Halloween is not my holiday of choice. I never liked it as a kid, I do not really like it as an adult. Getting dressed up in costumes and/or makeup was/is not something I have ever enjoyed. The candy part was all right, but the really good treats are a thing of the past after too many faux Halloween scares surrounding dangerous extra additives. Still as a kid the one thing I did like about Halloween, beside the Charlie Brown specials, were all the spooky movies. I was never an enthusiast for slasher movies but I did like a good scary movie. Most creepy movies are best watched at night in a completely dark setting with limited distractions. As a kid Halloween added to that mood. As a young man, the addition of a pretty lass, did not hurt the mood. As an adult of 29+ years they are mostly just another movie.
The IMDB Top fifty choices for horror movies are listed at this link. Compare them with your choices. As a nod to the part of Halloween I liked growing up, I am offering up my choices of best movies to watch on a Halloween night.
Alien and Aliens were and are still my top movies of choice when I want to watch a Horror flick. It is rare when a sequel is as good as the original but Ridley Scott’s and Cameron’s one-two punch of sci-fi masterpieces about aliens with acid for blood and a penchant for using humans as host for their offspring still leaves chills in my spine when I watch either movie. They made you remember, “In space no one can hear you scream”.
Poltergeist. I am not normally a big ghost movie fan but the original Poltergeist was the type of movie that could induce ghost-filled nightmares.
The Exorcist. Demon possession and projectile vomiting what else really needs to be said. Also, lots of foul language and adult situations in this movie. I remember by the time my mother actually allowed me to read the book it seemed like most of the lines had been magic-markered through.
The Birds. Anything by Alfred Hitchcock is miles ahead of the competition when it comes to scare tactics. I remember hearing a saying attributed to the scaremaster that went; it is not the gunshot that scares the movie watcher but the anticipation of the gunshot. He was the master of timing in scary movies. And The Birds is a movie that will make you reconsider about how nice Tweety-bird really is.
The Shining with Jack Nicholson and Shelly Duvall. This was one of the few Stephen King books that I felt carried his fright tale from the book to the big screen. (Another King book I felt that made the scare transfer well, but to the small screen as a mini-series was “Rose Red”.)
The Prophecy. I like Christopher Walken warped-persona characters. And he excels as a maniacal angel feeling rejected and consumed with a hatred of mankind. And Viggo Mortensen makes a pretty nasty Satan in the movie. There are several quality character actors that keep this movie on the path.
The original Halloween. This is one of the few slasher movies I actually enjoyed. This is the movie that earned Jamie Lee Curtis her reign of the title, The Queen of Scream. It is what it is – and it was the awkward popularity birth of the malevolent slasher genre movies. There were previous slasher movies bit no early ones really caught the publics taste like this one.
The Last House on the Left. Wes Craven’s early stab at a frightening sadistic slasher movie. It was crude but it worked for me.
Jaws. Not your normal Halloween style of horror but still a terrifying movie. The only movie I have ever been physically attacked at when the guy behind me jumped and stuck his foot where it doesn’t belong during the head rolled out from under the boat scene. (Beware of the landshark!)
North by Northwest. Another atypical Halloween movie. Though it is not spooky in a Halloween sense, it is my favorite Hitchcock movie, a very good cast and it is full of suspense and action.
Honorable fear-provoking scream-producing mention also goes to:
The Thing (the 1982 version)
Bram Stokers Dracula
Interview with a Vampire
Fright Night (not scary, but a above average vampire flick with Roddy McDowell and Chris Sarandon)
Ghost Story (1981 – Fred Astaire, John Houseman and Melvin Douglas)
Cube 2: Hypercube