Creepiest Movies EVER for Halloween

I must tell you. Movies don’t scare me. A horror movie may make me jump, but I have yet to see the film that gives me nightmares or makes me afraid to turn off the lights. If any moviemakers see this and want to take it as a personal challenge, bring it on.

This is not to say, however, that I haven’t been creeped out by a good movie. Here’s my definition of the difference between a good horror movie and a good creepy movie. With all due respect to the horror movie genre, horror movies are not known for their writing. The scares tend to come from gore, sudden movements on camera, the lighting, and the music. When a creepy movie is good, however, it is almost always due to the story and the writing. The best creepy movies take the things that scare us the most, especially the things unseen, and fabricate stories that could happen to any one of us.

So if you want to creep yourself out on Halloween with a good movie, here are my picks:

The Vanishing (Spoorloos) (1988): This Dutch film, directed by George Sluizer and written by Tim Krabbe, is super creepy as it follows the path of a couple on a cycling vacation in France. Stopping at a service station for drinks, the woman goes in to the store and never comes back out. The film continuously builds tension throughout and leaves the viewer riveted. Note: Do NOT, under any circumstances, rent the 1993 American remake. You will only regret it. Pony up and live with a few subtitles.

The Shining (1980): Based on the novel by Stephen King and directed by Stanley Kubrick, The Shining takes the most normal of families, complete with dysfunctions like alcoholism, and examines how complete isolation might tweak those dysfunctions into madness. Of course, it doesn’t hurt (or help) that the hotel is EVIL.  REDRUM. REDRUM.

Alien (1979): A most awesome creepy film. Ridley Scott‘s Alien, written by Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett, works as well as it does because of its close confines, relative isolation from any help from the outside world, and a threat that is all the scarier because for so much of the movie, it is unseen. And poor, poor John Hurt.

The Kingdom (Riget) (1994): I watched this Danish miniseries (directed by Lars von Trier and Morten Arnfred, and written by von Trier, Tomas Gislason, and Niels Vorsel)  with my mouth hanging open for most of the scenes. Imagine Grey’s Anatomy in which the hospital is haunted, operations are botched and covered up, and Udo Kier appears. It is impossible to describe adequately, but with equal parts creepiness and black humor, it really should not be missed.

Wait Until Dark (1967): How do you defend yourself in your own home when you can’t see? That’s the premise of this very suspenseful film starring Audrey Hepburn, based on the play by Frederick Knott and directed by Terence Young.

Night of the Hunter (1955): Does anything inspire more tension in a moviewatcher than watching a blind woman try to survive? Perhaps only seeing children with a dangerous secret trying to escape the clutches of a sociopath (Robert Mitchum). This film, based on the novel by Davis Grubb, with a screenplay by James Agee, and directed by Charles Laughton, ratchets up the tension and keeps it at an almost unbearable level. Mitchum is creepiness personified.

What films have creeped you out?

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8 Responses to “Creepiest Movies EVER for Halloween”

  1. Digital Dame Says:

    The original “House on Haunted Hill” with Vincent Price (1959).

    The original “The Haunting” (1963). You never really see anything (except the wall bulging at one point), just hear sounds, and people end up dead.

    “Event Horizon” Kind of horror, but there’s a promise of more to come, your imagination can go wild.

    “The Uninvited” (1944). How much creepier can you get than an unelectrified old mansion on the windswept English coast, with spectres and seances??

    The only one of these I will not watch again is “Event Horizon”. It veers too much into the “horror” aisle for my taste. A good creepy ghost story is far more to my taste.

  2. toddiedowns Says:

    Ooh, thanks for the added creepy films. Isn’t it interesting that so many of our picks are older movies? They had restrictions on what could and couldn’t be shown, as well as a less-evolved special effects repertoire, so their solutions often ended up far creepier than when you can see everything.

  3. Digital Dame Says:

    I think what’s left to the imagination, i.e., the unknown, is FAR scarier than just nasty slasher movies. That’s why I like the older ones. I was also fascinated by the way they treated the idea of ghosts and the supernatural. It wasn’t completely pooh-pooh’d, or comical. The ghost (or implied presence of it) was what the movie turned on, the subject was treated with some respect. The remake of “The Haunting” was so bad it was funny. Overblown F/X, silly acting, plot. Blech.

  4. toddiedowns Says:

    Yanno, I believe I saw the remake of “The Haunting.” Catherine Zeta Jones, right? I’ve never seen the original, but it will go onto my list post-haste. A good ghost story movie would be just the ticket for Halloween night.

  5. Digital Dame Says:

    That’s the one. Ick. It was so saccharine at the end I had to go brush my teeth.

  6. toddiedowns Says:

    Hah! Don’t hold back. How do you really feel about it? Readers, take note: remakes of suspense and horror movies: BAD.

  7. Betty Olson Says:

    Over 40 years ago I saw Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” and the shower scene STILL pops into my mind everytime I go to a hotel alone and enter the shower………Then there was “Fatal Attraction”, which for reasons I never fully understood, scared me witless. I got up and left the theatre during the last minutes of that one! Of course, “The Shining”… was years before I could watch Jack Nicholson without developing a raging panic attack. I am delighted hear that movies don’t keep YOU awake or give YOU bad dreams!

  8. toddiedowns Says:

    The shower scene in PSYCHO absolutely qualifies, as does the final rocker scene.

    Thanks for the movie additions!

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