Watch a Scary Movie (With 31 Recommendations!)
It’s pretty much mandatory to watch at least one scary movie in the month of October, right? Or if you’re like us, you’re trying to cram in as many as possible. We aim to fit in a little bit of everything – the classics, ghost stories, sci fi, funny scary, slasher, creepy AF, new films – the list is endless. It’s hard to fit it all in, you know?
Alyssa does NOT do horror movies. She, like tons of other people out there, just can’t handle it. It gives her anxiety and straight up nightmares. The last movie she attempted was Unbreakable, starring Bruce Willis and Samuel L Jackson. She was 12 and literally lost her shit. Granted, that home invasion scene is scary as hell, so we get it.
But Vanessa and I are very much down. So we put together a list of our all-time faves for you, with the goal of helping you narrow down your must-watch list this October.
Black Christmas (1974)
I first saw this movie with Alyssa, Rachel and our BFF Nicole when we were in High School. And straight up, it has to be one of the most terrifying premises of any horror movie in existence: During their Christmas break, a group of girls are stalked by a stranger making phone calls to their sorority house. But what they don’t know that we do is that the calls are coming from INSIDE THE HOUSE. The stranger is holed up in the attic. Terrifying? You bet. The calls themselves, which consist of stream of consciousness and pig sounds are the scariest part of the movie. You’ll never think of the names Billy or Angus the same again. It’s an oldie, but never feels out of date. Watch the trailer here.
Rosemarys Baby (1968)
Yes, I totally know that Roman Polanski is problematic AF, but this is one of my favourite films of the genre so it’s on the list. If you’ve never seen this movie do so ASAP. A young couple moves into an apartment only to be surrounded by peculiar neighbors and occurrences. When the wife (in a role Mia Farrow was born to play) becomes mysteriously pregnant, paranoia over the safety of her unborn child begins to control her life. And you will feel the tension in your blood. It’s a little bit campy but that’s what makes it so great. Watch the trailer here.
The Shining (1980)
This movie is proof that complete isolation is never a good idea. Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) plans to live for the winter in isolation with his wife and son as a caretaker of a hotel. Is the hotel completely haunted, or has the lack of human interaction have the gang trippin’ out!? Seriously guys, do not watch this movie if you’ll be travelling anytime soon, because hotel spaces will never be the same. Watch the trailer here.
The Thing (1982)
The score alone will freak your bean! I grew up reading Goosebumps and Animorphs and this is their very grown up love child in the form of a movie. It’s set in Antarctica and involves a shapeshifting Alien and a bunch of scientists. Did I mention that this is a John Carpenter flick? This guy is responsible for some of the greats (Halloween, The Fog, Prince of Darkness). He also tours North America and Europe playing his creepy ass music from all these films, so I can’t stress enough how much you’ll love the soundtrack! All of this plus a ton of cabin fever vibes, you’ve got yourself a pretty creepy movie. Watch the trailer here
Yes, we’re talking about the Roald Dahl adaptation. I know what you might be thinking: this is a children’s movie, how could it be scary? To that I say, have you seen this movie?! Alyssa and I watched this when we were four and didn’t sleep soundly for years. I swear I still have PTSD from this film. Angelica Houston has purple eyes and literally peels her face off at one point. And she looks scary as hell without doing any of those things. She is not meant to be in children’s movies. She was literally quoted in an interview as saying “There’s nothing better than making children scream, I have to say.” And I totally believe it. The premise: a young boy stumbles onto a witch convention and must stop them, even after he has been turned into a mouse. The verdict: child or grown adult human, you will still be terrified by this movie. Watch the trailer here.
The Monster Movies
The Host (2006)
Every good scary movie is usually based on consequences to an action… especially the monster ones. This one is clear as day, shit gets messy when you dump chemicals into a river. Don’t do that guys! Set in South Korea, a young girl goes missing and her family sets out to find her. Meanwhile, that river creature is getting hungry. My love for this movie spawns for my curiosity of the Lochness monster. I always wondered about what created Nessi. Was it also a chemical spill? An old science project gone wrong? Who knows. Watch the trailer here.
