While the best Halloween movies of all time are horror flicks, there are also many family friendly and even kid movies that still hold up well as a Halloween treat.
Many of these listed are quite scary, or even horrific. But it’s all about the fun and spirit they bring to the holiday. To make this list more digestible, I broke it down into categories. If you’re a little squeamish, or need something to watch with sensitive family members, there’s even a section for you.
Have a Halloween Marathon with These Classic Series
Many long running series lend themselves well to a Halloween binge-watching marathon. These tend to be more on the gory part of the horror spectrum, but many of them are instantly recognizable classics. Also, I noticed that so many of my favorites were a part of a series, so I just grouped my favorite movies from my favorite series together here.
Living Dead Series
1. Night of the Living Dead
2. Dawn of the Dead
3. Day of the Dead
4. Night of the Living Dead Remake
5. Dawn of the Dead Remake
While the original still makes for an exciting Halloween movie, all of its sequels are fair game as well. These were Romero’s first, and some feel, his best works. I like the classics. Each one has a more modern remake and those are good as well, so they deserve a place here.
Evil Dead Series
6. The Evil Dead
7. Evil Dead II
8. Army of Darkness
9. The Evil Dead Remake
Yes, each one of these movies is worth a watch on Halloween. To this day, there’s nothing quite like them. Friends in a haunted cabin full of demons. You get chills, thrills, horror, and laughs in equal parts from all of them. Perfect for a Halloween marathon.
11. Halloween 2
12. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers
13. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers
14. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers
15. Halloween H20: 20 Years Later
16. Halloween Remake
17. Halloween Remake 2
It’s kind of hard to mention Halloween…without mentioning Halloween. This tale of the psychotic Michael Myers probably still haunts anybody that was around to see it first in the late 70s. Over the years, there’s been quite a few of them. I enjoy a marathon of my favorite ones, but for lengths sake, you can add some of the others not mentioned here.
Friday the 13th Series
18. Friday the 13th
19. Friday the 13th Part 2
20. Friday the 13th Part III
21. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
22. Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives
23. Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood
24. Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday
25. Freddy vs. Jason
26. Friday the 13th Remake
This is a long running series, even though I skipped my least favorite entries, there’s still a whole lot here. Jason and his hockey mask are iconic, and you can’t go wrong with the sheer over the top mayhem that he likes to inflict on horny teenagers.
A Nightmare on Elm Street Series
27. A Nightmare on Elm Street
28. A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge
29. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
30. A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master
31. A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child
32. Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare
33. Wes Craven’s New Nightmare
A Nightmare on Elm Street gives us Freddy Krueger. While a few of the films are hit-and-miss, they’re all deserving of a watch. This is dark horror and Freddy is a sadistic, foul-mouthed, supernatural delight that can murder you in your dreams…have fun. Avoid the remake.
35. Bride of Re-Animator
36. Beyond Re-Animator
If you want your horror to come with equal parts comedy, then I would suggest this series. It’s based on an H. P. Lovecraft story and is full of grotesquerie…and dry humor. I like the first one best, but for marathon Halloween session, three flicks isn’t a bad way to do it.
38. Hellbound: Hellraiser II
39. Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth
40. Hellraiser: Bloodline
I’ve always enjoyed Hellraiser because it’s unique compared to many of the other horror series. They make for good Halloween marathon viewing fodder. I mean, Pinhead, and a puzzle box that opens the gates to Hell? There’s a lot of fun to be had there. I’d avoid everything after Bloodline though, unless you just want to fill in your marathon.
The Saw Series
42. Saw II
43. Saw III
The Saw films are just what the doctor ordered for a Halloween marathon. The first one changed how people approached horror movies. Come for the plot and atmosphere of the first one. Stay for the unique torture devices and scenarios for the next two. I would suggest the first three of the seven movie series. You may want to continue beyond that, but that’s up to you.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre Series
44. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
45. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2
46. Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre freaked out a whole generation of people. Watching the first one is intense. Leatherface and his “family” do things in these films that the squeamish should stay away from. I would suggest the first three for your Halloween horrorfest. If you must see more, I would suggest skipping the fourth film and going straight to the reboot from 2003.
