By Caleb Spencer / Staff Writer

With Halloween coming closer every day, you may be on the hunt for the perfect scary movie to set you in the holiday mood. Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society, here are 10 scary movies that are perfect picks for the Halloween season.


  1. “The Exorcist” (1973)

“The Exorcist” stands as one of only six horror films to ever be nominated for Best Picture, making it an essential movie to watch during the Halloween season. At the time of release, the film received plenty of controversies regarding the graphic content, but this movie is never graphic for the sole purpose of shock value. Having stood the test of time, “The Exorcist” is a great choice for your friend that says horror movies don’t scare them. 

  1. “Halloween” (1978)

John Carpenter created one of the most iconic horror antagonists in Michael Myers, whose silent stalking throughout the original film sends chills down even the strongest-willed person’s spine. The simplicity of the killer removes any doubt in the viewer’s mind regarding his intent- he won’t stop until he’s satisfied with the carnage he creates. Partially credited for launching the slasher genre into the spotlight, “Halloween” relies on atmosphere and build-up over cheap jump scares, which help make this film an absolute classic. 

  1. “Alien” (1979)

The Nostromo proves to be one of the most terrifying and claustrophobic settings in all of horror, where every shadow may hide the titular alien. Sigourney Weaver stands to be one of the greatest protagonists in all of film history, starring as Ellen Ripley- she helps carry “Alien” and make it a classic movie that everyone should see. 

  1. “The Thing” (1982)

Without exaggeration, “The Thing” is my favorite movie of all time. Following scientists in Antarctica that find themselves facing an alien lifeforce that perfectly mimics living matter, this film creates a palpable sense of paranoia in every scene because any of the crew could be the murderous alien. The practical effects work in the film makes the alien threat feel real and intimidating. Constantly entertaining, intense, and violent, “The Thing” delivers on every level.

  1. “Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984)

Hosting one of the more creative slasher setups of its era, “Nightmare on Elm Street” pits a group of high school friends against the classic horror icon, Freddy Krueger. Having the killer appear only in dreams leads to interesting and creative kills that are difficult to watch but impossible to turn away from. Freddy Krueger finds joy in what he does, which makes watching him work strangely entertaining, helping create the classic that is “Nightmare on Elm Street”. 


  1. “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (1974)

Crude, violent, and disturbing, “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” captures everything that I enjoy in a fun horror movie (no, I am not OK). Iconic moments like the dinner scene and the chainsaw dance stand out in my mind as some of my favorite moments in any film, and they serve as perfect examples of effective filmmaking on a budget. While most definitely not for everyone, I would recommend this movie to anyone. 

  1. “The Fly” (1986)

If I had to sum up this movie in one word, that word would be “gross.” Almost none of “The Fly” makes for comfortable viewing, as you watch Jeff Goldblum slowly transform from human to grotesque humanoid fly. However, the appeal of this film isn’t only the spectacular practical effects- the romantic tale between Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis serves as the backbone for the rest of the film, turning pointless body horror into something much more substantial. While hard to watch for the large majority of the runtime, “The Fly” is worth a viewing if you’re looking for some disgusting content.

  1. “Hellraiser” (1987)

“Hellraiser” is a film that further proves that I am not, in fact, OK at all. Featuring a plot summary that is in no way newspaper appropriate, Clive Barker’s third film somehow made sadomasochism into an enjoyable, albeit deeply disturbing, horror film. Made with a relatively small budget, “Hellraiser” accomplishes some stellar practical effects work that will make even the most seasoned horror movie veteran wince. Propped up by an incredibly macabre series of events, “Hellraiser” delivers on every note that it needs to hit.

  1. “Candyman” (1992)

Directed by the same man behind “Hellraiser”, “Candyman” features less gratuitous violence in favor of a mystery about the main character and her relationship to the titular villain. Tony Todd’s performance as Candyman feels eerie and menacing, placing him among some of my favorite horror movie monsters. This movie feels theatrical and over-the-top without ever stepping into outright ridiculous territory, and makes for a fun and engaging viewing experience.

  1. “Hereditary” (2018)

Nothing about this movie makes for an easy watch. “Hereditary” combines family drama and horror in a way that boosts both aspects to unnerving extremes. The majority of the lengthy runtime is spent building the tension between each family member to the breaking point, all the way to one of the most harrowing and jaw-dropping final 20 minutes in any movie I’ve ever seen. Exploring the dangerous effects of grief on a family, Ari Aster pulled zero punches, which resulted in an excruciating horror film that I cannot recommend enough.

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