It’s that time of year! The leaves are changing, the temperatures are cooling off, and favorite activities like pumpkin or apple picking are back up and running. As we get closer towards Halloween, there are some great movies that you can watch to help get you in the mood. While we have all heard or seen about the favorite masked men that cause nightmares, not everyone has seen the origin movies and the original classics. These movies are some of the top 10 classic horror flicks that are must watches every year and feature some of the best stories and villains of all time.
1. The Exorcist
The Exorcist is a classic horror movie that is a must watch and top of the list. The plot is based loosely on real event of a young girl who began to exhibit worrisome signs. When the child, Linda Blair, plays with a Ouija board, she begins to show strange after effects. From supernatural strength, speaking in tongues, levitation and then convulsions. After receiving no help from doctors, a priest believes that the girl has been inhabited by the devil and tells the mother that she needs an exorcism to save her life and her soul. I won’t spoil it with the ending or how the movie plays out (for those that have STILL not watched it), but it will be one that you have to see at least once if not yearly. The events in this film are considered to make it one of the most disturbing films ever made. For that reason alone, it should be saved on your watchlist and ready to play with the lights out one night.
From the famed director, Alfred Hitchcock, he tells a story that is one of his best films. While we all have heard of Norman Bates, this movie tells the tale of his life. When a young woman stops in at his motel, after stealing money from her work and hiding from law enforcement, she is brutally murderer. Her sister and fiance come looking for her to discover her fate and the twisted life of Norman Bates. This is one of the first, and best, slasher films to be made. While it was made in black and white originally due to a low budget, that didn’t stop this film from winning numerous awards and a place as a cult classic and legendary horror movie. If you want to learn more about Norman Bates and his origin story that has several newer spin-offs, this is the place to start the journey. This movie will make you lock the bathroom door every time you shower at home and in hotels.
If you’ve ever wanted to know the story of Michael Myers, then this is where you should start. While there are eleven movies that make up the series, the first Halloween movie tells how our masked nightmare came to be. When Myers stabs his sister at age six, he lands himself in a sanitorium until he is twenty-one years old. When he is taken to court to be reevaluated and his fate determined, he escapes from his caretakers, murders a mechanic, and steals his iconic knife to begin his slashing spree. This movie needs to be seen at least once so you can understand about the trope of killing the babysitter. Just make sure that you’re prepared to check your backseat each time you get in the car after watching this.
4. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
If you want to know the tale of the original Leatherface, then this movie is just for you. As a brother, sister and friends are on the way to their old family’s homestead, they should realize quickly that the day isn’t going to go as planned. Threatened with a straight razor by a hitchhiker, the pair kick him out of their car before stopping at a gas station a few miles down the road. After being informed the station was out of gas, they still decide to head to the old farmhouse. The group quickly falls victim to the man wearing the mask made of human skin as they try to escape from him and his chainsaw. While the movie shows a more graphic and a larger slashing tool, the movie doesn’t disappoint to keep you on the edge of your seat. Remember, don’t pick up strangers on the side of the road folks.
5. Child’s Play
Dolls are frequently transformed in horror movies from a child’s toy into a horrific thing. In Child’s Play, a murder on the run is shot and takes refuge into a toy store as the police are gaining on him. I his final moments, he performs a vodou ritual to place his soul into the body of one of the Good Guy dolls. The police find the body and claim the threat is over, but little do they know that the spirit has taken on a new form. When a mother buys the doll for her son (as it was a hot item that all kids want), and is given the horrific toy. The doll, now sentient, goes by Chucky and begins his killing spree. While the police are hesitant to believe the story about the killer doll, Chucky schemes how he can return to being human and resume his killing spree. This movie is one that will make you get rid of the dolls in your house and replace them with something less harmful- like stuffed teddy bears. This was the first movie to make it big with the idea of killer dolls and spawned an entire series about his adventures.
6. A Nightmare on Elm Street
Here is the origin of Freddy Krueger, a vengeful spirit who kills for his own pleasure. Wreaking havoc on a small town, young adults are killed in their dreams and in real life as he murders them in their most delicate states. While being framed for murder, the killer stalks the group of friends and picks them off one by one. The bladed glove slashes at his victims in a boiler room, making them worry about falling asleep. This film is a classic horror that shows how you’re never really safe, even in your dreams.
This film spawned from a Stephen King classic. When a young woman, Carrie, is mocked relentlessly at school and teased for her first period, the group is suspended- including being banned from the school’s prom. Carrie, coming from a deeply religious home, is punished for her mensuration, her mother claiming it is her sinful nature. The group take revenge on Carrie by rigging the prom queen election and dumping a bucket of pigs blood on her while receiving her crown. Little do they know, Carrie is more than the average girl and takes her revenge against the entire school for the humiliation. If you want to see the events unfold and how Carrie became one of the best “mean girls” movie ever made, then you should add this to the list of must watch.
Based off of novel by Mary Shelly, this movie explores the science fiction and bringing a man back from the dead. While it doesn’t follow the novel as closely, it doesn’t make this movie any less great. Seeing the doctor, Henry Frankenstein, and his hunchback assistant piece together bodies that they dug up in an old lab, they use electricity to spring him back into life. While the monster is a terrified creature, his actions are mistaken as aggressive. It lands him chained and tormented in a dungeon where the assistance teases him and scares him with a torch. When the monster breaks free, he begins to kill those that created and then trapped him. An American classic, this movie and even the novel, should be watched to introduce you to the science of human creation and the dangers that the men unleashed.
9. The Blair Witch Project
When a trio begin a hike to explore the urban legend of the “Blair Witch” who filmed their voyage through the woods. During the hike, they encounter supernatural forces, the ominous signs of the witch’s presence and meet their demise as they cannot escape the woods. Despite their attempts to flee, the trio die in the woods and their “found footage” is the movie. A first of its kind, the found footage allows you to experience the hike through their eyes and witness the events leading up to their deaths. This movie spawned an entire series, games, and a following that are based on real life experiences in the Maryland woods. You won’t want to hike the woods again after seeing this.
Based off of a real life slasher, the Gainesville Ripper, the movie shows where a threatening call leads for a group of high schoolers to struggle to survive the night. The white masked figure makes a call to talk horror films but murders her boyfriend when she is incorrect. When she stops playing his game, she dies as well. The movie follows a group of students receives a similar call. They spend the night evading the figure who strikes at them one by one.
These are some of the best classic movies that give the horror genre many of their common tropes and claims to fame. While these are some, there are many more that could have made this list. Comment down below with one of your favorite horror flicks you watch each year. Do any of these figures give you the creeps? Is there a more horrifying movie out there? Which of these do you watch every year?