ByTom Chapman, writer at
tweet: tomtomchap Warden of the North - bearded, tattooed and square eyed 'til the end
Tom Chapman

All Hallows Eve is nearly upon us, tis' the night of carved pumpkins and candy, kids. If you dare to venture out this Halloween, you are sure to come across more than a few Harley Quinns, so we suggest staying with your feet up and good old classic Halloween movie. Lock the doors, unplug the phone, and draw the curtains. I scream, you scream, we all scream for Halloween. Here are the 13 top Halloween movies of all time!

13. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

  • Best quote:

"So come up to the lab and see what's on the slab. I see you shiver with antici... pation."

Knowing the moves to "The Time Warp" is a staple of any Halloween (or decent wedding for that matter), not to mention dragging up as Frank-N-Furter being a must at some point in your teenage years. Adapted from the 1973 stage musical, Richard O'Brien's musical masterpiece is a star of cult cinema, and about to get a 2016 remake of its own!

Starring Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, and even Meatloaf, The Rocky Horror Picture Show takes a pair of newlyweds into the twisted castle of Dr. Frank-N-Furter — a transvestite alien set on a night of madness and frivolity. Packed full of musical numbers, Curry shines as the larger than life Frank-N-Furter, while the O'Brien himself gets stuck in as the shuffling Riff Raff.

Opinions are mixed on how Fox's remake will fair, especially when news that transgender actress Laverne Cox will play the transvestite doctor has outshone the film itself. There is a silver lining though: Tim Curry will be back! Sadly not as Frank-N-Furter, but as the film's narrator.

12. House Of 1000 Corpses (2003)

Image: Lionsgate Films
Image: Lionsgate Films
  • Best quote:

"Goddamn, motherf****r got blood all over my best clown suit."

Director Rob Zombie is known for his warped taste of films, but House of 1000 Corpses really does take the biscuit in terms of gore and gratuitous violence.

As two couples tour the back roads of America they stumble on a ranch of cannibalistic killers. Here they meet the Firefly family, a murderous clown named Captain Spaulding, and the legend of Dr. Satan.

Featuring too many f****d up moments to mention (victims being dressed as giant rabbits), the Dr. Satan elements of the film move off the track of realism and onto genuinely scary Halloween movies. Taking influence from classics like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes, House of 1000 Corpses may have been panned by critics, but do we really care? It spawned the equally bloody, but slightly less deranged, sequel The Devil's Rejects, and we are STILL waiting for a third Captain Spaulding feature.

11. Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Image: Paramount Picutres
Image: Paramount Picutres
  • Best quote:

Lady Van Tassel: "Watch your heads."

The first (of many) Tim Burton films to make this list — Sleepy Hollow is gothic horror with a comedic twist. Burton reimagines the legend of the Headless Horseman, while Johnny Depp desperately tries to hold on to his noggin.

Constable Ichabod Crane is sent from the big smoke to Sleepy Hollow, there to investigate a series of murders seemingly connected to the mythical Horseman.

Heads obviously roll, but an all star cast includes a young Christina Ricci, Michael Gambon, and Miranda Richardson. Burton's unique take on the tale told 1,000 times before makes it one of the story's most imaginative takes. It is packed full of typical Burton darkness, and is everything you want from a Halloween movie — pumpkins n' all.

10. The Strangers (2008)

  • Best quote:

"Is Tamara here?"

"Oh yawn, another home invasion movie." When entering the cinema back in 2008 I had no idea what I was in for. The Strangers literally had viewers on the edge of their seats thanks to clever camera angles, minimal script, and simple costumes.

Opening with your typical "What you are about to see is inspired by true events," the film immediately sucked me in. Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman are a couple on the road to separation. Spending the night in an isolated house, the couple find themselves terrorized by three masked assailants. With no escape, no motive, and no hope, will they survive the night?

The real horror of The Strangers is the apparent lack of reason from their attackers. As the masked psychos say themselves when questioned, "because you were home." While obviously not based on true events, director Bryan Bertino says the inspiration came from a spate of burglaries in his town when he was younger. A sequel has been in the cards since the original, and now seems to be one of those rare films that lurches from the depths of development hell. The Strangers 2 is tentatively coming (soon?).

9. Beetlejuice (1988)

Image: Warner Bros.
Image: Warner Bros.
  • Best quote:

"Let's turn on the juice and see what shakes loose."

It has Batman in it! Somewhere under the black and white makeup lurks Michael Keaton, in a plot that still struggles to make sense. Beetlejuice is undoubtedly one of the best Halloween movies you could imagine, packing Tim Burton's black comedy with a unique premise.

