With only about a week left until Halloween, it’s crunch time to binge on as many scary things as possible and for me, that means watching as many horror movies as I can before the best month of the year is gone. Before my fellow Halloween lovers can shed a tear for another spooky season almost behind us, here are five of my favorite classic horror movies for all of you to indulge in now.
1. An American Werewolf in London (1981)
This one will always have to be first in my book because it has a little bit of everything: eye-rolling humor, beautiful effects, and even a great soundtrack. An American Werewolf in London follows two young, American men that get lost while on a trip with their school and, in return, have to suffer the consequences of the Werewolf’s Curse. Director John Landis takes the scare value beyond just the normal blood and gore by adding a perfectly executed predator/prey scene that really immersed audiences into the film even more and even managed to throw in Nazi monsters in the mix. With the perfect blend of funny and scary, you won’t be able to help but to have fun with this one.
2. Psycho (1960)
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Oh, Alfred Hitchcock. What would we do without including you in the mix? Psycho is the well-known masterpiece from Hitchcock that follows Marion Crane and Norman Bates while giving people a terrifying look into the human psyche. Hitchcock blends seductiveness with Bates’ boyishness so well that it seems impossible that someone like him could commit such atrocities. The scare tactics that trigger the unknown that he uses are also so simple yet, so efficient because they build up slowly, allowing the best one to come very last. If you thought the iconic shower scene was bad enough, you need to see this one because there is so much more than just that.
3. Carnival of Souls (1962)
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When many people hear “B-Movies,” they automatically write off the film as being just alright without giving it a chance. Carnival of Souls is one of the hidden gems out there that has been able to mix strange apparitions and slow deterioration of the mind to create an unforgettable art piece. With a low budget, sacrilegious organ music, and deathly figures just covered in black and white makeup, filmmakers had the ability to create a surreal atmosphere that can be obviously seen in other horror films of the past and present. The film is admittedly on the weirder side compared to others on this list but because of its distinctive style of scare, it definitely deserved a place here.
4. House of Wax (1953)
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There is no such thing as a horror movie list without the beautiful master himself, Vincent Price. Wax figures are already unsettling but Price brings a whole new level to that fear with House of Wax. Price stars as Professor Henry Jarrod, a disgruntled wax figure sculptor that sets out for revenge on those who he thinks wronged him. His choice of poison is none other than some handy, good ol’ hot wax. Before going into this, you may need to realize that this movie isn’t one of those that will make you jump out of your seat or make you want to sleep with the lights on but it will leave you with disturbing images of that involve both wax and flesh mixed together. Professor Jarrod is one of Price’s more sinister characters and any Halloween fan will appreciate the extra focus on the macabre.
5. Fright Night (1985)
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We’ve covered werewolves, we got the manic murderers, and we took notes on the ghosts but what else are we missing? Vampires. Fright Night has always been my go-to to not only get my vampire fix but to also get some great laughs. The film follows Charlie Brewster, a teenager who’s obsessed with horror movies, sex, and his mysterious new neighbor that can only be found at night. Charlie becomes suspicious after realizing that his neighbor had a prostitute come over once, only to see her face plastered on the news as a victim soon after. The best part about this film is the realistic immaturity stuck to it. Audiences can’t help but to relate to and cheer on Charlie’s nonsense, feeling as if they had to go face the vampire neighbor themselves. It’s entertainment value has been able to hold up for over 30 years now and if you have the option of choosing between this one and the more recent 2011 version, do yourselves a favor and embrace the 80’s campiness.