13 classic horror movies to watch on Halloween
Turn off the lights and choose a classic horror movie to watch after the round or the healers are done for the night. While there have been many great horror tales staged in recent years, going back to some famous and lesser-known horror films from years past can be frightening. What makes them timeless is often the way the director uses light and shadow or visual deception to guide audiences to the final denouement. Some are slasher movies, others use psychological twists to amplify the fear factor. But all of those older films used effects that modern directors have learned.
On the Internet, there are many lists of the best horror movies, and there will certainly be disagreements over which is the best. Every connoisseur of terror has their own “thing” that chills their blood. Here are thirteen films, all made before 1990, that have made many top lists for a variety of reasons. But above all because they stay with you long after the last credits.
The Exorcist (1973)
Who hasn’t seen a copy of the poster for “The Exorcist” with the shadow of the priest with a doctor’s bag in his hand grabbed by a lamppost looking out a window. Or saw a photo of Linda Blair, who played the devil possessed girl, floating above her bed. Based roughly on real events, William Peter Blatty’s 1971 novel became the most successful horror film of all time, until “It” in 2017. Directed by William Friedkin, audiences flocked to it. , many running away to vomit and others fainting. He was given an R rating, but felt he deserved an X because of some of the events happening and the imagery.
The omen (1976)
The devil plays an important role in “The Omen”, too. This time in the form of a little boy. Back then, it was unusual for great actors of the time like Gregory Peck and Lee Remick to be in a horror movie. It drew people to the movies, as did the story of a diplomat who adopts another woman’s baby as his own when he dies, and the child’s mother dies in childbirth. But, as the child grows, violent death follows the family. And his parents realize that he is the antichrist. He won two Oscar nominations.
The Changling (1980)
Part of a ghost story and a mystery, “The Changling” is another horror film starring a cast of movie stars. Gene Hackman plays a grieving widower who moves into a dark and spooky mansion in Seattle where the pipes make strange noises and sounds come from the empty attic. Slowly, Hackman’s character is drawn into a decades-old mystery that a powerful family prefers to stay in hiding. The truth is so emotionally intense that the film will stay with you until dawn. Director Martin Scorsese considers it the scariest movie of all time.
The Brilliant (1980)
Based on Stephen King’s novel about a secluded haunted hotel in the Colorado Rockies, Stanley Kubrick’s film strayed from the book and initially received poor ratings. However, it gained momentum and is now considered one of the classics of modern horror. It’s a mix of psychological horror as an abusive father, Jack, played by Jack Nicholson with stage-chewing zeal, slowly loses his grip on reality and the mind-blowing hauntings of dark ghosts. The most famous scene is Shelley Duval fearing for her life as Jack kills the door with an ax and says “This is Johnny” with a sadistic smile.
The Rosemary Baby (1968)
Satan is at the heart of many classic horror movies, and in “Rosemary’s Baby,” he desperately wants to become a dad by any means. Written and directed by acclaimed director Roman Polanski, the story centers on Rosemary Woodhouse, her husband Guy, and the neighbors in their apartment building with a dark past whom Rosemary believes to be Satanists after her baby. Based on a book by William Castle, it starred Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon, Sydney Blackmer and Ralph Bellamy. He won two academy awards, including Ruth Gordon for Best Supporting Actress.
Telling a twisted story of love and deception among monsters in a circus performance, he was banned from 1932 to 1968 for his use of real disabled circus performers. Based on a short story called “Spurs” by director Todd Browning, it’s about a trapeze artist who joins a carnival with plans to seduce and murder a dwarf for his money. It was initially a failure and destruction of director Browning’s career. Although it has since been seen as compassionate towards people with physical disabilities, it features some of the most terrifying scenes in horror history. Summary at the end where the wicked woman only offers him desserts in a terrifying line, “Gobble gobble, gobble gobble.” We accept it. One of us, one of us.
When a Stranger Calls (1979)
Every babysitter’s nightmare is the premise behind “When a Stranger Calls”. It’s considered one of the scariest openings in any horror movie in history, and “Scream” pays homage to it. With everyone strapped to their phones in today’s world, this film shows that a phone can indeed be a threatening device.
A so-called cursed film, “Poltergeist” was written by Stephen Speilberg, Mark Victor and Michael Grais. This is a suburban family attacked by malicious forces. Their youngest daughter, Carol Ann, begins to focus on television parasites and announces one evening: “They are here”. After the making of the film, four members of the cast, including Heather O’Rorke who played Carol Ann, died and he was deemed cursed.
With Jami Lee Curtis reprising her role this year as Laurie Strode in “Halloween Kills,” what better time to watch the original. Director John Carpenter has effectively used bait and turned audiences on to think evil Michael Meyers is hiding when he’s not, and he’s there when you least expect it. And once you’ve seen this movie, you’ll likely keep all the doors in your closet open for a while. Then there is the scary music and the many moments it is not over. Is he just a sociopath or is he really the Boogie Man?
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Do not walk in dark alleys after watching this movie. He’s the one that started all the other zombie movies and started the phenomenon. Shot in black and white with lots of moody shadows, there are some parts that maybe it’s best not to see in blood red. Written and directed by George Romero, it was not only the grandfather of modern zombie movies, but it was ahead of its time with an African-American man, Duane Jones, for the lead role. It ended up bringing in 250 times more than it cost to film.
The Haunting of Julia (1977)
Based on the novel “Julia” by Peter Straub, the story centers on a woman who, while trying to cope with the death of her daughter, must face a vengeful ghost. Although the film and the book end differently, the film is very atmospheric and once again Mia Farrow pulls off a subtle performance. This time it’s not a woman imbued with the devil, but a woman obsessed with a murderous spirit. Or maybe she herself crossed the line?
Invasion of the Body Thieves (1956)
A mix of science fiction and horror, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” is a film noir about an alien invasion of large pods that mimic any human sleeping nearby. However, this new “person” is completely devoid of emotion. The film is very similar to “The Stepford Wives” about brainwashing a population and seeking uniformity of thought. The term “People pod” for those who show no emotion comes from this film. Shot during the days of McCarthy’s witch-hunt against the Communists in the United States, he might as well comment on today’s “culture of cancellation” and his quest for uniformity of thought. .
There was probably no more frightening killer than Norma Bates until Hannibal Lecter’s arrival. Driven by dark and twisted psychological forces, the crazy look actor Tony Perkins gives at the end of the film is creepy. Of course, it’s the famous shower scene, the iconic pipe on the hill behind the motel, and Alfred Hitchcock’s staging that makes it a horror classic. It is considered one of the best Hitchcock films.