Whether you’re a scary movie junkie or more of a hide-under-the-blanket kind of viewer, this ultimate list of the best Halloween movies is guaranteed to include something you’ll want to watch this Oct. 31.
From the original Halloween to the cult classic Hocus Pocus, TIME has collated a list of the best scary, horror-filled, classic and Disney Halloween movies—as well as the best Halloween movies of 2019 so far.
Best Halloween Movies of 2019 (So Far)
IT Chapter Two
Director Andy Muschietti’s follow-up to his hit 2017 adaptation of the first half of Stephen King’s 1986 novel reunites viewers with the Losers’ Club 27 years after they first battled Pennywise the Dancing Clown (Bill Skarsgård) in the sewers of Derry. This time around, the grown-up Losers must find a way to defeat It and end its cycle of terror once and for all, or else die trying. The lengthy sequel clocks in at just under three hours, which means it requires a bit of a time commitment for the optimal viewing experience.
How to watch it: IT Chapter Two is still in select theaters.
Ready or Not
It seems safe to say that no one expects their wedding night to include a murderous game of hide and seek. But in breakout horror comedy Ready Or Not, that’s exactly what Grace (Samara Weaving) gets when she marries into the Le Domas family. With a decades-old curse hanging over their heads, Grace’s new in-laws attempt to hunt her down and kill her before dawn. Unfortunately for them, Grace has no intention of going down without a fight.
How to watch it: Ready or Not will soon be available to buy on Prime Video.
Jordan Peele’s chilling follow-up to his acclaimed 2017 debut Get Out explores America’s history of oppression through the lens of a home-invasion thriller populated by murderous doppelgängers. Featuring an electrifying performance by Lupita Nyong’o as both Adelaide and her double, Red, Us is a deeply unsettling movie that will leave you questioning everything. As Peele told the Empire Podcast, “This movie’s about maybe the monster is you.”
Hereditary director Ari Aster is back with yet another body horror flick that will have you squirming in your seat. Midsommar chronicles college student Dani’s (Florence Pugh) breakup from hell with her boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor), who takes her along to a summer solstice festival at a remote pagan commune in Sweden the summer after a terrible tragedy in her family. Things get horrifically weird almost as soon as Dani’s group arrives, but at that point, it’s already too late to make a clean escape.
Killer animal movies are largely hit or miss. Jaws? Hit. Sharknado 6? Miss. Fortunately for creature-feature fans, director Alex Aja’s alligator-infested Crawl lands squarely in the hit category. Kaya Scodelario shines as Haley, a college swimmer who ignores hurricane evacuation warnings in her Florida hometown to search for her missing father. She finds him unconscious and wounded in her family home’s crawl space as flood waters steadily continue to rise. You can see where this is going.
How to watch it: Crawl is available to buy on Prime Video.
Best Disney Halloween Movies
The Disney Channel original movie follows 13-year-old Marnie Piper as she learns she’s a witch and is transported to Halloweentown—where witches, monsters and ghosts live in harmony. The cult classic, popular with the young and old alike, has become as much of a Halloween fixture as trick or treating or bobbing for apples.
How to watch it: Halloweentown is available to stream on DisneyNOW.
Hocus Pocus (1993)
The beloved 1993 Disney movie starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy and Bette Midler as zany Salem witches was voted one of America’s favorite Halloween movies in a 2016 survey. Use this Oct. 31 to reintroduce yourself to the cult phenomenon before Disney’s controversial Hocus Pocus reboot hits the big screen.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
The mid-90s stop-motion classic tells the story of Jack Skellington, the bored mayor of Halloweentown who misguidedly attempts to bring Christmas to his home world.
How to watch it: The Nightmare Before Christmas is available to stream on Hulu.
The Haunted Mansion (2003)
Based on the well-known Disney attraction, The Haunted Mansion recounts the creepy story of one family battling 999 ghosts in an attempt to rid a house of a treacherous curse. The movie, released in 2003, stars Eddie Murphy as a workaholic real estate agent and Marsha Thomason (Lost) as his wife.
Adapted from a bestselling series of books, Twitches is a Parent Trap-style tale of two teen witches separated at birth who meet on their 21st birthday and use their magical powers to save their biological mother from evil. A proper Disney classic.
How to watch it: Twitches is available to stream on DisneyNOW.
Best Horror Movies for Halloween
The psychological horror film, which stars Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh, is widely considered to be one of director Alfred Hitchcock’s best movies. Despite numerous remakes and a TV spin-off, it’s the 1960s classic—complete with the iconic shower scene—that remains truly terrifying.
