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Do you want to watch some scary movies for Halloween? Try these 13 greats from the past several decades!

It has become tradition for many people to freak themselves out by watching some intense, heart-racing horror films during October. Here are 13 Horror Movies for Halloween that shouldn’t disappoint. Some of these movies scream Halloween season, and some just fit that creepy atmosphere we’re all looking for. If you need some Halloween movies to watch with your kids that won’t make them run to your bed in the middle of the night, I’d recommend checking out my 10 Halloween Movies For Kids. Only one or two of the movies in this list could be watched by younger audiences. The movies below are in no particular order. They each have their own positives and negatives.

Sleepy Hollow

The legend of Sleepy Hollow has been a popular American story for nearly 200 years. This tale has been retold countless times, but this version was released in 1999 by Tim Burton. This is a dark, gory retelling of the story that crosses the line between reality and supernatural.

For those that don’t know, this version of Sleep Hollow follows Ichabod Crane, a detective from New York who has come to the small town of Sleepy Hollow to investigate murders. The towns people say the murders are done by a headless horseman. Unlike the original story, this version’s Ichabod is a man of science, and tries to prove there are no ghosts and no headless horseman, but he is quickly proven wrong.

This particular movie isn’t really scary for adults, but the theme is perfect for Halloween. The story and style of the movie should be enough to keep all viewers interested.

Beetlejuice

BeetleJuice is another classic movie from Tim Burton. It tells the story of Adam and Barbara, a husband and wife who died in a sudden car accident, and are now stuck haunting their home. A new family moves in to their, now former, house and starts causing trouble for the recently deceased couple. Both Adam and Barbara try everything they can to get the family out, including recruiting BeetleJuice, and evil yet comical entity that specializes in getting rid of the living.

This may be the only movie on the list that kids can watch without being freaked out all that much, but there are some questionable scenes here and there. Then again, they may be too young to understand them.

The Sixth Sense

The Sixth Sense tells the story of Dr. Malcom Crowe, a child psychologist whose next patient is a boy named Cole Sear. Cole appears to be a troublesome child in his peer’s eyes, but he’s really just a normal kid with a special secret. His secret is that he can see and communicate with dead people.

This movie was incredibly popular when it first came out. It’s very frightening the first time you see it, and it has a solid story to keep you interested the whole way through.

Scream

This may be one of my favorite horror movies of all time. The story is set in Woodsboro, a small town that becomes plagued by a series of murders. The town’s police, reporters, and students all try to figure out who is responsible before they’re put on the chopping block.

This isn’t your average “scary movie.” It’s more or a thriller murder mystery that will keep audiences on the edge of their seats. Some say Scream was responsible for revitalizing the horror movie genre. This movie puts all the classic horror movies under a spotlight and reveals the stereotypes and rules found in each one. The Scream series (a total of four movies at this time) talks about horror movies in general in the first film, horror movie sequel rules in the second, trilogy rules for the third, and reboot/remake rules for the fourth. All four movies are great, but the first may be the absolute best.

The Exorcist

The Exorcist tells the story of Regan McNeil, a girl who has been possessed by the demon Pazuzu. After a number of failed medical tests, her mother seeks help from the church to release Regan from this torment.

Once known as the scariest movie of all time, and for good reason, this classic movie will keep audiences hiding behind their loved ones. If you want a scary movie to watch for Halloween, this is a perfect choice!

28 Days Later

28 Days Later follows a man named Jim who wakes up from a coma inside an empty hospital. As he walks through town, he quickly realizes something terrible has happened. The city seems to be empty, and the people he does come across are incredibly violent. He eventually finds some non-infected people hiding throughout the city. Together, they try to survive and find a place to live peacefully.

Some say 28 Days Later helped revitalize the zombie movie genre. Although technically, the people are infected with a disease and aren’t exactly zombies. Still, it’s a great movie that takes a few turns you may expect these days, what with the influx of zombie movies and TV shows. Fair warning, about 99% of the movie was shot with a really low resolution camera. Don’t expect top notch quality, even on Blu Ray.

Dawn of the Dead

Dawn of the Dead was originally released in 1978, but a remake was released in 2004 that surpasses the original in a number of ways. The movie follows a small group of people who barricade themselves in a shopping mall after the zombie apocalypse. They do their best to survive zombie attacks while keeping on good terms with each other.