48. Psycho II
49. Psycho III
The Psycho series is iconic. There’s no reason why it shouldn’t exist during your Halloween movie binge. And make sure that you start with the original, not remake. The 1960 original will play very well with your horror-driven Halloween spirit. I will also make special mention of Psycho IV, which was made for TV, but wasn’t bad at all. You may want to add that to your Psycho list as well.
The Scream Series
51. Scream 2
52. Scream 3
53. Scream 4
Created as a commentary on what slasher films became, it ended up being a classic in its own right. It’s a fresh look at the genre. I hesitate to add the 3rd film to this list as it’s the weakest, but these movies do follow an order, so you should include it for completeness sake.
Family and Kid Friendly Halloween Movies
I know the marathon list was chock full of the kind of stuff you can’t watch with children, or people sensitive to some of the more…vulgar tropes associated with horror films. So here’s all of the best kid and family friendly movies for Halloween. There are many classics.
54. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
It’s the Peanuts gang and a Halloween story; you can’t really go wrong with that.
This movie is more fun than it is terrifying. Beetlejuice is a classic that fits the Halloween spirit perfectly.
56. Hocus Pocus
Some young teens versus some fish-out-of-water witches. It’s a Halloween classic that gets a lot of airtime around the holiday.
He’s a friendly ghost! This modern day movie of the classic cartoon still holds up well as a family friendly tale.
58. The Witches
Based on the Roald Dahl story, this movie is nothing but fun. It’s about a witch plotting on getting rid of all the children in the world. Of course, a kid comes along to stick a monkey wrench in her plans. Or maybe a rodent’s paw.
59. The Nightmare Before Christmas
Despite having “Christmas” in the title, this movie is about as Halloween you can get. It stars a skeleton named Jack Skellington living in Halloweentown. It’s become a classic and a favorite of many.
60. Corpse Bride
Another favorite, especially for those that enjoyed a Nightmare Before Christmas. I liked seeing more of Tim Burton’s stylistic approach applied to animation.
61. The Haunted Mansion
Eddie Murphy trapped in a Haunted House with his family. Don’t be alarmed, this is the family friendly Eddie. And this movie is a joy. There’s also a nice lesson about family buried in the fun.
62. Monsters, Inc.
This movie lends itself quite well to Halloween viewing. Children and adults love it, and sometimes even for the same reasons. I’m a fan myself, and would recommend this to anyone looking for a Halloween movie to share with a youngster. The sequel was pretty good as well.
63. Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Another great Wallace and Gromit adventure. The tale is lighthearted and fun. As usual with these two characters, there’s a lot of wit and love to go around. You also get to learn what a were-rabbit is.
I loved this movie, and so did everybody else apparently. It’s a sublime blend of animated horror and comedy for kids. Watch young Norman go on a supernatural adventure, it’s worth it.
The name says it all. This classic film and its sequels are still fun as Halloween movies. I’d suggest the first one, but you can watch the sequels as well if you just can’t get enough of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Rick Moranis.
Coraline somehow finds another world that’s almost exactly like hers…but better. But there’s also a dark secret as well. This fantastical tale takes a turn for the dark, and I sincerely love it.
67. Monster House
A twist on the haunted house thing. In this animated film, the house literally is the monster…and it eats people.
68. Hotel Transylvania
Where do all the monsters go when they want to get away from it all? To the Dracula ran Hotel Transylvania of course. What they don’t want there are little human boys coming in and falling in love with Dracula’s daughter. Which is just what happens.
Don’t feed them after dark! This movie manages a good balance of dark, comedy and thrills. It’s a classic that stands the test of time. Everybody loves the cute little gremlins…until they transform. Although it’s not on this list, you should see the sequel as well if you enjoyed this one.
70. The Addams Family
“They’re creepy and they’re kooky, Mysterious and spooky”…or maybe they’re just eccentric. Either way the Addams Family movie is definitely entertaining. The sequel is okay as well if you want more of the family’s adventures.
