The 25 Absolute Best Halloween Movies to Watch Right Now
Oct 18, 2017
Whether you’re a scary movie junkie or more of a hide-under-the-blanket kind of viewer, this ultimate list of the best Halloween movies is guaranteed to contain something you’ll want to watch this Oct. 31.
From the original Halloween to the cult classic Hocus Pocus, TIME has collated a list of the best scary, horror-filled, classic and Disney Halloween movies — as well as the best Halloween movies of 2017 so far.
Best Halloween Movies of 2017 (So Far)
Arguably one of the best films of 2017 (TIME’s movie critic described it as “the horror movie we need today“), Jordan Peele‘s directorial debut Get Out is an extraordinary creepy tale centered around a black man meeting his white girlfriend’s suburban family for the first time. Sure, Get Out isn’t technically a Halloween movie. In Peele’s words, it “explores why black people are afraid of white people.” But if you’re looking for a socially conscious Halloween watch — that also happens to be pretty scary — this thriller will do the trick.
How to watch it: You can rent or buy Get Out on Amazon Video.
Happy Death Day
The Scream-inspired slasher flick follows a gloomy Groundhog Day-style plot in which a murdered college student relives the day of her death (which also happened to be her birthday) repeatedly — until she decides to catch the killer. Happy Death Day, which cost just $5 million to make, brought in an impressive $26 million on its opening weekend.
How to watch it: Happy Death Day was released in cinemas nationwide on Oct. 13.
Adapted from American horror legend Stephen King’s disquieting 1986 novel of the same name, It is a tense tale about a group of teens who band together to fight a creepy clown called Pennywise who terrorizes kids in their hometown every 27 years. Suffer from coulrophobia? This is definitely not the movie for you.
How to watch it: It was released in cinemas nationwide on Sept. 5.
It Comes at Night
This claustrophobic horror movie is about a family sequestered at home in the woods to escape a highly-contagious plague which has taken many victims — including the beloved grandfather of 17-year-old Travis (Kelvin Harrison Jr.). The psychological fear of It Comes at Night is subtle, but that doesn’t make it any less terrifying. Warning: do not watch alone.
Darren Aronofsky’s mother!, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem, is an ambitious (and very ambiguous) horror thriller that takes place within a creepy semi-renovated house in the middle of nowhere. Although the movie has divided critics, there’s no doubt that its torturous and disturbing themes make for a perfect Halloween watch.
How to watch it: mother! was released in cinemas nationwide on Sept. 13.
Best Disney Halloween Movies
The Disney Channel original movie follows 13-year-old Marnie Piper as she learns she’s a witch and is transported to Halloweentown — where witches, monsters and ghosts live in harmony. The cult classic, popular with the young and old alike, has become as much of a Halloween fixture as trick or treating or bobbing for apples.
How to watch it: Halloweentown is available to watch on Disney Channel Go.
Hocus Pocus (1993)
The beloved 1993 Disney movie starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy and Bette Midler as zany Salem witches was voted one of America’s favorite Halloween movies in a survey last year. Use this Oct. 31 to reintroduce yourself to the cult phenomenon before Disney’s controversial Hocus Pocus reboot hits the big screen.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
The mid-90s stop-motion classic tells the story of Jack Skellington, the bored mayor of Halloweentown who misguidedly attempts to bring Christmas to his hometown.
The Haunted Mansion (2003)
Based on the well-known Disney attraction, the Haunted Mansion is the creepy story of one family battling 999 ghosts in an attempt to rid a house of its treacherous curse. The movie, released in 2003, stars Eddie Murphy as a workaholic real estate agent and Marsha Thomason (Lost) as his wife.
How to watch it: The Haunted Mansion is available to rent or buy on Amazon.
Adapted from a bestselling series of books, Twitches is a Parent Trap-style tale of two teen witches separated at birth, who meet on their 21st birthday then use their magical powers to save their biological mother from evil. A proper Disney classic.
Best Horror Movies for Halloween
The psychological horror film, which starred Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh, is widely considered to be one of director Alfred Hitchcock’s best movies. Despite numerous remakes and a TV spin-off, it’s the 1960s classic — complete with the iconic shower scene — which remains truly terrifying.
How to watch it: Psycho is available to rent or buy on Google Play.
The Shining (1980)
“Heeeeere’s Johnny!” If you’ve never seen director Stanley Kurbick’s 1980 classic horror movie (where have you been?!), this Halloween is your chance. The story of aspiring writer Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), who gradually loses his mind, is an entertaining yet extremely eerie one.