The newly deceased Maitlands (Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) turn to paranormal deviant "Betelgeuse" to rid their home of a new family, with disastrous results. In step the tasteless Deetz family from New York, who seem set on destroying the house. The Maitlands team up with the morbidly gothic Lydia Deetz (Winona Ryder) to return everything to normal -banishing both Betelgeuse and her family for good!

A spin on the usual haunted house genre, Beetlejuice swept the awards board, and produced an animated spin-off. The planned sequel Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian never made it to the light of day, however, original stars Michael Keaton and Winona Ryder are on board for another go at the pinstriped poltergeist.

8. Creepshow (1982)

  • Best quote:

"Where's my cake, Bedelia? Where's my Father's Day cake?"

Poking fun at the retro horror comics of the '50s, Creepshow is the first, but not last, horror anthology you will find here. Featuring Stephen King in his acting debut, the film has five horrific tales for Halloween:

  • Father's Day - After the death of the miserable family patriarch, it looks like the spirits can't rest on Father's Day.
  • The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill - A hillbilly thinks his luck has changed upon discovering a mysterious meteorite on his property. Little does he know what trouble is heading his way.
  • Something to Tide You Over - Leslie Nielsen stars as the scorned lover, looking to punish his unfaithful wife at the beach house they shared together.
  • The Crate - A college professor discovers a yeti-filled crate and decides to use it for his own twisted desires.
  • They're Creeping Up on You - In a dystopian future Upson Pratt is the ruthless businessman obsessed with bugs. An infestation in his flat threatens his very life.

Creepshow gathered two feature-film sequels, and there were plans for a continuation as a web series.

We were only even treated to the pilot episode of web series Creepshow: RAW. Titled "Insomnia," RAW starred Michael Madsen as an abusive stepfather. The webisode showed the promise of the original, but nothing can beat the first Creepshow!

7. Night Of The Living Dead (1968)

Image: The Walter Reade Organization
Image: The Walter Reade Organization
  • Best quote:

"It has been established that persons who have recently died have been returning to life and committing acts of murder. A widespread investigation of funeral homes, morgues, and hospitals has concluded that the unburied dead have been returning to life and seeking human victims. It's hard for us here to be reporting this to you, but it does seem to be a fact."

George A. Romero's classic Halloween movie may have been made off a minuscule $114,000, but as the ancestor of the modern zombie films, people forget the importance of Night of the Living Dead. While not considered your stereotypical sequel-making material, Romero went on to make six Of the Dead films of varying success. However, it all goes back to Night.

Seven strangers are trapped in an American farmhouse as a horde of reanimated ghouls come to attack them. It was the first film to buck the zombie trend, giving us your stereotypical "shuffler."

Dodgy dialogue and questionable effects didn't stop Night of the Living Dead being rightly classified in the National Film Registry. No Halloween binge is complete without the origin of the zombie outbreak.

6. Trick 'R' Treat (2007)

  • Best quote:

Steven: [whispers] "Billy. Shh. Please, be quiet." Billy: [shouts] "Why?" Steven: "Because you'll bother the neighbors, now go watch Charlie Brown and I'll be in in a minute." Billy: "Charlie Brown's an asshole!"

If you have never seen Trick 'r' Treat, I implore you to do so right now. Along the vein of Creepshow, Trick 'r' Treat is a horror anthology with a modern take. Uniquely, all the tales are tied together by the characters of the same Ohio town. Trick 'r' Treat reaches a genuinely terrifying conclusion. The stories are as follows:

Principal Wilkins - The school principal may be hiding a dark secret in his back garden, can his young son Billy help him finish the task before the night is out?

The School Bus - The town legend of a missing school bus full of children is reopened. A group of nosey children visit the supposed site that the bus vanished, and attempt to connect with the dead.

Red Riding Hood - Anna Paquin puts on her best red cape for this year's Halloween party. Danger lurks in the shadows, so is it safe for her to be out there all alone on a night like this?

Sam - Brian Cox's Mr. Kreeg is a Halloween humbug until he meets Sam, the unknown mascot of the film. Sam is the burlap-sacked creature who ties all our tales together in spectacular fashion.

The pumpkin head of Sam could warrant a whole film of his own, but Trick 'r' Treat's constant twists and turns reach beyond your usual classic Halloween movie. As with many films, we still wait for the long-mooted sequel in "official" development since 2013; we can't wait to unwrap the sweet candy of Trick 'r' Treat 2.

5. The Shining (1980)

Image: Warner Bros.
Image: Warner Bros.
  • Best quote:

"Redrum. Redrum. REDRUM!"

Separate from a list of Halloween movies, The Shining goes down as one of the all-time best horror movies ever. There was something eerily isolated about the film and its location, a story emphasized by the actual horror experienced on set by actress Shelley Duvall — pushed to the edge by director Stanley Kubrick.

Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) roams the halls of the haunted Overlook Hotel. With only his family for company, Jack is cut off from civilization for the winter. Can he hold on to his sanity, or will he succumb to the evil that lies within the hotel?

