Frantically Googling Halloween movie ideas? Fed up of boring lists of no-brainers like The Exorcist and Texas Chainsaw? Not on OUR list! Here’s our shortlist of overlooked gems to scare and surprise you in the run-up to Halloween.
Working out the twist after about 10 minutes might leave you feeling triumphant – but don’t get too smug, it’s the premise of the film! Haunter is a full-blown mystery thriller that doesn’t need to scare you with loud noises or extreme gore; instead, it gets under your skin and plays with your expectations. A real must-watch.
Urban Legends (1998)
The token ’90s slasher to make you forget Scream exists. Featuring the likes of Jared Leto and Tara Reid and set in a trope-y American college, the body count around the unfortunate main character means you never know who’s next. Ignore the Rotten Tomatoes 20% score on this film and just get yourself a copy – you’ll be watching this so-bad-it’s-good classic at least once a year and always enjoying it as much as the first time.
Ninth Gate (1999)
One for the horror connoisseur – Polanski does away with the green screen, and replaces with traditional effects at their best. Book dealer Dean Corso (Johnny Depp) travels the world looking for an antique occult book used to raise the devil, on the orders of a mysterious benefactor. Engaging from start to finish, this is The Da Vinci Code for the horror fan with high expectations.
American Horror Story: Asylum 2012
OK, so it’s not actually a movie. If you want to sit for a whole day on Netflix pushing ‘Next Episode’ and nursing your Halloween party hangover, this is for you. Set in an insane asylum in 1960s Massachusetts, the terrifying asylum nuns will take you on a ride that makes you question who you really are. Equal parts horrific, claustrophobic and gruesome.
Idle Hands (2001)
First came the Scary Movie franchise popularising comedy horror, but this is a brash, hilarious response to that genre that will make you choke on your tea. Seth Green filmed this between his exit from Buffy and the start of Family Guy, and it is him that keeps this film going. As a 2000s-era high school movie, it’s only natural that the leading lady says pretty much nothing – in this case it’s Jessica Alba alternately looking good and being terrorised.
Hocus Pocus (1993)
The one that should be on every list – we loved it as children, and we still love it now! For the uninitiated: it’s Disney at its best, wielding an ensemble cast with the likes of Better Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker, and nothing says Halloween like the theme tune. Witches are awakened from the dead on Halloween night by intrepid highschooler Omri Katz, and seek to wreak havoc across town. Funny, stylized, American Halloween at its best.