October is finally here! You know what that means – crisp brown leaves, sweater weather, pumpkin lattes from Starbucks and… Halloween. So what better way to commemorate the spookiest holiday of the year than with a list of some of the scariest films and TV shows of all time.
10. Corpse Bride
While it’s tenuous whether or not you can call this a horror movie, an animated film about a man marrying a dead woman is so messed up that it should definitely pass. Tim Burton’s distinct gothic flair couldn’t go unnoticed on a film list at this time of year and this is definitely one of his most horror-esque films.
9. Paranormal Activity
Many have slated this franchise over the years for multiple reasons – calling it derivative drivel, slamming it for having the scariest scenes in the final 15 minutes etc. However, many forget quite how effective the first film was. Instead of relying on loud, screeching jump scares, the tension builds slowly which generally makes it all the more creepy. Don’t believe me? Then I dare you to watch it alone in a dark room!
8. Scream Queens
Ryan Murphy’s other horror anthology series, American Horror Story, seems to receive all the critical adoration but I just found it grubby and grotesque. To me, Scream Queens is the superior series thanks to its meta humour and the ultimate scream queen of all… Jamie Lee Curtis.
7. The Woman in Black
It may only be a 12A here in the UK, but anyone who says they didn’t jump out of their skin at least once during this haunted house flick is just a liar! It generally relies on jump scares but the deaths of the children were also quite grim and left a strong sense of dread hanging over the whole film (and I’ll never be able to look at a rocking chair the same way again!).
6. The Exorcist
This is an absolute timeless classic of the horror genre. Even with age, it still has some of the most iconic scares of the genre. Not only that but it contains imagery that is still clearly influencing newer entries to the horror genre.
5. Final Destination 3
I may still hold this in such high regard because it was the first horror movie I ever saw, but even re-watching it more recently it still has some of the most ingenious deaths of the franchise. Between the initial roller coaster crash and THAT tanning bed scene (if the prospect of skin cancer wasn’t enough to put you off those things then this should do the trick), it is full of hilariously gross-out sequences, even if the ending is a bit of a cop out.
One of Hitchcock’s best films, this classic is a real benchmark for the genre. The most interesting aspect of this film was not so much the murder as the psychosis of Norman Bates, which spawned the equally brilliant series Bates Motel. Also, who can forget the shower scene when it is one of the most well-known scenes in all of film history.
3. The Conjuring
Some may gawp at this being so high up the list, but it is probably the best film by the modern horror master James Wan. Saw is too reliant on gore, Insidious is batshit crazy, but The Conjuring keeps things simple and is all the more terrifying for it. The hide and seek scene is one of the scariest scenes in film of late but the whole film is generally eerie. It is made all the better thanks to the performances by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, which do more to add a bit of humanity to the events than many other horror films manage to do.
This is quite possibly one of the best horror-comedies of all time. It manages to mix the tongue-in-cheek humour with some very bloody deaths. Said deaths can be scarier than some more elaborate deaths due to the fact that the killer off his victims with a knife, which makes it slightly more realistic. It has also spawned an extremely underrated TV series, which has managed to bring the slightly dated movie into the modern age with as much wit as the films.
The obvious choice for the top spot is arguably the best TV series that the horror genre has ever had. Not only did it look beautiful but the plotting was always perfectly balanced so as to juggle the horror with the psychological thriller aspects. I also slightly hate myself for thinking how delicious Hannibal’s cooking looked. From the perfect casting of Mads Mikkelsen as the eponymous Dr. Lecter to the sumptuous cinematography, this show deserved more than the three seasons it got on US network TV (please revive it, Netflix!).
Do you agree with this list or are there any glaring omissions? Let us know!