Wowcher’s Favourite Halloween Movies


In the mood for some thrills and chills? Ready for buckets of blood and ghoulish going’s-on’s? If you feel the need, the need for some screams, we’ve got your Halloween viewing list sorted with our terrifying, blood-curdling, shocking, yet spook-tacular list of Halloween movies chosen from all of us here at Wowcher. So, try to relax, grab a cushion and let’s take you through this frightfully good selection of horrors!

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10. Halloween (Dir. John Carpenter, 1978)

Halloween didn’t invent the slasher movie – that would have happened sometime around 1960 when Alfred Hitchcock stabbed Janet Leigh in the shower – but it certainly set down a blueprint that all, to this day, would follow. It’s so simple that it looks easy, but John Carpenter’s true genius is in hiding his craft in plain sight. Literally, in the case of stalker extraordinaire Michael Myers. Instead of relying on jump scares and cheap effects, Carpenter allows his monster to roam the background and fill you with the same dread felt by poor, long-suffering Laurie. The schtick may have worn itself out by the hundredth-or-so sequel, but nothing can detract from the original’s pure primal fear. – Joshua Glenn

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 9. The Conjuring (Dir. James Wan, 2013)

While director James Wan may have made his name with Saw, giving birth to the torture-porn genre as a result (more on that later), it is with The Conjuring that you feel he really lets his true horror movie-making sensibilities come to light; making things go bump in the night all the while making you squirm! This tale of true-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) does have a good dollop of scares and chills, but it is the old school approach and relatable characters that truly make this an effective genre-favourite. The Conjuring has a certain sense of wholesomeness to it amongst all the demonic possessions and hauntings, which just makes everything that much more terrifying when the hauntings look to threaten characters we have come to care for. Chilling and memorable, there’s a reason that this recent horror flick has become a firm favourite amongst genre fans! – Andrew Gaudion

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8. Alien (Dir. Ridley Scott, 1979)

In space, no one can hear you scream. But (speaking from personal experience) they can hear you when you’re watching this movie in the Odeon so try and keep a lid on it. A dark, moody and pretty bleak Sci-Fi horror, Alien follows the ill-fated crew of the Nostromo, a scientific vessel on a return journey to Earth. They pick up a transmission from a nearby planet, but things soon go awry when they set down to explore. The crew rushes back to the ship, unwittingly bringing aboard a certain something from the surface. What follows is a masterclass in creeping, claustrophobic dread as a ferocious and quickly growing Alien picks off the crew one-by-one from the shadows in various, terrifying ways. Sigourney Weaver’s now legendary turn as Ellen Ripley is the highlight of the movie, but prepare to be screaming in despair at the rest of the characters as they ask questions including “what would happen if I touched that weird alien egg?” and make decisions such as “nah, we don’t need to quarantine the person who has an alien currently strapped to their face.” Often imitated and parodied, but never matched, the scene featuring an alien foetus bursting gorily out of poor John Hurt’s chest has gone down as one of the ultimate horror moments of all time. Shame that the scariest thing from the sequels is Noomi Rapace’s attempt at an English accent in Prometheus.  – Josh Perera

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7. Saw (Dir. James Wan, 2004)

When I was a teen, I spent many a Friday night with my girlfriends, watching fictional characters maim and self-mutilate themselves throughout the seven stomach-churning episodes of the Saw series. We’d often ask ourselves why – but when you’re at that awful adolescent cornerstone, marred by raging hormones and… well,  rage, a flick that brings the darkest of revenge fantasies to the foreground somewhat strangely appeals. The franchise’s sole aim may initially seem to centre on inducing a serious case of barfing, bawling or knee-buckling in wilful watchers, but in spite of the body pulp and sick and sadistic traps, a somewhat complex moral plot beats at the bloody heart of Saw. Between the scalping, leg shredding and rib ripping, (not to mention that god awful pit of syringes!), serial killer John “Jigsaw” Kramer, in typical anti-hero fashion, has a damn good (albeit cold and calculated) lesson to teach the deadbeats and dregs of society. Entrapping criminals and crooks and exposing them to (arguably) an alternative form of Olympics, Jigsaw’s puzzle attempts to impart a newfound appreciation of life into the little fiends… or, at least, respect for the lives of others. And all the while, as an audience member partaking in this playtime, one simple question seems to resound – did anyone actually deserve it? Such is the appeal of Saw for many – not so much the can’t-watch-can’t-look-away torture sequences, (okay, maybe a little), but the great many things you learn about your own moral code along the way, such as how far you would go to avenge your own grief. Scary. – Tahlia McKinnon

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6. A Nightmare on Elm Street (Dir. Wes Craven, 1984)

