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50 Scary Halloween Movies to Deliver the Fright of Your Life

From slashers to seances, we've rounded up the best scary Halloween movies for a truly frightening night in.

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Warning: you’ll want the lights on while watching these scary Halloween movies

Halloween is a holiday that’s equal parts fun, mischievous, and spooky. One of the best parts of Halloween is watching scary movies and giving yourself a bit of a fright. Sure, there are some great funny Halloween movies to watch, but the best Halloween movies are the ones that chill you to the bone (and make you sleep with a night light). Spooky season only comes around once a year, after all—you need to make the fright count.

If you’re craving a good scare, watch these top scary Halloween movies to get that spine-tingling, goosebump-raising feeling.

Hereditary Movie Stillvia amazon.com

Hereditary (2018)

Rating: R

Directed by: Ari Aster

Hereditary proves you don’t need jump scares to scare a horror audience. Follow along this eerie and psychologically twisted journey as a family deals with grief, family secrets, and truly disturbing events. You may think you have it figured out—but you just wait.

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Insidious (2010)

Rating: PG-13

Directed by: James Wan

If you’re into the supernatural and exploration of other realms, Insidious is the movie for you. It follows the story of a couple whose young son falls into a coma-like trance after their family moves into a new home. Soon, they start experiencing paranormal events and call an expert to help. However, they learn that it isn’t the house that’s haunted…so, what’s going on? Watch the movie (with the lights on) and find out for yourself. It’s streaming on Netflix, but you can also stream on Amazon Prime if you don’t have a Netflix subscription. Don’t forget to check out the other best Halloween movies on Netflix after watching Insidious.

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House of 1000 Corpses (2003)

Rating: R

Directed by: Rob Zombie

This movie is a road tripper’s worst nightmare come to life. Two couples on the hunt for a local urban legend get stranded on the Texas back roads. Soon, they find themselves prisoners of a truly terrifying (and murderous) family. Will they survive this literal house of horrors?

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A Quiet Place (2018)

Rating: PG-13

Directed by: John Krasinski

A Quiet Place combines post-apocalyptic eeriness with horrific suspense to create one of the best scary movies to watch around Halloween. It follows a family trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world where blind creatures with incredible hearing hunt anything that makes noise. They journey together in silence, hoping to avoid the monsters and survive each day. They soon learn, though, that the monsters aren’t the only things they have to worry about.

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The Blair Witch Project (1999)

Rating: R

Directed by: Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez

This is one of those classic scary Halloween movies you have to watch as the holiday draws near. The Blair Witch Project is shot found-footage style and tells the story of three student filmmakers who venture in the Maryland woods to find the Blair Witch. It’s shot like a documentary, so you’ll feel like you’re actually there as they search for this urban legend and encounter disturbing omens along the way. Start streaming now (with the lights on) to see what happens.

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Get Out (2017)

Rating: R

Directed by: Jordan Peele

Get Out is one of those scary movies that’ll linger with you long after the lights are back on. It tells the story of a Black man who meets his White girlfriend’s family and stays with them for the weekend. There’s clear uneasiness throughout the entire trip, and something just seems…off about this family, their community, and their home. He soon learns the horrific reason why, and tries to get out—if he even can.

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Scream (1996)

Rating: R

Directed by: Wes Craven

You can’t talk about scary Halloween movies without mentioning Scream. This ’90s classic revitalized the slasher genre and gave horror some new wind. A year after her mother’s brutal murder, a teenage girl named Sidney finds herself the target of a serial killer’s twisted intentions. It’s not just her, though—the killer’s also going after her friends and members of her community. But who is this killer, and why are they tormenting Sidney? Now that’s a twisted answer you have to see to believe.

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Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Rating: R

Directed by: Tim Burton

Sleepy Hollow brings Washington Irving’s classic story to life in a fantastic and terrifying way. Schoolmaster Ichabod Crane is sent to the town of Sleepy Hollow to investigate a series of murders allegedly committed by the mythical Headless Horseman. Can Crane determine what’s happening in this town, and if there’s something really supernatural afoot?

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Halloween (1978)

Rating: R

Directed by: John Carpenter

Alright, this is one of those scary Halloween movies you need to watch when October rolls around. Halloween follows the terrifying story of Michael Myers, a maniac who stabbed his teenage sister to death when he was just six years old. Fifteen years later, he escapes the sanitarium where he resides and heads to his hometown to kill again. He stalks a teenage babysitter and unleashes horror on her and her friends on Halloween. Will anyone survive the night?

