It’s time to put aside hardcore saving tips and retirement planning strategies for a few minutes and talk about something a little more seasonal: Which scary movies are the best to watch this Halloween!
Aside from cinnamon apple cider donuts and carving pumpkins, scaring myself silly watching a boat-load of horror movies is one of my favorite things to do all throughout October.
And why not? It’s cheap entertainment! Most of the major TV channels get into the “spirit” (… bad Halloween pun …) by re-running marathons of all the horror classics. Or if you’re keeping up with modern times, there are plenty of good options via Netflix streaming, Amazon Prime, Redbox, and even YouTube. (I’ve come to learn that if you simply type in “scary movies” to YouTube, you’ll find dozens of full length “B” movies to watch for free.)
But with all the possible choices of teenagers making bad choices, haunted asylums, and psycho-killer movies, how do you know which ones are really terrifying and which ones are just ” …. ehhh …”
Believe me: I hate it just as much as you do to sit through a movie for two hours only to get to a really lame ending.
Well, fear not! (Or perhaps you should!) In this post, I’m going to share with you my top picks for the year.
This is my 4th edition of this series. In case you missed them, here are my previous recommendations:
- 2014 edition: Oculus, Insidious 2, VHS, …
- 2013 edition: Sinister, Insidious, Grave Encounters, …
- 2012 edition: House of a Thousand Corpses, The Devils Rejects, The Ring, Trick R Treat, …
Best Scary Movies to Watch 2016
So without further ado, here’s my new recommendations updated for 2016:
The movie is about a deaf writer named Maddie who is spending some time alone in a cabin in the woods working on her next novel. She suddenly finds herself a captive in her own home when a murdering psychopath shows up to terrorize her. From there, it’s a battle of wits to see which one can outsmart the other.
The real win for this movie is suspense. Every five minutes, it seems like Maddie has the upper hand. Then the killer does. Then back and forth …
You’ll literally be on the edge of your seat all the way up until the end.
Fun fact: Maddie is played by Kate Siegel. She is the wife of Mike Flanagan who not only directed this movie but also directed Oculus as well as the recently released Ouija: Origin of Evil. (By the way, I just saw Ouija 2 in the theater, and I can not wait to tell you about it next year!)
The Conjuring 2
The Conjuring 2 is loosely based on true events from a story called the Enfield Poltergeist which took place in London, England back in the 1970’s.
In this event, a family is terrorized by the ghost of an old man who seems to focus most of his attacks on one of the young girls in the family.
Again, paranormal detectives Loranne and Ed Warren (from the first movie) are brought in try to help the family. But in the process, they come to find out that they are dealing with something much bigger and darker.
Like the first movie, this one is well written and acted. But the story and sequence of events really seem to take this one to a much higher level. Perhaps that’s why it has a remarkably high 80% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Something creepy: At the end of the movie, they play the actual audio recording of the little girl who was claimed to be possessed by the old man’s spirit.
Aside from superior writing and good subject matter, perhaps we can attribute this movie’s success to director James Wan. His portfolio now includes instant horror classics such as Conjuring 1, Insidious 1 & 2, Saw I, and many others.
Lights Out was a surprise box office hit – even for the studio that produced it! The movie only cost $5 million to make, and took in almost $22 million its opening weekend. (That means there will be a sequel.)
In this movie, a young boy and his older sister are being followed by a wile, deranged dark figure of a woman named “Diana” every time the lights go out.
As they try to figure out what Diana is and why she wants to hurt them, they realize that she has a dark connection to their family.
Lots of good jump scares and suspense!
The crazy thing about this movie is that it was inspired by a 3-minute short film on YouTube.
If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s worth checking out. And somehow it’s even more creepy than the actual movie.
Insidious: Chapter 3
Insidious 3 is the prequel to the first two movies. The story begins with psychic Elise being too afraid to use her powers because she fears the “woman in the black dress” will kill her.
Simultaneously, a young girl in an apartment building becomes the target of demonic entity that used to live on the floor above her. Elise has to make a choice to help this girl escape the spirit while putting her own life in danger.
Fun fact: The skinny, dorky paranormal investigator in the movie is Leigh Whannell, and he is also the writer.
Whannell not only wrote all of the Insidious movies, but he also wrote and co-created “Saw” with director James Wan. In the original “Saw”, Whannell plays “Adam”, the man chained to the bathtub in the washroom with Dr Gordon.
FYI – Insidious Chapter 4 is due to release next Halloween. Can’t wait!
This movie follows rookie cop Jessica Loren as she attempts to spend the night alone in a police station that is transitioning to a new location and scheduled to be closed the following day.
However, right away Loren starts receiving phone calls and seeing visitors that she can’t quite comprehend. She learns that cult Leader John Michael Paymon has haunted the department ever since he and two of this followers committed suicide a year ago to date.
Loren quickly becomes in danger when the spirits start to toy with her more aggressively, using the memories of her deceased father against her.
Could it be that this is all in her head?
Warning: A lot of gore and distributing imagery. This movie is a total physiological thriller that will have you wondering “what’s going to happen next?”
Yes, you’re not seeing things. The girl in the promo is the actress Sarah Hyland who plays Haley, the oldest daughter on the ABC hit Modern Family. This movie is quite a departure from Hyland’s cutesy character on the show.
Satanic is a total “B” movie that’s available for free YouTube for free. Though the acting is not particularly good, the story-line is very creepy.
We follow four friends on their way to Coachella who decide to do some Gothic-themed site-seeing in LA.
In trying to get a bigger and bigger thrill, they end up trespassing onto a satanic ritual where a young girl is about to be murdered. They save the girl, but then come to find out that they made a VERY terrible mistake.
The girl marks them for something terrible, and they each slip away into their own unique version of hell.
Again, while the production value and acting wasn’t necessarily top-notch, it did do an awesome job of keeping you on the edge of your seat!
The Invoking 2
Like the V/H/S horror series, this movie is actually six short films combined into one. Each short story has its own creepy sequence and twist at the end.
In this one, you’ll encounter:
- Picking up a ghostly hitch-hiker
- A haunted hospital with a deadly past
- A girl with a vengeful split personality
- A serial killer with a secret admirer
- Something is growing inside of me
- There’s someone outside my window
Again, though its a little low-budget, as a free movie, it’s not too bad!
I Heard It Too
“Lights Out” wasn’t the only talent to come from a short film on YouTube this year. Another one gaining in popularity is “I Heard It Too”, the winner of a competition to make the best short horror film based on only these two sentences:
“A girl heard her mom yell her name from downstairs, so she got up and started to head down. As she got to the stairs, her mom pulled her into her room and said “I heard that, too.”
Enjoy … (I can hardly wait until they make it into a full length movie!)
Readers – What are your favorite scary movies this Halloween? Any new or recent editions for 2016?
Images courtesy of IMDB