Ten Horror Movies to Watch This Halloween

Emily Chudzik, News Editor

Horror has almost always been my favorite movie genre. I have watched a great deal of them over the years, and unfortunately, more often than not, they were awful. They were either incredibly dumb or were not scary at all. In a word, they were a letdown. That being said, whenever I discover a scary movie that is actually scary or had an interesting plotline, it was a rarity. This is a list of ten horror movies I think are worth watching. It is in no particular order:

1) 1408 (2007/PG-13/1 hour 34 minutes) – Renowned horror novelist Mike Enslin (John Cusack) does not believe in ghosts and hauntings, even though he writes about them. He checks into suite 1408 of the notorious Dolphin Hotel for his latest novel, which is rumored to be haunted, against the warnings of the hotel manager. He is the first person in years to stay in that room, and as the night unfolds, it becomes clear as to why no one ever wanted to stay there. The stay may convert Mike to a true horror believer, but he must first survive the night. This is a creepy, psychological thriller based on a short story of the same name by Stephen King.

2) The Conjuring (2013/R/1 hour 52 minutes) – This movie is about world renowned paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga) and is based off of one of their most terrifying cases. They are called to help a family being terrorized by evil spirits in their new home. What happens is more horrifying than anyone could imagine. This is a paranormal thriller with a few pop-ups and a really killer plot. It is made that much more interesting since it is based off of true events.

3) Stir of Echoes (1999/R/1 hour 39 minutes) – Kevin Bacon stars in this film as Tom Witzky, a fairly normal working-class man living in Chicago with his wife Maggie (Kathryn Erbe) and son Jake (Zachary David Cope). One night at a party, Tom is hypnotized and becomes subjected to a post-hypnotic suggestion to be more “open-minded,” and the results are not what anyone expected. This leads him to sense the evils all around him and see the spirit of a girl who disappeared from his neighborhood not long ago. It soon becomes his duty to discover just what exactly happened to her. This is based off of a novel of the same name by Richard Matheson, but only very loosely (I read the book as well, and the stories are barely similar). This is a supernatural thriller with an interesting storyline.

4) Halloween (1978/R/1 hour 33 minutes) – “Halloween” is a classic slasher flick. It tells the story of a young boy named Michael Myers who murders his sister on Halloween night. He is sent to a psychiatric hospital, and then escapes fifteen year later and returns to his hometown to kill again. His former psychiatrist, Dr. Loomis, must stop him from killing teenager Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and her friends. This is the first of an eight movie franchise (and two remakes). What makes this film especially scary is the use of the music and the lighting. This is a low budget, independent film, but it has become an iconic horror film.

5) Scream (1996/R/1 hour 51 minutes) – While this is technically considered a horror movie, it is also a parody of typical slasher movies. The movie pokes a bit of fun at what usually happens in a scary movie while still being suspenseful and frightening, which makes it a good movie for fans of the horror genre. The movie is set in fictional Woodsboro, where people are being gruesomely murdered by a mysterious masked killer. In order to stay one step ahead of the killer, the main characters must follow the “rules” of scary movies, or risk losing their life. This film is entertaining and the story is original; it is not your usual “scary” movie.

6) Saw (2004/R/1 hour 43 minutes) – This is the first of the seven installments of the “Saw” franchise. The film opens in an old, grimy bathroom where two men are chained up, a dead body between them. They both have to follow the rules of the serial killer “Jigsaw” if they want to survive, keep their families safe and win the deadly game that is set for them. It is a bit gruesome, but it is not simply a gory movie with no plot. The movie starts out with a mystery (who is the man in the middle of the floor?) and it keeps viewers on the edge of their seats until the very end. This is the only “Saw” movie I have seen, and from what I have heard, it may be the only one worth watching, but the decision to continue is completely up to you.

7) The Possession of Michael King (2014/R/1 hour 23 minutes) – This movie is extremely recent, and did not get many high reviews, but I hold it in high regards. It may not be anything incredibly “original,” but it is certainly scary. It is creepy, strange and nightmare-worthy. After the death of his wife, documentary filmmaker Michael King (Shane Johnson) decides to make his next film about the search for the existence of the supernatural. He goes to every extreme to uncover the truth; nothing seems to prove the existence of God or the Devil until one specific instance. It is then that something very evil takes over Michael King. This is filmed as “found footage,” which can make the audience feel closer to the action and what is happening in the film.

8) Insidious (2011/PG-13/1 hour 43 minutes) & Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013/PG-13/1 hour 46 minutes) – I had to include both of these as a sort of package deal. The first movie sets up everything, and the second movie helps to explain the first and continue the story. In the first “Insidious,” a family moves to a new house, where their son soon falls into an unexplainable coma. They suspect it may be due to supernatural forces, which is when paranormal investigators come to discover the truth: the boy is able to project his dreaming self into a world called the “further” and spirits will not let him reenter his body. I do not want to give too much away, so I’ll move on. In the sequel, it picks up where the first movie leaves off and explains what happened after the ending. The second film brings everything in the first movie full-circle and there is a clear ending to the story… until the final scene. It may sound confusing, but I highly recommend both of these movies.

9) Sinister (2012/R/1 hour 49 minutes) – Ethan Hawke plays a true-crime novelist who moves his family into a home where a series of real murders were committed. He discovers a box of mysterious and disturbing home movies in the attic and immediately begins to analyze them and conduct his own investigation. The deeper he gets, the more isolated and obsessed he becomes. His family, too, seems to be affected by the supernatural occurrences in the house. This horror flick has a surprise ending you won’t anticipate. Although highly implausible, the storyline is unique and chilling.

10) The Shining (1980/R/2 hours 24 minutes) – Finally, to close out the list is another classic based off of a Stephen King novel. Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) takes a job as the winter caretaker of the Overlook Hotel, bringing along his wife, Wendy (Shelley Duvall), and his psychic son, Danny (Danny Lloyd). He hopes to be able to continue his failed writing career in peace, but it turns out to be anything but peaceful. The previous caretaker had gone crazy and murdered his whole family, and it becomes apparent that the same thing may happen to Jack. Danny’s imaginary friend, Tony, warns him of the dangers of the hotel, but it may be too late. This movie is a bit long, but it is well worth it. It is suspenseful and dramatic, and utterly frightening.