Halloween is unique as a widespread celebration of the mystical and the magical, and everything in between. It’s the one time of year where almost anything goes.
You can be your favourite superhero, the President of the United States, a witch, a wizard, a dog, a fireman, a banana… you get the idea, pretty much anything!
It’s this diverse nature of Halloween that is perhaps its greatest gift, and it’s one of the reasons why it has produced so many great films. So, with this in mind, here’s our top Halloween films of all time:
The Shining (1980)
Starring Jack Nicholson in his prime, this film has been hailed as a masterpiece by many critics. Director Stanley Kubrick successfully captures not only the thrill of the conventional horror-genre, but also a psychological aspect due its complexity.
The image of Jack Nicholson’s head poking through the splintered door frame as he utters the classic line ‘Here’s Johnny!’ is one of the most famous film scenes of all time. An absolute Halloween classic, but certainly not one for the faint-hearted!
Considerably lighter in mood, but by no means less iconic. This supernatural comedy stars Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver amongst others and was an instant box-office hit, grossing $23 million in its first week (a record at the time).
Although the film has since been turned into a franchise, with the most recent edition being released in 2016 featuring an all female main cast, it’s the original film that gains a place in this list. Perfect for a light-hearted watch with family.
The Blair witch project (1999)
This supernatural horror tells the story of three fictional student filmmakers who disappear after going on a hike, only for their equipment to be discovered a year later.
The use of documentary style footage to enhance the fear factor was revolutionary at the time, and is now a technique that has become common place within the horror genre. Cinema audiences at the time were even said to suffer from motion sickness and shock!
A must watch for those seeking a real thrill.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Perhaps the legendary director Steven Spielberg’s greatest work, and one of the most iconic movies of all time. This science fiction film tells the story of a lonely boy who befriends an extraterrestrial (E.T.) left behind on planet earth, whilst trying to hide him from both his mother and the American government.
The two protagonists develop a unique and powerful bond, which help to make the film a timeless story of friendship and love triumphing over fear and discrimination. Everyone should watch this at some point in their life.
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Another film that can only be classed as truly terrifying, The Silence of Lambs is often regarded as one of the actor Anthony Hopkins’ greatest individual performances, and it won him the Oscar for best actor. This was one of 5 Academy Awards that the film received, becoming only the third film ever to win awards in all the main categories.
Hopkins plays the spine-tinglingly calculating psychiatrist turned serial killer and cannibal whom FBI trainee Clarice Starling (played by Jodie Foster) makes the brave decision to ask for help catching another killer. As the only horror ever to win the Oscar for best film, this has to be worth your time.
Hotel Transylvania (2012)
As you might expect, the only cartoon on this list does not top the scare charts, but what it lacks in thrill, it more than makes up for in comedy and overall enjoyment. With an all-star cast including Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Kevin James and Selena Gomez, it is perhaps no surprise that this was a success at the box office.
However, the film has also been praised for its great characters and its overall message of accepting those who are different. Ideal if you’re looking for something fun to watch with family.
Get out (2017)
The most recent film on this list as well as perhaps the most controversial. Not only is it very successful in both its horror and comedy elements, Get Out has been widely praised for introducing the topic of racial issues into mainstream debate, particularly liberal ignorance regarding these issues.
The story centres on Daniel Kaluuya’s character, who uncovers a disturbing secret when he goes to meet his girlfriend’s family for the first time. This will have you on the edge of your seat throughout, and then play on your mind for long after it has finished.