Ginger Snaps (2000)
Where do I start with this one? How about, it was filmed in my hometown Markham, Ontario brap! brap! Ok, but seriously, this wicked werewolf movie has all the elements needed in a classic monster flick. Two sisters, a wolf attack, a crazy werewolf transformation and a series of decisions. If you Google search best werewolf movies of all time, this baby pops for a reason… and Google never lies guys. Watch the trailer here.
Jennifer’s Body (2009)
Ok, a lot of people were disappointed when this movie came out, but it’s quickly on its way to becoming a cult classic and I loved it from the very beginning. It was just marketed all wrong. They really leaned into the Megan Fox/Ananda Seyfried make out sesh in the commercials so dudes thought it was their chance to get new jerk off material (the Megan Fox Transformers car wash scene had gone stale for them) but really it’s a movie for women. Directed by Karen Kusama (who also directed The Invitation, also on this list), its both campy and clever. If you haven’t revisited this flick since it came out then it’s a must-watch this year, definitely with your BFF. Watch the trailer here.
The Babadook (2014)
So let’s just be clear: just because this movie is about a mom managing the fear her young son has for a monster from a children’s book doesn’t mean it’s not that scary. Yes, the monster literally looks like he’s made from construction paper… but this film is still straight up terrifying. I watched this film at Toronto After Dark Film Festival and people were leaving because they were so uncomfortable. This boy couldn’t have been casted better, he has a disturbing face and it just makes you want to not believe anything he’s saying… Is he seeing the monster from his book in the house? Is this monster going to kill him and his mom? Will their family’s dog survive? And how gory will it be? Pop some corn and get your barf bags ready, this movie will make you sick! Watch the trailer here.
The Hidden Gems
The Invitation (2015)
I sat on the edge of my seat this entire movie, no exaggeration. From the very opening scene, this movie captures a tense mood that carries throughout. A man (played by Logan Marshall-Green also known as Ryan’s hot brother from the OC) accepts an invitation to a dinner party hosted by his ex-wife, and suspects something sinister is happening. And spoiler alert: something goddamn sinister IS happening. I mean, John Carrol Lynch is in it so obviously some bad shit is going down. This is one of the best movies (of any genre) I’ve seen in recent years and it’s on Netflix so it’s not that hidden. Get at it. Watch the trailer here.
The Woman (2011)
Some people find a stray animal, bring it home and wonder… can we keep her? In this hella twisted film, a man brings home a woman that has been living in the wild into his family’s life. Right away, we know this isn’t going to go well. This woman isn’t lost and confused, she was living wild, free and animalistically out there, she didn’t need his help to survive. Now in captive she’s hella pissed, and ready to take back her life any chance she gets. I first saw this film at the Toronto After Dark film fest and ever since its been a yearly watch! God I love a movie with a strong female lead. The future is female ya’ll, watch out. Watch the trailer here.
This movie is the best solely because it’s composed of eight scary short films all based on Holidays. You’ve got the hands of Seth Green and Kevin Smith involved in making this one so you know it’s going to be goodie… but also a weirdie. My favourite shorts were Father’s Day and St Patrick’s Day but you’re going to want to check them all out. Watch the trailer here.
The International Hits
Let the Right One in (2008)
They tried to make a US version of this Swedish treasure with Chloe Grace Moretz but it just didn’t measure up to the original. You could call this movie a creepy AF coming of age love story. Oskar, an overlooked and bullied boy (and when they say bullied they mean there’s some very triggering scenes), finds love and revenge through Eli, a beautiful but peculiar girl. And then some weird and somewhat hilarious things go down because she only comes out at night and smells funny, so she just might be a vampire. Watch the trailer here.
This movie is FREAKY. Its described on Wikipedia as a “Spanish found footage supernatural zombie horror film”… I’m sorry, is that even a genre? But to be honest, that description is spot on. Found footage movies just get to me, especially ones with a crazy set and not just a Blair Witch forest kind of vibe. This film takes place in an old apartment building, and that’s it. Every part of this building gets explored, floor by floor, stairwell, hallways, did the lights just go out? I’ll say it again, this movie is FREAKY. Oh also, this movie was so good that is got an American remake “Quarantine”… it did not make our list. Watch the trailer here.
