13 Halloween Movies that Will Scare You Senseless

From slashers to seances, we've rounded up the best Halloween movies (with bonus video trailers) for a scary night in. Too scary? Try the best Halloween movies for kids.

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House of 1000 Corpses (2003)

House of 1000 Corpses (2003)

On our Halloween movies list because: It's a shocking gorefest set on Halloween: Possibly stomach-turning, but definitely fit for mature audiences looking for a thrill to match the occasion.

Critics say: "[Director Rob] Zombie, pillaging from every low-budget freak-out he can, proves that he at least has a lurid touch for shock theatrics. Blood spatters on the floor like a Jackson Pollock."—Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

Watch:

Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Sleepy Hollow (1999)

On our Halloween movies list because: There's hardly a better fit for a creepy night in than director Tim Burton, and his take on the Washington Irving short story is ghoulish, intriguing fun. 

Critics say: "Gorgeous filmmaking that brims over with fun-house thrills and ravishing romance... Heads roll, bodies pile up, and the horseman—played in flashback by a megaweird Christopher Walken—rises from the dead."—Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

Watch:

Halloween (1978)

Halloween (1978)

On our Halloween movies list because: Halloween all but invented an entire subgenre of slasher horror movies, those that take place on All Hallows' Eve.

Critics say: "There isn't another post-1970 release that comes close to it in terms of scaring the living hell out of a viewer."—James Berardinelli, Reelviews

Watch:

The Changeling (1980)

The Changeling (1980)

On our Halloween movies list because: With a vengeful ghost, a haunted house, and the approval of Martin Scorsese, what more could you want?

Critics say: "This is a scare movie with taste."—Roger Ebert




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The Amityville Horror (1979)

The Amityville Horror (1979)

On our Halloween movies list because: It's a little stupid, somewhat laughable, and full of overt freakout moments—perfect for some fun if you're not in the mood for the really dark stuff.

Critics say: "[The house] causes members of the clergy to vomit whenever they visit the place, and has toilets that spew forth black goo. So much for the niceties."—Janet Maslin, The New York Times

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Pet Sematary (1989)

Pet Sematary (1989)

On our Halloween movies list because: There just aren't enough movies about the walking dead that start with the horrid resurrection of a beloved family cat.

Critics say: "As a basic, icky, unvarnished scare show Pet Sematary renders some of the creepiness effectively in Halloween-spookhouse fashion."—Common Sense Media

Watch:

Poltergeist (1982)

Poltergeist (1982)

On our Halloween movies list because: Unnervingly, this ghost story will leave you wary of your own television.

Critics say: "This is a barnstorming ghost story... consistently redeemed by its creator's dazzling sense of craft."—TimeOut London


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Paranormal Activity (2007)

Paranormal Activity (2007)

On our Halloween movies list because: Something of a modern classic, this shocking feature plays on a culture saturated with reality television and near omnipresent surveillance.

Critics say: "It comes by its screams honestly, earning them with incremental, at times agonizing gradations of old-fashioned, what's-that-noise-in-the-hallway suspense."—Dana Stevens, Slate

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On our Halloween movies list because: It's a fun haunted house film with unnerving, creative imagery.

Critics say: "When The Grudge... focuses on the scary stuff, there's no shortage of fun to be found. And there are several moments of quietly effectiveness creepiness."—Scott Weinberg, eFilmCritic.com

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Evil Dead (2013)

Evil Dead (2013)

On our Halloween movies list because: This new update to the 1981 original eschews some of the camp and piles on the gory scares, making it a decidedly creepier pick for the holiday.

Critics say: "The gore is considerable (though often imaginative) and Alvarez's decision to forego CGI effects pays grisly dividends. That may not be a genuine tongue being slashed in half lengthwise (while still, it should be noted, in its owner's mouth) but damned if it doesn't look like one."—Christopher Orr, The Atlantic

Watch:

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On our Halloween movies list because: Every Halloween night deserves a haunted house, and this delirious Japanese flick presents the weirdest, most entertaining example in memory.

Critics say: "Movies are rarely, if ever, as whirringly rich and strange as House."—Steve Dollar, Paste

Watch:

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

On our Halloween movies list because: More slaughterhouse than haunted house, this classic still chills.

Critics say: "[A] sneaky equation of middle-class values with cannibalism and wholesale slaughter."—Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader

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Panic Room (2002)

Panic Room (2002)

On our Halloween movies list because: This harrowing home invasion movie is a realistic nail-biter totally devoid of ghouls or the supernatural, making it a choice pick for those who know they'll be triple-checking their locks when the movie's done.

Critics say: "It could be an especially grisly, profanity-laced entry in the Home Alone' series. And, it must be said, an exceptionally well-directed one."—A.O. Scott, The New York Times

Watch:

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