For the real horror aficionado, October is the merriest time of year. It’s a season to look forward to, where a love of jumpscares, slashers, monsters and ghosts just makes you festive. It’s a rare time where you can turn to just about any stranger and find a friend of Freddy Krueger, an admirer of Dracula or someone who wants to talk some spells.
With Halloween just around the corner, it doesn’t feel right to watch anything that doesn’t send a little chill up the spine. The joy of scary movies is an experience that should be had by all, young and old, brave and scaredy cat alike.
So, here’s five fun horror movies that might indeed keep you up at night, but won’t turn your stomach.
Halloween. John Carpenter’s classic holiday slasher makes almost every Halloween viewing list for a reason, and it’s not just in the name. Babysitting, especially during the spooky month of October, has never been the same since the masked Michael Meyers terrorized the neighborhood in 1978. “Halloween” delivers an intimidating killer who’s inspired many others in cinema; a tough and extremely likable Jaime Lee Curtis; and plenty of scares. It stands the test of time and remains the best entry in the “Halloween franchise,” which has grown to 11 films and counting.
Monster Squad. A group of foul-mouthed, horror-obsessed pre-teens get their hands on famous vampire hunter Van Helsing’s diary and discover only they can stop the most powerful monsters from taking over the world. “Monster Squad” is a fun, nostalgic and delightfully cheesy romp with Universal’s heavyweights: Dracula, the Wolfman, the Mummy, Frankenstein’s Monster and The Gill-Man. Every inch of this movie drips in late 80s, Halloween aesthetic and speaks to the kid that wants to fight monsters inside us all.
Scream. This movie deserves a lot of credit. When “Scream” came out in 1996 it effectively revitalized the genre, which was going through a lull. The story pays tribute to the whole horror fandom by pitting a group of teenagers against a masked killer who follows all the rules of horror movies. There’s a perfect mix of high school drama, suspense, kills, humor and a good twist ending.
Black Sunday (1960). Mario Bava is one of the great trio of Italian horror maestros of the ’60s to early ’80s. He is credited with the creation of the giallo, a special type of stylish, sometimes supernatural, Italian horror/thriller mystery movie. But before that was his debut, “Black Sunday,” one of the most beautiful, gothic horrors ever made. This tale of a witch burned at the stake who returns centuries later for revenge was considered extremely gruesome for its time, and subsequently banned. Though by today’s standards the black and white film is relatively tame on gore, Barbara Steele’s gaze is mesmerizingly scary. It is a gold standard in modern gothic cinema, able to satisfy vampire and witch fans alike.
Shaun of the Dead. Choosing one zombie movie to watch this Halloween from the massive horde of undead options out there is about as hard as clawing your way out of a grave. “Shaun of the Dead” became an instant zombie sweetheart and introduced us to the comedy of Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright. It’s got everything you need from a zombie flick, but with a great sense of humor. Best of all, it takes every chance it gets to ask the question: “Are zombies really that much different from the human living a mundane life, day in and day out?”
Streaming services offer a few of these for free, but we recommend Casa Video, 2905 E. Speedway Blvd., for all your ghoulish viewing this Halloween.