Top Twenty Favorite Horror Movies For October and Halloween
20. Plan 9 From Outer Space: Plan 9 From Outer Space is about some aliens who come to earth to stop a nuclear device from destroying the universe, so they resurrect zombies from the dead to make an army and attack people near the cemetery. This movie is considered by many people to be the worst movie of all time, which is why I like it so much. It’s a camp classic. With its posthumous footage of one of my favorite horror actors, Bela Lugosi, cardboard tomb stones and flying saucers wobbling from strings, it’s got all the elements of a movie that is fun to watch not for how scary it is but for how incredibly amusing it is. Despite being called the worst movie, it does have some strong points, too, such as a surprisingly effective setting, creepy music and the great horror actor, Bela Lugosi, with his absolute last role, unless he some how finds some way to come back to life again, which I wouldn’t put past the great vampire actor.
19. I Bury the Living: A man takes over as manager of a cemetery. He is all alone at the cemetery except for a groundskeeper and starts putting pins into a map, which supposedly causes people to start dying off. This movie is yet another cult classic that is probably even more obscure than Plan 9 From Outer Space, due to the fact that it didn’t win any awards for worst movie. It has an incredibly creepy setting with the cemetery and the map. The music is creepy and the murders are well done without showing the murderer until you find out who it really is at the very end.
18. Curse of the Demon: A demon cult with affiliations with Stonehenge, an ancient dark magic site, give people pieces of paper before they are killed off by a demon. A man goes to investigate the murders by the demon and goes up against the cult led by a creepy man with your typical villain goatee. This movie is probably one of the most surreal movies I have ever seen. Every so once in a while during the movie, the protagonist will start to see things in a blurry light because supposedly the demon is close by and he will hear strange noises. The creepiest part of this movie is right before the demon shows up because you can see a portal opening from another dimension, probably hell, and hear the noises of the demon.
17. House On Haunted Hill: Seven people go to a house where they are supposed to stay for the night while they are scared with horror gags and fake murders take place. Real murders start taking place, and even the man in charge of the house does not know what to do. This movie is one of the quintessential haunted house movies. It has a great performance from Vincent Price and some scary sets and props. There is also a nice mystery to the movie.
16. Spiral Staircase: A woman starts to work as a maid for an old mansion in the country, on the outskirts of town. There is a murderer in town who has been killing off women with handicaps and he might be targeting the maid next due to the fact that she is not able to speak from a childhood traumatic experience. The setting of this movie is very effective with its old fashioned, gothic house. There is a storm outside and plenty of creepy music. The twist at the end when you find out who the murderer is I think is one of the scariest moments I have seen in a horror movie and the titular spiral staircase makes for a great horror movie set.
15. Halloween 4: There were three Halloween movies that I thought were the classics, the first two and the fourth. The third was not actually a part of the main Halloween series because it had nothing to do with the other movies, Halloween 5, 6 and 7 all got weaker and Resurrection while a movie I liked but other people I know didn’t like it, lacks the great presence of Donald Pleasance as Dr. Loomis. Also, the newer Rob Zombie Halloween movies are crap from what I have heard and I have never been interested in watching remakes of the old classics. Halloween 4 continues from Halloween 2 with Michael Myers going after his niece and trying to kill her in Haddonfield instead of going after his sister again, who supposedly died but will show up later in Resurrection. Halloween 4 has some great moments such as Donald Pleasance hobbling around with a .38 magnum, starting to lose it, warning people that Myers is coming back and bargaining with Michael to not go after his niece.
14. Halloween 2: Halloween 2 picks up immediately after Halloween and has not lost any of the steam from the first movie. When Dr. Loomis checks to see that Michael is dead he finds that Michael has gone already, so he goes looking for him. Laurie Strode is sent to the hospital where Michael tries to get her again. The hospital is a creepy atmosphere and the action is good ending with an explosive finish. Donald Pleasance turns in another great performance as one of my favorite horror movie protagonists ever, Dr. Loomis.
