50 Frighteningly Scary Movies To Watch This Halloween

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Horror movies shouldn't be appealing, but they are. Why do we put ourselves through the emotional rollercoaster? Because we thrive on the adrenaline caused by the sense of fear, alarm, dread, and panic that scary movies incite.

Scary movies are purposefully made to horrify the audience by recreating everyone's greatest nightmares and fears. Everything between the music and the action makes it easy for the directors to make us feel wound up to the point where, when the suspense climaxes, we are guaranteed to jump and scream.

And no matter your preference for horror sub-genre, these films will make you sleep with the lights on.

RELATED: The 50 Best Short Horror Stories To Seriously Freak Yourself Out At Night

Here are 50 frighteningly scary movies to watch this Halloween:

1. Annabelle

If you hate those creepy porcelain dolls, this is the movie that will scare the ever-loving crud out of you. Part of the Conjuring universe, Annabelle is based on the real-life experiences of Ed and Lorraine Warren, who claim a Raggedy Ann doll was possessed by a spirit and haunted two roommates in the 70s.

2. The Shining

In a classic Jack Nicholson movie, a writer and his family move to the Colorado Rockies to take care of a hotel. Jack’s young son, Danny, has psychic abilities that let him see the hotel’s past, but with a winter storm and Jack’s decline into madness, will they escape alive?

3. The Conjuring

The Warrens, paranormal investigators, attempt to help the Perron family who are being haunted by a dark spirit. Rated one of the scariest movies in the last decade, be sure to have a blanket handy to pull over your eyes. 

4. The Exorcist

One of the first horror movies focusing specifically on possession, this cult classic is as thrilling as it is terrifying. Some even say the set of the movie was haunted, and there have been nine deaths associated with the film, including the deaths of family members and staff.

5. Pet Sematary

While there is a 2019 film, the 1989 movie just doesn’t compare. Another film based on a Stephen King novel, this movie brings a supernatural element into the horror genre and makes viewers question what lengths they would go to in order to bring back a loved one from the dead.

6. The Exorcism of Emily Rose

Just in case you didn’t get enough evil from The Exorcist, The Exorcism of Emily Rose is loosely based on Anneliese Michel, who was alleged to be possessed by a demon. This film adds an element of murder, which is really just icing on the cake for this scary movie!

7. It

Whether it’s the two-part mini-series from the 90s or the 2017 movie, there’s nothing quite as scary as a clown that can transform into your deepest, darkest fear. And for a group of outcasts haunted by his presence, they vow to kill him once and for all.

8. Halloween

Starring Jamie Lee Curtis in her debut film, Halloween introduced us to one of the scariest villains of all time: Michael Myers. Complete with that haunting piano music, this classic is a must-see for the season.

9. The Omen

What would you do if your child was the Antichrist? This supernatural-horror movie is about a child replaced at birth, and the violence surrounding that child as he grows older. Plus, it includes that spine-tingling music, “Ave Satani.”

10. The Silence of the Lambs

Featuring Anthony Hopkins in one of his most terrifying roles, this unforgettable movie will have you switching between covering your eyes and glued to the edge of your seat. You’ll never look at fava beans or Chianti the same way again.

11. Annihilation

Combining horror and sci-fi, Annihilation stars Natalie Portman as part of a group of explorers trying to investigate a mysterious anomalous zone near a meteor, where Portman’s husband went missing. But what they find reveals horrors never seen before.

12. The Blair Witch Project

The Blair Witch Project is set up as “recovered footage” that’s shaky but terrifying. With footage captured by three film students, the suspense will get to you before the climax does!

13. The Ring

You’ll never watch a VHS tape again after seeing this movie. Anyone who watches this video dies within seven days, and as a journalist (played by Naomi Watts) investigates this cursed tape, she gets deeper and deeper into the mystery of the otherworldly Samara Morgan.

14. The Nun

A priest with a secret? A demonic nun? This movie has all that and more. Following the suicide of a nun, a priest, and novice clergyman go to the Vatican to uncover the mystery. Fun fact: this is the same nun from The Conjuring 2!

15. Hostel

One of Eli Roth’s most terrifying films, the gore and horror is endless with this movie about people who pay to murder others in the most gruesome method of their choosing. Be warned: this movie is not for the faint of heart.