Wes Craven’s contribution to the horror genre has been nothing short of iconic. From 70’s nasties like The Hills Have Eyes to completely tearing up the rule-book in Scream, Craven’s influence can still be felt across horror to this day. Whilst Scream may be the game-changer, there wouldn’t have been a game to change if it wasn’t for the classic slasher movies that carved the rulebook, a company which his own and (arguably) his best film, A Nightmare on Elm Street, can count itself amongst. Bringing a terrifying and impressively imaginative concept to life, Craven takes us into the dreams of a group of teenagers where they are being pursued by a scarred, knife-gloved madman to horrific and deadly effect. It’s an ingenious concept brought to life with spine-tingling practical effects, a feisty lead heroine in the form of Heather Langenkamp’s Nancy and an iconic performance from Robert Englund as Freddy Kruger, the bogeyman of Elm Street. A thrill to watch be it your first or 100th-outing and an essential in any horror movie marathon. But, whatever you do, don’t fall asleep! – AG

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5. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Dir. Tobe Hooper, 1974)

Over forty years on, the Chain Saw is still whirring. Its scares might have been imitated, its human-wearing villain diminished by sequels, prequels and reboots, and its (lack of) gore might come across as quaint to a modern audience, but by God does it get under your skin (pun intended). Tobe Hooper’s film is an almost-unparalleled example of the universe aligning to create something truly unique, from the bumbling, grunting figure of Leatherface to the grimy, coffee-stained documentary look of the thing. Knowing how mad everyone went during the long shoot in the Texan sun certainly adds to its otherworldly sinisterness, but even taken on its own it’s an exercise in terror unlike any other. – JG

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4. The Exorcist (Dir. William Friedkin, 1974) 

In a week when the Weinstein scandal continues to storm, the Trump-Russia enquiry takes off, and we’ve all had our fill of Stranger Things 2 (retrospective spoiler alert: I’m assuming you’ve seen it all by now), exorcism in all shapes and forms has never been such a hot topic. So get those crucifixes ready, as there’s probably been no better time to revisit William Friedkin’s head-turning horror about the demonic possession of a young girl, and her mother’s desperate attempt to retrieve her daughter’s soul along with the help of two Catholic priests. The director’s first film after the Oscar-winning French Connection and an adaptation of the bestselling novel, the film was considered something of a thinking-person’s scary movie upon release, becoming the first horror film to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture and one of the highest grossing films in history – despite its controversial gross-out moments. Punctuated with some of the scariest scenes in horror history – err, the spider walk? – and with its chilling use of Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells as its main theme, there’s probably no better horror movie to watch on All Hallows’ Eve. So get the family together, pass round the popcorn, and squeeze up snugly behind the back of the sofa – it’s gonna be a scary night! – Edward Dixon

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3. Scream (Dir. Wes Craven, 1996)

A terrifying white face haunting a whole host of fearful females. The synopsis for the future Harvey Weinstein biopic or Wes Craven’s cult classic? The film that launched a million future ‘Ghostface’ masks, Scream (produced by Weinstein, funnily enough) merged postmodern comedy and horror like never before. With genuine scares (Courtney Cox’s hair and wardrobe providing the biggest shocks), sharp comedy and shrewd writing, Scream became the poster child for the smart-slasher.  “What’s your favourite scary movie?” – mine just so happens to be this. – Jack Slater

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2. Hocus Pocus (Dir. Kenny Ortega, 1993)

Picture it: three bewitching, fear-inducing sisters terrorising an entire community in an effort to remain young and powerful… but enough about the Kardashians. Hocus Pocus has become an institution for the young and old alike, telling the tale of the Sanderson Sisters and their reign of terror. Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and the-other-one-who-isn’t-really-famous all put in scene-stealing turns in this camp caper about some witches, some kids and some jokes which only make sense when you get a bit older. Not really frightening – unless you happen to be a virgin who enjoys lighting a candle or two – but definitely deserving of a top spot in Halloween classics. It’ll most definitely put a spell on you… – JS

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1. The Shining (Dir. Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

“Heeeeeere’s Johnny!”

That line has been parodied so many times, it’s hard to remember that it comes from a horror movie. But make no mistake, The Shining is one of the scariest movies ever made. You won’t find buckets of gore here (though there is an elevator filled with blood), and nothing jumping out of the shadows at you – just an overwhelming, undeniable urge that something isn’t quite right. Everything about the Overlook Hotel, from its twisty architecture to the echoing, empty hallways, is designed to keep you on edge even before the ghost twins and dead bartenders start showing up. And it’s all centered on a glorious performance by Jack Nicholson, driven literally to the edge by director Stanley Kubrick. Stephen King, who wrote the book the film is based on, famously hates it, but more than 30 years after its release The Shining deserves to be remembered as a bona fide horror classic. – Phil Bayles