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Midsommar (2019)

Rating: R

Directed by: Ari Aster

Brought to you by the same director of Hereditary, Midsommar is another scary movie that’s perfect to watch around Halloween. It’s about a couple who travels to rural Sweden to attend a fabled midsummer festival. Everything seems good at first, but it’s not long before the festivities turn violent. You’ll be on the edge of your seat while watching the twisted nightmare unfold.

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Psycho (1960)

Rating: R

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

This is the psychological thriller movie to watch around Halloween. On the run and almost out of luck, a young woman checks in to the Bates Motel, where she meets an interesting man named Norman Bates, who has a complicated relationship with his mother. Shocking events soon unfold that reveal both the Bates’ sinister intentions. Full of suspense and twists, Psycho is a horror classic that continues to send chills down viewers’ spines 60 years after its release.

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It (2017)

Rating: R

Directed by: Andy Muschietti

Based on the terrifying novel by Stephen King, It is a movie that hits horror on multiple levels. The movie follows a group of child outcasts who band together to fight a shapeshifting monster that feeds on children. Can they defeat this monster and save the kids of Derry? Once you stream It, don’t forget to stream It: Chapter Two to keep the scares coming.

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The Changeling (1980)

Rating: R

Directed by: Peter Medak

Fans of haunted house/paranormal scary Halloween movies must watch The Changeling. It’s about a composer who moves into an isolated mansion after his wife and daughter are killed in a car crash. After moving in, he starts experiencing paranormal events. Soon, he learns what exactly is in his home and the dark secrets plaguing the mansion. It’s a perfect movie for those who love paranormal thrillers.

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Us (2019)

Rating: R

Directed by: Jordan Peele

This is another horror film from Jordan Peele that’ll give you goosebumps. Us is about a family that must fight for survival after masked strangers terrorize them during a beach vacation. They soon learn, though, that the strangers are actually their doppelgängers. How is this possible, and what do they want? You’ll have to stream this unforgettable film to get those answers.

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The Strangers (2008)

Rating: R

Directed by: Bryan Bertino

Let’s just say we hope your next weekend getaway goes nothing like this. The Strangers is a story of a couple who takes a weekend trip to a remote family home. Bad things start happening almost right away, and before they know it, three masked strangers arrive at the cabin to terrorize them. These two must fight for survival and get help before it’s too late.

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The Ring (2002)

Rating: PG-13

Directed by: Gore Verbinski

Would you watched a cursed video? Your answer may be a definite “no”, but curiosity makes us do some weird things. The Ring tells the story of a journalist investigating the urban legend of a cursed video. After people watch it, they get a phone call saying they’ll die in seven days. She watches the video and gets the call, giving her just seven days to figure out what’s going on. Chilling, eerie, and just plain terrifying, The Ring is a scary movie that’ll leave you on the edge of your seat.

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The Amityville Horror (1979)

Rating: R

Directed by: Stuart Rosenberg

Based on a chilling true story, The Amityville Horror is a scary movie that’s a staple to watch around Halloween. A young couple moves their family into a Long Island home with a grizzly past, and it’s not long before they encounter malevolent entities that negatively influence their lives. They call on a local priest to help, but is it too little too late? Stream this classic scary movie now to find out.

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Pet Sematary (1989)

Rating: R

Directed by: Mary Lambert

This is another eerie movie based on a Stephen King classic. Pet Sematary follows the story of a man who moves his family to Maine and finds a pet burial ground in the woods behind his home. He soon learns that the burial ground has an incredible power—it can bring the dead back to life. When tragedy strikes, the man decides to use that power with good intentions—but some serious (and terrifying) consequences ensue.

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The Witch (2015)

Rating: R

Directed by: Robert Eggers

This is an eerie movie on multiple levels. The Witch takes place in 1630s New England, where a farmer moves his family to a remote plot of land near a forrest. Soon, the family’s youngest son, Samuel, disappears. His disappearance shakes the family to its core as they try to figure out who—or what—is responsible. At the same time, unsettling things begin to happen on their land. Is it the work of witchcraft, and is one of their own responsible? This unnerving movie will chill you to the bone as you watch the story unfold—it’s definitely one of the scarier witch movies out there.

