25 Classic Halloween Movies That Are Actually Excellent

We call this list 'Must-watch' Halloween movies, or should we say 'classic Halloween movies' that you can't, must not miss because they are actually "excellent".

There is no better time to watch these classics than Halloween! Halloween is a time when we watch campy horror movies with our families or friends, that will make the day even more special, but what if that movie you watch isn’t even horror at all? What if you are disappointed with the movie? For the day when horror is celebrated or glorified, that would be a major disappointment right. But hey, don’t worry! we’ve got your back, because each of the movies we’ve listed below is a classic, or one that set the standard for the horror genre, or one that’s well-known for its antagonist, or one that’s been a cultural staple for generations. We call this list ‘Must-watch’ Halloween movies, or should we say ‘classic Halloween movies’ that you can’t, shouldn’t, or must not miss because they are actually “excellent”.

This is going to be one hell of a ride.

Halloween (1978)

Halloween - classic halloween movies
A glimpse from Halloween

It was a cold Halloween night in 1963 when Michael Myers brutally murdered Judith, his 17-year-old sister. He was sentenced to prison and was locked away for 15 years. A 21-year-old Michael Myers escaped Smith’s Grove on October 30, 1978, when he was being transferred for a court date. He returns to Haddonfield, Illinois, where he hunts for his next victims, where he grew up.

The Exorcist (1973)

The Exorcist
A glimpse from The Exorcist

When actress Chris McNeil gets on set to film a movie in Washington D.C., she takes her 12-year-old daughter Regan along. Regan and her mother have a good relationship, but then Regan starts acting weird. Doctors can’t figure out what’s wrong with her. When Regan’s situation gets out of hand – she swears like a sailor and speaks in tongues, Chris turns to Father Karras, a Roman Catholic priest and psychiatrist, to see if exorcism might help. Despite Karras’ disbelief, the church agrees to send Father Merrin, who’s conducted an exorcism and had a face-to-face with the devil before.

The Conjuring (2013)

The Conjuring - classic halloween movies
A glimpse from The Conjuring

Upon moving into a dilapidated Rhode Island farm house in 1971 with their family, Carolyn and Roger Perron experience escalating nightmarish terror surrounding the property. Desperate, Carolyn hires renowned paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren to examine the property. In their discovery, the Warrens discover an entire area filled with satanic hauntings that are now targeting the Perron family in every direction. For the Warrens to defeat this spectral menace at its source, they must draw upon all their skills and spiritual strength.

Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Rosemary's Baby (1968) - classic halloween movies
A glimpse from Rosemary’s Baby

Rosemary Woodhouse begins to experience strange, unpleasant things after moving into a creepy apartment in Manhattan with her husband Guy. When Guy’s ward seems to commit suicide, his eccentric neighbors, Roman and Minnie Castevet, captivate him. Rosemary becomes pregnant, and a caring Minnie keeps giving her strange concoctions during pregnancy, leaving Rosemary feeling unwell. There’s only one solution: pray for Rosemary’s baby, as the tagline suggests.

Psycho (1960)

Psycho (1960) - classic halloween movies
A glimpse from Psycho

Marion Crane, a Phoenix office worker, is fed up with life. Her lover Sam has to meet her at lunch time, and they can’t get married since Sam has to pay off alimony. Her employer trusts her with forty thousand dollars. After seeing this opportunity, Marion leaves town and heads to Sam’s California store, where she can start a new life. After a long trip, she gets off the main highway and pulls into the Bates Motel, where a quiet young man named Norman seems to be dominated by his mother.

Scream (1996)

Scream (1996) - classic halloween movies
A glimpse from Scream

In the year following the death of her mother, Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) and her friends began experiencing odd phone calls. Later, they learned the phone calls were made by a crazed serial killer who was wearing a white faced mask and a large black robe. Many of the questions he asks on the phone are usually: What is your favorite scary movie? Along with many scary movie trivia, ending with bloody pieces of innocent lives scattered around the town.

Carrie (1976)

Carrie (1976) - classic halloween movies
A glimpse from Carrie

A shy young girl, Carrie White does not readily make friends. When Carrie was teased by her classmates regarding her horrified reaction to her sudden first period, one student took pity on her and arranged for Tommy Ross, Carrie’s boyfriend and class hunk, to invite her to the senior prom. Meanwhile, another girl who has been banned from the prom for her continued aggressive behavior does not wish to be as forgiving and plans a prank to embarrass Carrie in front of the entire school. However, what she does not realize is that Carrie is… gifted with deadly powers, and it would be irresponsible for you to anger her.

