Doors creak a little louder than usual, the bright orange glow of the jack-o'-lantern on your porch seems to illuminate something moving in the bushes. Nevermind those trick-or-treaters with their brightly colored masks and immitating bags begging for candy. Turn off the lights and spend your holiday watching six films that are sure to make your Halloween.
In this 1996 slasher by Wes Craven, Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) becomes the target of a killer who has stalked and killed two of her high school classmates (Drew Barrymore and Kevin Patrick Walls). With its tongue-in-cheek approach, Scream combined straightforward scares with dialogue that satirized slasher film conventions, paying homages to Halloween, Friday the 13th and Craven's own Nightmare on Elm Street.
With a star-studded cast including David Arquette, Courteney Cox, Neve Campbell, Skeet Ulrich, Drew Barrymore, Rose McGowan, Matthew Lillard and Jamie Kennedy, Scream is sure to start the night off right. Be sure to look for a cameo by director Wes Craven playing Fred, the school's janitor.
#5 The Shining
Based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Stephen King, Stanley Kubrick's 1980 adaptation of The Shining is one of the best "haunted house" films around, second only to Robert Wises The Haunting, with Tobe Hooper's Poltergeist bringing up a strong 3rd place. The Shining tells the story of the Torrance family, who heads to the isolated Overlook Hotel for the winter where an evil and spiritual presence influences father Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) into violence, while his psychic son Danny sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future.
Kubrick's film is a horror masterpiece and manages to still scare the hell out of audiences 26 years later.
#4 The Rocky Horror Picture Show
This 1975 cult classic starts with a squeaky-clean young couple, Brad & Janet (Barry Bostwick & Susan Sarandon), who get a flat tire on a late rainy night and decide to stop at a nearby castle to use the phone and call for help.
What they don't realize is that the castle's current tenants are by no means ordinary: Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry), with assistance from his servants Riff Raff (Richard O'Brien), Magenta (Patricia Quinn), and their ragtag bunch of fellow Transylvanians, has his own diabolical plans for the evening, set against a rock 'n' roll music score and filled with elaborate musical numbers that are sure to make you howl with enthusiasm.
#3 Nightmare On Elm Street
Wes Craven's 1984 horror classic features the gruesome child murderer Freddy Krueger, who takes revenge on the lynch mob that kill him by entering the dreams of their children, continuing his mad and macabre obsession while the sleep soundly in their beds.
Robert Englund's sadistic fedora-wearing character has been immortalized forever in the annals of horror, and what better way to honor Krueger than by getting a large group of friends together and behold his 'finger knives' scratching their way towards the children of Springwood.
After all, every town has an Elm Street...
#2 The Exorcist
Often called "The Scariest Film of All Time," The Exorcist is a disturbing, shocking horror story about possession and the subsequent exorcism of the demonic spirits from a young, innocent girl named Regan (Linda Blair).
The controversial nature of the film's content - exorcism is based upon an authentic, nearly two-month long exorcism performed in 1949 on a 14-year old boy in Mt. Rainier, Maryland by the Catholic Church. With demons and religious issues aside, The Exorcist also packs a punch with its blasphemies, obscenities and altogether startling physical scares. You'll never think of pea soup the same again...
The night HE came back...
This 1978 horror film by John Carpenter introduced the "slasher film" as its own entity. On a rather quiet Halloween night in Haddonfield, Illinois in 1963, six-year-old Michael Myers brutally murdered his teenage sister.
Now after rotting in an institution for 15 years, Myers has broken free and is going back to his hometown. Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence) must track down the silent stalker before the Haddonfield is nothing more than a graveyard. Halloween introduced Jamie Lee Curtis, the all-time scream queen herself, as babysitter Laurie Strode and also starred P.J. Soles of Carrie fame.
This Halloween, turn off all the lights and give in to the Godfather of Slasher - Michael Myers. He's the strong and silent type, with a butcher knife in one hand and an unyielding sense of determination to finish what he started as a young boy. You've got to admire that!