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10 classic scary movies to watch for Halloween

If you’re a horror movie fan, Halloween is the best time of the year to indulge in the genre.

In the advent of the binge-watching phenomenon, there are more movies available than ever to watch. From Sky Cinema’s dedicated Halloween channel through to streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, you really are spoiled for choice when it comes to deciding what to watch.

We’ve already shared our Top 10 picks of the latest horror movies for you to watch so now we’re going back to those enduring classics that should be on your list every Halloween.

Find out which classic movies made our list…


1. Psycho

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By the master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock, Psycho spawned the slasher genre and on its initial release shocked audiences across the world. You know the story, Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) runs a small motel just off a bypass while his elderly mother watches over things from the comfort of the house. Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) checks in after stealing money from her boss and things soon take a very sinister turn. Psycho still stands up today and it’s one of the finest horror films ever made.


2. Scream

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It may have only been made and released in the 90s but Scream revitalised the horror genre. Giving things a post modern twist and paying homage to the slasher genre, the movie delivered one hell of a shocker during the opening scene with Drew Barrymore that had people talking for a long time. Neve Campbell is the main heroine Sidney Prescott, who is taunted by killer Ghostface as he picks off all of her friends. The film spawned three sequels and a TV series.


3. Halloween

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John Carpenter’s Halloween is remarkable for so many reasons, one of them being the tiny budget it was made on. With this film Carpenter proved that once you have all the right ingredients, money doesn’t really matter. Jamie Lee Curtis delivered a breakthrough performance as Laurie Strode and Michael Myers has gone down as one of the creepiest horror icons of all-time. Roll on the new film, which will rewrite history and see Curtis reprising her most popular role.


4. Friday the 13th

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It may have spawned a series of hit and miss sequels but the original Friday the 13th is still a classic movie. It’s funny that the series has gone on to make Jason Vorhees the main villain given that he didn’t appear in the form we know in the first film. In fact he was nothing more than a minor character and it was his mother Pamela Vorhees (Betsy Palmer) who was murdering the sexually charged teens of Camp Crystal Lake as an act of revenge for the death of her son Jason years earlier at the same camp. The film saw a young Kevin Bacon get speared through the neck and set things up for a long-running franchise that has become a cult favourite.


5. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

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Marketed as a true story, despite being entirely fictional, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was banned here in the UK for a number of years. One of the original ‘video nasties’, the film introduced Leatherface and his family of twisted cannibals. The movie is harrowing but it’s nothing like as violent as the majority of horror movies released these days. You need a strong stomach for torture and screaming to get through it but it’s a fantastic film.


6. A Nightmare on Elm Street

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Freddy Krueger became bigger than the franchise but the original A Nightmare On Elm Street is still an incredible horror movie. Robert Englund made his first outing as the killer who appears in dreams and a very young Johnny Depp had a small role as one of his victims. Nancy Thompson (Heather Lagenkamp) and her friends are stalked by Freddy after one of their classmates is brutally murdered. What follows is a cat and mouse chase that involves trying to avoid sleep and stopping Freddy once and for all.


7. Child’s Play

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Who knew that a film about a killer doll could have such longevity? With the release of Cult of Chucky earlier this month, it’s timely to go back to where it all began with the original Child’s Play movie. Brad Dourif voices Chucky, the doll that contains the spirit of serial killer Charles Lee Ray, and he wreaks havoc for young Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent) and his mother when he accidentally ends up in their home. Played as a straight horror, Child’s Play is such a fun movie that builds to a gripping and thrilling climax.


8. Evil Dead

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Bruce Campbell will be forever known for playing Ash in The Evil Dead series and he doesn’t seem to mind too much as he’s reprised the role for a TV series. The first Evil Dead movie was a straightforward horror, unlike the films that followed. Ash and his friends go to a remote cabin where they find the Book of the Dead and accidentally awaken all kinds of spirits. The movie is genuinely disturbing, very freaky and endlessly scary.


9. The Exorcist

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Another film in our list that was banned after its original release, The Exorcist seems pretty tame these days. Regan (Linda Blair) is possessed by the Devil and Father Merrin (Max von Sydow) is brought in by the family to help. From spewing streams of vomit to walking down the stairs like a spider, Regan appears to be too far gone to help (and poor Linda Blair was left traumatised after everything she was made to do in the movie). The original is the only film in the series worth watching and it’s pretty creepy still today.


10. The Omen

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Mixing religious elements with a clever plot and an amazing cast, The Omen made everyone terrified of creepy children. Packed with inventive death scenes and jump-out-of-your seat moments, The Omen likely did nothing encourage people to consider adoption. Gregory Peck and Lee Remick led the cast and Billie Whitelaw made quite the impression as spawn of Satan Damian’s (Harvey Spencer Stephens) nanny Mrs. Baylock. The film also features former Doctor Who star Patrick Troughton as Father Brennan.


What horror movies will you be watching for Halloween? Leave your comments in the usual place!

Pip Ellwood-Hughes
Pip Ellwood-Hughes
Pip is the Editor of Entertainment Focus and the Managing Director of agency Piñata Media.

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