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Candyman (1992)

Rating: R

Directed by: Bernard Rose

This is another scary movie centered around an urban legend. Candyman is about a skeptical Chicago grad student researching the myth of the Candyman, a terrifying entity with a hook for a hand. She soon learns he’s not just a myth after she accidentally summons him. Start streaming this classic horror film to see if she can escape his clutches.

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The Invisible Man (2020)

Rating: R

Directed by: Leigh Whannell

This is a chilling movie that combines sci-fi and horror. A woman escapes from her abusive boyfriend and later learns he took his own life, leaving her his fortune. Soon, though, odd things start happening to her. It’s like she’s being haunted—but by who? She figures out that her ex didn’t take his own life—he made himself invisible. He’s stalking and terrorizing her, but will anyone believe what’s happening? Or, will she have to take matters into her own hands and fight an enemy she can’t see?

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Poltergeist (1982)

Rating: PG

Directed by: Tobe Hooper

This is another staple horror film to watch around Halloween. A normal California family starts experiencing odd things in their home, like their young daughter talking to ghosts through the family television set. One day, their daughter is sucked into a portal, and the once “friendly” poltergeists show their sinister sides. The family has to work together to battle these spirits and get their girl back before it’s too late.

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Paranormal Activity (2007)

Rating: R

Directed by: Oren Peli

This scary movie sprung countless sequels for a reason. Paranormal Activity tells the story of a couple who starts experiencing supernatural disturbances after moving into a suburban home. They set up cameras around their home to capture evidence, and what they capture is bone-chilling.

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The Nun (2018)

Rating: R

Directed by: Corin Hardy

An ominous movie based in the world of The Conjuring, The Nun is a scary Halloween movie that delivers the fright. After a young Romanian nun takes her own life, a priest and a novitiate are sent to the convent to investigate. There, they find a powerful demonic being that tests their faith and puts their lives at risk. Fans of movies like The Conjuring and Annabelle will enjoy this film.

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Hush (2016)

Rating: R

Directed by: Mike Flanagan

Hush is a suspenseful movie that’ll suck you in from the beginning. It’s about a deaf writer who must fight for her life in silence after a murderous stranger appears at her remote home. Start streaming it on Netflix now to see if she’ll make it out of her home alive.

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Ju-On: The Grudge [呪怨] (2002)

Rating: R

Directed by: Takashi Shimizu

Ju-On: The Grudge is a Japanese horror film that’ll have you sleeping with the lights on. It’s the story of a nurse who arrives at a home where two murders occurred. What she doesn’t know, though, is that the house is cursed. A spirit inside the home will take vengeance on anyone who enters it. You’ll have to watch as she tries to uncover the terrifying mysteries of the home—if the spirit doesn’t get to her first, that is.

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The Purge (2013)

Rating: R

Directed by: James DeMonaco

The Purge takes place in a dystopian version of the United States. In this version of America, there’s an annual event called the Purge, where all crime (including murder) is legal for 12 hours. A wealthy family plans to wait out the Purge but their plans are interrupted after a man, seeking refuge from a murderous group, shows up at their home. Soon, the group turns their terrifying intentions on the family, and they must fight to survive the night. Will they make it?

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Sinister (2012)

Rating: R

Directed by: Scott Derrickson

Equally suspenseful and horrific, Sinister may leave you a bit jumpy after the credits roll. A washed-up true crime writer moves his family into a home where the previous family was murdered, hoping it’ll spark some creativity for a new book. One day, he finds a box of films that show families being murdered—and there appears to be an ominous figure in each film. Soon, he starts finding clues that tie the murders together and learns that something supernatural—and pure evil—is afoot. But is it already too late for him and his family? Start streaming now to find out.

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The Omen (1976)

Rating: R

Directed by: Richard Donner

This is a classic scary Halloween movie that can still make your blood run cold. The Omen is about an American diplomat who adopts a son named Damien. It’s not long before eerie and suspicious deaths start occurring, and Damien seems to be at the center of them. They could be unfortunate coincidences—or signs that the boy is the Antichrist.