If you’re a fan of classic zombie movies with the slow walking dead, you may want to watch the original 1978 version. The characters in that movie can actually walk around the zombies with little fear. The 2004 version features the more popular zombie hordes that charge at people in a moment’s notice. This movie is for the fans that like some gore with their horror for Halloween.

The Conjuring

The Conjuring is a classic haunted house story set in the 1970s. It follows the Perron family who recently moved into an old farmhouse in Rhode Island. After a number of horrible incidents, they seek the help of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren.

The Warrens are in fact a real couple that investigates paranormal activities. However, this particular story is completely fictitious.

This is the most recent film in the entire list. It has a great combination of suspenseful terror, creepy imagery, and common jump scares that will surely excite those who love horror movies.

VHS

VHS is a mix of six horror movies with six different directors. The movie follows a group of men who break into a house to find a special VHS tape for a client. However, the house seems to be filled with stacks of VHS tapes, along with a dead man. They start popping in a few tapes and discover each has very unusual recordings.

This movie is sure to satisfy any horror movie fan since it has six different stories in one! The original released in 2012, a sequel released in 2013 (VHS 2), and another sequel released in 2014 (VHS Viral). They came out through video-on-demand instead of theaters, so they’re not as widely known as most horror movies.

The Grudge

The Grudge tells the story of a family that moves into a horribly haunted house in Japan. Unlike normal haunted houses you may see in American movies, this spirits in this house attaches to anyone who walks in and eventually kills them.

The Grudge is an American remake of the Japanese movie Ju-On: The Grudge. There are actually a number of Ju-On movies, most which connect to each other in some way or another. The original Japanese movie has more story to it. The American remake is still set in Japan, but they replaced all the main characters with white American actors. The Grudge 2 continues the rest of the story from the original Ju-On: The Grudge, but didn’t quite pull it off as well as the original.

Believe it or not, some people say this movie isn’t scary, only the “situation is scary,” whatever the hell that means. I think it’s a terrifying movie unless you purposefully try not to immerse yourself in the story.

Saw

Saw is a series of movies that follows the serial killer known as Jigsaw. In reality, Jigsaw has never killed anyone. He simply kidnaps them and places them in situations that may cause their death. Jigsaw targets select people because he believes they don’t appreciate what they’ve been given. Putting them in these situations will allow them to fight for their lives or easily throw them away.

For awhile, a new Saw released each year just in time for Halloween. As of 2014, there are a total of seven saw movies. The movies started out with pretty intelligent plans and stories, but they seemed to quickly devolve into torture porn with excessive amounts of gore. In my opinion, the original is the best of the entire series.

Paranormal Activity

Paranormal Activity is a series of found footage ghost movies. It follows the same family (different family members from movie to movie) as they deal with some sort of paranormal presence. That’s basically all I can say without spoiling it!

You can either love or hate Paranormal Activity. If you’re expecting fast paced action or things to happen immediately, you will hate this movie. The film is for those who love spooky elements that slowly progress throughout the story. Most of the scares are from jump scares, and the story is slowly revealed throughout the entire series.

One unique thing about the original movie is how there were multiple endings at various theaters. Of course, only one of the endings is the true ending that follows the story line of the sequels.

Halloween

Last but definitely not least is the 1978 classic, Halloween! Everyone should know this slasher horror story. The movie follows a psychiatric doctor (Loomis) as he chases down his escaped patient, Michael Myers. Michael goes on a rampage through his home town on Halloween night, killing anyone in his path.

I’m going to sort of cheat with this one on the list and say the entire A-story should be watched! This consists of Halloween, Halloween II, Halloween 20 Years Later, and the first 10 minutes or so of Halloween Resurrection. Yes, there are many more Halloween movies, but it seems those four films follow the same story line, and even seem to ignore the B-story from Halloween IV, V, and VI for the most part. The majority of Halloween Resurrection becomes its own thing and separates itself from the original story, so fair warning.

Halloween III is a completely different story, and a pretty lame one at that. Then there are the remakes of Halloween and Halloween II which try to be darker and grittier, but in my opinion are ruined by Rob Zombie’s twisted mind.

And there’s my list of 13 Horror Movies for Halloween. Did your favorite make the list? Leave a comment below if you think one should be or shouldn’t be on the list. Maybe I’ll add it to next year’s list!