Saturday marks Halloween and while many people will be donning costumes, partying the night away or going trick-or-treating with their families, others like to scare themselves in other ways: by watching some of the best horror movies around these days.
To celebrate all things scary, leading up to the day, IBTimesUK has compiled a list of the 12 best scary movies to watch this Halloweek, from modern gems like The Conjuring and The Babadook to old-school classics that showed them how it was done, like Halloween and A Nightmare On Elm Street...
Paranormal Activity revived the found-footage trend (started with The Blair Witch Project in 1999) that permeates the horror movie genre these days, and while it didn't really have much to it in the way of special effects or a complex plot, it was more what you didn't see that scared the living daylights out of you.
It centres around young couple Katie and Micah, who become convinced that they are being haunted by a supernatural presence in their home, so set up night-vision cameras to pick up anything that might go bump in the night. Cue something terrifying happening every time the pair go to bed. Prepare to sleep with the lights on for a week.
A 2014 Cannes Film Festival favourite, It Follows tells the story of 19-year-old college student Jay Height (Maika Monroe), as she begins to be stalked by an unknown supernatural force immediately after a seemingly normal sexual encounter with her boyfriend. She soon finds out that her boyfriend slept with her only to pass on a curse that causes you to be plagued by a haunting entity until it gets close enough to kill you – unless you pass it on yourself first.
Combining sex and scary moments is no new idea when it comes to horror movies, but the unavoidable doom that these young adults have hanging over them, and the extreme desperation that they have to try and save themselves from whatever is following them is what makes It Follows stand out from the crowd.
Written by Avengers Assemble's Joss Whedon, and directed by writer Drew Goddard, The Cabin In The Woods isn't the typical teen-horror movie you would come to expect from its title, it purposefully tries to buck the trend of hunky young characters getting offed one-by-one by trying to ridicule itself in an unique way. And it very almost succeeds until a blood-soaked but completely far-fetched ending does put a dampener on the goodness that came before it.
The story follows five friends as they visit a remote cabin in the woods, where they get more than they bargained for. Together, they must discover the truth behind the cabin and just how they got to be there in the first place.
Arguably one the most iconic horror films ever, the 1980 movie adaptation of Stephen King's novel The Shining stars Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall as Jack and Wendy Torrance. They head to an isolated hotel for the winter so that author Jack can finally rid himself of his writer's block and Wendy can spend time with the pair's son, Danny.
However, things take an unexpected turn for the worse when an evil and spiritual presence lurking in the establishment drives Jack to insanity and eventually violence, while Danny becomes increasingly bothered by horrific forebodings of the future and scarring recollections of what may have happened in the Overlook Hotel.
The Babadook took a shot at being a more sophisticated type of horror than the typical found-footage, shaky-cam offerings that have made up the genre in recent years. Director Jennifer Kent's first feature-length film certainly has shades of Stephen King's short story The Bogeyman (dark closets and black overcoats galore) and it's creepy in all the right ways.
The film focuses on single mother Amelia, who is struggling to care for her troubled son Sam after the violent death of her husband. Sam starts obsessing over a shadowy monster that appears to be plaguing him. As her son's behaviour spins further out of control, Amelia is gradually forced to accept the eponymous apparition may not be a figment of his imagination.
Worth watching even just to catch a glimpse at a baby-faced Johnny Depp, A Nightmare On Elm Street, directed by the late great Wes Craven, tells the story of several friends who find themselves hunted by a disfigured serial killer who kills his victims in their sleep. Forcing themselves to stay awake, the gang must discover the reason this villain is after them before it's too late.
Insidious (and Insidious: Chapter 2) (2010/2013)
Ignoring the found-footage trend, Insidious went back to horror basics, implementing spooky techniques seen in films more like The Sixth Sense rather than Saw or Hostel. The movie follows the Lambert family, who find themselves seeking the help of paranormal experts after their son, Dalton, fell into a coma after a mysterious incident in the attic. Slowly, and terrifyingly, they discover that there is much more to this endless sleep than meets the eye and are led to they explore the paranormal, and rediscover the past; the key to getting their son back once and for all.
Unusual for scary movie sequels too, the follow-up entitled Insidious: Chapter 2 was just as good and more than worth checking out if you enjoyed the first. Rounding up all of the questions that were presented in the first one, the movie starts exactly where the initial instalment left off and picks up momentum quickly from start to finish.
Nicole Kidman stars as a woman who has recently retired to a mansion in the middle of nowhere, as she waits for her husband to return from serving in the Second World War. Her children cause her much worry as they are deathly intolerant to sunlight and cannot be subjected to it without feeling intense pain. Because of this, the whole family lives a very lonely and oppressive life, in a house where all the windows are covered and all of the doors are securely locked, in fear that light could pass through.
In need of help, she hires a mysterious group of servants to maintain the house but their arrival sparks some spooky goings-on that lead her to frantically investigate just what they are doing there.
Spanish language film The Orphanage could be considered more of a supernatural thriller compared to what is out there in the horror genre at the moment. However, its intelligent and heartbreaking plot combined with its creepy visuals can't help but make it a great film to watch when you want to be a little spooked.
It follows former orphan Laura, who is raising her son with her husband Carlos, in the former orphanage where she too was brought up. While at the orphanage, the young boy tells his mother that he has five invisible friends, which she initially believes are a product of his active imagination but soon discovers that there might be more to his visions than she first thought.
In the very capable hands of experienced horror director James Wan (Saw, Dead Silence, Insidious), The Conjuring was one of the most well-loved scary movies of the past 10 years, impressing both horror movie junkies and critics.
Based upon the story of the real-life paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren (played here by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga), who were the first people to investigate the Amityville haunting, the film concentrates on one of their earlier cases as they go to help a family who are convinced they are being threatened by powerful entity.
Based upon the Japanese original Ringu, The Ring sees Naomi Watts play journalist Rachel Keller who begins investigating a mysterious VHS tape that might have played a part in killing four teenagers, including her niece.
She soon discovers that there is an urban legend surrounding the tape: whoever watches it only has seven days to pass on the curse or else they die; a legend she realises may well be true after she and her young son accidentally watch it and start being plagued by ghostly visions and gruesome accidents. Thank goodness we all watch DVDs nowadays as this one would be enough to put you off tuning into a videotape for life!
The ultimate film to watch actually on Halloween has to be the appropriately named Halloween directed by John Carpenter. Starring original scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis when she was just 20 years old, Halloween sees her play high-school student Laurie Strode who becomes an object of fascination for escaped (and creepily masked) serial killer Michael Myers, who murdered his sister on Halloween night 15 years earlier.
With a more than eerie soundtrack and exploring more intelligent scares and shots than those that are seen in gore-filled movies these days, Halloween demonstrates that it knows exactly what "scary" means and can leave the hairs on your arms standing up on end without you even seeing a drop of blood. (Fear not though horror junkies, you will see a tiny amount).