As the dark nights draw in and the chill of autumn sets in, now is the perfect time to sit down and watch some truly spine-chilling movies. Don’t forget the popcorn, here are the 5 must-see classic and contemporary horror movies.
First up is the classic suspense horror ‘Psycho’ (1960) from iconic director Alfred Hitchcock. Considered a masterpiece in the suspense and gothic horror genre, it truly stands the test of time. The strong characterisation, gripping atmosphere and excellent execution make ‘Psycho’ an absolute must watch for any horror fan.
Another classic is ‘The Exorcist’ (1973) which has to be seen as one of the most terrifying, iconic horror movies of all time. Excellent (at the time) special effects and a strong script help to give this movie an enormous power that resonates with audiences today.
The next movie is ‘The Blair Witch Project’ (1999). An incredibly low budget movie that utilises first person camera work and the found footage genre to create a unique, terrifying atmosphere. The film’s innovative story and direction helped to make it one of the highest grossing independent movies of all time.
If you are looking for a more contemporary horror classic then ‘The Conjuring’ (2013) is an excellent choice. It is a chilling, stylised experience where the scares come from excellent characterisation, choreography and sound design. Lovers of traditional horror will love this one.
Finally, for a horror comedy with a twist there is ‘Cabin in the Woods’ (2012). It is a clever, post-modern spin on the standard horror convention with plenty of scares and buckets of laughs. Easily one of the best horror comedies of all time.
Looking for something even darker? Why not take a look at ‘Dahmer’ (2002), a fact based biopic focusing on serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Whilst it certainly isn’t a traditional horror movie, it is an incredibly powerful and gripping film that stays with you long after the credits roll.
Whilst it is not supernatural like the other movies listed, the horrors shown in ‘Dahmer’ are incredibly real and to watch it is to witness a terrifying descent into the darkest depths of human depravity.
This is a very difficult movie to watch, but for a true horror experience, it is an absolute must for viewing.
The Silence of the Lambs
Next on the list is another classic Anthony Hopkins movie; The Silence of the Lambs (1991). This smart, mind-bending horror-thriller is considered a high point in the genre and Hopkins is mesmerising in his Oscar winning turn as cannibal serial killer Hannibal Lecter.
The smart script and direction help to create an incredibly tense atmosphere as FBI trainee Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) attempts to crack the case whilst being helped by Lecter.
If you are after a sophisticated, tense horror experience then ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ should not be missed.
If you want something more insidious and sinister, then why not consider ‘The Witch’ (2015). Set in 17th century New England, this movie is a slow burn descent into terror, focusing on a family who are slowly corrupted by an unseen evil.
The atmosphere is absolutely terrifying, and the heavy Lovecraftian influence makes this movie a truly bizarre experience. If you pick this one, make sure you have someone to watch it with.
For a truly different kind of horror experience, ‘The Witch’ is one of the best choices.
From Dusk Till Dawn
Finally, for something very different, ‘From Dusk Till Dawn’ (1996) is worth a watch. Directed by Robert Rodriguez, it is part road-movie, part thriller and part horror as two brothers on the run stumble into a terrifying vampire den on the Mexico/USA border.
George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino are excellent as the two leads and the awesome special effects add to the sense of horror. It is an unusual horror movie, but one that works incredibly well and is an absolute must-see.
For those who love horror but are looking for something a bit different, ‘From Dusk Till Dawn’ is the perfect choice.