Scary movies to watch this October
October is around the corner, and with it, the season for spooky movies. We asked the TextNow marketing and design teams for their favorite scary flicks to watch in the run-up to Halloween. Turns out we have a lot of scary movie fans working here, with tastes that run across the spooky spectrum.
If you're looking for a scary movie recommendation to watch with a friend or from under your covers in October, here's a short list of our faves:
Let's start things off slow with Hocus Pocus before we ramp up the intensity, a little horror appetizer in the form of this campy cult classic. Three witches (played with extreme gusto by Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy) are accidentally resurrected and it’s up to a plucky band of kids, and an immortal cat, to stop the witches from becoming immortal. Aimed at kids, your littlest ones might find the witchy stuff too scary, but it’s all mostly played for laughs.
Plus, there’s a scene where Bette Midler leads the trio of witches in a vamped-up version of Screaming Jay Hawkins’ “I Put A Spell on You” – because witches would appear to have excellent taste in music.
Arguably the best horror/sci-fi mash up ever, Alien still holds up as a pure cinematic engine of terror. Alien’s mind-bending special effects are effective even in this age of CGI, thanks to some outstanding model work and one of the most iconic monster designs in movie history, courtesy of Swiss artist H.R. Giger. Alien’s vision of the future is grimy and lived-in, light-years away from the cold clean future of 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Alien’s fear is primal: trapped in space in the dark against an unstoppable monster that you can’t reason with or escape.
Easily the greatest Catholic horror movie ever made, there are some things you should know about The Exorcist. First: Keep children far, far away from it. (I speak from personal experience of having seen it when I was about seven years old, triggering a week of some very intense nightmares.)
Second: It’s a lot longer than you remember.
Third: A lot of The Exorcist’s most effective scenes have been drained of surprise by a couple decades of pop-culture referencing. That said, though, it’s still scary as heck, and manages to be genuinely shocking even now, four decades on from its original run. You’ll never look at pea soup the same way again.
The most recent film on this list, The Babadook uses the guise of horror to tell a deeply affecting story of a mother’s struggle with mental illness. On the surface, The Babadook’s horror seems rooted in classic tales of monsters hiding in your basement, but it uses the Babadook (a truly horrifying talon-fingered creation, all done with practical effects) as a metaphor for a deep, powerful grief that threatens the main character’s grip on reality.
While The Babadook is chock full of enough genuinely scary moments to satisfy the most rabid horror movie fan, the real terror comes from a seeping realization that the mother just might not be strong enough to defeat her personal demons and keep her son safe. Any parent will tell you that’s a fear that runs deep.
Far and away the movie most people mentioned to me when I asked them for their fave scary movie was The Shining. And for good reason. Stanley Kubrick’s masterful take on the haunted house (or hotel, in this case) is a movie that slowly tightens the noose before its bonkers final act. Along the way Kubrick mines his subconscious for images of such horrible power that they’ve been burned into my brain for years.
Using Stephen King’s novel as the springboard, Kubrick gives us the cold isolated location of The Overlook Hotel to underscore the emotional distance of the family from each other. It’s here that Jack Nicholson’s alcoholic writer, left to his own devices, goes stark raving mad in a monstrous performance that peels away the layers of humanity to reveal a man of pure rage. As Nicholson descends further into an Overlook powered insanity, the Hotel too goes mad – rivers of blood burst from elevators, past guests haunt the corridors (and, shiver, bathtubs), and murdered twin girls beckon you to come play with them... forever.
What will you be watching in October? Share your favorite movies with us below!