13. Creature From the Black Lagoon: Some people go into the Amazon looking for some fossils that belong to what they think is a dinosaur but actually it is the creature from the Black Lagoon. The creature starts killing them off one by one as soon as they show up. They try to escape the Amazon when they find out they are being killed off by are trapped by the creature and have to face it to survive. The Creature From the Black Lagoon has some great under water scenes and is one of the only great horror movies along with Jaws to take place mostly in or on the water, which makes it unique and memorable. The creature is quite good with its strength and endurance and the setting of the jungle makes for a great atmosphere.
12. The Mummy: Some archaeologists are looking for the remains of the mummy, Karis. One of the archaeologists is a woman who Karis believes when he has revived is his long lost love, Ananka. Karis kills anybody who gets in the way of him reaching his love. In the first movie there was actually some personality and depth to it because Boris Karloff played the mummy who actually looked kind of human and could interact with the people. This made it better than the sequels when the mummy was always wrapped up in bandages, which didn’t allow for nearly as much character development for the villain.
11. Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde with Spencer Tracy: A scientist experiments on the human psyche and tries to figure out what makes humans evil, so that he can get rid of the evil side. Unfortunately, while doing an experiment he turns himself into the dark side of a human being and starts to kill people because he no longer has control over his own mind. I picked the Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde movie with Spencer Tracy as the actor because Spencer Tracy is a great actor and was probably the most popular actor to ever act in this horror movie. Having him certainly helps because you can really see both sides of the doctor making him a very dynamic character. This movie is more thought provoking than it is creepy because it does a great job of showing the id in its true form, something we all have but psychologists are still trying to fully understand.
10. The Invisible Man: A scientist manages to invent a potion that turns him invisible giving him great power. He tries to take over the world because not only does the potion make him invisible it also gives him the mad ambition of becoming ruler of all. The police try to stop him and he is betrayed by one of his friends who he sets out to kill. The fact that most of this movie you can not see the villain and do not know where he is until he decides to kill somebody and then makes himself known to them is very creepy, suspenseful and unsettling. Also, I think that one thing any great horror villain should have is not only great power but also a good back story with an in depth personality for what makes them tick, which is what the invisible man has in spades.
9. Invasion of the Body Snatchers: The movie opens with a man barging into a police station all bruised, dirty and terrified. He yells about how pods or body snatchers are now taking over people’s bodies and tells the police officers the story about how he first encountered the pods. There was a remake of this movie made in the 1970s, which I watched in film class when I was a senior in high school, but I think that the original body snatchers movie is far superior to the newer one. It has that gritty, creepy feel of some 1950s and 1960s horror movies that works quite well and the black and white color adds to the effect. One creepy, effective trait of this movie is that we start with seeing this man scared to death and then he tells about what happened to get him there, which makes things very suspenseful because we don’t know what could’ve happened to him to make him so scared.
8. Psycho: Alfred Hitchcock’s classic slasher movie that many people consider to be Alfred Hitchock’s best movie ever. A woman who is a criminal and on the run from the law after robbing a place and killing the man she worked with stops at a hotel where she meets a man with a serious mother fixation and penchant for stuffing animals called taxidermy. She stays at the hotel until the man decides to kill her in the shower, and the rest of the movie has a couple of people trying to figure out what happened to the woman. There are many things about this movie that make it great such as the stellar acting of Anthony Perkins, the classic shower murder scene and the incredibly powerful final shot of Anthony Perkins looking creepily at the camera. This was also a very influential movie for horror movies in that it was one of the first slasher movies and laid a large amount of ground work for future, great slasher movies such as Halloween, which I consider the last great age for horror movies that movies today just can’t compete against in my opinion.
7. Thing From Another World: An alien lands on earth in a flying saucer and some scientists at a base located at the North Pole with some soldiers go to investigate the crash. They find the remains of an alien frozen in ice and take the alien back to their base where it defrosts and starts to kill them. This is a classic horror movie as you can see from how many times it is used in other horror movies and TV shows such as Halloween 2 when a woman is watching it on TV. James Arness, who would go on to play Matt Dillon in a classic western TV show called Gunsmoke, does a great performance as the powerful, hulking alien. The rest of the actors in this movie also do a good job aided no doubt by strong material to work with.
6. Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein: The only movie on my top twenty list to be a horror comedy because I’m not actually that big of a fan of the Ghostbusters and I don’t count Arsenic and Old Lace as a comedy so much as a horror movie. Two moving men move some exhibits of Dracula’s coffin and Frankenstein’s monsters body into a wax museum where the monsters escape. Not only do the moving men get in trouble for losing the exhibits they also have the vampire going after Costello because Dracula wants his brain. Abbot and Costello are a hilarious comedy team, and I think their best movie was this one. Also, this was one of only three horror movies that allowed Bela Lugosi to play his best role of Dracula, and it’s nice to see that just several years before Bela Lugosi would die poor and helping make some of the worst movies ever with Ed Wood Jr., that he was able to have one final, proud performance as my personal favorite horror movie villain.
5. The Haunting: The best haunted house movie of all time in my opinion. A woman is invited to a haunted house due to her experience with psychic phenomena in the past and is joined at the house by a few other people who would like to investigate the haunted house. I have seen many violent horror movies such as the Halloween series but most of those movies don’t’ even come close to the classic, creepiness of this movie. I think one of the things that made Twilight Zone so great was also a large part of what made this movie so great. You feel like as soon as the woman named Elinore reaches that house she is destined to be taken by the house and no matter what she and the other people try to do, the house will claim its isolated prize in the end.
4. The Wolfman: A man is bitten by a werewolf in the woods when he tries to save a woman from being killed by the wolf. The woman dies, the wolf dies and the man begins to turn into a werewolf himself who commits murders in the nearby village and forest and is hunted down by his own father. This is a great horror movie because it is the best depiction of one of the three most classic horror monsters of all time along with Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster. Also, the acting from both Lon Chaney Jr. who plays the wolfman and Claude Rains who plays his father is superb. The foggy woods are a creepy atmosphere, there is a good amount of suspense in this movie and the fortuneteller played by Bela Lugosi is great.
3. Frankenstein: A mad scientist tries to create a human being by putting together a human body and putting a brain into it. He manages to make a living creature but the creature is taunted by Frankenstein’s assistant, kills his assistant and soon escapes. This is an interesting horror movie for a couple of reasons. First off it was Boris Karloff’s big break, who would go on to take all of the good horror movies roles from Bela Lugosi because Bela was not willing to play the monster, a big mistake from Bela. Secondly this was one of the first big horror movies to be made and while it seems tame by today’s standards along with Dracula this movie had people literally fainting in fright, which is why there is a man at the beginning of the movie who warns people about the incredibly scary nature of the movie.
2. Halloween: Michael Myers kills his sister when he is six years old. He then is put in an insane asylum for fifteen years and escapes to murder his other sister with a psychologist named Dr. Loomis who is trying to stop him. This is one of the most influential horror movies in the slasher movie series. Like the Terminator, which was inspired by this movie, it was originally supposed to be a one movie deal and made on a low budget but it ended up not only ushering in an entire popular movie series but also many different copy cats such as Friday the 13th. With a great horror movie villain of Michael Myers, great horror movie protagonist of Dr. Loomis and great horror movie score that any Halloween fan will instantly be able to recognize, it is easy to see why this movie ended up being such a big deal.
1. Dracula: A vampire has a man come to his castle so that he can arrange to buy an abbey in London because clearly after dealing with his dark, dank castle for so long he could seriously do with a new change of scenery. No sooner does he reach London than he starts to become acquainted with some of the women and does some passionate necking to drink their blood. This movie is the most classic horror movie I can think of because it has the best horror actor of all time, Bela Lugosi, playing my favorite horror villain of Dracula. The character of Van Hellsing who goes up against Dracula is one of my two favorite horror movie heroes along with Dr. Loomis. Also, Dracula’s castle with its incredibly gothic look is my favorite horror movie setting of all time.