If you’re not going out dressed as a Lego man or the dragon lady from Game of Thrones then Halloween is a great excuse to watch horror films.
But there’s room also for the not-so-scary films which still capture the pagan-charm of this most pumpkin-filled of seasons.
We’ve compiled a list of the best movies to scare and charm this Halloween…
1. Nightmare Before Christmas
Jack Skellington battles the early onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder by transferring his attentions from Halloween Town to Christmas Town where he subsequently kidnaps Sandy Claws. Arguably Tim Burton’s finest ever film.
2. Blair Witch Project
Blair Witch still holds up as a groundbreaking horror film. A handheld cam and a forest is all you really need to create genuine soil-your-pants moments of terror. By keeping the ghostly presence implied for most of the film they manage to create even more tension.
3. Nightmare On Elm Street
A classic slasher movie which is largely driven by one character. It gets onto the list ahead of Halloween and Friday The 13th as Wes Craven’s leading ghoul, one Mr Freddie Kreuger, is the most enduring of all bogeymen.
4. The Shining
You’ll do well to find a list of horror movies that The Shining doesn’t appear in. Watch from behind your fingers as Jack Nicholson has a break down when his family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil spirit is up to no good.
5. The Omen
It’s hard to believe that the director behind this twisted saga went on to make The Goonies. Featuring the original spawn of the devil, this film went a long way to ensuring parents thought twice about calling their kid Damien.
Wes Craven can do more than scare. Scream is a brilliant example of a film that both dissects the horror genre while recreating an entirely new type of scary movie. A bit like a deconstructed pumpkin pie.
The second animated film on our list, in which a young girl with a set of awesome yellow Wellington boots discovers a sinister parallel world where the inhabitants all have buttons for eyes.
8. Donnie Darko
We’re not quite sure what make Donnie Darko a Halloween staple, but the creepy bunny may have someone to do with it. You shouldn’t need an excuse to watch this movie at least four times a year.
9. Pan’s Labrinyth
A twisted masterpiece from the mind of Guillermo del Toro the like of which you’ve never seen before or since (unless you watch all his films).
10. Lost Boys
This coming of age vampire drama from 1987 beats Twilight hands down. Starring Corey Feldman, Kiefer Sutherland, Corey Haim and Jason Patric, this movie paved the way for the ‘hot’ vampire genre.
11. Interview With A Vampire
Another in the ‘hot’ vampire genre, this sizzling epic from 1994 combines Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Christian Slater and Antonio Banderas.
12. Corpse Bride
Another Tim Burton movie with a Halloween-theme – shock horror! Like Nightmare Before Christmas this is a stunning example of stop motion animation. This list could have been stretched further using just Tim Burton movies – Frankenweenie, Beetlejuice, Sleepy Hollow, Sweeney Todd – makes you wonder is Mr Burton a one-trick pony?
13. Hocus Pocus