How to watch it: The Shining is available to watch on Amazon.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
The slasher film, directed by Wes Craven, rests on the notion that not even your dreams are safe from Freddy Krueger — a creepy killer who stalks you through your unconscious mind. Beware: the original movie (which is better than the 2010 reboot, which starred Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy) will likely give you nightmares.
How to watch it: A Nightmare on Elm Street is available to rent or buy on Google Play.
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Shaun of the Dead might not be a traditional Halloween movie in the sense that it is not particularly scary. However, the British “romantic comedy… with zombies” is so funny that it’s rightfully earned its place on this list. The movie stars Simon Pegg as Shaun, a deadbeat man so desperate to get win girlfriend back that not even zombies will stand in his way.
How to watch it: Shaun of the Dead is available on Amazon Prime.
The Babadook (2014)
Jennifer Kent’s directorial debut, about a sinister presence that torments a widow and her young son, received widespread critical acclaim in 2014. Warning: The Babadook is not for the faint of heart — the director of The Exorcist called it the most terrifying film he’d ever seen.
How to watch it: The Babadook is available to watch on Netflix.
Best Classic Halloween Movies
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
The classic horror movie (if it can be called a horror movie?) first appeared on screens more than 40 years ago, and has since earned the distinction of being the longest-running movie in history. Although TIME’s original review described it as “campy trash,” The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which follows a young couple whose lives change when they stumble upon a cast of intriguing characters in a spooky house, has cemented itself as a cinematic institution.
How to watch it: The Rocky Horror Picture Show is available to buy or rent on Google Play.
The first film in the seemingly never-ending horror franchise is the best of the bunch. The 1978 film tells the story of the evil Michael Myers, who breaks out of prison to return to the same spot where he murdered his sister 15 years before. We’ve seen numerous adaptations, but John Carpenter’s original endures as an out-and-out classic.
How to watch it: Halloween is available to rent or buy on Amazon.
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Tim Burton’s goth masterpiece is the movie helped make Johnny Depp a star. A heartwarming story, Edward Scissorhands contains important messages that are as relevant now as they were more than 25 years ago.
How to watch it: Edward Scissorhands is available to rent or buy on Google Play.
The Addams Family (1991)
Based on the 1960s TV series, the 1991 fantasy comedy movie about the macabre Addams family (including Christina Ricci as the young Wednesday Addams) is a true Halloween classic — albeit, not a particularly scary one.
How to watch it: The Addams Family is available to watch on Amazon Prime.
The 1996 slasher film, directed by A Nightmare on Elm Street‘s Wes Craven, follows high school student Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), who is terrorized by a killer known as Ghostface one year after the death of her mother.
How to watch it: Scream is available to watch on Amazon Prime.
Scariest Halloween Movies
The Sixth Sense (1999)
The creepy tale of a young boy who “sees dead people… all the time” contains one of the the biggest film twists in history. Directed by M. Night Shyamalan, this psychological thriller stars Bruce Willis and Toni Collette, and also features a spine-chilling performance by Mischa Barton in her pre-OC days. Definitely one to watch with friends in a well-lit room.
How to watch it: The Sixth Sense is available to buy on Google Play.
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
The original ‘shot on a phone’ movie, The Blair Witch Project follows three student filmmakers hiking in the Black Hills in Maryland as they film a documentary about the Blair Witch. The indie sensation, which appeared on the cover of TIME in 1999, was made for $35,000 but grossed a whopping $140 million domestic, another $108 million foreign.
How to watch it: The Blair Witch Project is available to stream on Amazon Prime.
The Descent (2005)
If you’re claustrophobic then this probably isn’t the film for you, as The Descenttakes place almost entirely within a cave. The 2005 British horror hit tells the story of Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) who embarks on a caving adventure with a group of friends following the tragic death of her husband and daughter.
How to watch it: The Descent is available to watch on Netflix.
Let The Right One In (2008)
This Swedish horror film follows the story of Oskar, a 12-year-old boy who develops a close friendship with a young girl called Eli, who happens to be a vampire. The movie, directed by Tomas Alfredson (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), won Best Narrative Feature at the Tribeca Film Festival and has an impressive Rotten Tomatoes rating of 98%.
How to watch it: Let The Right One In is available to watch on Netflix.
Not one for the squeamish, Raw is a French-Belgian horror drama about a young vegetarian whose taste for human flesh is brought out after she undergoes a carnivorous hazing ritual at vet school. As well as totally unnerving, the movie is critically acclaimed; it won the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) prize at the Cannes Film Festival last year.
How to watch it: Raw is available to rent or buy on Amazon.