The Shining (1980)
“Heeeeere’s Johnny!” If you’ve never seen director Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 horror classic (where have you been?!), this Halloween is your chance. The story of aspiring writer Jack Torrance’s (Jack Nicholson) gradual descent into madness is an extremely eerie, yet entertaining, one.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
The slasher film, directed by Wes Craven, rests on the notion that not even your dreams are safe from Freddy Krueger — a creepy killer who stalks you through your unconscious mind. Beware: the original movie (which is better than the 2010 reboot that featured Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy) will likely give you nightmares.
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Shaun of the Dead might not be a traditional Halloween movie in the sense that it’s not particularly scary. However, the British “romantic comedy…with zombies” is so funny that it’s rightfully earned its place on this list. The movie stars Simon Pegg as Shaun, a deadbeat man so desperate to win his girlfriend back that not even the walking dead will stand in his way.
The Babadook (2014)
Jennifer Kent’s directorial debut, about a sinister presence that torments a widow and her young son, received widespread critical acclaim in 2014. Warning: The Babadook is not for the faint of heart—the director of The Exorcist called it the most terrifying film he’d ever seen.
It Follows (2015)
After 19-year-old Jay (Maika Monroe) sleeps with the boy she has recently begun seeing, she learns that she has contracted a sexually-transmitted curse that will follow her until it kills her or she passes it on to someone else. The twist? Only she can see the physical manifestation of the curse, a shape-shifting demon that can take any form—even that of those closest to her.
Train to Busan (2016)
Delays are the least of passengers’ problems on the titular train in director Yeon Sang-ho’s Korean-language zombie film. The emotional thriller follows a father and his estranged daughter as they attempt to survive a rapidly spreading zombie outbreak while traveling from Seoul to Busan.
How to watch it: Train to Busan is available to stream on Netflix.
Happy Death Day (2017)
The Scream-inspired slasher flick follows a gloomy Groundhog Day-style plot in which a murdered college student relives the day of her death (which also happened to be her birthday) repeatedly—until she decides to catch the killer. Happy Death Day, which cost just $5 million to make, brought in an impressive $26 million on its opening weekend.
Darren Aronofsky’s mother!, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem, is an ambitious (and very ambiguous) horror thriller that takes place within a creepy semi-renovated house in the middle of nowhere. Although the movie has divided critics, there’s no doubt that its torturous and disturbing themes make for a perfect Halloween watch.
How to watch it: mother! is available to stream on Hulu.
Get Out (2017)
Arguably one of the best films of 2017 (TIME’s movie critic described it as “the horror movie we need today“), Jordan Peele’s directorial debut Get Out is an extraordinary creepy tale centered around a black man meeting his white girlfriend’s suburban family for the first time. Sure, Get Out isn’t technically a Halloween movie. In Peele’s words, it “explores why black people are afraid of white people.” But if you’re looking for a socially conscious Halloween watch—that also happens to be pretty scary—this thriller will do the trick.
The Endless (2018)
When brothers Aaron and Justin (played by directing duo Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson) receive a cryptic video message from a member of the UFO death cult they escaped as teenagers, they decide to revisit the remote Southern California commune where they were raised in hopes of getting some closure. What they find there instead threatens to upend the world as they know it.
How to watch it: The Endless is available to stream on Netflix.
Based on the first novel in Jeff VanderMeer’s best-selling Southern Reach Trilogy, Annihilation recounts the mind-bending expedition that a group of female scientists—including biologist Lena (Natalie Portman)—make into a mysterious anomaly known as the Shimmer that is slowly spreading. Director Alex Garland’s latest offering may be a sci-fi movie at its core, but that doesn’t mean it won’t leave you with an unshakeable sense of dread.
Best Classic Halloween Movies
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
This classic horror movie (if it can be called a horror movie?) first appeared on screens more than 40 years ago, and has since earned the distinction of being the longest-running movie in history. Although TIME’s original review described it as “campy trash,” The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which follows a young couple whose lives change when they stumble upon a cast of intriguing characters in a spooky house, has cemented itself as a cinematic institution.
The 2018 reboot had one of the best horror movie openings of all time, but the first film in the seemingly never-ending horror franchise is the best of the bunch. The 1978 film tells the story of the deranged Michael Myers, a masked killer who breaks out of prison to return to the same spot where he murdered his sister 15 years before. We’ve seen numerous adaptations, but John Carpenter’s original endures as an out-and-out classic.
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Tim Burton’s goth masterpiece is the movie that helped make Johnny Depp a star. A heartwarming classic, Edward Scissorhands contains important messages that are as relevant now as they were over 25 years ago.
