8 Scary Halloween Movies I’m Not Going To See – But YOU Should!

by | Oct 3, 2018 | Gayle Lynds, The Writer's Life, On writing | 5 comments

Jack Nicholson in The Shining

By Gayle Lynds.

It’s true that I write international thrillers with lots of suspense, politics, and action.  Crime!  Spies!  Violence!  Death!  I love reading great thrillers, and I love watching great thriller movies.  But — and it’s a big but — there’s no way you can bribe me, harass me, or shame me into seeing a so-called Great Horror Movie.

They scare me.  I have nightmares.  I can’t get some of the graphic images out of my mind.  The blood in a thriller movie affects me far less than the blood in a horror movie.  There are lots of theories out there why some of us are like me, and the majority are like, perhaps, you. 

There’s the “excitation factor.”  You get excited; I get icky frightened.  Also, there’s early childhood experience — when I was age four, I was scarred by the first Godzilla movie, to which I responded by crawling under the theater seat and refusing to leave, not even for chocolate ice cream.  Perhaps in my mind I’m still down there.  Hmm.

There’s also something about bonding — people bond over horror movies.  They laugh, they pretend to shiver, they shake with real fear, they get, well, aroused.  Not me.  In my mind, I’m already running for cover … and to my computer to write a THRILLER.

I could go on and on about all of the theories, but this is the month of Halloween, of ghosts and goblins, and things that go thump in a starless night.  With that in mind, I’ve done the next best thing to going to one of the durn things … here’s a list of 8 (supposedly) terrific horror movies that you should see, descriptions and details from IMDb.

Click on the title for a direct link.  Have funnnnn!

The Shining (1980)
A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil spiritual presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future.  Produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick and co-written with novelist Diane Johnson. Based on Stephen King’s 1977 novel The Shining.  Stars:  Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, and Danny Lloyd.

Frankenstein (1931)
A classic!  An obsessed scientist assembles a living being from parts of exhumed corpses.  Director: James Whale.  Stars: Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, Boris Karloff, and John Boles.

Halloween (1978) 
Fifteen years after murdering his sister on Halloween night 1963, Michael Myers escapes from a mental hospital and returns to the small town of Haddonfield to kill again.  Director: John Carpenter. Stars: Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Tony Moran.

Night of the Living Dead (1968)  
There is panic throughout the nation as the dead suddenly come back to life. The film follows a group of characters who barricade themselves in an old farmhouse in an attempt to remain safe from these bloodthirsty, flesh-eating monsters.  Director: George A. Romero.  Stars: Duane Jones, Judith O’Dea, Karl Hardman, and Marilyn Eastman.

Beetlejuice (1988) 
A recently deceased husband and wife commission a bizarre demon to drive an obnoxious family out of their home.  Director: Tim Burton.  Stars: Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Michael Keaton, and Annie McEnroe.

Trick ‘r Treat (2007)  Five interwoven stories that occur on Halloween: An everyday high school principal has a secret life as a serial killer; a college virgin might have just met the guy for her; a group of teenagers pull a mean prank; a woman who loathes the night has to contend with her holiday-obsessed husband; and a mean old man meets his match with a demonic, supernatural trick-or-treater.  Director: Michael Dougherty.  Stars: Anna Paquin, Brian Cox, Dylan Baker, and Rochelle Aytes.

House on Haunted Hill (1959)  
A millionaire offers $10,000 to five people who agree to be locked in a large, spooky, rented house overnight with him and his wife.  Directors: William Castle and Rosemary Horvath.  Stars: Vincent Price, Carol Ohmart, Richard Long, and Alan Marshal.

Pumpkinhead (1988)  After a tragic accident, a man conjures up a towering, vengeful demon called Pumpkinhead to destroy a group of unsuspecting teenagers.  Director: Stan Winston.  Stars: Lance Henriksen, Jeff East, John D’Aquino, and Kimberly Ross.

Do you have a favorite must-see horror movie?  Please hit the comment button and tell!

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  1. Robin Burcell

    I don't watch horror movies for the same reason. Though my husband insists that I should watch Get Out, I still haven't mustered the courage. (He knows me, so I have to assume it's not the typical scary movie.) I don't mind thoughtful scary, but hate gore/slasher type. I do, however, love the Scream franchise. They're fun. (Much like the Geico commercial, which I'll post a link to in a moment–not sure it'll work, but Google Geico+horror+movie, you won't be disappointed!.) But the classics, like Book, Bell, Candle, and Arsenic and Old Lace… Love those!


  2. Jamie Freveletti

    I'm afraid of horror movies too. But this year I saw Get Out and was covering my eyes in fear. GREAT psychological suspense and will become a classic, I think. Also, in honor of the upcoming new Doctor Who, the episode Blink was the. scariest. thing. ever!

  3. Karna Bodman

    I'm with you, Gayle — scary experiences back in childhood continue to influence my taste in movies. You list Frankenstein – yes — I can STILL "see" the monster in my mind's eye and have no wish to see it again. I stick to reading great thrillers and will leave the horror offerings to braver souls.

  4. Lisa Black

    I LOVE horror movies—but only good ones. No picking off horny teenagers one by one trying to see how many buckets of fake blood one can use. There has to be a good plot with great writing.

  5. Chris Goff

    When I was a kid I saw a moving called The Haunting based on a novel by Shirley Jackson, entitled The Haunting of Hill House. They made a more recent version in 1999, which was panned by critics, and which I never saw. Seeing The Haunting has traumatized me for life.