16. A Nightmare on Elm Street

This 1984 film is a horror cult classic, with Johnny Depp in his debut acting role! When teens are terrorized in their dreams by a disfigured man, Freddy Krueger, they attempt to drag him into the real world and end his invasion.

RELATED: 30 Best Terrifying Paranormal Documentaries & Series

17. The Curse of La Llorona

Taking place in the 1970s and based on the folklore of La Llorona (a woman who drowned her children and continues to mourn them), a mother is forced to save her kids from a demonic presence trying to kidnap them.

18. Invasion of the Body Snatchers

While this is an oldie, it’s still a goodie. When alien plants fall to earth, citizens in a California town begin to suspect that some people are not who they seem. Can a local doctor stop the invasion before it’s too late?

19. Poltergeist

If you’ve never seen this ominous movie, you’re certainly familiar with the image of a little girl sitting in front of the television and saying, “They’re here..." A family’s home is turned upside down while trying to get back their daughter who has been abducted by otherworldly forces.

20. Scream

A mix of mystery and slasher, a group of high schoolers terrorized by an unknown killer, wearing the classic “ghost face” mask. When Drew Barrymore is asked, “Do you like scary movies? What’s your favorite scary movie?” you can now say it's this one. 

21. The Thing

There’s really nothing scarier than the thought of aliens infiltrating Earth while you’re trapped in Antarctica. That’s what happens in this movie with a research team when they’re faced with aliens who can mimic their surroundings, including people.

22. Insidious

While at first, it may just be a film about a haunted house, a family quickly learns that it wasn’t the house... it was their child! With their son in a coma state that’s actually an astral plane, the family attempts to stop him from being inhabited by evil forces.

23. Child’s Play

You might want to put away all your dolls before watching this movie! A serial killer uses a spell to transfer his soul into a doll, hell-bent on continuing his spree in mortal form. And that could mean inhabiting the body of his new owner, a young boy.

24. The Fly

This sci-fi/body horror blended film stars a young Jeff Goldblum as a scientist whose experiment to change himself into a fly goes awry. The amount of body parts that fall off Goldblum in this film is probably the most grotesque thing you’ll ever see.

25. Hereditary

After the matriarch of the family dies, her daughter and grandkids begin to discover her hidden secrets tied to their ancestry. The miniatures in Hereditary alone are enough to have you cowering, but the film itself also offers a sinister twist you didn’t expect.

26. Paranormal Activity

If continuous footage of someone standing over you while you sleep is spooky, you’ve hit the jackpot with Paranormal Activity. That’s what a young couple finds, and more, when they suspect their house is haunted and set up a video camera to see for sure.

27. A Quiet Place

Starring real-life couple Emily Blunt and John Krasinski, a family is forced to live in silence to evade extraterrestrial creatures with insanely acute hearing. The dialogue is sparse, but the action and suspense are endless.

28. Psycho

One of Alfred Hitchcock’s most well-known films, we’re all familiar with that infamous shower scene. It’s the story of Norman Bates, whose character was allegedly inspired by Ed Gein, and includes plenty of sudden shocks throughout.

29. The Babadook

The Babadook is a psychological thriller that delves deep into our innermost fears. With a children’s book coming to life, and a mother and son falling deep into paranoia, this movie is overwhelmed with sinister forces.

30. The Witch

Set in the 1600s in New England, a Puritan family is confronted with forces of evil when their newborn son is abducted. Soon, the crops begin dying the family unravels, making them vulnerable to the evil they fear most.

31. Silent Hill

A mother must save her daughter after she is consumed by darkness. Unknowingly traveling through a portal to the possessed town of Silent Hill, the mother becomes trapped in a parallel world attempting to investigate the town’s past.

32. Sinister

What if you moved into a new home, only to find a box of videotapes with brutal murders that took place in the home you now reside? Starring Ethan Hawke, he soon becomes obsessed with the movies, leading to an incredibly terrifying fate.

33. Audition

A widowed television producer creates a dating service to find himself a new wife but becomes the victim of unprecedented horror. This Japanese film has everything you want in a scary movie: gore, suspense, and unsettling, unspeakable horror.

