This is another post that is a collaboration between me and my friend Ann, whose tastes lean more toward the creepy and gothic ghostly than to Stephen King. I haven't seen everything on the list, but I'm confident it's a good one.
The Others. I don't know why this movie is so perfectly creepy to me. It's a little jumpy, but mostly eerie and atmospheric, with a beautiful flip that makes the dark less frightening than the light. I love it.
The Last Exorcism
The Woman in Black. I had seen this play and read the book, and both were just sort of creepy. This one scared me to death, especially because I was pregnant at the time and had to get up in the night ALL THE TIME. It's got a great cast and is well done, but it really did scare me.
The Haunting of Hill House. A million times better than the late 90s remake based on the same book, this classic black and white number is wonderfully creepy, even if some of the expressions are kind of hilariously dated.
Wait Until Dark. Audrey Hepburn makes being blind so scary - and classy. I love to watch this one with friends who have never seen it and wait for them to jump.
Vertigo. Ann says, "I personally find this really scary, but I don't know if anyone else will." I think it's a great movie, and although it's more psychological than anything else, it's still creepy and wonderful. Plus, Jimmy Stewart.
Psycho. I love how haunting the climax of this movie is, no matter how many times I've seen it. I also recommend the recent biopic Hitchcock, which tells the story of how this ended up being a movie against all odds. (That one is not really creepy, but totally worthwhile.)
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (I also secretly liked the Nicole Kidman remake of this.)
The Skeleton Key
Cape Fear (1962). Gregory Peck tries to protect his family from Robert Mitchum, who wants revenge because Peck's character put him in jail. Creepier than it sounds.
The House on Haunted Hill. Okay, this movie is pretty campy and old, but SO GREAT. It's Vincent Price at his finest. I've watched it more than once, and it was on Ann's list too. It won't terrify you (although it might make you jump once or twice) but it's a great one for a Halloween party, especially one where not everyone wants to be scared. The best part? It's available on Netflix instant watch, so if you can't get anything at your video store (do any of those still exist? The scary movies were always gone when I got there on Halloween anyway) this is a great option. (My friend Debra, who introduced me to this, also loves Vincent Price's House of Wax.)
Nosferatu. This silent movie version of Dracula is a far cry from the sparkly sexy vampires of today's movies and TV, but it is seriously creepy. (It's also available on Netflix for streaming, or on Youtube.)
Vampyr. A German movie from 1932 that you can watch here.
The Bad Seed. Unfortunately, the Hayes code kind of ruined the end of this movie, but it's still a really fun, and the little girl does a great job of being a psychopath.
The Innocents. A creepy old movie based on The Turn of the Screw. I still don't completely understand it, but it was creepy and fun to watch.
Something Wicked This Way Comes. Not as creepy as the book, but it's still a pretty decent (if oldish) creepy movie. I love the concept of a creepy carnival.
When a Stranger Calls (either version - the old one is much scarier than the new one)
Arsenic and Old Lace. More funny than creepy, but so wonderfully Halloween.
The Village. Yes, M. Night Shamaylan is kind of over, but this movie feels like fall, doesn't it? It's just creepy enough, and the colors are just beautiful.
The Stepford Wives (1975). You guys. It's a feminist horror movie. And it is SO SCARY. The new one is not at all scary, but the old one is really quite terrifying.
Secret Window. This movie is one of my husband's favorite scary movies, and the climax is quite wonderfully scary. (He wants me to put Ernest Scared Stupid on this list as well, but I just can't bring myself to do it.)
ET is not scary, but if you just want a movie that just takes place at Halloween, here it is!
Disney's Ichabod Crane, which you can totally watch on youtube. It's not really scary, but it has lots of singing by Bing Crosby.
What are you going to watch on Halloween night?