With Nicholson's unhinged performance, Kubrick's brutal direction, and the stylistic way The Shining was shot, it is no wonder that this film still gives people shivers 36 years later!

See also:

4. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

  • Best quote:

"And they call him, Sandy... Clawssss...!"

Good Halloween movies are a dime a dozen, but a film that combines both Halloween and Christmas — and doesn't suck — now you're talking. An in-office argument on whether you can include The Nightmare Before Christmas was quickly resolved when you realize you can't not have it on the list. Even the the director agrees!

Originating from a poem that Tim Burton wrote in 1982, Nightmare follows the inhabitants of Halloween Town. Jack Skellington is the Pumpkin King, bored of his life of scares and screams. Jack looks beyond Halloween Town to discover the new holiday of Christmas and bring it home.

Danny Elfman's haunting soundtrack, the musical interludes, and the stop-motion animation mean that The Nightmare Before Christmas can warm even a skeleton's heart. No sequel is needed here, Nightmare is near-perfect as it is. Preserved for the time of year between Halloween and Christmas, that's a whole two months of watching it on repeat for you all!

3. A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)

Image: New Line Cinema
Image: New Line Cinema
  • Best quote:

Hallguard: "Where's your pass?" Nancy Thompson: "Screw your pass."

Looking back, A Nightmare on Elm Street hasn't aged particularly well; with its visible wires and stunt-man mattresses, it sticks out like a campy piece of '80s nostalgia. However, in terms of scary Halloween movies, Elm Street was a shocker of its time. Robert Englund's iconic performance as the burned child molester, and Johnny Depp's premiere performance in the "body-in-the-bed" scene make for some must-see viewing.

A young Heather Langenkamp stars as Nancy, a tormented girl who struggles sleeping. Nancy uncovers the legend of a town killer named Freddy. After being burned alive years ago, Freddy is back to haunt the teenagers of Elm Street in their dreams.

With truly imaginative death scenes, the untapped potential of being killed in your dreams has made Freddy one of horror's longest-standing villains. There were eight films starring Englund, as well as a maligned ninth film with Jackie Earle Haley putting on the glove. However, it all goes back to the Elm Street of 1984. A Nightmare on Elm Street showcases horror aficionado Wes Craven at the pinnacle of his directing career.

2. Hocus Pocus (1993)

Image: 	Buena Vista Pictures
Image: Buena Vista Pictures
  • Best quote:

"Oh look, another glorious morning. Makes me sick!"

Continuing the trend of 1993 being a great year for Halloween movies, here come the Sanderson sisters. With a never-appearing sequel that has been in that cards since the original, Hocus Pocus is one of the all-time top Halloween movies.

Bette Middler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy head up the coven of colorful witches. Hanged for their crimes in Salem 1692, the wicked Sanderson sisters await a virgin to light the black-flamed candle and release them again.

In a quiet LA town in 1993, hapless teenager Max does the unthinkable and unleashes the Sandersons — bringing chaos to his home (and high school) life. Together with his young sister, a black cat, and the girl he likes, Max must try and send the witches back to hell.

Aired annually on the Disney Channel, Hocus Pocus developed a very cult of its own, with Bette Middler even dressing as Winifred Sanderson on stage during her Divine Intervention Tour. It just isn't Halloween without Hocus Pocus!

1. Halloween (1978)

  • Best quote:

"Death has come to your little town, sheriff."

There was only going to be one film that tops the list of best Halloween movies, and it has the freaking word in the title. Spawning a franchise of 10 films, comic books, merchandise, and dodgy Halloween masks from now until forever, the scary season has a lot to owe to Michael Myers. Ask yourself: Where would Jamie Lee Curtis be without Laurie Strode?

The Midwestern town of Haddonfield is rocked when former resident and serial killer Michael Myers returns to town. Chased by psychiatrist Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence), Michael returns to wreak havoc on a young babysitter and her friends. Arguably the start of the entire babysitter-thriller genre, Halloween is the daddy of October 31 films.

Made famous by its chilling score, horror legend John Carpenter not only provided the music, but directed it as well with amazing results. While Michael has carried on his murder-spree since, the franchise has had nine directors of varying talents. Unfortunately, the original Halloween was Carpenter's only hand in the franchise

Image: Fox
Image: Fox

Are you scared yet? You should be! Whether it be buckets of blood, or extended scares, we sure are a glutton for punishment when it comes to giving ourselves the willies. Good Halloween movies are a dime a dozen, but you would be hard pushed to find a best Halloween movie outside of this list. Did your favorite make the final cut?

Check out our behind-the-scenes video of 5 classic horror movies, and don't forget to comment in our poll below.


Which is your top Halloween movie?


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