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The Shining (1980)

Rating: R

Directed by: Stanley Kubrick

Based on the horror novel by Stephen King, The Shining is a scary movie that’s been terrifying generations of viewers. It’s about an aspiring writer named Jack who moves his wife and young son, who has psychic visions, into the isolated hotel for which he’s the winter caretaker. It’s not long before his son starts seeing deeply disturbing things within the hotel’s walls. Jack learns about the hotel’s dark past and soon starts to unravel before his family’s eyes. Will the disturbing energy push Jack into the deep end?

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Evil Dead (2013)

Rating: R

Directed by: Fede Alvarez

A remake of the 1981 film, Evil Dead is a terrifying movie that’ll make you jump. Five friends head to a remote cabin in the woods, where they find a Book of the Dead. This discovery ultimately leads them to awaken demonic entities. Now, they must fight to stay alive as the entities try to possess them and pick them off.

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The Curse of la Llorona (2019)

Rating: R

Directed by: Michael Chaves

This is one of the newer horror movies to add to your scary Halloween movies list. The Curse of la Llorona takes place in 1970s Los Angeles, where a mother and her kids encounter a mythical ghost that attacks children. Soon, the malevolent entity terrorizes them, causing them to seek help from a priest. You’ll be glued to the screen as you watch if the priest’s actions are enough—or if it’s simply too late for this family.

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Child’s Play (1988)

Rating: R

Directed by: Tom Holland

Imagine giving your child a doll, only to have it be possessed by the spirit of a serial killer. That’s the unfortunate reality in Child’s Play. A single mom gifts her son a doll named Chucky, not realizing that a serial killer used black magic to have his soul live in the toy. After making this horrific realization, she must convince a detective to believe her—or her son could be Chucky’s next victim.

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Friday the 13th (1980)

Rating: R

Directed by: Sean S. Cunningham

This is one of the scary Halloween movies you have to watch when spooky season draws near. Friday the 13th centers around a group of counselors at Camp Crystal Lake, a summer camp with a dark history. As the camp reopens after 20 years, the counselors find themselves the targets of a brutal killer who will stop at nothing to pick each and every one of them off. Will there be any survivors at Camp Crystal Lake? You’ll have to watch this classic horror film to find out.

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Carrie (1976)

Rating: R

Directed by: Brian De Palma

Carrie, based on the novel by Stephen King, is a truly eerie movie that’ll leave an impression. It’s about an outcast teenage girl named Carrie who is bullied by classmates and deals with a domineering mother at home. She soon suspects that she has supernatural powers after odd things start happening around her. She continues to live her life, even attending her senior prom. At the dance, though, something happens that sends Carrie into a rage—and people pay the price.

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Saw (2004)

Rating: R

Directed by: James Wan

Saw will leave a pit in your stomach, even after you’re done watching it. Two strangers wake up to discover they’re chained to pipes and have no memory of how they got there. Soon, they realize they’re the latest victims of a sadistic serial killer and must play his twisted game to survive. They’ll have to make horrific choices and fight for survival to make it out of Jigsaw’s game alive.

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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

Rating: R

Directed by: Tobe Hooper

This is one of the horror movies that put slasher films on the map. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre follows a group of friends as they fight for their lives against a family of brutal murderers. One of them, Leatherface, wields a chainsaw and wears a mask made of human flesh. Will there be any survivors in this house of horrors?

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Goodnight Mommy (2014)

Rating: R

Directed by: Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz

This Austrian psychological thriller will truly terrify you. Twin boys are excited to have their mother back home after she has facial reconstructive surgery. However, her demeanor is…different after arriving home. After a while, the boys doubt if the person underneath the bandages is really their mother. You’ll be on a psychological rollercoaster while watching this one. You can stream it below, or if you have a Hulu subscription, you can stream it there too. Make sure you read up on the best Halloween movies on Hulu to know what to watch next.

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Dracula (1931)

Rating: Passed

Directed by: Tod Browning and Karl Freund

We can’t talk about scary Halloween movies without throwing this vampire classic in the mix. Dracula is the tale of Count Dracula, a vampire who’s thirst for blood causes chaos in England. It’s a timeless movie that still frightens people 80 years after its initial release.

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Train to Busan (2016)

Rating: Not rated

Directed by: Sang-ho Yeon

Train to Busan is a South Korean film that perfectly combines horror and thriller. People are desperate to escape after a zombie virus breaks out in South Korea, leading a group of passengers to take a train from Seoul to Busan. The outbreak follows them on the train, though, and they must stay vigilant to stay alive as the zombie population grows exponentially.