The OG Grudge. This Japanese movie really knows how to freak out a crowd. It’s a simple equation, creepy house + creepy kid + creepy sounds = you better watch this movie with a cuddle buddy. I know I’m not alone in my feels when I say creepy kids in creepy movies are hands down the scariest. I’d take a good slasher killer over a creepy ass kid with actual hell dripping out of his face, just saying. This movie is a must see in the horror community. It’s actually a huge franchise, and spawned an American remake “The Grudge” that ended up bringing in 187.2 million USD in the box office. Check this one out. Watch the trailer here.
The Comedy Flicks
Gotta love a movie where the title really just sets you up with what you’re going to watch. Zombeavers is clear as day. What you didn’t know is even though this is under comedy, this flick is trés gorey! Just imagine what it would be life if you were cornered in a cabin bathroom with a zombeaver… it would a blood bath! I first stumbled upon this after loosing some braincells following a Sharknado viewing (another movie where you’re aware of what you’re getting yourself into by the name alone) and good ol’ Netflix suggested this one. I was actually surprised at some points where the plot takes a couple twists and yeah…there’s zombie gore. Watch the trailer here.
What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
Funniest scary movie I’ve ever watched, hands down! Also it’s just so damn clever you’re going to watch it even when spook season is over. This New Zealand film is a mockumentary horror comedy that follows a group of Vampires who live in the same flat, chronicling the ins and outs of how they survive, their living situation, and a hilarious dynamic with a group of werewolves. Guaranteed laughs in the opening scene as the vampires discuss their house chores. I only saw this movie for the first time last Halloween, but I’ve admittedly watched it twice since. Watch the trailer here.
Suburban Gothic (2014)
Ok confession, I have the dirty hots for Matthew Gray Gubler, so that’s why I watched this movie even though the gal from Two Broke Chicks is in it and she makes me want to gauge my ears out (her voice is such a bummer!). That being said, putting MGG aside this movie is fire! It’s packed with three elements I love in any film… 1) It has a SUPER dry and sarcastic sense of humour running through it from start to finish 2) The imagery in the film is absolutely fantastic, you could watch this bad boy on mute… it’s so colourful! 3) Don’t actually watch it on mute because it’s got a soundtrack full of punk and rock tunes worth checking out! Watch the trailer here.
The Creepy AF Ones
The Cell (2000)
Some truly creepy shit happens in this movie and you will be scared of Vincent D’Onofrio forever after seeing it. But I love it because it’s beautifully done (and JLo is so hot). It’s one of those films that totally flew under the radar when it came out because it’s a little weird and not for everyone. But it’s totally worthy of your time. An F.B.I. Agent persuades a social worker, who is adept with a new experimental technology, to enter the mind of a comatose serial killer in order to learn where he has hidden his latest kidnap victim. It’s one heck of a journey that will leave you stressed out as hell. Watch the trailer here.
This movie has a killer cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Junior, Mark Ruffalo, John Carrol Lynch (which again is a strong indication that scary shit will happen). A lot of people have criticized this movie for being slow moving, but that’s actually what I like most about it. David Fincher is known for a good slow build up, and even though we know the Zodiac killer was never caught, the film still builds to a satisfying culmination. Some of the scenes are straight up disturbing, which our man Fincher knows how to do well. If you’re unfamiliar with the film or case, it follows a San Francisco cartoonist who becomes an amateur detective obsessed with tracking down the Zodiac Killer, an unidentified individual who terrorizes Northern California with a killing spree. This one will make for a nice little night in. Watch the trailer here.
When I think of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen in my life, this one instantly comes to mind. I had nightmares about it for years and still shudder just thinking about it. The premise: two detectives, a rookie and a veteran (Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman respectively), hunt a serial killer (Kevin Spacey) who uses the seven deadly sins as his motives. True crime fascinates and scares the shit out of me simultaneously. Give me ghosts any day, but Kevin Spacey? Fuck no. I haven’t revisited this movie in years because it scares me so much, even though it has one of the best film endings of all time (you could tell then and there that Brad Pitt would be an Oscar winner one day). Can I just FF it to the end? If you haven’t seen it, give it a go and report back in the comments. Watch the trailer here.
