Freakiest films to watch this Halloween

Maya Winger

For avid horror movie fans, it is easy to learn the signs of a good horror movie: creaking floorboards, flickering lights, ominous echoes. All of these elements make up classic horror movies and as Halloween approaches, it is the perfect time to start watching films that will keep you up all night. The following three movies are considered to be some of the scariest movies of all time, according to Rotten Tomatoes, but they have been re-ranked here in order of least to most terrifying, as the original list seemed outdated and inaccurate.


#3: The Exorcist

Following its release, the 1977 thriller “The Exorcist,” was banned in some regions due to its graphic content. (Photo courtesy of IMDb)

This nearly 50-year-old thriller is still a classic to this day. The story follows a young girl, Regan, who becomes possessed by a demon. While this movie was not particularly terrifying, there were some graphic scenes and language and, when it was released in 1973, there were reports of audience members fainting from fear. However, due to how old it is and how much technology has changed since its release, some of the effects seemed very over-the-top and unrealistic. Despite this, there were still some scary parts that were graphic enough to be slightly disturbing to the audience. While the plot and characters are well-developed and interesting, it simply was not as scary as the number one ranking that Rotten Tomatoes gave it, which is why I ranked it third.


Released in 1980, “The Shining” is based on Stephen King’s novel. (Photo courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes)

#2: The Shining

This iconic movie from 1980 has classic scenes that many people may recognize, such as the blood-filled hallway, creepy twins and chopped-down door, but overall it was not as scary as one might expect. There were a few jumpscares and some nail-biting moments, but these only occupied around 30 minutes of the movie in total, making the other two hours of the film seem inconsequential in comparison. The ending was satisfying to watch due to the relieving conclusion to the plot, and the music added a level of eeriness that “The Exorcist” lacked, but it was not truly frightening and as a viewer I was bored well before the credits rolled. This movie did not deserve its title as one of the scariest movies of all time, but it was still scarier than “The Exorcist,” therefore I ranked it second on this list.



Having won two awards in various film festivals, the 2018 movie “Hereditary” stars Toni Collette, Alex Wolff and Milly Shapiro. (Photo courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes)


#1: Hereditary

Compared to the other two films, this relatively new movie had me on the edge of my seat. The film started off much more frightening than the others, and the dim lighting and sinister sound effects sent chills down my spine. The graphic scenes of decapitation and cult activity occasionally made me peel my eyes off the screen in horror, and the movie stayed consistently scary throughout its entirety. The plot was somewhat convoluted and complex, but it makes up for it with hair-raising visuals that will make it nearly impossible to fall asleep. While Rotten Tomatoes ranked this movie second, I believe that it is the scariest movie on this list.


Overall, some of these movies were not as scary as the rankings given to them by Rotten Tomatoes, but they are all good movies, respectively. Though one may rather watch a more typical, exaggerated or stomach-churning movie with endless gore and violence, these three movies are still a great way to get in the spooky Halloween spirit.