Two pumpkins with carved faces sit on a dark floor. The only source of light is coming from within the pumpkins.
Credit: David Menidrey via Unsplash

10 essential films you need to watch this Halloween!

By Tomek Kutereba

Tomek guides us through a commanding mix of movies that provide the slash and the silliness, guaranteed to provide you with the best spooky vibes for Halloween 2021. 

  1. Scary Movie 1 & 2 (Keenan Ivory Wayans 2000, 2001) NETFLIX

I am kinda cheating here, forgive me. If you can cope with a little bit of early 2000s humour (see my previous article on that dick-based subject matter), then why not watch a double bill consisting of the first two Scary Movie films – a.k.a the good ones. Not to throw any shade at the third instalment, which is pretty great but there’s only so much time left until Halloween! Seriously, get some bev, grab a friend, and scream out “Wazzzaah” (if you want to embarrass yourself). Anna Farris and Regina Hall are simply iconic.

  1. Scream (Wes Craven, 1996) AMAZON PRIME

The main inspiration for the first Scary Movie film, this next pick is meta with its mutilation. A timeless slasher classic that didn’t just reinvent the wheel but hot-wired the whole car. Featuring the now iconic villain Ghostface, more disembowelment than a tour of your local abattoir, and the gift from God that is Matthew Lillard. A good time, any time – especially this spooky season, in light of its 25th Anniversary!

  1. Halloween (John Carpenter 1978) NETFLIX

I mean… It is literally named after the holiday. The one all the hipsters like because it was revolutionary or something like that – myself included. From the master himself, John Carpenter and starring Twitter-hailed queen of spooky szn, Jamie Lee Curtis.

We all know Michael Myers, we all know the delicious score – and if you’re willing to put up with the slightly slow front half, you’ll know a good time when you’ve finished. A delicious first time or a fun re-watch.

  1. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (Tobe Hooper, 1974) AMAZON PRIME (SHUDDER- Free Trial Available)

Personally one of my favourite horror films ever, there really isn’t another quite like it. Not even any of the sequels could live up to the impact of Hooper’s 1974 classic. Don’t let word of mouth put you off, this film really isn’t that gory – and most of the severe acts of violence are all off screen, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t pure uncut nightmare fuel! A masterpiece of sustained, nauseating terror, this one is totally worth the watch.

  1. Jennifer’s Body (Karyn Kusama, 2009) DISNEY PLUS

This one’s for my gays and girlies out there. I was initially doubtful my first time watching this film but frankly, I really put my foot in my mouth. This film’s cult status is completely deserved; heathenistic, hot and high camp, this is a genuinely amusing macabre affair.

If vampire-demon Megan Fox ever stole my girlfriend I wouldn’t even be able to complain, that shit is on me, she caught ME slipping! The perfect modern take on a black comedy. Standout line: “You’re killing people!” / “No. I’m killing boys.”

  1. Green Room (Jeremy Saulnier, 2015) AMAZON PRIME (RENTAL)

An intense horror/thriller that tells the story of a youthful and free-spirited punk band who end up trapped inside the green room of a neo-Nazi bar. If there was one film on this list that you didn’t feel like checking out, I wouldn’t blame you if it was this one. To describe it I would apply the adjective first coined in 2021 by one Olivia Rodrigo: it’s brutal. It also has Anton Yelchin in it. Check mate, now you have to watch it! Featuring Patrick Stewart as the chilling leader of the neo-Nazi brigade, it’s another super engrossing watch, if a little bleak. 

  1. Hellraiser (Clive Barker, 1987) AMAZON PRIME

Honestly, I have no idea how to describe this film. In essence, it’s just pretty mental. You might have heard of Pinhead, the primary antagonist of the Hellraiser franchise. He’s basically the leader of this group of supernatural kink demons. They get horny from pain, and he has a bunch of nails/pins in his bald head. He seems kinda chill though. The practical effects in this film range from amazing to awful. Overall, an enjoyable and exceedingly eccentric watch.

  1. Hereditary (Ari Aster, 2018) NETFLIX

You know I couldn’t compile this list without a sprinkle of A24 and Ari Aster. And because I haven’t managed to watch Midsommar all the way through (that opening…), I decided to opt for Hereditary, which I adore. When Toni Collette’s estranged mother passes away, her family become entrenched in a sinister plot, seemingly devised by the late matriarch. Relationships break down, and terrifying chaos ensues. I’d like to take a moment to thank Aster for giving me a fear of lampposts. Cheers for that.

  1. Shaun of The Dead (Edgar Wright, 2004) NETFLIX

The first instalment in Edgar Wright’s fabled Cornetto Trilogy is regarded by some as its best. Truly a 21st century horror/comedy classic. I mean, this film does so much: it can make you laugh, cry, and soil yourself in fear. Step aside Warm Bodies, I’m gonna watch the OG zom-rom-com this Halloween. Featuring all the hallmarks that now define Wright’s work, including a zombie-beatdown edited to the tune of Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now. What more can I even say? Some manic music always feeds the fun.

  1.  The Babysitter (McG, 2017) NETFLIX

A young teen stays awake after his bedtime to find out what his babysitter is really up to. A love letter to the slasher films of the 80s, this film is downright hilarious and genuinely thrilling at times. I’ve watched this perhaps three times now and I still can’t get enough of it. Heck, even Bella Thorne is great in this film, who knew she had the chops? (Bella, where the hell you been loca?). With heaps of gore and a whole load of tropes subverted, this film is one of the best of Netflix’s recent output. It’s like a slasher fan’s wet dream bundled together with a genuinely heart-warming coming of age tale.

Honourable Mentions: 

  • Beetlejuice (1988)
  • The Thing (1982)
  • Halloweentown II: Kalabar’s Revenge (2001)


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