The ‘Evil Dead’ Trilogy (1981-1992)

Evil Dead - classic halloween movies
A glimpse from Evil Dead

The first film in the Evil Dead series begins with five college students enjoying a peaceful vacation at a remote cabin. An audio cassette and book are discovered, and when the incantations are read aloud, they discover the evil. It is impossible for the friends to stop the evil as it takes their lives one by one, and only one survivor is left with the evil dead and is desperately trying to survive.

28 Days Later (2002)

28 Days Later (2002) - classic halloween movies
A glimpse from 28 Days Later

In spite of warnings from a scientist that the monkeys are contagious, animal rights activists break into a lab and release monkeys from their cages to rescue them. Animal rights activists’ actions resulted in the spread of a virus that the monkeys contained across Great Britain and infecting many people as a result of the virus. During the period following a bicycle accident shortly before the virus was released, Jim emerges from his coma and finds London deserted. Upon realizing that he is not alone, as there are those within the city that have been infected and those who have not, he continues to search for survivors. The group of survivors includes Jim and his colleagues, who head to Manchester, where a group of British military personnel provide protection to survivors from the infected. However, they are unaware of what to expect.

Zombieland (2009)

Zombieland (2009) - classic halloween movies
A glimpse from Zombieland

As zombies take over the country in the early twenty-first century, a shy and college student in Texas has been surviving by following his 3 rules – looking in the back seat, double tapping, and avoiding public restrooms. To find out if his parents are alive, he decides to travel to Ohio. When he is a passenger on a savage, brutal zombie-killer headed to Florida, they come across a young woman who is desperate to get her sister out of suffering after she has been bitten by a zombie.

Get Out (2017)

Get Out (2017) - classic halloween movies
A glimpse from Get Out

For the weekend, Chris and Rose visit Rose’s parents upstate. Initially, Chris interprets the family’s overly accommodating behavior as a nervous response to their daughter’s interracial relationship, but as the weekend unfolds, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries reveal the truth he was never able to foresee.

Suspiria (1977)

Suspiria (1977) - classic halloween movies
A glimpse from Suspiria

An ambitious American ballet student, Suzy Bannion, arrives in Freiburg’s prestigious Dance Academy in the dead of night amid an unprecedented storm set against the backdrop of the murder of another young student. Suzy will gradually begin to suspect, upon being forced to remain at school after a sudden fainting spell, that the unrelenting attacks on the institute’s innocent members, coupled with the seemingly endless string of ominous incidents, are consistent with the disquieting and insidious witchcraft rumours. Is the renowned academy, in fact, a hideaway of vipers?

Midsommar (2019)

Midsommar (2019) - classic halloween movies
A glimpse from Midsommar

A young American couple, Dani (Florence Pugh) and Christian (Jack Reynor), is on the verge of dissolving their relationship. In the wake of a family tragedy that keeps them together, Christian invites Dani to attend a once in a lifetime midsummer festival in a remote Swedish village. As a carefree summer holiday in the North European land of eternal sunlight takes a sinister turn when insular villagers invite their guests to partake in festivities, the pastoral paradise becomes increasingly unnerving and viscerally disturbing.

Hereditary (2018)

Hereditary (2018) - classic halloween movies
A glimpse from Hereditary

Annie (Toni Collette), her husband (Gabriel Byrne), her son (Alex Wolff), and her daughter (Milly Shapiro) mourn the loss of her mentally ill mother when she passes away. In order to cope with their grief, the family attempts to cope in various ways, including Annie and her daughter flirting with the supernatural. Their family members begin to experience disturbing, otherworldly experiences involving sinister secrets and emotional trauma passed down through the generations.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) - classic halloween movies
A glimpse from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

On their way to visit their grandfather’s grave (which appears to have been ritualistically desecrated), five teenagers pass through a slaughterhouse, pick up a sinister hitchhiker (and quickly drop him off), eat some delicious home-cured meat at a roadside gas station, and finally reach their old family home… They encounter cannibals who more than make up for their lack of social skills by using power tools…

Harry Potter Series (2001-2011)

Harry Potter Series (2001-2011) - classic halloween movies
A glimpse from Harry Potter

The franchise kicks off with an ordinary eleven-year-old boy serving as a slave for his aunt and uncle, Harry Potter learns he is a wizard and has been invited to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Rubeus Hagrid, the groundskeeper for Hogwarts, snatches Harry from his mundane existence and takes him to a world that is completely foreign to both him and the viewer. He quickly discovers, however, that the wizarding world is far more dangerous for him than he could have imagined, and he quickly learns that not all wizards should be trusted.

