Categories: Entertainment

Best Horror/Thriller Films to Watch This Halloween (31+ Recommendations)

Since today is the first day of October and Halloween is right around the corner, now is the best time to start getting into that “spooky” feeling. If you are a big fan of horror, I have curated the perfect set of films to watch each day of the month leading up to the 31st. These are some of the best horror/thriller films that I have personally enjoyed and I hope you will too. 

I tried to select a wide variety of genres and themes for each film. So I have added some categories and tags to each of the films to help organize my list a little better: 

Slasher, Possessed Spirits, Haunted Rooms, Monster/Creatures, Serial Killers, Zombies, etc.

This way if you have a favorite horror trope, you can skim through the list until you find a film that you are interested in 🙂 

*Taglines via IMDb and Wikipedia and all images via Google Searches

31 Recommendations: The Best of the Genre

Scream (1996) [SLASHER]

A year after the murder of her mother, a teenage girl is terrorized by a masked killer who targets her and her friends by using scary movies as part of a deadly game.


Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) [SLASHER]

Five friends head out to rural Texas to visit the grave of a grandfather. On the way they stumble across what appears to be a deserted house, only to discover something sinister within. Something armed with a chainsaw.


Evil Dead 2 (1987) [HORROR-COMEDY, POSSESSED SPIRITS]

The lone survivor of an onslaught of flesh-possessing spirits holes up in a cabin with a group of strangers while the demons continue their attack.

Although The Evil Dead 1 is another excellent horror movie, I prefer The Evil Dead 2, and you don’t even need to have seen the first one to enjoy this one. 


The Fly (1986) [BODY HORROR]

A brilliant but eccentric scientist begins to transform into a giant man/fly hybrid after one of his experiments goes horribly wrong.


Jaws (1975) [MONSTERS/CREATURES]

When a killer shark unleashes chaos on a beach community off Cape Cod, it’s up to a local sheriff, a marine biologist, and an old seafarer to hunt the beast down.


The Exorcist (1973) [DEMONIC POSSESSION]

When a young girl is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two priests to save her daughter.


Rosemary’s Baby (1968) [PSYCHOLOGICAL HORROR]

A young couple trying for a baby moves into an aging, ornate apartment building on Central Park West, where they find themselves surrounded by peculiar neighbors.


The Shining (1982) [HAUNTED HOUSE]

A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where a sinister presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from both past and future.


The Thing (1982) [MONSTERS/CREATURES, ISOLATION]

A research team in Antarctica is hunted by a shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of its victims.


Alien (1979) [ALIEN ABDUCTION]

The crew of a commercial spacecraft encounters a deadly lifeform after investigating an unknown transmission.


Silence of the Lambs (1991) [SERIAL KILLERS]

A young F.B.I. cadet must receive the help of an incarcerated and manipulative cannibal killer to help catch another serial killer, a madman who skins his victims.


The Sixth Sense (1999) [PSYCHOLOGICAL HORROR]

Malcolm Crowe, a child psychologist, starts treating a young boy, Cole, who encounters dead people and convinces him to help them. In turn, Cole helps Malcolm reconcile with his estranged wife.


The Others (2001) [HAUNTED HOUSE]

During World War II, a woman who lives with her two photosensitive children on her darkened old family estate in the Channel Islands becomes convinced that the home is haunted.


Saw (2004) [PSYCHOLOGICAL HORROR, TORTURE HORROR]

Two strangers awaken in a room with no recollection of how they got there, and soon discover they’re pawns in a deadly game perpetrated by a notorious serial killer.


American Psycho (2000) [SERIAL KILLERS]

A wealthy New York City investment banking executive, Patrick Bateman, hides his alternate psychopathic ego from his co-workers and friends as he delves deeper into his violent, hedonistic fantasies.

I am mainly adding this film because Patrick Bateman is such a popular Halloween costume, plus it’s a great film even though it’s not directly under the horror genre. 


The Ring (2002) [POSSESSED SPIRITS]

A journalist must investigate a mysterious videotape which seems to cause the death of anyone one week to the day after they view it.

I should note that The Ring (2002) is an American adaptation of the original Japanese film, Ringu (1998). Personally, I think the production of the American remake is better, but definitely check out the original Japanese film for a more authentic and creepy story. 