True story: this is the last horror movie Alyssa ever watched. We saw it as a family when we were 12 years old and it brought her TO TEARS! Granted, there is a terrifying home invasion scene that even I still think about, but I can honestly say Alyssa hasn’t been the same since. So if you’re up for being traumatized put this M. Night Shamalan flick in the queue. In Unbreakable, a security guard named David Dunn (played by our man Bruce Willis) survives a horrific train crash with no injuries, leading to him discovering that he harnesses superhuman abilities, which in turn introduces him to comic book store owner Elijah Price (Samuel L.), who uses a wheelchair because he basically has bones of glass. It’s not the best-ever film, but it’s pretty good and ultimately had to make the list because 12 year old Alyssa demands it. Watch the trailer here.
The SuperNatural Films
The Witch (2016)
This was one of the most buzzed about films at Sundance in 2015 for a reason: it’s scary as hell. If we can’t convince you to add it to your must-watch list this month then maybe the fact that it has a 90% score on Rotten Tomatoes can. The premise: a family in 1630’s New England is torn apart by the forces of witchcraft, black magic, and possession. It unnerved me. I mean, the mom is played by the same creepy looking actress who plays Lysa Arryn in Game of Thrones (she’s the one who gets pushed down the hole by Littlefinger). I think we can all agree she is definitely typecast. No spoilers obvi, but you will never look at goats the same way after seeing this flick. Watch the trailer here.
I grabbed this movie at a Clothing Swap party… FACT. I picked it up because the cover of the DVD has a bloody hatchet on it, and admittedly I loved that elementary school novel titled “Hatchet” so I thought I’d give it a try. This is not that elementary school novel, turned into a movie…this is an all-American Slasher Film that will not disappoint. No spoilers here but a bunch of tourists in New Orleans get lost on their Haunted Swamp Tour, stranded, they eventually get hunted by this freaky man who kills anything that crosses into his swampy territory. Watch the trailer here.
The Nostalgic Ones
I don’t even know where to start with this movie. I was nine years old when I saw it in theatres… it was the first time I’d ever been scared. Till this date, if I’m at a party and someone is wearing that mask, I’m leaving that party. Yet, I’m addicted to it, it’s like I’m Frodo and it’s the ring… I want to destroy it but instead I watch the entire series every Halloween. This all-star cast (Nev Campbell, Courtney Cox, David Arquette, Matthew Lillard, Jamie Kennedy, and a quick iconic intro featuring Drew Barrymore) are definitely a strong pull as to why you should watch this movie. But if they don’t do it for you, the juicy plot will have you diving into this iconic meta-horror film. A year after the mother of teenager Sidney Prescott (Nev Campbell) dies, a killer is threatening her and her friends while taunting them with horror film trivia in a deadly game. Scream goes onto be a full franchise, so watch ‘em all (well maybe not Scream 4). See the trailer for the OG Scream here.
Pet Semetery (1989)
Also watched this way too young. To be honest, it’s a Stephen King classic so if you’re a fan of his work and the 80’s then this is right up your alley. It’s just a creepy concept with a ton of pissed off cats. In fact, I bet there’s a drinking game there. The film gets eerie itself quite quickly when a family arrives to their countryside home that is right beside a pet cemetery. The lands are spooky, cats are hissing, things are getting buried and things are resurrecting. It’s a classic spooky flick. Watch the trailer here.
American Werewolf in Paris (1997)
Guys, I know this movie only has 7% on Rotten Tomatoes (it’s page is littered with green splatters), but hear me out! It’s a classic 90’s film. I mean, Bush is on the soundtrack for Christ’s sakes, so how could you not love this film? I literally own it on DVD and it’s in my regular rotation. Is it cheesy? You better believe it. Are the special effects dated? Definitely. But I was 10 when it came out and Tom Everett Scott charmed my socks off. He plays an American that unwittingly gets involved with French werewolves who have developed a serum allowing them to transform at will. This movie is nostalgia at its finest, so grab your popcorn and embrace it. Watch the trailer here.
