13 Haunting Halloween Movie Recommendations

We are taking a break from the usual Top 10s to make an unlucky 13 Halloween movie recommendations ahead of the haunting holiday. From classic scares to family affairs, put these freaky flicks on your movie marathon list this month!

We’ve picked our personal favorites in a few creepy categories that should give you plenty of freaky flicks to watch in anticipation of Halloween.

Unusual Vampires:

  • For laughs: What We Do in the Shadows
  • For drama: A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night

These films don’t feature Dracula, or any of your typical ideas of a vampire. Still, they honor the lore of our favorite bloodsuckers with new and interesting twists on the classic legends, weaknesses, and lifestyles of vampires. What We Do in the Shadows takes a mockumentary approach to vampire roommates living in New Zealand- and manages to skewer other famous horror tropes involving werewolves and zombies all the while.

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is an artistic black and white film, considered the world’s first “Iranian vampire western”.  More about the lives of people in a place called Bad Town, the vampire is a central, yet shadowy and mysterious figure that draws you into the thrall of this unique film.

Lighter Horror-Comedy:

  • For witches: Hocus Pocus
  • For ghosts: Beetlejuice

It’s showtime with these two horror-comedy films that are more family-friendly than your traditional Halloween fare.  Tim Burton’s classic Beetlejuice is one of Michael Keaton’s most memorable performances to date, and features Winona Ryder in yet another horror-themed role (seriously, she’s one of the queens of Halloween by now).

Hocus Pocus is a Disney cult classic with unforgettable performances by Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy as the eccentric and evil Sanderson Sisters.  This film will put a spell on you and leave your senses running amok, amok, amok as you laugh your way through this staple of the Halloween season.

A Monster Flick:

  • For skin-crawling body horror: The Thing
  • For an iconic transformation: American Werewolf in London

While there are many monsters featured throughout horror cinema, we picked these two for their uniqueness of bringing some creepy transformations to life on screen.  American Werewolf in London still boasts one of the most memorable and daring practical effect sequences as the beast is unleashed in a painful, terrifying transformation.

Don’t be assimilated as you watch The Thing- the story of this doomed Arctic outpost will leave you distrustful of everyone around you if you’re not careful.  A masterpiece by John Carpenter, the Thing will horrify and astound you with a truly horrific, explosive sequence of gore as the monster is revealed.

A Classic Horror Film:

  • For traditional demonology: The Exorcist
  • For unnerving horror: Silence of the Lambs

While everyone might have vastly different ideas of ‘classic’, these are both films that have had a profound impact on the horror and thriller genres.  The Exorcist employs memorable effects and a truly chilling narrative to scare viewers at any age.

Silence of the Lambs takes literary inspiration and brings Hannibal Lecter to life, with a number of iconic quotes and a quiet sort of drama that keeps you psychologically unnerved throughout.

A More Recent Horror Film:

  • For a remake of a classic: IT (2017)
  • For something wholly new: It Follows

While these two films sound like they could be related, the only thing they have in common is being produced within the last 5 years. Check out IT before Chapter 2 releases in 2019- this film is perfect for fans of Stranger Things as well.

For a more novel take on a classic horror trope, watch It Follows, and be prepared to be scared to let anyone near you again.  Check out Doug Peyton’s article on sensory horror films to learn a bit more about It Follows, and other awesome films that will freak out your five senses.

Make It a Group Event:

  • For a classic fan-favorite: Halloween (1978)
  • For audience participation: Rocky Horror Picture Show

Face it- scary films are fun to watch solo, but isn’t it better to have a group right there with you?  Rocky Horror is famous for group viewings, with shadow casts and callouts throughout the film- see if you can find a screening to attend in your town.  Just beware the ‘virgin’ sacrifices.

For more traditional horror, invite your friends for a Halloween party with the guy who celebrates it best- Michael Myers.

Unlucky Number 13:

  • For a 13th pick: Friday the 13th

We needed a 13th film to complete our Halloween list, and what better than Friday the 13th itself?  This long-running franchise has spawned many sequels and revisitations, but nothing beats the classic Camp Crystal Lake killer we all know and… well, Jason’s got a face that only a mother could love.