The Grudge (2004) [HAUNTED HOUSE, POSSESSED SPIRITS]

An American nurse living and working in Tokyo is exposed to a mysterious supernatural curse, one that locks a person in a powerful rage before claiming their life and spreading to another victim.

This film is similar to The Ring, where it is an American remake of the original Japanese film, Ju-On: The Grudge (2002). So, you can pick either film to watch. But I believe the American version is easier to find online. 


The Orphanage (2007) [HAUNTED HOUSE]

A woman brings her family back to her childhood home, which used to be an orphanage for handicapped children. Before long, her son starts to communicate with an invisible new friend.


Jennifer’s Body (2009) [HIGH-SCHOOL, POSSESSED SPIRITS]

A newly-possessed high-school cheerleader turns into a succubus who specializes in killing her male classmates. Can her best friend put an end to the horror?


*DOUBLE FEATURE: Black Swan (2010) and Perfect Blue (1997) [PSYCHOLOGICAL HORROR]

Black Swan (2010) [PSYCHOLOGICAL HORROR]

Nina is a talented but unstable ballerina on the verge of stardom. Pushed to the breaking point by her artistic director and a seductive rival, Nina’s grip on reality slips, plunging her into a waking nightmare.

Perfect Blue (1997) [PSYCHOLOGICAL HORROR]

A pop singer gives up her career to become an actress, but she slowly goes insane when she starts being stalked by an obsessed fan and what seems to be a ghost of her past.

Although I adore Black Swan, I must admit that Satoshi Kon’s Perfect Blue served as a major source of inspiration. Therefore, if you haven’t already seen the animated classic, I urge you to do so, especially if you liked Black Swan. Both do an excellent and engaging job of capturing the themes of a psychological thriller in the primary protagonist. 


Insidious (2010) [HAUNTED HOUSE]

A family looks to prevent evil spirits from trapping their comatose child in a realm called The Further.


Shutter Island (2010) [PSYCHOLOGICAL HORROR]

A family looks to prevent evil spirits from trapping their comatose child in a realm called The Further.


The Conjuring (2013) [POSSESSED SPIRITS]

Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren work to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in their farmhouse.


The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016) [ISOLATION]

A father and son, both coroners, are pulled into a complex mystery while attempting to identify the body of a young woman, who was apparently harboring dark secrets.


Get Out (2017) [PSYCHOLOGICAL HORROR, CULTS/OCCULT]

A young African-American visits his White girlfriend’s parents for the weekend, where his simmering uneasiness about their reception of him eventually reaches a boiling point.


1408 (2007) [HAUNTED HOUSE]

A man who specializes in debunking paranormal occurrences checks into the fabled room 1408 in the Dolphin Hotel. Soon after settling in, he confronts genuine terror.


Train to Busan (2016) [ZOMBIES]

While a zombie virus breaks out in South Korea, passengers struggle to survive on the train from Seoul to Busan.


Shaun of the Dead (2004) [HORROR-COMEDY, ZOMBIES]

The uneventful, aimless lives of a London electronics salesman and his layabout roommate are disrupted by the zombie apocalypse.


Coraline (2009) [PSYCHOLOGICAL HORROR, INSECTS]

An adventurous 11-year-old girl finds another world that is a strangely idealized version of her frustrating home, but it has sinister secrets.


Candyman (1992) [URBAN LEGEND]

The Candyman, a murderous soul with a hook for a hand, is accidentally summoned to reality by a skeptic grad student researching the monster’s myth.


Halloween (1978) [SERIAL KILLERS]

Fifteen years after murdering his sister on Halloween night 1963, Michael Myers escapes from a mental hospital and returns to the small town of Haddonfield, Illinois to kill again.


13 More Classics (and “Less Scary” Honorable Mentions)

Here are some extra films that didn’t make the list and some are considered to be “less scary” than the ones listed above. So, feel free to substitute one of the movies listed below if you didn’t like one of those listed above:

The Night Before Christmas (1993) [MONSTERS/CREATURES]

Jack Skellington, king of Halloween Town, discovers Christmas Town, but his attempts to bring Christmas to his home causes confusion.

This is also such a great alternative to watch on Halloween Night instead of the classic 1978 film. The perfect transition of holidays!