Urban Legends (1998)
This movie is soo good! Ok, it’s guilty pleasure good. But isn’t that what Nostalgia is about? Alyssa, Vanessa and I saw this movie in theatres when were were kids! It was quickly purchased on DVD and watched pretty frequently! This movie is all about a killer that terrorizes a group of teenagers on campus and kills them in form of an urban legend. It’s a classic campy, horror film with a ton of thrills. This is a fun movie to run during a party or watch with a group because it calls for commentary like “Why is she not running? Why is she just standing there?!” It’s perfect for a Halloween hang! Watch the trailer here.
I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
Alongside Urban Legends, this movie is guilty-pleasure level good. With its loaded teen dream cast (Freddie Prince Jr, Ryan Phillippe, Jeniffer Love Hewitt and Sarah Michelle Gellar) and on campus killings, this movie has nostalgic horror film written all over it. After a party, the gang accidentally hits and kills a pedestrian on their drive home, swearing to never speak of it again. But exactly one year later, the dead man returns from his watery grave and he’s looking for more than an apology. DID I MENTION the killer uses a a giant fish-hook as its murder weapon throughout the film?! WTF. From beauty pageants, boat docks, and shower scenes there is nowhere you can hide without this giant hook-swinging killer finding you. Watch the trailer here.
Academy Award winning actor Adrian Brody is in this film, so you already know it’s going to be great. He is also very attractive, which is great. In Backtrack, Brody plays psychologist Peter Bower who’s life is thrown into turmoil when he discovers that the patients he has been seeing are ghosts. Risking his own sanity, Peter delves into his past to uncover a terrifying secret which only he can put right. And truly can confirm this secret is terrifying guys. Overall, this is so much more than a ghost story. It’s a psychological thriller featuring ghosts, but what will truly scare you are the real-life terrors our friend Peter Bower encounters when he heads back to his hometown. There’s some pretty good jump scares, here. At one point while watching this movie I uttered a sound I had never made before and may never make again. Watch the trailer here.
Crimson Peak (2015)
You get a peek at Tom Hiddleston’s butt in this movie. End of description. Kidding. In all seriousness, I love this movie, not just because the ghosts are well-crafted, but the world Guillermo del Toro has created is brilliant. In my opinion it’s one of his best films. The gothic mansion is hands down the star of the movie (yes, it wins over Hiddleston’s butt). I was absolutely mesmerized by it. Also, Jessica Chastain is wonderful as always, managing to be scarier than the actual ghosts and steal every scene she’s in. Overall, this film will not terrify you as much as some of the others on this list, so if your nerves need a break this is a good one to add to the rotation. Watch the trailer here.
It Follows (2014)
DISCLAIMER: This movie makes you not want to have sex for a long time. Do not throw this one on in hopes of it being a prelude to a good time. Upon debate amongst friends, it’s unclear if this movie is about STI’s but then amplified to make its own genre…. SEX SCARE. Please watch this movie and share your thoughts, its terrifying, it’s gross, it’s awesome. If you don’t take my word for it, Rotten Tomatoes has it given it a whopping 96%. It’s a movie of its own kind that leaves you in wonder. Watch the trailer here. – Rachel
We’ve got the perfect cocktail to pair with your movie-watching experience. We call it Witch’s Brew because of it’s bright purple and blue hues, and it sure goes down easy. Grab the recipe here.
Looking for other spooky activities, games or cocktails? Check out some of our other ideas and recipes below:
- Hocus Pocus Movie Drinking Game
- How to Throw an Epic Halloween Party
- The Ultimate List of Halloween Cocktails and Shots
- How to Host an Addams Family Dinner Party
- Scream Movie Drinking Game
- How to Host a Virtual Pumpkin Carving Competition
- Zombie Baby Pumpkins
- Host a Halloween Trivia Night (with a free 50-question download!)
This playlist will get you in the mood for some spooky flicks. It’s packed with all your fave Halloween hits and scary movie theme songs.