The Shining (1980) – This classic psycho thriller, based on the bestselling novel by horror mastermind Steven King, focuses around a troubled couple and their son who spends the winter at a large, isolated hotel. Little do they know that their five year old son Danny can see apparitions from the past, or an evil spirit is slowly taking over Danny’s ill-tempered father. What makes this film so great is the genius combination of scenery and soundtrack – the hauntingly beautiful decoration of the resort seems to mesh perfectly with the eerie music played in almost every scene.
Hocus Pocus (1993) – Looking back, the effects were terrible and the dialogue was campy, but I’ve always loved this movie and I always will. Set in modern day Salem, Massachusetts, three evil witch sisters come back from the dead on Halloween night, and it’s up to two teens and a talking cat to save the town. With stars like Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker, this Disney flick (which you can catch on Disney Channel undoubtedly all month long) is tons of fun; just don’t expect any real scares out of it.
Scream (1996) – Ghostface makes his debut in this classic teen slasher film, directed by horror master Wes Craven. When a killer clad in a mask modeled after The Scream by Edvard Munch begins terrorizing a small town, a girl and her friends try to find out who’s behind the gruesome murders. It’s bloody, but the plot will have you guessing until the very end.
The Haunting in Connecticut (2009) – Probably one of the most underestimated horror films, this thriller is set around a family that moves into a house that was once a mortuary (no wonder they got it so cheap). The son in the family has cancer, so of course when he claims he’s seen ghosts they blame it on his medication. This movie deserves more recognition because the plot and setting is ideal for a horror film, and some scenes really make you want to squirm.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) – Even though a remake was released recently, nothing beats the original tale of a child murderer who reaches his victims through their dreams. Fast paced and heart wrenching, this film will leave you on the edge of your seat. A young and very attractive Johnny Depp makes an appearance as well, which is nothing to miss.
The Omen (1976) – It would be a bummer if you found out your son was the antichrist, right? That’s what happened to Robert and Katherine Thorn in this classic horror film. Damien, the name of the child who is evil incarnate, puts his family through hell (literally). That might teach you not to swap babies at the hospital, huh?
The Blair Witch Project (1999) – After three college kids decide to make a documentary about a local legend in the woods of Maryland, they go missing and only their footage is left behind. This film made such a buzz when it first came out, particularly because of the way it was filmed, to look as if it were really shot with a small hand held camera. It’s frightening in every way.
The Exorcist (1973) – Arguably the scariest movie of all time (and supposedly based on a true story), the Exorcist is about a young girl who becomes possessed. Way ahead of its time, my mom refuses to watch it with me, even now, decades after it premiered. It was and still is highly controversial, which makes for an even better film.
The Sixth Sense (1999) – More of a supernatural thriller then a horror film, this movie, starring a strong hearted Bruce Willis and an adorable Haley Joel Osment, tells the story of a boy who can talk to the dead. As touching as it is spooky, Haley will have you rooting for his cute but troubled character up until the very end, which contains one of the best plot twists in movie history.
Scary Movie (2000) – If you can’t bear to handle another scary film, this one will surely lighten things up. Made to mock Scream, this comedy follows a group of teenagers stalked by an idiotic serial killer. With hilarious stars like Anna Faris, it’ll make you laugh, and remind you that scary movies are just what they appear to be- movies.