Some of the very best scary movies to watch on Halloween are those that are smart, suspenseful and creepy without being too disturbing (i.e. anything with a chainsaw). If you’re going to watch a movie to be entertained, then here are some nail-biting, heart-pounding, yet mostly gore-less, movies to consider.
The Innocents (1961) – Picture this: An old house on a misty lake, dark skies, eerie children, a nervous governess, and strange happenings, all filmed in black and white. What more could you ask for on Halloween? Guaranteed to send a few chills up your spine and elsewhere. And those screams you hear may be your own.
The Birds (1963) What’s Halloween without at least one Hitchcock film? And this is one of his most notable. You’ll never look at that crow or seagull in the same way. Even those innocent-looking lovebirds seem suspicious. While there is some blood, and a woman gets her eyes pecked out, it’s very brief. Get a glimpse into the world when nature attacks. It ain’t pretty.
Rosemary’s Baby (1968) – Newlywed Rosemary is going to have a baby. And it’s a very special baby. But little does she know how special. But the “nice” people around her are acting kind of peculiar. Why are they so interested in the unborn babes’ health and safety? They have their devilish reasons. And even scarier … it’s directed by Roman Polanski!
Race with the Devil (1975). So these two couples go on a camping trip… so far, so good. Then they venture out one night to find out where in the dark woods those strange chants are coming from … get the picture? What they witness starts a series of events that pits them against … you know who. As they speed across the countryside, they wonder: “Who the devil can you trust?” You–and they–won’t find out until the bitter end.
The Stepford Wives (1975). What man doesn’t want the perfect little wifey, who looks good, cooks good and obeys his every request? Certainly not any man in Stepford. After all, everything else in this sleepy little town is perfect. Well, almost. The ride starts out simple enough, but gets bumpier and bumpier, until you crash into the Stepford wall and cry for your (animatronic) mommy. (Nothing like the remake, which sucks.)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978). The word “pod” takes on a whole new meaning in this 70s creeper. In fact, you’ll never look at plant life without some suspicion. As emotionless clones grown in alien plant pods start replacing humans, several people catch on to what’s happening and try to stop it. But it’s not easy to be an outsider in podland. With their wide-open mouths, pointing fingers, and piercing pod screams, the pod people will let everyone know if you’re not one of them.
The Seventh Sign (1988). It’s the end of the world as we know it. And it’s all Demi Moore’s fault. Well, not totally … As the seven signs of the apocalypse begin to materialize, the world appears to be heading for Final Judgment Day. Can the birth of a child stop the momentum? Will it all be averted by an act of faith? Or, are the people of earth doomed to meet their maker? God only knows.
Hocus Pocus (1997). Maybe this one isn’t nail biting for adults, but for kids it certainly can be. On Halloween night, three murderous, yet kookie, witches escape their confinement to pursue the rotten kids who put them there many years ago. Yes, it’s a comedy … for the most part. But with its evil witches, who desire to torture and eat children, talking black cats, and bodies climbing out of graves–it has some chilling moments. And, besides that, it’s just good spooky fun for everyone.
The Others (2001). The film that ponders the question: “Who’s alive and who’s dead?” From the dark mood in the big old house to the strange housekeepers who show up one day to the unexplained sounds and sightings, it’s hard to tell just who’s haunting whom? But stay on your toes because good things come to those who wait to find out.
The Skeleton Key (2005). If there’s ever a time you wished you weren’t Kate Hudson, it’s when she stars in this creepy flick. Combine voodoo and black magic with eerie characters and spooky music in the perfect dank swampy setting … in the bayous of good ole Nor’leans, no less … and you’ve got a film that keeps your heart racing until the torturous finale.
Since each movie is about 2 hours long, if you start around 2 in the afternoon, you could watch them all on Halloween. In chronological order, of course. And make sure you turn out the lights. Boo!