Halloween horror— top five films to watch by Oct. 31

Photo courtesy of IMDb

By Gaby Salazar | Copy Editor

If there’s ever a time to delve into the psychotic thrillers and demonic forces of the world, it’s around Halloween night. Every year, I curl up on the sofa with my favorite snacks and watch some of my most treasured horror movies.

The horror genre is particularly fascinating to me and close to my heart, especially when everything— the script, camera angles and scores—all work perfectly to bring a truly unforgettable roller coaster of suspense. However, I cannot talk about these films without mentioning the directors and actors who made them such a success, and have brought me to write about them today years after I’ve seen them.

There are many movies that can produce a few good scares for the audience, but a great horror film stays with audiences long after they originally jolted in fear. Creating my top five list wasn’t an easy task, but no matter how hard I resisted, I kept going back to Stephen King’s legendary horror writing (three out of my five are written by King). So without further ado, here are my top five horror flicks to watch in preparation for Halloween.


Directed by Ari Aster, “Hereditary” is one of the most terrifying and shocking films of its time. In all honesty, this movie made me lose sleep; I couldn’t stop thinking about what I had just seen. Toni Collette, one of the main actors in the film, gives one of the most unforgettable performances of her career. The film is beautifully shot, filled with details you’d normally miss. Nothing is scarier than finding out the cryptic and dark secrets of your own family— if you’re truly searching for a heart-stopping thriller this Halloween, look no further than “Hereditary.” And if you’re looking for a challenge, try watching this movie before going to sleep with the lights off.

“IT” (1990’s miniseries)

If you’ve only seen the modern-day remakes of “IT,” do yourself a favor by watching the original 1990’s miniseries. Although the remakes closely follow the original movie, this story of the terrorizing clown is somehow more terrifying under Tim Curry’s raspy, smoker’s-like voice. I probably laughed more at the special effects from this decade than actually feeling scared, but keep in mind that King’s novel was over 1,000 pages, so there are bound to be parts that didn’t make it on screen. That being said, there are plenty of iconic scenes from the miniseries that you miss out on when watching the remakes.

“The Shining”

Yet another Stephen King classic, this film is reminiscent of winter, but in the scariest way possible. Only Stephen King can truly turn a winter wonderland into a blizzard nightmare. Jack Nicholson plays the caretaker of The Overlook Hotel in this psychological thriller. If you’re not paying attention to the methodical camera angles and overall visual appeal, you’re watching the movie wrong. Stanley Kubrick was a genius directing this film, and “The Shining” is full of classic scenes recognizable by even non-horror fanatics.

“Carrie” (1976)

You guessed it— another novel by King made it onto my list. Carrie is a shy, lonely high school student who is relentlessly bullied by her peers. She discovers that she has telekinetic powers and ultimately unleashes her fury on everybody in the gymnasium on prom night. This movie is filled with glorious bloody revenge, but my biggest takeaway is that nothing is worse than a bully from the ‘70s, and I loved how this movie made me feel an emotional connection with Carrie. I knew what was going to happen to Carrie on prom night, but the journey to her timely revenge was played out well and made this movie unforgettable. The ending has a twist that made me jump, so make sure to watch this classic film.

“Halloween” (1978)

What’s scarier than a slow-moving but unstoppable evil force that can never be killed? Look no further than Michael Myers in “Halloween.” Jamie Lee Curtis plays Laurie, who is destined to be terrorized by her brother Michael after he escapes a mental institution. This movie is the perfect film to watch on Halloween night because it is a universal nightmare come to life. After watching “Halloween”, get ready to have the iconic, eerie theme song stuck in your head for a few days. Directed by Rick Rosenthal, “Halloween” has everything you would want in a Halloween movie.