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Halloween Movies: Top Horror Movies of All Time and Parental Guide

The Omen

The Omen

Halloween is upon us again and if you’re looking to be spooked by some Halloween flicks, here are my top ten recommendations!

Most of these films are not even gory so they’d likely be ok for tweens and teens to watch.

1.  Psycho

I’m not talking about the remakes, folks.  This is the original with Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins, directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The infamous shower scene will forever one of the best film scenes of all time.

Psycho initially received mixed reviews, but outstanding box office returns prompted a re-review which was overwhelmingly positive and led to four Academy Award nominations. Psycho is now considered one of Hitchcock’s best films and is highly praised as a work of cinematic art by international critics.

The film spawned two sequels, a prequel, a remake, and a television movie spin-off.  Much of this film is okay for adolescents but some scenes are not suitable.

2.  The Shining

Directed by the late Stanley Kubrick, this 1980 psychological horror film stars Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, and Danny Lloyd. The film is based on the novel of the same name, by Stephen King, about a writer with a wife and young son who accepts the job of off-season caretaker at an isolated hotel. The son, who possesses psychic abilities, is able to see things in the future or past, such as the ghosts in the hotel. Soon after moving in, and after a paralyzing winter storm that leaves the family snowbound, the father becomes influenced by the supernatural presence in the haunted hotel; he descends into madness and attempts to kill his wife and son.

Although initial response to the film was mixed, later critical assessment has been more favorable and the film is now viewed as a classic of the horror genre.  How can you forget the memorable Jack in this film?  Probably save this one for adults only.

3.  The Exorcist

The Exorcist is a 1973 American horror film directed by William Friedkin based on the 1971 book and the exorcism case of Robbie Mannheim, dealing with the demonic possession of a young girl and her mother’s desperate attempts to win back her daughter through an exorcism conducted by two priests.

The film features Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair, Max von Sydow, Kitty Winn, Lee J. Cobb, Jason Miller, and Mercedes McCambridge. The film is one of a cycle of ‘demonic child’ movies produced in the late 1960s and early 1970s, including Rosemary’s Baby and The Omen.

I first watched this film when I was 11 years old and slept in my parents’ bed that night.   I’d definitely save this one for adults only.

4.  Halloween

Jamie Lee Curtis is at her best in 1978′s Halloween, directed by John Carpenter starring Donald Pleasence and Jamie in her film debut.   On Halloween, six year old Michael Myers murders his older sister. Fifteen years later, he escapes from a psychiatric hospital, returns home, and stalks teenager Laurie Strode and her friends. Michael’s psychiatrist Dr. Sam Loomis suspects Michael’s intentions, and follows him to Haddonfield to try to prevent this from happening.

Halloween had many imitators and originated several clichés found in low-budget horror films of the 1980s and 1990s. Unlike many of its imitators, this film contains little graphic violence and gore.

 5.  Poltergeist

Produced by Steven Spielberg in 1982, this film is the first and most successful of the Poltergeist film trilogy, and was nominated for three Academy Awards.

The franchise is often said to be cursed, because several people associated with it, including stars Dominique Dunne and Heather O’Rourke, died prematurely.

The Others

The Others

6.  Texas Chainsaw Massacre

While this film presented as a true story involving the ambush and murder of a group of friends on a road trip in rural Texas by a family of cannibals, the film is entirely fictional. It is the first of six pictures in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre film franchise, which features Leatherface (Hansen), a character modeled after Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein. 

7.  The Others

This 2001 psychological horror film by the Spanish director Alejandro Amenábar stars Nicole Kidman. Not a gory film at all, the film’s tone keeps you on the edge of your seat, especially with the shocking twist at the ending.   This film is completely gore-free.

8.  The Omen

The Omen is a 1976 British/American suspense/horror film directed by Richard Donner. The film stars Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner, Harvey Stephens, Billie Whitelaw, Patrick Troughton, Martin Benson and Leo McKern. It is the first film in The Omen series and was scripted by David Seltzer, who also wrote the novel.

The film followed a cycle of demonic child movies including Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist.

Wrong Turn

Wrong Turn

9.  Carrie

Carrie is a 1976 American supernatural horror film directed by Brian De Palma and written by Lawrence D. Cohen, based on the novel Carrie by Stephen King. The film and the novel tell the story of a socially outcast teenage girl, Carrie White, who discovers she possesses psionic power which seems to flare up when she becomes angry.

Carrie’s powers become apparent after her humiliation by her peers, teachers, and abusive mother, eventually resulting in tragedy. The film stars Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Betty Buckley, Amy Irving, Nancy Allen, William Katt, John Travolta, P.J. Soles and Priscilla Pointer.

I’d save this one for adults.

10.  Wrong Turn

Wrong Turn is a 2003 American horror film, directed by Rob Schmidt, and written by Alan B. McElroy. The film stars Desmond Harrington, and Eliza Dushku.  It’s a newer horror film which left me with the  heeby-jeebies – definitely not one for tweens to watch.

Source: Wikpedia

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