This is Halloween, this is Halloween, something something in the dead of night.
Never actually learned all the words to that one. Seriously, try singing the non-“This is Halloween” part to yourself right now. Something about pumpkins and trick or treating, but damned if I know quite what. Anyway, it’s a fun song and eventually the sentient skeleton god learns that the true meaning of Christmas is he, as a ghoul, should not be celebrating it in the first place. Everyone can relate to that.
At Ranker, we love Halloween, and not just because it’s an excuse for us to go outside in our pajamas and pretend that it’s a “costume” rather than the thing we’d prefer to be doing every day. It’s also because we love horror movies – and have a ton of great lists about them on our site – and October 31st just happens to be the best day out of the year to watch them all! All of these rankings of the greatest horror films were voted on by dozens, hundreds and, in some cases, thousands of Ranker users. They won’t steer you wrong.
So whether you’re looking to have a scary movie marathon all Monday night, or just have a few titles to throw up in the background during your next frightful soiree, these lists ought to do the trick.
The “found footage” genre has been around for years but recently, in the wake of the “Blair Witch” phenomenon and the explosion of amateur video on YouTube and mobile phones, it has become totally ubiquitous. It seems like each week, a different movie that was supposedly “discovered” on an abandoned blood-spattered camera in the woods, pops up in multiplexes, complete with a lavish marketing campaign and a bevy of young starlets who filmed it during a long weekend while they were still hoping to land a callback for Fincher’s “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” remakes.
The format works particularly well for horror movies. It just makes a lot more sense that a homemade video completed under suspicious circumstances would provide the set-up for a thriller, as opposed to, say, a movie in which the hero is forced, through a set of outrageous circumstances, to take the place of a beloved character from folklore. Such as the Easter Bunny. (Have they done that one yet? Cause that idea is GOLD. Someone get The Rock’s agent on the phone… I’ll wait…)
One recent entry in the “found footage” genre that’s scoring with the Ranker community is “The Last Exorcism,” a low-budget “found footage” take on the exorcist sub-genre that’s now available on Netflix Streaming. It’s a mockumentary supposedly chronicling the life of a former professional exorcist and fraud who has agreed to reveal the tricks he once used to fool people. Of course, most people who have seen movies have probably already guessed that, this one last time, the exorcism may just turn out to be… real?
Check out the trailer:
A good pick for Halloween, especially because, if you have Netflix, you can watch it right now without having to worry about standing up or putting on pants.
A ranked list of over 20 of the classic entries in perhaps the most popular sub-genre of horror films, the haunted house movie. Not a ton of surprises in the Top 5 – “The Shining,” as always, leads the pack, and rightfully so. Stanley Kubrick’s chilling, cold re-imagining of Stephen King’s claustrophobic bestseller remains just as mysterious and other-worldly as it did back in 1980.
Also performing really well on the list is the creepy, underrated “Stir of Echoes,” based on another novel by Richard Matheson. (Quick trivia! Matheson also wrote the books that inspired the films “Omega Man,” “I Am Legend,” “The Legend of Hell House,” “What Dreams May Come” AND “The Incredible Shrinking Woman.”)
Kevin Bacon stars as a normal guy who gets hypnotized at a party and then starts getting cryptic messages from a dead girl whose spirit lives in his house.
Yes, this is one of those movies where ghosts force the living to do errands for them and finish up their earthly business, as if these people don’t have other stuff to take care of during the course of a typical day. They’re still alive, ghosts… they have jobs.
Obviously we’re not saying these movies are actually TRUE in that there are really demons and ghosts and what have you. But these are films based on actual incidents and reports of supernatural activity, most of which have not been entirely debunked or disproven.
’70s classics “The Exorcist” and “The Amityville Horror” are probably the most famous examples of this trend, but some of the other items on the list might surprise you. Did you know, for example, that Peter Benchly’s book which inspired the film “Jaws” was based on a real series of shark attacks off the coast of the Jersey Shore? (Sounds like they had a Situation! Wow… I’m sorry about that…)
The list also includes the sad tale of Ed Gein, the Wisconsin serial murderer who is often credited as the inspiration for, among other movie murderers, Leatherface, Norman Bates AND Buffalo Bill from “Silence of the Lambs.” No word about whether or not he actually ever said this in real life, but we can just go ahead and assume he did because it’s more grim and Halloween-y that way.
Finally, once the kids have fully processed those 28 Pixie Stix, crashed and wandered woozily off to bed, maybe Mom and Dad want to have a little… adult Halloween time. Then, it’s time for the to put away the childish horror films and opt for more erotic, sensual fare, which is exactly why you need expert advice on which vampire movies are the hottest. (If the word “Twilight” just popped into your head… just know that I’m disappointed in you.)
After a considerable amount of votes have come in, the verdict is clear: Kate Beckinsale from the “Underworld” films is the Internet’s pick for hottest vampire. Is it Beckinsale’s steely, athletic performance that gives the “Underworld” movies their sexy charge? Or perhaps the fact that she’s wearing an outfit that’s so rubbery and skin-tight, it kind of creeped out the monster from “American Horror Story.”
Seriously, I know I’m a vengeful spirit made of bondage gear incapable of experiencing human emotions like lust… but that Beckinsale costume is ridiculous.
Shockingly, Eddie Murphy’s foray into urban horror – “Vampire in Brooklyn” (directed by Wes Craven) – didn’t fare as well, and is bringing up the rear of the list. I seriously can’t imagine why it never found a larger audience, save for the fact that it’s nearly unwatchably terrible. But I mean… aside from that… what’s the beef, horror fans?
For even more awesome Halloween movie-themed list action, check out this guide to Nostalgic Halloween Movies (mostly from the ’80s and ’90s) as well as this authoritative guide to Movies to Watch on Halloween from local favorite AriannaFelidae. I can honestly tell you that they are both a graveyard smash, and I don’t throw that term around willy-nilly.