#PopCulture_Junkie: Top 5 Films for a Halloween Fright Fest


Courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art/MCT

Alfred Hitchcock poses on the set of the 1960 horror classic “Psycho.”

While there are a few scary films in theaters right now, “Annabelle” and “Ouija,” I think that if you really want to be scared, you need to watch a classic horror film.

I mean, watching a film in theaters is great; don’t get me wrong. You have your Coke, the best popcorn ever popped, and a box of Raisinets by your side, but things are different when you watch a scary movie. Scary movies are best enjoyed under a blanket, in a pitch-black room, surrounded by a sea of junk food, and without crying babies around (trust me; if you go to the movie theater, there will be a crying baby).

Now your problem is, “what scary film should I watch?” Let me tell you, three things separate the classics from the ocean of other scary movies.

First, there has to be a reputed scare factor that precedes it. For instance, “Shutter Island” is the film that scares me the most, however, this doesn’t apply to the majority of Americans; thus “Shutter Island” is not considered a horror film.

Second, there needs to be suspense. For it to be a scary movie, I need to be crawling up the back of my seat. Gore doesn’t equal scary all the time (someone, please tell the “Saw” franchise this).

Lastly, the film needs to have a beginning, middle, and end. If the story doesn’t give a satisfying ending, then I’m going to forget how scary it is. If it has no beginning or middle, I’m going to wonder what is happening during the entire film.

Now that I have given you the rules, I am going to list the top five scariest classic horror films.

Since there is a plethora of scary films out there, I realized there are a few films that could not be in my definitive list, but they are perfect for a scary-movie-a-thon. Without giving too much away, here are my three honorable mentions.

Honorable Mention Number One: “It”
“It” is the first horror “film” I saw and it terrified me. Tim Curry’s portrayal of Pennywise the Clown is horror movie gold and is one of the most unnerving characters ever created. But “It” is a made for television miniseries and not technically a film.

Honorable Mention Number Two: “Se7en”
Honestly, Kevin Spacey is creepy. Kevin Spacey as a demented individual who murders people based on the sin they embody is downright chilling. “Se7en” will make certain individuals run for the hills, but this movie is technically a psychological thriller and not a stereotypical “horror film.”

Honorable Mention Number Three: “Scream”
Everything about this movie is great, except for the part where it is not very scary. However, it does have a much better plot than other slasher flicks and it states the rules horror films abide by. By the way, this movie is my number one movie pick to watch Halloween night, and please do not discount the sequels as they are fun to watch and they make sense.

Now onto the top five scariest classic horror flicks ever made. While these films may not scare everyone, they are universally horrifying and well made.

Number Five: “The Omen”
The Omen is about a demon child. The end. Damien is the cutest and most terrifying toddler in existence. In addition, Gregory Peck stars which gives the film bonus points.

Number Four: “Carrie” (1976)
This movie deals with a student who just snaps and infamously tries to take out her high school prom. “Carrie” satisfies people who like blood, suspense, and strange powers in their scary movies. Moreover, its creator, Stephen King, is a horror genre god.

Number Three: “Psycho”
Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” is the first “slasher flick” and revolutionized the horror genre. It also gives another side to the phrase “mommy issues.” This isn’t just a great horror film but is just a generally amazing film.

Number Two: “The Blair Witch Project”
This low-budget motion picture is frightening for one reason. The audience sees nothing which allows the viewer to feel as if they are a character in the film.

Now, drum-roll please, the scariest classic horror film of all time is…

Number One: “The Exorcist”
Most people I polled named “The Exorcist” as their scariest movie and for good reason. Those who saw the film know “The Exorcist” takes terrorizing to another level and for those who have not, I won’t ruin it for you but just know you are in for a thrill.

If you watch any of the films I have listed, you will be in for a night of terror and fun. However, I feel compelled to warn you if you watch these films on Halloween night, you might have a small heart attack when the greedy vampires, Iron-Mans, and Queen Elsas come knocking.