The Halloween Tradition of Horror Films

Horror films aren’t for everyone, but if you do crave the hair-raising thrill of a scary movie, especially around Halloween, we’ve got the list for you.

To many people, there is nothing better than a good fright, a deathly scare, a heart stopping jolt. For these thrill jockeys, the approach of Halloween means going beyond costume designs and pumpkin carving, to diving head first into the most chill-inducing horror movies.

We all dust off a classic Halloween favorite each year, but how far back do those stand outs really go?

Pretty damn far, actually – the first horror movie ever made was produced in 1898 and came complete with cauldrons, skeletons, ghosts, and of course, the Devil himself. This early launch of the horror film genre led the way to Nosferatu (1922), Freaks (1932) and eventually paved the way for the horror film leader himself, Alfred Hitchcock, who made his movie debut in the early 1950’s with what would be known later as the original slasher genre.

The 70’s and 80’s made way for what would become the cult classic films, including the Halloween, Friday the 13th, and A Nightmare on Elm Street franchises. Although slasher wasn’t a new genre, the 2000s redefined gory horror when Saw and Hostel arrived on the scene, bringing new meaning to the word “bloody.”

The last few years have seen an artistic overhaul of traditional takes on horror, with filmmakers branching out to create something new – an eerier, and more deeply psychological type of fear that will stay with you long after the film has ended. Not sure what we mean? Check out The Babadook.

As Halloween enthusiasts ourselves, team Bigfish has put together our own list of Halloween classics, favorites, and yearly trips down memory lane.

Alex Giroux – The Nostalgist

With weird, imaginative stop-motion animation and a haunting film score by composer Danny Elfman, this Halloween-turned-Christmas classic doubles as a family favorite for both occasions. While Nightmare Before Christmas  is not a traditional horror film, this lively Halloween feature has the sweet family feel and soundtrack that we expect from Disney.

Candace Choi –Classic Horror Buff

That spine-tingling fear many feel hearing just one little word… “Redrum.” A long-established classic, The Shining is a staple of 1980s-style real life horror. Before CGI was king, actors told the story of fear themselves, and Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall remain household names for doing just that. Full of devious twists and turns, The Shining delivers an unnerving story of a writer’s descent into madness.

Ryan Carr – The Original Terror

Gory? Check. Bloody? You bet. All around frighteningly entertaining? Campy horror at its finest. The Evil Dead delivers a powerful punch of fright from a host of undead creatures, demonic spells, and books from the underworld. Jumpy scares keep hearts pounding and pulses racing for a full hour and a half and while the original came out in 1983, you can see it again in the newest version released in 2013 (with a few scary improvements).

Sarah Barnard – Haunting Horror

Set in early 20th-century England, this supernatural horror film delivers an exceptionally big dose of wicked fear, induced mostly by the dark and incredibly sinister setting. The Woman in Black preys deeply on the fear of being haunted by evil and tells the story of a malevolent spirit tormenting local villagers by way of their children. This one ain’t for the faint of heart.

Jenna Handley – The Funny Fright

If you haven’t seen it, you’ve definitely heard of it. American slasher film director, Wes Craven, brought Scream to the big screen in 1996 and followed it with three equally entertaining sequels. This ode to B horror fright night follows a masked knife-wielding maniac as he slashes his way through a group of high school students in rural suburbia. This classic manages to be creepy, clever, and funny all at once, which makes for a perfect Halloween night viewing party.

Well, whatever your taste in horror may be, there is something for everyone, spanning the spectrum of horror, from ghostly to blood-splattered. Mix in a bottle of wine, perhaps some popcorn, and a friend who covers their eyes just when the suspense gets riveting, and you have a pretty fun night. Just make sure you keep the lights on.

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About the author

Digital Project Manager

Sarah brings a passion for discovery and creativity to the Bigfish team. With several years of [...]