A collage featuring some of the best horror movies to watch for Halloween (clockwise from top left): 'A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night,' 'Us,' 'Coraline,' and 'La Llorona'

The Best Horror Movies To Watch This Halloween

Halloween, when goblins, ghosts, and copious amounts of sweets converge, is almost here. It’s also the time of year when people who claim they can’t handle horror films voluntarily terrify themselves by watching them. They would be disgusted by all the gore and blood on any other night, but they revel in it on Halloween. Go figure! 

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For the rest of us weird kids, it’s a regular Tuesday. We get cozy on the couch, surrounded by chocolates we haven’t eaten yet (in a feeble attempt at restraint), and gleefully submit ourselves to two hours of terror. Whether you’re a horror aficionado or just a seasonal spooky enthusiast, if you still need to assemble your Halloween movie lineup, fear not; I’ve conjured up a nifty guide featuring 10 flicks to get you in the haunting spirit. 

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014)

A young woman dances in her room in 'A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night'
(Kino Lorber / Vice Media)

Billed as the “first Iranian vampire Western,” A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, directed by Ana Lily Amirpour, tells a seductive story so moody that you find yourself willingly ensnared in its monochrome web. The setting is the ghost town of Bad City, which, between the oil drills and forgotten bodies, could give Detroit a run for its money in the desolation department. 

The film’s titular Girl (Sheila Vand), draped in a chador and riding a skateboard, is as enigmatic as they come, representing both predator and protector. But let’s not forget the film’s unsung hero: its soundtrack. An eclectic mix that seems to say, “Yes, we’re going vampirical, but we’re doing it with style.” 

La Llorona (2019)

María Mercedes Coroy in 'La Llorona'

Not to be mistaken for The Conjuring spinoff, this La Llorona is a Guatemalan rendition that conveys historical atrocities with spine-chilling lore. Director Jayro Bustamante prepares an entree that combines commentary with ghostly intrigue. It’s not every day that one comes across a spectral drama that doubles as a crash course in Latin American history. 

The setting is the opulent home of a former general who finds that retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, especially when plagued by the persistent cries of the legendary weeping woman. La Llorona has depth; layers, if you will—much like the many veils of her white attire. As the general’s mansion walls seem to close in and the water taps sputter curiously, the film leads you to wonder who is actually haunted: the ghost or the tyrant? 

His House (2020)

Ghosts inside a mirror in His House

The British housing market, already the stuff of nightmares for many, takes on an even darker dimension in His House. At first glance, one might mistake it for another well-intentioned documentary about the challenges faced by refugees in the UK. But director Remi Weekes has other plans—namely, introducing us to the real estate listing from hell. 

When our protagonists, Bol and Rial (Sope Dirisu and Wunmi Mosaku), are granted a dilapidated house as asylum seekers, they quickly discover that the British bureaucracy may be the least of their problems. The walls have more secrets than the MI6. And forget about pesky rats or faulty wiring; we’re talking full-blown, grade-A hauntings here. An intriguing mix of social satire and supernatural horror, His House is a sobering reminder that our own pasts might be more haunting than any ghostly presence. 

ParaNorman (2012)

Norman and a ghost in 'Paranorman'.
(Focus Features)

The town of Blithe Hollow, with its uncanny resemblance to any New England town cashing in on its witch trial past, is as vibrant as day-old toast. Enter Norman, the boy who sees—and chats with—ghosts, making him the town oddity, which is quite an accomplishment in a place teeming with eccentric characters. With ParaNorman, directors Chris Butler and Sam Fell mix wit and whimsy with a side of preteen angst.

It’s the age-old tale: boy meets ghost, boy gets bullied, boy saves town from zombie apocalypse. A typical Tuesday, really. But the beauty of ParaNorman isn’t just in its stop-motion artistry but in its heart. It’s a gentle nudge, reminding us that sometimes the monsters aren’t the undead lurking in the shadows but the very much alive ones refusing to see the light. 

Tigers Are Not Afraid (2017)

A bloodied girl wrapped in plastic stands in a crowd at night in "Tigers Are Not Afraid"

With Tigers Are Not Afraid, Issa López creates a scenario in which the monsters of the Mexican drug wars become nearly as tangible as the boogeyman lurking in childhood tales. Our young star, Estrella, finds that wishes, rather than being the trusty escape routes advertised in bedtime stories, have a pesky way of backfiring. 

It’s a world where the lines blur—between reality and fantasy, between innocence and experience. Tigers might not be afraid, but humans have ample reason to be. Yet, amid the darkness, López ensures that beams of resilience, hope, and childlike wonder pierce through. It’s no surprise that Tigers Are Not Afraid has received highly favorable reviews from critics.