34. Us

If you’ve ever been haunted by the thought of a doppelgänger, this Jordan Peele film follows a family attacked by a group of people... who look just like them. 

35. Open Water

Open Water is based on the real-life story of Tom and Eileen Lonergan, who were accidentally left behind on a scuba dive expedition. The sheer terror of being stranded in the middle of a shark-infested ocean gives you everything you’d never want to experience for real.

36. REC

Set in an apartment building in Barcelona, a television reporter and her cameraman experience evil firsthand. Things escalate when the virus is found to create murderous behavior in its victims, as the two find themselves trapped inside the building.

RELATED: 25 Creepiest Ghost Videos On The Internet That Will Give You Nightmares

37. 28 Days Later

After releasing monkeys contagious with a virus, a disease spreads throughout the UK. Four weeks later (AKA 28 days), a man wakes from his coma to find that London is deserted. But his attempt to find other survivors proves that he isn’t quite alone.

38. It Follows

Haunted by an evil entity after a casual encounter, a young woman must either defeat it or pass the curse along to rid herself of it. The worst part? The curse can manifest as someone she loves.

39. Doctor Sleep

A sequel to The Shining, Doctor Sleep takes place decades after the events of the first movie. Danny, now an adult, struggles with his psychic abilities and childhood trauma but must protect a young girl with the same powers as him.

40. Friday the 13th

Just like classic villain Michael Myers, Friday the 13th introduces us to Jason Voorhees. But just when you think he’s the murderer killing teens at a sleepaway camp, well... the truth is stranger than fiction.

41. Cloverfield

On the eve of his farewell party, a man and his friends are blindsided by a gigantic monster terrorizing New York City. Pieced together with “footage” from a camera, the group tries to rescue their friend before the military destroys the area. Be warned: if you have motion sickness, you may not want to put this on.

42. The Amityville Horror

In a remake of the 1979 film, based on mass murderer Ronald DeFeo Jr., a family moves into a new home on Long Island, unaware of the gruesome events that took place. Soon, they begin seeing things, with one family member becoming dangerously affected.

43. Devil

If you’re terrified of getting stuck in an elevator, it’s time to face your fears. With five strangers trapped in an elevator, they start to die one by one. It’s almost like one of them is actually the Devil... 

44. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

A group of friends are traveling through Texas and end up victims of a cannibalistic family! If you don’t have nightmares, you will after seeing Leatherface and his evil clan. You’ll never forget what you watch in this gore-filled movie.

45. Midsommar

Dani travels with her boyfriend and his friends to a festival celebrating an event that happens every 90 years. And then things take a dark turn. But for a horror movie, the cinematography is beautiful, compared to other movies where you have to max out your brightness. 

46. The Hills Have Eyes

This 2006 movie is a remake of the 1977 movie, but both are great. The film follows a family whose car breaks down in the desert and soon becomes prey for cannibalistic mutants. Leave it to Wes Craven to create horror at an extreme level.

47. Saw

The first in a series of Saw movies, the original 2004 film brings fear to real life when two men wake up in a room, a corpse between them, tasked with killing the other to survive. What follows is a story full of horrific twists and turns.

48. Let Me In

A bullied young boy finds friendship and solace with his new friend, his next-door neighbor. The problem? His friend is actually an ancient vampire, and things get more complicated as the young boy starts to become emotionally attached.

49. I Know What You Did Last Summer

After accidentally running over a man, four friends are haunted when, one year later, they begin receiving notes saying — you guessed it — “I know what you did last summer.” Will they be able to survive this unknown person who is out for revenge?

50. Rosemary’s Baby

After a young couple moves into their new apartment, the wife, Rosemary (played by Mia Farrow), becomes pregnant. Soon, she begins experiencing strange events and becomes convinced that the neighbors have sinister intentions for her unborn child.

RELATED: 40 Most Terrifying Horror Movies Based On True Stories

Emily Francos is an experienced writer and editor. Her work has been featured in Unwritten and MSN, The Urban Writers, and more. Samantha Maffucci is a senior editor for YourTango who has written hundreds of articles about relationships, trending news and entertainment, and astrology.