The Reel: Top 10 favorite movies for Halloween


Ben Conniff

It’s that time of year again. Here are some of my favorite movies to watch during the Halloween season. Be sure to check them out for a few good screams.


What is widely considered Alfred Hitchcock’s most shocking film, “Psycho” is the slasher that defined a genre and set the benchmark for modern horror movies. “Halloween” is the only other film of its kind to come close.


No list would be complete without this perennial favorite from WKU’s own John Carpenter. After 35 years, “Halloween” still stands the test of time as a post-“Psycho” affirmation of the slasher genre and one of the scariest of its kind for its silent, brooding antagonist and haunting musical score from Carpenter himself.

“The Conjuring”

This recent chiller from “Insidious” director James Wan is destined to become the next horror classic. Fine performances, a strong story and slow-burning thrills are punctuated by a spooky, slam-bang climax that rivals “The Exorcist.” Homage is paid to that and several other old-school favorites, including “Poltergeist” and “Child’s Play.”

“The Exorcist”

This film is an engrossing story about two priests enlisted to save the soul of a young girl after she is possessed by the devil. The infamous pea soup scene is just one of several spine-tingling moments that have earned “The Exorcist” the title of “scariest movies ever made” by top critics.

“The Evil Dead”

To this day, Sam Raimi’s 1981 cult classic is still considered one of the most graphic, gut-wrenching pictures ever made despite its use of practical visual effects over CGI. The film has a dark sense of humor that soars on the wings of Bruce Campbell’s over-the-top performance. Such humor was sorely missed in this year’s remake.

“The Blair Witch Project”

You have the creative team of Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez to thank for popularizing the found footage horror genre with this cult favorite. Made on a shoestring budget in the late ‘90s, “Blair Witch” is still one of the most realistic thrillers you’re likely to see.

“Paranormal Activity 3”

Rewinding the found-footage franchise back to the VHS days of the late 1980s, this prequel hints at how and why the “activity” began. The scares start early and don’t let up, culminating in the series’ most shocking ending.

“The Cabin in the Woods”

This entertaining film from the creative duo of Joss Whedon (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) and Drew Goddard (“Cloverfield”) turns horror movie clichés on their heads with a classic setup but a completely atypical payoff.


I enjoy the wacky sense of humor with which director Ruben Fleischer and scribes Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick approach this romp while packing on satisfying zombie action. Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg and Abigail Breslin make for endearing leads.

“Donnie Darko”

Though not technically billed as a horror film, “Donnie Darko” is a season staple for its intricate plot, bizarre imagery and Halloween-time setting. A young Jake Gyllenhaal affirms his A-list status with an arresting performance.