Movies that bring Halloween chills

Every October since 2010, I have participated in what I call “October Horror Month” (OHM), where I watch a horror movie every night in my home theater.

Having grown up enjoying horror movies, my favorite type of film, this is a way for me to devote an entire month to watching them. However, I know that some people have trouble deciding what movies they should watch on or around Halloween.

While I’m not an expert on horror movies, I can give advice on some of the best movies to watch for people who maybe want to have their own OHM, or do not know what films to watch.


1. The “Halloween” Movies

These make sense because their theme is murders committed by Michael Myers on Halloween. However, don’t watch all of the movies in this series, because some of them are horrible. 

One of the best films in the “Halloween” series is the original 1978 film, starring Donald Pleasance as Dr. Sam Loomis and introducing Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode. The original “Halloween” was one of the low-budget films of the 1970s that actually scared the audience. “Halloween” is different because it avoided all the blood and gore, and instead focused on the suspense, making the audience guess what would happen next.

The sequel to “Halloween,” “Halloween II” should also not be ignored. It continues the plot of the original film, and adds some surprises about Laurie Strode’s character and why Michael Myers targeted her. While panned by critics, it is one of the finer sequels.

Lastly, my favorite movie in the series, “Halloween H20: 20 Years Later.” This film follows the events 20 years after Halloween 1 and 2, and catches up with Laurie Strode, who is living under the assumed name Keri Tate in California, where she is in the Witness Protection Program. Twenty years to the day Michael Myers tried to kill her originally, The Shape (as he’s called in the original film) returns with a vengeance.

“Halloween H20” marks the return of Jamie Lee Curtis to the series, and she’s way tougher than she was in the first film (and who doesn’t love a badass female character?). 


2. “A Nightmare on Elm Street”

Again, I am not saying watch the entire series. In fact, to quote Drew Barrymore’s character in “Scream,” (another Wes Craven film) “The first was OK, but the rest sucked.” The original film is one of the scarier films I have seen. I used to have nightmares about Freddy Krueger, the infamous burnt antagonist of the film, when I was younger.

The rest of the series should be avoided, save the final film, Wes Craven’s “New Nightmare.” After the original film, Freddy Krueger was turned into a comic who used his razor hands to kill people in their dreams. However, “New Nightmare” added a new element to slasher films.

“New Nightmare” takes place in the “real world,” and follows Heather Langenkamp (who played Nancy Thomas, the heroine, in the original and third films), as she adjusts to more television roles, and spending time with her husband, Chase and son, Dillon, 10 years after the release of the original “Nightmare.”

The original film is a classic, and the question of when do dreams turn into reality make the viewer think. “New Nightmare” is a great one to watch as it shows the effects a slasher film can have on the world, and the people who create horror.


3. The “Scream” Series

I recommend watching all of the films. I can sit and enjoy every film, no matter how many times I have seen them.

The “Scream” films, starring Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette, poke fun at slasher films, while someone starts to create a “real life” horror movie by killing people close to Sidney Prescott (played by Campbell), and ultimately makes Sidney their number one target.

The first film made fun of slasher films themselves, and introduced the rules of surviving a horror movie (never having sex, never drinking or doing drugs and never, under any circumstances, say “I’ll be right back”). 

It was followed less than a year later by “Scream 2,” which poked fun at sequels and how they are usually inferior films to the originals. 

“Scream 3” (2000) finds Sidney in hiding after the events in the first two films. Dewey (Arquette) is on the set of “Stab 3” (Stab is the movies-within-the-movie based on the events in the films), when Ghostface (the nickname for the killer) returns killing off cast members of “Stab 3.”

In “Scre4m,” (2011) Sidney returns to Woodsboro, Calif., (her hometown in the original film) on the last stop of her book tour, where she reunites with Gale (Cox), and Dewey, who is now married to Gale, and is now the Sheriff. When she returns, Ghostface re-appears and starts to follow the rules of a horror remake, with the killing spree mimicking that of the original film’s spree.

The “Scream” movies are fun to watch because while they make fun of horror movies, the characters find themselves living in one, and the audience is scared to death of what’s going on while laughing at the same time.

These are only some of the films I watch every year during OHM. I would recommend starting with these films if the question of what movies to watch for Halloween comes up. They are all classics, and are definitely must-see horror films to watch during the Halloween season.