with “Due Date,” a sadly silly found- footage repeat of “Rosemary’s Baby,” except devoid of any discernible plot, character development or ability to frighten anyone. To make it plain, the seasonal rubber rats being sold at my local Walgreens are far more chilling.
Due to this exercise in inanity, I am looking out for my fellow horror fans. If you, like me, enjoy getting a little spooked during Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) season, I offer you this gift: 16 of some of the scariest movies ever made. I went deep into the crates for films I used to watch with my equally eager-to-be-scared mom and sister, and then traveled up through time to include some in the current category of “scare the Black off ya.”
Let me know if you agree with my choices. And if you haven’t seen all of these, try them out and come back with your findings. I’ll take write-in candidates in comments.
Two words: the devil. Not a scar-faced madman, a hockey-masked villain or a puzzle-loving serial killer. The actual factual devil is turning folks heads around, floating them off the bed and beating up priests. No thanks.
This movie, the original mind you, scared the bejeezus out of me as a youth. Even as a grown woman, I flip past it as soon as I hear that telltale static or see spooky lil’ Carol Ann warning “they’re here.” You don’t have to tell me twice, boo.
“The Others” (2001)
Nicole Kidman needs Department of Children and Family Services called on her arse, asap. You will find out why when you watch. Do not seek out a spoiler alert though. M. Night Shyamalan WISHES he could come up with a curve like this one.
“The Ring” (2002)
So, a fish belly pale girl with drenched black hair and a crazed blood vengeance comes through your TV if you watch a weird video. This is definitely Netflix & Chill gone horribly wrong. The sequels are trash, but the OG had me side-eyeing my closet for a little while after I checked it out.
Haunted hotels are old hat. Just ask one of my faves, The Shining, but this Tokyo-based take involving a film crew, frightening specters and atmospheric terror provides good reason to put it next to Jack Nicholson’s star vehicle.
“Night of the Living Dead” (1968)
If you think you’re invested in Darryl, Glen and the rest of “The Walking Dead” team, just you WAIT until you feast your eyes upon the main character in this amazing, ground-breaking fright fest. This is must-see viewing if you are into the undead.
“The Omen” (1976)
Again, the devil. Well, his son. Same difference.
“Mr. Sardonicus” (1961)
Talk about an ice grill. This vintage piece about a man with a horrifying smile will give you nightmares.
“The Conjuring “(2013)
Real talk. This movie had me nervous around dolls and wardrobe chests. Laugh if you want. Try to watch it by yourself on Halloween night and then come back to me with your mockery.
“The Blob” (1988)
I did not want my mom to wash my hair in the sink after seeing this sci fi classic about a gelatinous monster making the rounds. It has been remade several times over, but this is the one you want.
“The Thing” (1982)
Again, skip the cheap remake. Go for the original and you will be rewarded with a heart-pounding, nail-biting journey into a military base where a shape-shifting monster stalks a crew.
“It Follows” (2014)
Admittedly, there is a strange mythology that has to do with a sexually transmitted death stalker, but stay with me on this, it’s effectively creepy. You will be looking behind you everywhere you go for at least a week. The slow-moving menace in this film is not to be underestimated.
“The Descent” (2005)
Rappel into madness with some of the ugliest monstrosities to come out of the FX department. And man, they’re brutal. This girl-power-meets-creature feature is a great way to scare yourself silly.
“Trilogy of Terror” (1975)
One of the First Ladies of horror, Karen Black, features prominently in this trio of chill bump-inducing little number. Personal pick: “Amelia.” MVP award goes to the razor-toothed doll chasing Black all around creation.
Anthony Perkin’s mama boy remains one of the most fear-inducing characters mainly because of his quiet, unassuming demeanor and good looks. Who knew he was dressed to kill? (Miss me with the Vince Vaughn version though.)
A group of telekinetics are trying to take over the world. Let’s just say they aren’t exactly using their powers to move chess pieces. This gross-out movie gives new meaning to “blow your mind.”