Ah, ’tis the season for Fall. The season changes, Halloween displays go up in stores and Netflix starts to adjust their movie picks. Personally this time of year is my favorite: it means it’s time for horror movies. I love a good scare, be they great movies or horrendous ones that probably shouldn’t be considered real movies. Here’s my top 10 picks for movies that have scared the crap out of me over the years.
1. The Descent (2005): Six women venture into the Appalachian Mountains and get stuck underground with some creepy “Crawlers.” The scariest parts have nothing to do with the monsters; it’s the claustrophobia that comes from being trapped underground that terrifies me the most. Hands down one of my all-time favorite movies.
2. Rec (2007): A female journalist and her cameraman get trapped in a Barcelona apartment complex where a viral outbreak has begun. This Spanish-made found footage film is the only movie on this list that I can still say legitimately scares me after several viewings.
3. Psycho (1960): A secretary steals tens of thousands of dollars from her employer and ends up at the Bates Motel in the company of the motel owner, Norman Bates. You can’t beat the classics, and Hitchcock’s work still holds up decades later.
4. Stake Land (2010): An apocalyptic outbreak of vampirism pairs up a young boy and his older mentor who teaches him how to survive. True, the vampire genre has been done time and time again, but this movie relies on strong character development and atmosphere rather than just focusing on the teeth and blood. And there are no sparkles.
5. Crimson Peak (2015): When Edith Cushing meets Thomas Sharpe, she falls wildly in love, but also discovers he and his sister are hiding some terrifying secrets. The ghosts living in Sharpe’s home threaten to reveal all to Edith. I am an adamant fan of Guillermo Del Toro, and this visually stunning beauty is perfect for Halloween.
6. Alien (1979): The commercial starship Nostromo sets down on an unknown planet and brings back with it a menacing presence that hunts them off one by one in the depths of space where no one can hear them scream. Sigourney Weaver brings to life one of the most badass heroines in film history, so this is a must watch.
7. Evil Dead (2013): A young woman’s friends and family take her out into the woods to help her detox from heroin, but instead they end up unleashing pure evil instead. Though this remake of the 1982 film lacks both the humor and Bruce Campbell that made it famous, it’s a solid retelling that gives me chills.
8. Night of the Living Dead (1968): A group of survivors trapped in a farmhouse in Western Pennsylvania try to wait out the onslaught of “living dead” creatures that seek to devour them. Fans of the zombie genre owe everything to George A. Romero, the legend who wrote and directed this film.
9. 28 Days Later (2002): A man wakes up from a coma 28 days after a horrible viral outbreak that has demolished British society. He and a group of survivors must try and find safety amidst the Infected that seek to kill them. The sheer speed of the Infected make this movie a rush to watch.
10. Saw (2004): Two men wake up in a bathroom chained to steel pipes, launching a seven movie series following the Jigsaw Killer and his legacy.
These are by no means the best horror movies ever, but they’re great for a Halloween gorefest.