Attack the Block (2011)

Franz Drameh, Alex Esmail, Leeon Jones, and John Boyega in Attack the Block (2011)
(Screen Gems)

The alien invaders in Attack the Block did not get the memo that South London might not be the best place to visit. Joe Cornish presents a landscape where aliens, in their infinite wisdom, decide to drop into a council estate and are met with the indomitable spirit of British teens. These aren’t your typical adolescents; headed by Moses (John Boyega), these youngsters quickly prove that they’re far more terrifying than any glow-in-the-dark, toothy alien, leaving you to wonder, what if E.T. had landed in the wrong neighborhood? 

Attack the Block masterfully combines comedy, social critique, and nail-biting action as the group uses explosives, samurai swords, and sheer boldness to protect their territory. By the movie’s end, it’s evident that the alien vacationers bit off more than they could chew. Perhaps the next intergalactic invaders might want to consider targeting a simpler locale—say, a lovely countryside manor. 

Coraline (2009)

The Other Mother looms over Coraline with a menacing smile (Focus Features)
(Focus Features)

Coraline is a vivid reminder that the appeal of a parallel universe with seemingly better parents might not be all it’s buttoned up to be. In collaboration with the ever-eccentric Neil Gaiman, director Henry Selick crafts a world where domestic boredom and technicolor horror collide. With her curious blue hair, Coraline discovers that behind door number one is not a dreamy paradise but a realm where doppelganger parents with a penchant for button-eyes play house.  

Basically, it’s a gothic take on the “grass is always greener” trope. As the story unravels, one realizes the movie isn’t just about inter-dimensional escapades but also a lesson in contentment and the perils of perfection. Moreover, in a world where retouched Instagram realities are the norm, aren’t we sometimes lured by our own “Other World”? 

Us (2019)

Lupita Nyong'o as a "tethered" in 'Us'
(Universal Pictures)

After proving that he is more than just a master of sketch comedy with Get Out, Jordan Peele unveils a nightmarish narrative in which your worst enemy is, quite literally, yourself. The Wilsons, hoping for some sun, sand, and relaxation, face off with their own sinister doppelgängers in Us.

With an abundance of rabbits, a chilling remix of “I Got 5 On It,” and the unexpected terror of red jumpsuits, Peele crafts a frightening and thought-provoking film. Us is a story of shadows, reflections, and the eerie implications of mirrored selves. Next time you’re at the beach, best to stick to building sandcastles and avoid any mysterious funhouse mirrors. 

Ginger Snaps (2000)

Katharine Isabelle in Ginger Snaps
(Motion International)

In a suburban wasteland where the most thrilling pastime is staging faux-death photos, sisters Ginger and Brigitte Fitzgerald discover that teenage anguish has a new mascot, and it’s furry with fangs. In Ginger Snaps, director John Fawcett presents lycanthropy as the ultimate metaphor for adolescence. Ginger’s transformation from angsty teen to even angstier werewolf is a hormonal roller coaster that no acne cream can combat. 

And Brigitte? She’s left to navigate high school, sibling rivalry, and werewolf-proofing their shared bedroom. With a blend of black humor, biting commentary, and, yes, a sprinkling of gore, Ginger Snaps reimagines the werewolf legend for the 21st-century femme.

The People Under the Stairs (1991)

A man in a bloody apron stands with a pale woman in "The People Under The Stairs"
(Universal Pictures)

The late Wes Craven, ever the master of making ordinary places terrifying (nightmares on a particular street come to mind), introduces us to a domicile where “spacious basement” is code for “contains a small community of ghoulish captives.” Fool, a young kid enticed by tales of treasure, quickly discovers that the real gold might just be escaping with his life. 

The home’s landlords are a pair of siblings whose take on familial bonds makes the Lannisters seem downright traditional. Toss in some cannibalistic vibes, a dog that’s seen far too much, and walls with more than just ears, and you’ve got yourself a veritable house of horrors. While packed with jumps and jolts, The People Under the Stairs also offers a biting commentary on class disparity and urban decay. 

(featured image: Vice Media / Kino Lorber / Universal Pictures / Focus Features / Shudder)

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Image of Faith Katunga
Faith Katunga
Faith is a freelance journalist with an insatiable curiosity for all aspects of current events, from the global economy and fashion to pop culture and travel. She watches an absurd number of cat videos on Instagram when not reading or writing about what is going on in the world. Faith has written for several publications, including We Got This Covered, Italy Magazine, TheTravel, etc., and holds a master's degree in Fashion Culture and Management.