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The Conjuring (2013)

Rating: R

Directed by: James Wan

This is the movie that started a horror franchise and inspired spin-off franchises like The Nun and Annabelle. The Conjuring is the story of a family that calls on paranormal investigators and demonologists Lorraine and Ed Warren after they encounter a dark presence in their new home. Through the Warrens’ investigation, they learn their home has a horrible past and houses a truly malevolent spirit. The Warrens try to get the spirit out of the home, but as they learn, the entity won’t go down without a fight.

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It Follows (2014)

Rating: R

Directed by: David Robert Mitchell

It Follows tells the story of a girl who, after sleeping with her new boyfriend, learns she’s the latest victim of a curse. “It” follows her, and after odd visions and events, she and her friends try to find ways to defend themselves from this mysterious force. But how can you stop something you can’t see?

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The Babadook (2017)

Rating: Not rated

Directed by: Jennifer Kent

One of the things that make The Babadook so eerie is that it all stems from a children’s book. A single mom and her young son find themselves at the mercy of the Babadook after a mysterious children’s book manifests in their home. What makes The Babadook so terrifying is the real themes that it touches on, including grief and single parenthood. Dealing with those heavy topics, plus having a terrifying entity in your home? It’s enough to drive anyone mad.

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Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Rating: 1968

Directed by: Roman Polanski

This is one of the top scary Halloween movies to put in your queue. Rosemary’s Baby is about a couple (Rosemary and Guy) who moves into a peculiar New York City apartment. They don’t think much of it, or their odd neighbors, because they’re preparing for a baby. During her pregnancy, Rosemary becomes isolated and grows paranoid about her unborn child. You’ll have to watch until the end to get the full, horrific truth about her baby—and her neighbors.

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Annabelle (2014)

Rating: R

Directed by: John R. Leonetti

Annabelle is another terrifying movie based in The Conjuring world. It’s the story of a couple who start experiencing horrific supernatural occurrences after having a terrifying experience with satanic cultists. An innocent doll they once loved has become a source of pure evil, and now they must act quickly to protect their home—and their lives.

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The Cabin in the Woods (2011)

Rating: R

Directed by: Drew Goddard

This movie may make you think twice about renting a cabin in the woods. It’s the story of five friends who rent a remote cabin for a getaway, only to discover that the cabin is full of horrors. The twist? The horrors are controlled by two scientists. Start streaming now to see what these twisted people have in mind for these unsuspecting victims.

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A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Rating: R

Directed by: Wes Craven

This slasher classic is one of the best scary Halloween movies to stream. A Nightmare on Elm Street follows a group of teenagers as they’re tormented by Freddy Krueger, a terrifying boogeyman-like character who seeks to kill the teens in their dreams, which also kills them in real life. That means no one is safe, even in their own beds. Will the revelation of a dark secret help stop Freddy once and for all? Start streaming now (with the lights on) to find out.

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Final Destination (2000)

Rating: R

Directed by: James Wong

If Final Destination teaches us anything, it’s to trust our guts. It’s about a teenage boy named Alex who has a horrific premonition: the plane he and his classmates are on exploding. After making a scene, he and a few others are kicked off the plane—and witness it crash moments after takeoff. Alex and the others cheated death, but death isn’t letting them off the hook that easily. You won’t be able to look away as this group tries to dodge death’s unforgiving blows.

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The Exorcist (1973)

Rating: R

Directed by: William Friedkin

We couldn’t make a scary Halloween movies list and not include The Exorcist. This horror classic is about a 12-year-old girl who gets possessed by a demonic entity. Her mother, fearing for her child’s life, reaches out to a priest for answers, and he recommends an exorcism. What ensues is a terrifying night filled with supernatural events that’ll make your stomach drop.

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Jeepers Creepers (2001)

Rating: R

Directed by: Victor Salva

Jeepers Creepers is about a brother and sister who, on their way home from college, encounter a terrifying creature that hunts humans. It’s in the middle of a ritualistic spree and has no intentions of leaving survivors. The siblings must fight to stay alive and outrun this indestructible being before they become its next victims—a task much easier said than done.

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If you can watch all of these movies with the lights off, congratulations: You’re braver than we are. If you need some light-hearted spooky movies to binge afterward, check out our list of the best Disney Halloween movies to watch.