In the spirit of Halloween, it’s time to watch some scary movies, so turn off all the lights and get ready to scream with your team. Here’s a list—in no particular order—of STACK’s top 10 old school scary movies.
Be advised that all of these movies are rated R for language and graphic violence. Be aware that you may not be able to sleep at night after viewing them. Be aware that you may lose your voice from constant screaming. View at your own risk, if you dare.
Release date: 1978
Villain: Michael Myers
STACK’s Take: A must-see. Don’t waste your time with the sequels and remakes, because the original is by far the best. If the sound track doesn’t raise the hair on your arms, watching Michael Myers stalk his prey definitely will. Even if you’ve seen this film more than once, watch it again, because it’s the perfect flick for Halloween weekend.
Release date: 1989
Villain: Gage Creed
STACK’s Take: This film will freak you out if you live in a town that has a pet cemetery (yes, they do exist). Based on Stephen King’s best-selling novel, it’s about a family that loses their cat; but after they bury it in the cemetery, the cat comes back to life. When one of the children passes away, the father thinks it’s a good idea to bury him in the same “magical” cemetery. What was he thinking? Yes, the kid comes back to life. What happens next? You’ll have to watch to find out.
Release date: 1975
Villain: Great White Shark
STACK’s Take: If you say you don’t think twice about running into the ocean after watching this film, you’re lying. Although the special effects are not as spectacular as more current shark flicks, the sheer mystery of where the shark is, and listening to those simple tones, are enough to keep most people from entering the water. This movie is more than just a great horror flick; it’s a coming-of-age story about a man facing his fears and conquering them. We suggest reading the book, too.
Release date: 1996
Villain: If I told you, it would spoil the movie
STACK’s Take: Don’t answer your phone during this film, because it might just be the killer calling. When kids are getting eliminated left and right, everyone in the small town becomes a suspect. Who’s the killer? Pay close attention to find out. It’s the R-rated version of the game Clue, but in this film just about everyone dies.
Release date: 1973
Villain: The Devil
STACK’s Take: One of the creepiest films of all time. Human villains are scary, but an evil spirit consuming the body of a child? That’s just plain wrong. Even scarier is the fact that the film and the book are based on an actual exorcism performed on a young boy in the 1940s. Some say the movie was cursed during filming. Sets burned down, actresses got hurt, and one of the actors died suddenly while filming. Watch at your own risk.
Release date: 1979
Villain: The alien
STACK’s Take: Nobody can hear you scream in space, and unfortunately for these astronauts, screaming is all they can do. Rule number one in every space movie: never go on an abandoned ship that has creepy pods on it. Sigourney Weaver ends up kicking some alien butt and saves the day. Thank goodness for independent women.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Release date: 1974
STACK’s Take: Cannibalism is no laughing matter, and the most unfunny thing about this movie is that it’s loosely based on an actual murder that occurred in Wisconsin. It’s a scary story about a group of friends who happen to pick up the wrong hitchhiker at the wrong place. The 1974-era special effects don’t compare to those in the latest version of the film; but, like most movies and their remakes, the original is always better.
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Release date: 1984
Villain: Freddy Krueger
STACK’s Take: One of the most bizarre flicks on this list, A Nightmare on Elm Street will definitely give you insomnia. The other characters in the movie have to stay awake to stop Freddy Krueger from entering their minds and killing them. On the plus side, viewers get to see Johnny Depp get sucked into a bed after drifting off to sleep. Staying awake has never been so hard. Luckily a remake of the film is coming out in 2010 to keep us all from having sweet dreams.
Release date: 1990
STACK’s Take: Nobody likes spiders, but if you do, you’re just plain crazy. Not even Peter Parker could stop these super poisonous spiders from killing innocent people. Thinking about the film makes the skin crawl. One bite from these killer arachnids, and your life is over in a heartbeat. At least Jeff Daniels has a good shot with a nail gun.
Release date: 1995
Villain: John Doe
STACK’s Take: Not for viewers with sensitive stomachs. A detective tries to find a murder through the seven deadly sins. The film is more suspenseful than scary, and the climax is exactly what the killer wants. Even the calm, cool voice of Morgan Freeman can’t stop the rage of Brad Pitt. This is the goriest film on the list, so make sure you have a bucket next to you in case you have to hurl.