Store shelves are stocked with candy, costumes are being made, and it’s time to get ready for Halloween! As we countdown to the night full of tricks and treats, we are counting down the 13 best movies (and TV shows) to watch leading up to Halloween. Watch them as a weekend marathon, or follow this order and watch one each night leading up to Halloween. Either way, this is the perfect list to reference as you get ready for Halloween in film.
13 – The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
This is the perfect film to celebrate Halloween, and then look forward to Christmas! Originally called Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, this stop-motion classic is full of classic songs that would make this one of the best spooky inspired musical films since The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
12 – Hocus Pocus (1993)
This list is not complete unless we include a witches…or three! Featuring Bette Midler and Kathy Najimy, it’s surprising to look back and remember that Sara Jessica Parker was one of the three comedic diva witches. This cult favorite has the three witches chasing after a teenage virgin who stole their spell book.
11 – The Blair Witch Project (1999)
This film proved that you didn’t need major stars and a big budget to make a movie to scare you. The bulk of this film was shot in just 8 days in Maryland, and would later have a successful run at Sundance, and would be credited with establishing the “found-footage technique” in film story telling.
10 – The Ring (2002)
Some of the best horror films are actually are remade imports. The Ring is a perfect example as this was a remake of a 1998 Japanese horror film of the same name. This movie accomplished two things. It helped make Naomi Watts a household name, and it forever made you scared of your TV. Just not to feel old when you have to explain the concept of “video tapes”!
9 – Beetlejuice (1988)
Before Michael Keaton played Batman, or Alec Baldwin parodied President Trump on SNL, they both were featured in Beetlejuice. The ‘80s were full of great Halloween films, but not many that would be a mix of scary and comedy. Remember, just don’t say this movie title three times in a row, or else…
8 – The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
We know, we know. This is just one of only two pre-1980 film to make this list. Film purists will have a list of dozens of other films that need to be on here. They can have their lists, and we feel that this is one of the classics that stands the test of time. What other spooky film can claim to have the cultural impact that this film has done with its music, fashion, and stars
7 – Scary Movie (2000)
Don’t like scary horror films? No problem, then celebrate Halloween with this perfect comedy.The Wayans Brothers poke fun of almost every typical scary movie and slasher film. Along the way then incorporate a laundry list of stars (or soon to be stars) with Carmen Electra, Anna Farris, Shannon Elizabeth, and more to help make this a cult classic.
6 – Scream (1996)
This is the perfect blend of 90’s pop culture and horror film all in one. Written by Kevin Williamson and directed by Wes Craven, Scream gave us 4 sequels, a TV series, and several parodies.
5 – Halloween (1978)
This movie would be the catalyst for creating an American franchise that would consist of eleven films. Adjusted for inflation, this film series is the highest grossing American horror film series. It all started with Michael Myers who would stalk and kill people of the fictional town in Haddonfield, Illinois on what else, but Halloween night!
4 – Friday the 13th (1980)
This franchise changed the way we look at hockey masks forever. Camp counselors, vengeance, and an axe serve as the recipe for what would become a series of films that started in 1980, and continued through 2009. Twelve films later (and some would say eleven too many!), but one thing is sure that the first one holds up as one of the bests of all time. Halloween would not be same without Jason and his mask on the big screen.
3 – A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
This ‘80s horror classic about a knife gloved killer will have you screaming, and keeping you awake…since Freddy Krueger murders people in their dreams!
2 – It (2017)
An evil spirit dressed as a clown and feeds on children every 27 years…enough said. We think this movie has already done enough to establish itself to scare you. Red balloons will never look the same.
1 – Ghostbusters (1984)
If you counting down to Halloween, and watching a movie each night, this is the perfect Halloween movie to end on to watch on Halloween night. Ghostbusters is the perfect combination of scary ghosts, funny lines, creative technology, and the heroes win in the end! Don’t forget, this movie also gave us standard pop-music classic for our Halloween playlists with Ray Parker Jr’s – “Ghostbusters”. So grab your toy Ectomobile, ghost traps, proton packs, and remember…NEVER cross the streams!