Paranorman (2012) [MONSTERS/CREATURES]

A misunderstood boy takes on ghosts, zombies and grown-ups to save his town from a centuries-old curse.


Corpse Bride (2005) [MONSTERS/CREATURES]

When a shy groom practices his wedding vows in the inadvertent presence of a deceased young woman, she rises from the grave assuming he has married her.


Frankenweenie (2012) [MONSTERS/CREATURES]

When a boy’s beloved dog passes away suddenly, he attempts to bring the animal back to life through a powerful science experiment.


Scary Movie (2000) [COMEDY]

A year after disposing of the body of a man they accidentally killed, a group of dumb teenagers are stalked by a bumbling serial killer.


Zombieland (2009) [HORROR-COMEDY, ZOMBIES]

A shy student trying to reach his family in Ohio, a gun-toting bruiser in search of the last Twinkie and a pair of sisters striving to get to an amusement park join forces in a trek across a zombie-filled America.


Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) [MONSTERS/CREATURES]

In the Falangist Spain of 1944, the bookish young stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer escapes into an eerie but captivating fantasy world.


Night of the Living Dead (1968) [ZOMBIES]

A ragtag group of survivors barricade themselves in an old farmhouse to remain safe from a horde of flesh-eating ghouls that are ravaging the Northeast portion of the United States.


Psycho (1960) [SERIAL KILLERS]

A Phoenix secretary embezzles $40,000 from her employer’s client, goes on the run and checks into a remote motel run by a young man under the domination of his mother.


The Cabin in the Woods (2011) [MONSTERS/CREATURES]

Five friends go for a break at a remote cabin, where they get more than they bargained for, discovering the truth behind the cabin in the woods.

From left to right: Curt (Chris Hemsworth), Holden (Jesse Williams), Jules (Anna Hutchison), Marty (Fran Kranz) and Dana (Kristen Connolly) in THE CABIN IN THE WOODS.

The Witch (2015) [WITCHCRAFT/OCCULT]

A family in 1630s New England is torn apart by the forces of witchcraft, black magic and possession.


Us (2019) [PSYCHOLOGICAL HORROR]

A family’s serene beach vacation turns to chaos when their doppelgängers appear and begin to terrorize them.


It Follows (2014) [SUPERNATURAL HORROR]

A young woman is followed by an unknown supernatural force after a sexual encounter.


7 Recent/New Horror Out This Year 2023

Check out some new horror films that have been released within this year and last year. 

Evil Dead Rise (2023) [POSSESSED SPIRITS]

A twisted tale of two estranged sisters whose reunion is cut short by the rise of flesh-possessing demons, thrusting them into a primal battle for survival as they face the most nightmarish version of family imaginable.


Sax X (2023) [PSYCHOLOGICAL HORROR, TORTURE HORROR]

A sick and desperate John travels to Mexico for a risky and experimental medical procedure in hopes of a miracle cure for his cancer only to discover the entire operation is a scam to defraud the most vulnerable.


Scream VI (2023) [SLASHER]

In the next installment, the survivors of the Ghostface killings leave Woodsboro behind and start a fresh chapter in New York City.


No One Will Save You (2023) [ALIEN ABDUCTION]

An exiled anxiety-ridden homebody must battle an alien who’s found its way into her home.


Talk to Me (2022) [POSSESSED SPIRITS]

When a group of friends discover how to conjure spirits using an embalmed hand, they become hooked on the new thrill, until one of them goes too far and unleashes terrifying supernatural forces.

HANDOUT IMAGE: TALK TO ME. (L-R) Sophie Wilde. Image from A24 press website. *USE ONLY WITH DIRECT COVERAGE OF (movie), ACROSS PLATFORMS, NO SALES, NO TRADES*. NO SALES. NO TRADES. FOR USE ONLY WITHIN THE SERIES’ PUBLICITY WINDOW. Credit: Matthew Thorne/A24

Barbarian (2022) [HAUNTED HOUSE]

A woman staying at an Airbnb discovers that the house she has rented is not what it seems.


The Menu (2022) [ISOLATION, FOOD]

A young couple travels to a remote island to eat at an exclusive restaurant where the chef has prepared a lavish menu, with some shocking surprises.


Thank you so much for reading! Comment down below any films I may have missed or which horror film is your favorite.

madmeaning

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