October 28, 2015 6:39 pm


We’ve rounded up the best Halloween movies for a scary night in.

House of 1000 Corpses (2003)

On our Halloween movies list because: It’s a shocking gorefest set on Halloween: Possibly stomach-turning, but definitely fit for mature audiences looking for a thrill to match the occasion.

Critics say: “[Director Rob] Zombie, pillaging from every low-budget freak-out he can, proves that he at least has a lurid touch for shock theatrics. Blood spatters on the floor like a Jackson Pollock.”—Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

Sleepy Hollow (1999)

On our Halloween movies list because: There’s hardly a better fit for a creepy night in than director Tim Burton, and his take on the Washington Irving short story is ghoulish, intriguing fun.

Critics say: “Gorgeous filmmaking that brims over with fun-house thrills and ravishing romance… Heads roll, bodies pile up, and the horseman—played in flashback by a megaweird Christopher Walken—rises from the dead.”—Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

Halloween (1978)

On our Halloween movies list because: Halloween all but invented an entire subgenre of slasher horror movies, those that take place on All Hallows’ Eve.

Critics say: “There isn’t another post-1970 release that comes close to it in terms of scaring the living hell out of a viewer.”—James Berardinelli, Reelviews

The Changeling (1980)

On our Halloween movies list because: With a vengeful ghost, a haunted house, and the approval of Martin Scorsese, what more could you want?

Critics say: “This is a scare movie with taste.”—Roger Ebert

Evil Dead (2013)

On our Halloween movies list because: This new update to the 1981 original eschews some of the camp and piles on the gory scares, making it a decidedly creepier pick for the holiday.

Critics say: “The gore is considerable (though often imaginative) and Alvarez’s decision to forego CGI effects pays grisly dividends. That may not be a genuine tongue being slashed in half lengthwise (while still, it should be noted, in its owner’s mouth) but damned if it doesn’t look like one.”—Christopher Orr, The Atlantic

The Amityville Horror (1979)

On our Halloween movies list because: It’s a little stupid, somewhat laughable, and full of overt freakout moments—perfect for some fun if you’re not in the mood for the really dark stuff.

Critics say: “[The house] causes members of the clergy to vomit whenever they visit the place, and has toilets that spew forth black goo. So much for the niceties.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times

Paranormal Activity (2007)

On our Halloween movies list because: Something of a modern classic, this shocking feature plays on a culture saturated with reality television and near omnipresent surveillance.

Critics say: “It comes by its screams honestly, earning them with incremental, at times agonizing gradations of old-fashioned, what’s-that-noise-in-the-hallway suspense.”—Dana Stevens, Slate