It’s no secret that I’m not the biggest fan of horror movies. Whether it’s ghosts and goblins, devils and demons, or slashers and…I don’t know, crashers?, the genre isn’t my jam. But it IS the jam of many a’Mad About Movies listener and since it’s October, and Happy Scare Time is upon us, I thought it prudent to lean into that Halloween feeling. Over the course of this month, we’ll be publishing several entries from both MAM hosts and MAM contributors discussing their personal five favorite horror movies. At the end of the month, we’ll also have a bonus episode available on our VIP feed talking to each blog contributor about a few of the films on their respective lists. Thanks for reading. -Brian
As someone who had night terrors as a kid, I’ve never been a big horror movie fan. It’s not a genre that I usually seek out, but I’ve been subjected to my fair share over the years whether it be at Halloween parties or the awkward movie theater date. When choosing my top five, I picked based on which films I would also consider good movies, not just scary.
The Ring (2002)
The first real horror movie I ever saw. I watched this at a sleepover, which I think is one of those formative movie experiences we all had at one point. It may have inspired many parodies, but I remember being a very scared tween wanting to go home after watching this. The Ring definitely earned its place in the zeitgeist.
The Exorcist (1973)
A true classic with some great behind the scenes spooky history. Shout out to the other Catholic kids out there that still have a healthy fear of demons.
I am a super Ethan Hawke fan and I honestly think this is one of his better performances. The mix of a super creepy fictional villain and the jarring super 8 footage makes this one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen.
Paranormal Activity (2007)
One of the few horror movies I’ve seen in theaters, this was such a unique movie at the time though it was immediately copied and over-referenced. The multiple sequels didn’t live up to it, but I still appreciate how simple and effective the original was. I’m always very pro-practical effects.
The Haunting of Hill House (2018)
I know it’s a mini-series, but Hill House deserves a place on this list. It may not be the scariest, but the overall story is pretty great for the genre. And I’ve gone back to watch a second time to try to see all the Easter eggs and hidden ghosts I missed the first time through. Episode six is almost one long tracking shot, which, when done right (as it is here), is something I love to see.