Prisoner of Azkaban is the best Halloween Harry Potter movie if you’re wondering.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

The Nightmare Before Christmas
A glimpse from The Nightmare Before Christmas

To balance his life experience, Jack Skellington wants something cheerier to balance his dark Halloween Town. Then, his newfound sensibility is sparked when he stumbles upon Christmas town, and it is what he’s exactly looking for. His newfound feelings make him so elated that he tries to share them with the citizens of Halloween Town. However, the atmosphere does not support his newfound sense of self.

Ghostbusters (1984)

Ghostbusters (1984) - classic halloween movies
A glimpse from Ghostbusters

An odd-ball trio of scientists loses their cozy position at a university that studied the occult in New York City. In order to make money, they set up shop in an old firehouse as Ghostbusters, trapping ghosts, spirits, haunts, and poltergeists. The Ghostbusters are called upon to save the Big Apple after they stumble upon a gateway to another dimension that will unleash untold evil.

IT (2017)

IT (2017)
A glimpse from IT

In the summer of 1989, IT follows a group of young people dubbed “The Losers’ Club,” who discover a shape-shifting demonic entity that returns every 27 years and takes advantage of their fears in the wake of recent disappearances of kids in Derry, Maine.

Friday the 13th (1980)

Friday the 13th (1980) - classic halloween movies
A glimpse from Friday The 13th

During 1957, a boy named Jason drowns near Camp Crystal Lake, and two counselors are murdered the next year. A descendant of the original owners reopens Camp Crystal Lake in 1980 with the help of some counselors. There are some counselors who are killed one by one by a mysterious person. Could Jason be the killer?

Beetlejuice (1988)

Bettle Juice halloween movie
A glimpse from Beetlejuice

When Barbara and Adam Maitland die in a car accident, they are trapped in their rural home and are unable to leave. The Maitlands attempt to scare away the unbearable Deetzes and Lydia when the family purchases the house. Their efforts attract Beetlejuice, an erratic spirit whose “help” quickly becomes dangerous for the Maitlands and Lydia.

Paranormal Activity (2007)

Paranormal Activity
A glimpse from Paranormal Activity

The young couple, Katie and Micah, are moving into a new home and Micah records their lives on his camera. After strange events in the night, Katie admits to feeling a ghostly presence in her room as a child. She sensed its malevolence and fears it may now have followed her to their new house. Micah, on the other hand, is skeptical and sets up his camera in their bedroom to record anything that happens during the night. Several days later, they see their bedroom door move and it’s clear that something is in their house. Things are about to get much worse.

Alien Franchise (1979-2017)

Alien Franchise (1979-2017)
A glimpse from Alien

In the distant future, the crew of the Nostromo commercial spaceship pick up a distress call from a distant moon while on their way home. The crew are under obligation to investigate and the spaceship descends on the moon afterward. Three crew members leave the spaceship after a rough landing to explore the moon. It turns out the ship’s computer deciphers the message as a warning, not a distress call at the same time they discover a hive colony of some unknown creature. As soon as one of the eggs is disturbed, the crew realizes they’re not alone on spaceship.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
A glimpse from A Nightmare on Elm Street

When Nancy has nightmares about a terrifying, badly-scarred figure wearing a glove with razor-sharp finger knives, she finds out that her friends have similar dreams. Nancy realizes she must stay awake to survive when the kids begin to die. The girl plots to draw the dream killer into the real world after discovering his identity and connection to the children of Elm Street.

Coco (2017)

Coco
A glimpse from Coco

Miguel dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his own ancestor: Ernesto de la Cruz despite his family’s baffling generational ban on music. When Miguel is desperate to prove his talent, a mysterious chain of events leads him to the beautiful and colorful Land of the Dead. He embarkz on an extraordinary journey to discover Miguel’s family history.

Read more: Most Scariest Movies of All Time

Plot summary credits: IMDB

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