Curl up in the dark, hold someone close or cower alone. No matter how you do it, it’s time to be unkind and rewind to some of the best fright films to set the scene for the season of the witch. Join us as we set up and spoil a few scares in some of the best slasher movies we’ve dared to peer at through shaking fingers.
THE EXORCIST (1973)
The story of a young girl named Regan undergoes a series of exorcisms after her mother believes she’s become possessed by the devil.
Scariest Moment: Regan does an upside-down, crab-walk down the stairs. Also worthy of a mention are the various times the devil flashing across the screen.
THE SHINING (1980)
Jack Torrence, played by Jack Nicholson, takes a job as a caretaker at a hotel closed for the season, bringing his psychic son and wife in tow. Jack goes crazy, decides homicidal rampage is a good idea. The audience disagrees.
Scariest Moment: Scenes with hallways full of blood, any scene with the creepy twins, looking at Jack Nicholson’s frozen face.
ROSEMARY’S BABY (1968)
In order to further his acting career, Guy Woodhouse allows the devil to impregnate his wife, Rosemary. Rosemary is unaware of this and the audience is lead through a suspenseful nine months until Rosemary eventually discovers the horrifying truth.
Scariest Moment: Rosemary goes over the cradle to have a look at her new son.
Scream started the trend of teen horror films in the late 90s. In this one, a mysterious killer named Ghostface terrorizes the American town of Woodsboro.
Scariest Moment: Realizing that this is the movie that spawned some truly awful franchise spinoffs.
One of the most influential silent films in existence, Nosferatu is the classic Dracula movie.
Scariest Moment: With Max Schreck playing Nosferatu, the whole film is sort of terrifying. His shadowy silhouettes cannot be forgotten.
BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (1999)
The audience sees pieced together footage of three students as they enter the backwoods of Maryland to do a film project about local legend the Blair Witch. It turns out, the Blair Witch isn’t just a legend. You can thank this genre pioneer for the many found footage style films that followed.
Scariest Moment: One of the students mysteriously disappears, and the two remaining students are greeted the next day with a pile of the missing student’s hair, bloody clothes and teeth.
Carrie, a high school outsider with an overly religious mother, finds herself the subject of a vicious prank while attending the prom. Carrie takes revenge by using her telekinetic powers on anyone who has done her wrong, which in reality is everyone around her.
Scariest Moment: The terrifying look on Carrie’s bloody face as she unleashes her powers on her unsuspecting classmates.
AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON (1981)
While vacationing in the English countryside, David and Jack decide not to heed the warnings of locals at a pub, resulting in a mysterious bite on David’s shoulder and Jack dying. David finds out that unless he kills himself, he will become a werewolf.
Scariest Moment: David’s werewolf transformation, featuring special effects that blows the stuff of today out of the water.
THE EVIL DEAD (1981)
The vacation of five college students turn a bit sour when they find an audiotape that accidentally releases demons.
Scariest Moment: When any of the students become possessed.
FRANKENSTEIN (1931) AND BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935)
Henry Frankenstein manufactures a monster. It’s green, it’s made out of various human body parts, “It’s alive!” In Bride of Frankenstein, a mate is manufactured.
Scariest Moment: Dr. Waldmen decides to perform an autopsy on a supposedly dead Frankenstein. Key word being supposedly.
The Saw series first begins with a serial killer named Jigsaw, who entraps two men in a lair with specific instructions on how to escape. This movie is a gorefest.
Scariest Moment: The flashback to a woman who wakes up realizing her jaw is about to be ripped in two.
CABIN IN THE WOODS (2012)
A group of young adults go on vacation to a cabin together, unleashing a series of stereotypical horror movie consequences lead by mysterious office workers. Filled with horror, comedy and political commentary, Cabin in the Woods is a pleasant surprise.
Scariest Moment: The gruesome killing of a half-naked Jules.
One of acclaimed director Alfred Hitchcock’s most suspenseful films, Psycho is about Marion, a secretary who flees town after stealing money from her employer. She hides out at the Bates Motel, where she meets a Norman, the lonely owner who’s hiding secrets.
Scariest Moment: The infamous shower murder scene.
PAN’S LABYRINTH (2006)
A young girl, Ofelia, escapes from the horrors of the end of the Spanish Civil War and her sadistic step father by stepping into a twisted dream world.
Scariest Moment: Anything scene with the terrifying creature that has eyeballs in his hands.
THE VANISHING (1988)
This quietly creepy film from the Netherlands follows a man, Rex, who spends years trying to find his girlfriend who went missing during a vacation. He eventually discovers the calculated and disturbing truth. Hollywood ruined this Criterion gem with a shotty 1993 remake; avoid.
Scariest Moment: When you realize that Max is going to be reunited with his girlfriend, and that’s not a good thing.
Don’t be taken in by Quarantine (2008), the unnecessary American remake of this terrifying Spanish film. A TV news crew goes into a building with emergency workers and becomes confined inside with something that wants them all dead. The point-of-view style shooting makes the horror all the more real.
Scariest Moment: When the TV reporter enters a room to discover what’s causing all the mayhem.
THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991)
The story of a rookie FBI agent that gets help from everyone’s favourite cannibal and serial killer, Hannibal Lector. This movie also won five Oscars, which is exceptional for a horror film.
Scariest Moment: When Clarice Starling gets stuck in Buffalo Bill’s lair and she tries to escape, the audience sees scenes of Bill watching Clarice in night-vision goggles.
28 DAYS LATER (2002)
The depiction of a society’s collapse following the outbreak of a contagious rage virus. The virus basically turns someone into a zombie, only they’re able to run.
Scariest Moment: Obviously the fact that the zombies run, leaving the audience feeling that the human race is doomed.
ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1975)
The cult favourite, B-movie, satire, musical comedy that really doesn’t need any occasion to be watched.
Scariest Moment: Realizing that Dr. Frank-N-Furter is way cooler than you could ever hope to be in your life.
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (1984)
The Halloween classic, featuring a young Johnny Depp, is the story of teenagers getting stalked and killed in their dreams by Freddie Kruger.
Scariest Moment: The various nightmares of Tina, leading to her murder.
THE RING (2002)
Based on a Japanese film, Ringu (1998), this American version revolves around a video tape that when watched, kills the viewer dies seven days later.
Scariest Moment: When Samara, the kid with the long straight black hair that scares the bejeeses out of you, pops out of the TV.
The slasher flick circulating around Michael Myers’ escape from mental institution and subsequent murder scene.
Scariest Moment: Myer’s escape at the end of the movie.