Horror movies and Halloween go together like football and Thanksgiving, or Christmas and screaming recriminations. No doubt plenty of our livelier cohorts will be doing things they can feel bad about posting on Facebook later on tonight, but for those of us who are staying in tonight like dang old grownups, we put together a list of our favorite selections for Halloween that you can access right from your Netflix Instant Queue. These movies are guaranteed instant Halloween — just add a snack, an adult beverage of your choice, and someone to snuggle up with for the scary parts.
No. 1 | An American Werewolf In London
This lycanthropic classic by director John Landis ages remarkably well. Its Academy Award-winning special effects are as gruesome and awe-inspiring as they were nearly three decades ago, and you still can't beat this flick for tension and pacing, though it will find you asking yourself "Whatever happened to really awesome werewolf movies?"
No. 2 | Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Halloween
Yeah, yeah, it's not a movie, but name me one better Halloween TV special than this season 2 episode which sees the introduction of Giles' nemesis Ethan Rayne and lets Xander get a chance to TCOB that he will never see again. You can't do it. You can't. Because that episode of television does not exist. This episode is also notable for giving the Scooby Gang's resident lovable lunkhead the quick jolt of military training he'll make use of throughout the series.
No. 3 | Dumplings
From Hong Kong director Fruit Chan comes this impeccably shot and superbly crafted tale of the lengths one woman will go to in the name of staying beautiful. There are scarier movies on this list, but if you're looking for pure movie-making aesthetic, we'd be hard pressed to think of one that finds this much beauty in gore.
No. 4 | Hellraiser
The cinematic adaptation of Clive Barker's short story The Hellbound Heartintroduced the demonic Pinhead and his puzzle box home to the world of horror. Despite having its legacy tainted by a legion of sequels that range from "OK" to "hilariously bad," the original still packs a queasy, gore splattered psychosexual tension that won't have you jumping out of the seat, but will leave you feeling unclean for days.
No. 5 | Killer Klowns From Outer Space
For any coulrophobics out there looking for a genuine fright this evening, you need look no further than this much beloved midnight movie mainstay. For the rest of us, its an indulgence best watched in the presence of people who are afraid of clowns, as the faces of fear they will make at this ludicrously stupid and atrociously produced film will remain forever priceless.
No. 6 | The House Of The Devil
Director Ti West's homage to the slasher flicks and cult horror films of the early 70s is one of the straight up scariest slasher flicks to grace screens in years. There aren't a lot of directors working right now who know how to build tension like West, and fewer who know how to punctuate it for maximum impact.
No. 7 | The Omen
You cannot argue with The Omen. The film not only originated the "creepy kid" genre, it still does it better than any imitator. One of the most suspenseful horror movies of all time for our money, we still haven't found a flick that has us gripping our armrests so consistently as this movie, which has us cringing from opening scene to final credits. Oh, and also just when we're writing about it, apparently. Yeesh.
No. 8 | Troll 2
Not just the worst movie on this list, but quite arguably the worst film ever made. So why is this monstrous crime against movie making on the list? So you can play this drinking game with your friends. End of story. If you choose to spend your Halloween in the peaceful seeming village or Nilbog, prepare to learn all new ways to hate...and be ready to call in hungover to work tomorrow. You have been warned.
No. 9 | Tucker & Dale Vs Evil
This Sundance audience award winner from a few years ago still seems to have slipped under a lot of folks radars, a situation that needs amending. A great cast, fun as all get out writing that blends black comedy and ultra-violence to brilliant effect, and some of the most ridiculous gore effects in recent memory, this movie doesn't even need the bonus points it gets for starring Alan "Wash" Tudyk. It still gets a whole lot of bonus points for that though.
No. 10 | Ghostbusters
FACT: There is never a bad night to watch Ghostbusters. Some people will tell you different. They are wrong, and you should educate them by demanding they watch Ghostbusters right there and then. Once Ghostbusters has been watched, either a) they will thank you or b) they are a robot.
Please note that this is the reason behind otherwise “Duh” selections on this list like Evil Dead and Phantasm, which should be in every self-respecting horror movie fan’s collection anyway. That said, if you’d like some Netflix-independent recommendations, our readers have you covered over on our Facebook page, because our readers are awesome and have kickass taste in movies (They want you to watch Angel Heart, for God’s sake, which you should TOTALLY do.). Maybe you could like us while you’re there? That’d be super.
Happy Halloween, everybody!
- Watching anything on this list will increase your appreciation of fine art
- Mike Myers is terrifying, and yes, we mean both of them
- Best. Halloween Costume. Ever.