Looking for a good ol’ fashioned scare this Halloween? Look no further than these five horror films, each a masterpiece in its own right. While not ranked in any particular order, each is a must see if scary frights and ghoulish delights are what you seek.
A Quiet Place (2018)
The newest film on this list, “A Quiet Place,” is set in a post-apocalyptic future where most of the human race has been wiped out by a sightless creature, who is super sensitive to sound. These creatures are super intelligent with a design that is as original as it is scary. The Abbott family tries to survive in this horrifying future, communicating only via sign language. The film is directed by and stars John Krasinski, better known as Jim Halpert from “The Office.” This movie, while tense and downright scary at times, is really the story of a father and husband trying desperately to protect the ones he loves, no matter the cost.
Taking place in the fictional town of Haddonfield, Illinois, “Halloween” by Director John Carpenter stars the now legendary silent masked killer Michael Myers, who escapes from an insane asylum and kills babysitters on Halloween night. It features the phenomenal Jamie Lee Curtis as the targeted babysitter, Laurie Strode. She has to try everything she can to avoid being the next victim of the unrelenting horror that is Michael Myers. The now famous main theme and music, composed by Carpenter himself in just one night, is bone-chilling and creates the perfect atmosphere for a horror movie. While it wasn’t the first slasher type horror film, this film easily brought horror films into the mainstream and inspired countless copycats.
The Thing (1982)
An ancient alien threat, capable of morphing into any lifeforms it absorbs, infiltrates an isolated Antarctica research base after being previously buried in ice and causes the 12-man crew to be up to their eyeballs in murder, paranoia, and suspicion. In what is another classic horror film by John Carpenter, the characters and pacing are excellent. In no time, the viewer will be rooting and worrying for Mac Ready, the helicopter pilot, and his fabulous beard. Carpenter considers it to be a part of his “apocalypse trilogy,” where a film features a potentially apocalyptic scenario. Should "The Thing" ever reach civilization, it would be only a matter of time before it consumes all life on Earth. This film has some of the best and scariest practical effects as well and still holds up even 35 years later.
Set centuries into the future where humanity has the ability to venture into the far reaches of space via hyper sleep chambers, the crew of the Nostromo, a deep space mining vessel, finds itself the recipient of a distress call which leads them to an abandoned and derelict craft. Soon, they discover that things aren’t so abandoned when the alien unleashes itself upon the crew, with no help in site. Alien is unique in that it has the rare strong female role in Ripley, played by the excellent Sigourney Weaver. Alien is another example where the Alien itself steals the show, as it is “a perfect organism,” with an almost unbeatable defense via its acid-like blood and remains, a gold standard of movie monsters. Director Ridley Scott adopted a “less is more” approach with this film. Many films have tried to match with their own monsters, but none have matched Alien’s pure unadulterated and claustrophobic terror.
The Shining (1980)
A good old-fashioned ghost story, “The Shining” is based on Stephen King’s most popular novel of the same name. It tells the story of Jack Torrance. He and his family decide to become the new winter caretakers at an isolated hotel in Colorado, in the hopes that he will reach a breakthrough and overcome his writer’s block. Any warnings that the old caretaker had gone insane and murdered his whole family go unheeded. As Jack’s writings continue to suffer, he slowly discovers the hotel’s dark, ghostly secrets and begins to suffer the same fate as the previous caretaker. Deadly hedge mazes, axe attacks, and an elevator full of blood are just some of the horrors awaiting viewers. Thisfilm is required viewing for any horror aficionado or anyone looking for a good Halloween scare – just don't expect to sleep easily that night.