‘Tis the season to get spooky. While most people will spend the next few weeks putting the finishing touches on their Halloween costume and trying to pin down party plans, we suggest taking a break to treat yourself to a scary movie.
A number of networks have rolled out themed programming, sneaking Halloween episodes into currently airing seasons of all your favorite shows and showing all the best seasonal movies. While you could easily tune in to TCM, Freeform, Disney or one of the many other networks going above and beyond to scare the pants off their viewers night after night until Halloween, we understand that sometimes you want to pick and choose what you watch and when.
As such, we’ve rounded up 11 of the scariest horror movies of all time for you to rent, buy or stream for whenever you’re ready to face your fears:
“The Exorcist” (1973)
What could be scarier than a film (loosely) based on real events? “The Exorcist” tells the story of Regan (Linda Blair), whose family feels that she’s been acting a little off. Concerned, her mother begins looking for help anywhere she can find it. Doctors are unable to find a solution, which leads her to a local priest, played by Jason Miller. He agrees to aid her, but has to break the news that Regan has likely been possessed by the devil himself. He calls in the help of other church officials to perform an exorcism on the girl and madness ensues.
If the fact that killer clowns are wandering around several towns in America isn’t enough to keep you inside this season, we recommend rewatching Stephen King’s classic horror film, “It.” The movie takes place in a small town, where kids are disappearing one by one. The horrifying occurrence brings together a small group of kids, bonded by the fact that they’ve come face-to-face with a killer kidnapping clown called Pennywise, and lived to tell the story. They set out to stop him and are lead on a terrifying adventure that some won’t survive.
“Sleepy Hollow” (1999)
Sure, you’ve heard the story of the Headless Horseman a thousand times over, but have you seen it brought to life? Join stars Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci in the small town of Sleepy Hollow for a hauntingly good film, directed by Tim Burton.
“The Shining” (1980)
Hoping to overcome a serious fit of writer’s block, Jack (Jack Nicholson) and wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) settle in to a remote hotel in Colorado with their son Danny (Danny Lloyd). The young boy is quickly overcome with psychic premonitions that become more and more frightening the longer they stay at the hotel. Jack decides to do a little research, uncovering the dark past of the Overlook Hotel. This discovery causes him to start losing his mind, terrorizing the very people he loves.
“Children of The Corn” (1984)
Burt (Peter Horton) and Vicky (Linda Hamilton) are two hopeful lovers on a quest across the midwest when they’re stopped dead in their tracks by the murder of a little boy. The pair discover a young man’s lifeless body in the street, which leads them to a small town inhabited only by children and their leader, Isaac Chroner (John Franklin). In time they learn that the children have set out to sacrifice them to their ruler.
“The Amityville Horror” (1979)
Those who grew up anywhere near Long Island, New York, have likely heard the tale of the Amityville Horror house — heck, you might have even visited once or twice in your life. Others can watch the story play out before their eyes in Stuart Rosenberg’s “The Amityville Horror,” a terrifying film about a father haunted by demons who push him to kill his wife and children.
“Rosemary’s Baby” (1968)
What would you do if you thought your newborn baby — your bundle of joy — was actually a demon sent straight from hell? “Rosemary’s Baby” examines just that. Main character Rosemary Woodhouse (Mia Farrow) and husband Guy (John Cassavetes) move to a building in New York City with a chilling reputation and frightening neighbors. Rosemary gets pregnant shortly after they settle into their new home, but will have to wait several months to learn the truth about the bun in her oven.
“A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984)
You can’t talk about classic horror films and not find yourself discussing Freddy Kruger (Robert Englund). The film follows a gang of teens, living normal lives in the midwest until one day they become the unsuspecting victims of one Freddy Kruger in their dreams. The problem? Once he kills them in their dream world, they’re dead in real life as well. This puzzling phenomena leads Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) on a mission to crack the code, but it seems she may be playing a dangerous game.
It wouldn’t be October if you didn’t tune in to at least one of the “Halloween” movies. The first film, released in 1978, tells the tale of a young Michael Myers, who kills his sister Judith and is sentenced to 15 years in jail. While being transferred later in life, he’s able to escape and unleashes his murderous fury on the people of Haddonfield, Illinois.
“The Conjuring” (2013)
Paranormal investigators Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) and Ed (Patrick Wilson) are called in to take a closer look at some of the spooky happenings in Carolyn (Lilli Taylor) and Roger’s (Ron Livingston) farmhouse, set apart from the rest of the town. Their haunting seems tame at first, but quickly escalates. The Warrens dig deeper into the house's history, learning that they’re dealing with something much scarier than they previously believed.
“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (1974)
Fearing that her grandfather’s grave has been vandalized, Sally (Marilyn Burns) and her brother Franklin (Paul A. Partain) gather a group of friends to go check it out. They make a pitstop at their family’s farmhouse along the way, where they find an insane crew of murderous misfits have taken up residence next door. The group is attacked individually as they try to plot their valiant escape.
What’s your favorite horror film of all time? Sound off in the comment section or catch us on Twitter.