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Ghosts, vampires and zombies: Classic Halloween films.

Halloween is known for its scares and horrors; the children on their trick or treating quest for the sweeter things in life but as darkness descends, adults begin hiding behind the pillows and watching all manner of horrifying scary films. After all there so many films out there designed to make us tremble in fear, but just where do we start on this night of so many horrors? The classics are never to be forgotten and always a great place to begin; so take a step back into the past and revel in some scary cinema this Halloween. Watch something you know or find something new this year, here are just a few of my choices.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) and (1978)

In the height of an era characterised by the Red Scare, the promotion of fear of a potential rise of communism comes this film for us all to enjoy. People are being replaced with clones of themselves, devoid of any emotions. Family and friends being removed, no one is safe from the body snatchers just what can they do? Everyone they once knew are being taken away, converted into shells of themselves and it appears there is no escape from the horror to come.

Psycho (1960)

Alfred Hitchcock’s films are a great pieces of cinema and what better time to take pleasure in this classic. The film tells the tale of murder and mystery as a secretary steals a vast amount of money from one of her employer’s client goes on the run before hiding away in a motel. She wishes for a better life but that course never runs smoothly. Something just doesn’t feel right about the motel and the mother and son that run the place.

Not your thing? Why not try The Birds (1963) Alfred Hitchcock’s work truly should be appreciated and viewed at least once. This avian terror fills all audiences with helplessness and doom as the attacks keep on coming from above. Running every direction but not even their homes can save them from these vicious attacks. Just how can they avoid such vicious attacks when the birds are everywhere?

The Exorcist (1973)

The original and often argue the best film about a world we can only speculate upon. Possessions and faith are found within this tale as the priests have the task of casting out a vicious demon that is terrorizing a little girl. Watch the film that inspired so many others even still being produced today. A tale of ghosts and demons to make even the most active horror lover quiver and hide behind the sofa pillows.  Why not make a night of it by watching the sequels which are just as equally horrifying as demons run riot within unsuspecting people time and time again. Even modern films being influenced by the original possession film, so why not relive the film that started it all?

Alien (1979)

“In space no one can hear you scream.” No better line can represent this film; perfect for those wanting a sci-fi fight flick on Halloween night. Isolated in space the crew are terrorized by an unknown creature with strength, speed and abilities they could never think to match. Startling makeup effects and stunning production design really bring this piece of cinema to life. And why stop with just one of these fantastic sci-fi horror flicks as there are many more sequels begging to have you trembling and hiding behind those cushions. Even having melded with the Predator franchise to produce two films, putting the two killing machines against eachother with horrifying repercussions for all those around.

Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

A psychological supernatural tale; making audience hang upon the edge of their seat, before jumping back in surprise and horror. Starting innocently enough with a young couple moving into a new apartment but this is where all the strange occurrences start happening. Surrounded by strange and peculiar neighbours as the wife becomes mysteriously pregnant, paranoia soon controls her life, worrying about her unborn child. Is she right to worry? Only time will tell.

Night of the Living Dead (1969)

Everyone loves a good zombie movie to scare the living hell out of them so why not start with one of the classics. The tale tells of a group of people being trapped in a rural hell, only a farmhouse between them and the masses of zombies closing in upon them.  Can they survive the outbreak, the zombies hungry for their flesh while fighting off cabin fever surrounded by a group of strangers? Of course this film spurred many other sequels such as Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Land of the Dead and so many more; not to mention zombie films from other franchises.

Halloween (1978)

Not just a day on the calendar this film has been famous since its release over forty years ago, having spiralled into a series of sequels surrounding the same mask-wearing killer, Michael Myers. The first film tells a sinuous horror tale where a mental patient escapes his hospital before resuming his murderous ways. No one is safe from this masked mentally unstable killer; will he be stopped before it’s too late?

The Shining (1980)

One of Jack Nicholson’s best roles, there will be no “dull boys” when watching this horror flick; he truly brings the multifaceted character to life. Trapped by horrible winter weather in a haunted hotel a family see the darker side to the man of the house. His personal demons rising to the surface putting them all in danger with no hope of escape. Is it the ghosts affecting him or something much more sinister within himself; a classic that just should not be missed.

The Ring (1998)

A cursed video, what could be better to watch on Halloween to get you truly afraid, in which anyone who watches the film ends up dying within a week. Just what is killing them all, only the video links all the victims, can it be stopped before it’s far too late? A film filled with psychological dread and severe shock effects, able to shock audiences of all horror strengths.

Poltergeist (1982)

A Steven Spielberg film telling us the scariest story simply set in a placid suburbia such an unlikely place for a horrific tale to take place. A portal opening up to another dimension, with untold horrors and problems most of all when a young child is kidnapped. Where has he been taken and will they ever be able to get him back? What nightmares await them as the other dimension floods into their own?

BOUNUS: Let the Right One In (2008)

A fairly modern film that still should not be missed; A Swedish vampire film telling of a socially withdrawn boy when ends up befriending a new girl in the neighbourhood but her appetite for blood which is more than unusual. Just what has this boy let himself in for and what terror will unfold within the neighbourhood now or will his love for this strange girl outweigh her vampiric nature?

There are so many horror films of various genres having been released, everything from sci-fi and slashers, to ghosts and ghouls with everything between to keep us on edge on this frightening night of the year. The classic horror films, of which there are so many more than those that have been mentioned, are ones that should never be missed, a good classic never dies. Relive the nightmares of years gone by, hiding behind the cushions and screaming out in fright. So prepare yourself, settle down with popcorn and all your friends for a horror night to remember.


  • Becky Hayes Becky Hayes says:

    Must admit, I’m not someone who has watched a whole load of horror films. Out of your list I’ve only watched The Birds, Alien, The Shining and The Ring.
    Probably need to get out from hiding behind my cushion and give some other one’s a watch this Halloween 😉 Great article!

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