The Addams Family (1991)
Based on the 1960s TV series, the 1991 fantasy comedy movie about the macabre Addams family (including Christina Ricci as the young Wednesday Addams) is a true Halloween classic — albeit, not a particularly scary one.
The 1996 slasher film, directed by A Nightmare on Elm Street‘s Wes Craven, follows high school student Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), who is terrorized by a killer known as Ghostface one year after the death of her mother.
How to watch it: Scream is available to stream on Netflix.
Scariest Halloween Movies
A Quiet Place (2018)
Dubbed one of the most “terrifyingly effective horror movies in years” by TIME’s movie critic, A Quiet Place centers on a husband and wife—played by real-life married couple John Krasinski and Emily Blunt—who will do anything to keep their children safe in a dystopian world populated by sound-sensitive monsters intent on killing any living thing that makes a noise. Krasinski also wrote and directed the eerily silent fright flick.
Following The Witch (2015) and It Comes At Night (2016), A24’s 2018 horror hit is the indie studio’s most terrifying yet. Written and directed by Ari Aster, Hereditary sees Toni Collette return to her horror roots as Annie Graham, an artist and mother who begins to unravel a web of increasingly disturbing family secrets in the wake of her own mother’s death.
How to watch it: Hereditary is available to stream on Prime Video.
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Adapted from Thomas Harris’ 1988 novel of the same name, The Silence of the Lambs chronicles FBI agent-in-training Clarice Starling’s (Jodie Foster) hunt for killer-at-large Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine). Along the way, Starling enlists the help of Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Sir Anthony Hopkins), a former psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer imprisoned in a maximum-security facility. Hopkins’ turn as Lecter is widely considered one of the most terrifying performances of all time.
The Sixth Sense (1999)
The creepy tale of a young boy who “sees dead people… all the time” includes one of the the biggest film twists in history. Directed by M. Night Shyamalan, this psychological thriller stars Bruce Willis and Toni Collette, and also features a spine-chilling performance by Mischa Barton in her pre-OC days. Definitely one to watch with friends in a well-lit room.
How to watch it: The Sixth Sense is available to stream on Netflix.
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
The original ‘shot on a phone’ movie, The Blair Witch Project follows three student filmmakers hiking in the Black Hills of Maryland as they film a documentary about the Blair Witch. The indie sensation, which appeared on the cover of TIME in 1999, was made for $35,000 but grossed a whopping $140 million domestic, another $108 million foreign.
The Descent (2005)
If you’re claustrophobic then this probably isn’t the film for you, as The Descent takes place almost entirely within a maze of caves. The 2005 British horror hit tells the story of Sarah (Shauna Macdonald), a woman who embarks on a caving adventure with a group of friends following the tragic death of her husband and daughter.
Let The Right One In (2008)
This Swedish horror film follows the story of Oskar, a 12-year-old boy who develops a close friendship with a young girl called Eli, who happens to be a vampire. The movie, directed by Tomas Alfredson (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), won Best Narrative Feature at the Tribeca Film Festival and has an impressive Rotten Tomatoes rating of 98%.
The Conjuring (2013)
Based on the tale of married demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren’s (played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) investigation into the haunting of the Perron family, The Conjuring earned an R rating simply for being too scary.
How to watch it: The Conjuring is available to stream on Netflix.
The Witch (2015)
Set in 17th century New England, The Witch follows a devout colonial family who is terrorized by witchcraft after being banished from a Puritan plantation. Robert Eggers’ directorial debut is slow-build horror at its best.
How to watch it: The Witch is available to stream on Netflix.
Not one for the squeamish, Raw is a French-Belgian horror drama about a young vegetarian whose taste for human flesh is brought out after she undergoes a carnivorous hazing ritual at vet school. As well as totally unnerving, the movie is critically acclaimed; it won the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) prize at the Cannes Film Festival last year.
It Comes at Night (2017)
This claustrophobic horror movie is about a family who has sequestered themselves at home in the woods to escape a highly-contagious plague that has taken many victims — including the beloved grandfather of 17-year-old Travis (Kelvin Harrison Jr.). The psychological fear of It Comes at Night is subtle, but that doesn’t make it any less terrifying. Warning: do not watch alone.
Adapted from American horror legend Stephen King’s disquieting 1986 novel of the same name, IT is a tense tale about a group of kids who band together to fight a shape-shifting clown called Pennywise who terrorizes children in their hometown every 27 years. Suffer from coulrophobia? This is definitely not the movie for you.
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