There’s no denying that timeless classics like Scream, Beetle Juice, Hocus Pocus and A Nightmare on Elm Street will always be a go-to for both movie nights and costume ideas when this time of year comes around. But what if you’re getting bored of watching the same old films year in year out? Do you feel like you’ve rinsed Netflix of all its half-decent scary flicks? Well we’ve devised a handy list of some underrated and often forgotten creepy classics, old and new, to help you freshen up your movie marathon this Halloween – maybe you’ll even get some dress-up inspiration for a costume that no one else at the party will have thought of!
In no particular order…
Though it’s a certified horror classic, this 70’s Italian supernatural slasher may be overlooked by the younger generation so it deserves a reminder in this list. The fairy-tale inspired movie tells the story of Suzy, an American girl who travels to Germany to attend a prestigious ballet school. Amid a series of grisly murders she soon comes to realise that the school is in fact a front for a sinister supernatural conspiracy and uncovers the terrifying secret history of the place. It’s easy to see why this visually stunning movie was so influential with its beautiful cinematography which has earned it a cult following. A remake was released last month, but make sure you watch the original (and forever the best) first!
Ghost Ship (2002)
A boat salvage crew discovers the eerie remains of a long-lost 1962 passenger ship floating lifeless in a remote region of the Bering Sea. But while preparing to tow it back to land, the crew discovers that they are not alone on board- the ship is home to something more deadly and horrific than they’ve ever encountered in all their years at sea. It’s almost like a horror sequel of the aftermath of Titanic. The film begins with a Final Destination-esque freak accident that gave us all nightmares as kids and has been dubbed by some as one of the scariest opening scenes in horror movie history, and this alone is reason enough to give it a watch.
The Ritual (2017)
Something fairly new that you may not have got round to watching yet! Following the sudden, violent death of their best mate, four old friends from Uni decide to reunite for a camping trip in their friend’s honour, hiking through the Scandinavian wilderness. While deep in the black Nordic forest they discover the ancient woods are home to an evil deity and find themselves lost in a hell of sinister nightmares and pagan sacrifices. Think Blair Witch meets The Descent. What makes this one so creepy is how close to home it is – a few mates on a ‘lads’ camping trip gone horribly wrong, with some hints of classic British humour weaved in amongst the horror. We know the whole lost-in-the-woods narrative might sound cliche, but this one has a twist and it’s definitely worth a watch.
One of the weirder films on our list, Cube is a sci-fi horror in which six complete strangers of widely varying personalities and walks of life awaken to find themselves trapped in a giant cube, an endless maze of thousands of possible rooms containing deadly traps. Each person has a unique quality – there’s a maths whiz, a building designer, an escape master and a disabled man – and each of their skills play a part in their thrilling quest to escape and find out why they’ve been imprisoned. With a cult following due to its surrealism and Kafka-esque setting, you’ve never seen anything like this!
Eden Lake (2008)
This one has got to be one of the most genuinely terrifying horror films of recent years. A young couple’s romantic weekend away in the woods is spoiled by a gang of aggressive loutish youths who steal their belongings and vandalize their car. The couple decide to confront them – with terrifyingly bloody and brutal consequences. Eden Lake wields real-life societal concerns over ‘broken Britain’ and a fear of ‘hoodies’, issues that were very current at the time of release after the ‘happy slap’ phenomenon, to incite what The Guardian described as “pant-wetting terror”. There’s also some familiar faces like Michael Fassbender, Jack O’Connell and This Is England‘s Thomas Turgoose so if you haven’t seen this one yet, brace yourself.
The Faculty (1998)
If you’re looking for something a bit more fun and a little less terrifying, then The Faculty is probably just what you’re after. Students at a high school are suspicious of their principal and teachers’ bizarre behaviour, and when they find out they are indeed controlled by otherworldly parasites, the classmates have to team up to save the world from alien domination. Written by Scream‘s Kevin Williamson, and with a cast full of stars like Elijah Wood, Josh Hartnett, Jordana Brewster and even Usher, this teen sci-fi cult classic is perfect for those of you looking for a less-realistic easy watch this Halloween.
The Fall Of The House Of Usher (1960)
It wouldn’t be a true Rokit list if we didn’t include something like this classic 60’s gothic horror, an adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe’s short story of the same name. It tells the tale of a man who travels to the House of Usher, a desolate mansion surrounded by a murky swamp, to visit his fiancee. There he discovers that the Usher family is afflicted by a cursed bloodline that has driven all their ancestors to madness. The film is without a doubt very underrated and underseen, riddled with hallucinatory strangeness and with an amazing performance from Vincent Price.
Return Of The Living Dead (1985)
We had to pepper this list with a little bit of horror comedy for those of you who wuss out at the super scary stuff! This classic zombie movie tells the story of two employees at a medical supply warehouse who accidentally release a deadly gas into the air. The gas soaks into a cemetery down in bayou land, the dead re-animate and suddenly a horde of brain-hungry zombies are unleashed on a rampage through an unsuspecting town. The film is famed for introducing the popular concept of zombies eating brains and was also recognised as being the first punk horror movie – it has a pretty cool soundtrack featuring several deathrock and punk rock bands of the era like The Cramps and The Damned.
Though it’s supposed to be a black comedy horror, for those of you as terrified of spiders as most of us, this film will be anything but funny. A newly discovered spider from the jungles of South America accidentally hitches a lift to America in a coffin where it mates with a local spider. Before long, the residents of a small California town are killed one by one after being bitten by the deadly spider offspring that grow larger with each kill and drain the human corpses of their blood. It’s up to Dr Ross Jennings, played by Jeff Daniels, along with another doctor and an insect exterminator, to overcome arachnophobia and try to annihilate the eight legged freaks before they wipe out the whole town. Just a warning, you might end up too scared to sit on the toilet after watching this one…
Idle Hands (1999)
Another teen horror comedy that has rightly earned its place on our list: starring Seth Green and Jessica Alba, the plot follows the life of a seventeen-year-old lazy stoner who wakes up one Halloween morning to discover that his right hand has been possessed with a blood-thirsty mind of its own and to top it off, overnight both of his parents have been turned into headless Halloween decorations. His hand is hell-bent on committing grisly murders and goes on a killing spree, even after being cut off from his arm. It’s one of those movies that’s so bad it’s good. Critics hated it but it was a childhood favourite for many and has maintained a loyal cult following – plus, The Offspring make an appearance in it!
We hope we’ve whet your appetite for movies to watch this Halloween and hopefully we’ve covered all bases for terrifying, surreal, funny or spooky, whatever it is you’re in the mood for.
Don’t forget that if you’re still stuck for costumes ideas ahead of the festivities, we’ve just curated a special selection on our website of everything we think you could possibly need to put together the perfect Halloween outfit this year – shop our Halloween edit now!
We’re also offering a 20% discount in our stores to any ticket holders for Secretsundaze’s Club Kids Halloween Party at Oval Space on the 27th October. This could be your wildest most extravagant Halloween party yet, so don’t miss out! To find out more check out our blog post on the event, and tickets are available here.