TORONTO — Is there a better way to spend Halloween than sitting in the dark, illuminated only by the glow of your television screen, and being scared silly?
Here are 10 must-see scary movies to consider for any Halloween film festival. Almost all were released prior to the 21st century, most were followed by prequels, sequels or remakes — and all are guaranteed to frighten and haunt.
THE AMITYVILLE HORROR (1979)
James Brolin and Canada’s Margot Kidder learned a valuable lesson about buying real estate in this frightening flick about a family that moves into a house haunted by its past.
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (1984)
Wes Craven’s movie about a child killer haunting people’s dreams introduced the world to one of the big screen’s most infamous villains: Freddy Krueger.
THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (1999)
Presented as “found footage,” this low-budget thriller is about a group of young people who disappeared in the woods while making a documentary about the titular witch. It went on to rake in nearly $250 million at the box office and earned Heather Donahue a Razzie Award for Worst Actress.
THE EXORCIST (1973)
By any measure, this horror film starring Linda Blair and Ellen Burstyn is a classic. Two priests are brought in to rid a teenage girl of the demons that possess her. The movie, directed by William Friedkin, was nominated for 10 Oscars (it won two) and turned a whole generation off pea soup.
FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980)
Going to summer camp was never the same after this flick about counsellors who are picked off one at a time by a killer who’s not pleased about the camp reopening.
Jamie Lee Curtis starred in director John Carpenter’s spooky thriller about Michael Myers, a killer who escapes from a psychiatric institution and wreaks havoc. The movie sparked a flurry of hockey mask sales and spawned several sequels.
THE SHINING (1980)
Stanley Kubrick directed Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall in an adaptation of the Stephen King novel of the same name about a couple who take a job as winter caretakers of an isolated hotel. Nicholson gave the phrase “Here’s Johnny!” a whole new context.
THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (1974)
Tobe Hooper directed this tale of a group of friends who are hunted down by a chainsaw-wielding killer. Originally promoted as a true story — it was, in fact, pure fiction — the movie was banned by many theatres due to its graphic violence.
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY (2007)
Written and directed by Oren Peli, this docu-style movie focused on a young couple haunted by a supernatural presence in their home. It was a box office hit and spawned a new subcategory of scary movies.
Co-written and produced by Steven Spielberg — and directed by Tobe Hooper — the movie starred Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams as a couple who moves into a quiet community and find themselves terrorized by a supernatural force. The movie made “They’re here…” a pop culture catchphrase.