71. Little Shop of Horrors
This musical film is fun for everybody. A nerdy florist finds a unique plant. Unfortunately, that plant requires human blood to grow. The music is awesome and I often sing along. It’s catchy stuff. And why not? The music is from the same duo that gave us the music for Disney’s the Little Mermaid, and Beauty and the Beast.
72. The Monster Squad
Dracula is trying to take over the world, and a group of kids are going to stop him. This movie is a classic and holds a high place in the minds of people that saw it back in the day. However, I have to point out that this one is rated PG-13. That’s a hard PG-13. The 80s were…a different era.
Stephen King Stuff for Halloween Movie Watching
I make special mention of things adapted from or inspired by Stephen King’s stories. Much like the series, I found a lot of Stephen King stuff creeping into my list. So I figured I would group them all together here for you. The man isn’t called the Master of Horror for nothing. A majority of his movies go with Halloween as if they’re the best of friends.
A bullied teenage girl finds out she has telekinesis. Horror ensues. Check the original or the remake. Avoid the sequels.
74. The Shining
All work and no play slowly turns Jack into a possessed killer after his family. It happens in an isolated hotel in the middle of nowhere. It’s a truly moving movie. You’ve probably seen it a thousand times. Watch it again this Halloween.
A group of kids do battle against a demonic clown. They must get back together and do it again as adults.
A little dark comedy with your horror. A deranged Kathy Bates does…things to her favorite author.
77. The Mist
People trapped in a grocery store must contend with a supernatural mist that has horrific creatures hiding in it.
78. Children of the Corn
A religious cult that consists of kids terrorizes a couple that end up stuck in their town. This movie started an entire franchise, but I would suggest starting with the first one.
79. Pet Semetary
When a child dies, a distraught father attempts to resurrect him at an ancient burial ground. What comes back is a parent’s worst nightmare. A possessed kid with murder on his mind.
80. Salem’s Lot
Vampire’s move in and start converting the populace.
81. Needful Things
A shop opens up that can sell you whatever you need. Of course, that always comes with a price.
Forget a haunted house, this story is about a haunted hotel room, and apparently that makes a far better story than you would expect.
This movie is actually five different tales in one. Many people remember it for scaring them back in the day, and it still holds up. It’s directed by the man himself, George Romero with a screenplay by King. This one is hit-or-miss, but many people have their favorite segments that they always remember. It’s a fun movie for a Halloween gathering. It also spawned two sequels if you should want to make a Creepshow marathon.
Standalone Movies for Your Halloween Pleasure
There are still tons of movies out there that aren’t a part of series or theme. And when I say tons, I mean it. Since this is a list of 100, I couldn’t possibly list everything, but here are even more movies you can watch around Halloween to get you in the mood.
This cult classic and of all the movies, possibly the most suited for Halloween watching. It’s an odd movie that garnered a lot of controversy in its day. It takes a look at a group of freakish sideshow folk but shows that real freaks aren’t who you think they are. Give it a try; it’s only about an hour long.
85. Trick ‘r Treat
Another compilation of stories. While it’s still too fresh to consider it a classic, it’s still a great movie to watch with friends for Halloween.
86. House on Haunted Hill
Everybody heard this one before: “Would you spend the night in a haunted house for $10,000?” Well that’s precisely what this movie is about.
87. Jeepers Creepers
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. And this is a twofer, because the sequel is just as good. Watch a brother and sister get harassed on the road and think that’s all there is to it. Watch as that road encounter turns into a truly horrific experience when they learn that they just encountered the Creeper.
88. Black Christmas
This movie and its later remake are perfect for Halloween despite their Christmas time frames. A sorority house and a killer, it doesn’t get much better than that.
89. Cabin Fever
It’s not a slasher, it’s not a monster; it’s a flesh-eating virus. But don’t let that throw you off, this is a suspenseful horror movie that will cause you blanch a time or two.
90. Child’s Play
Chucky was something that nobody was expecting. A murderous doll that only wanted to play. It launched a plethora of sequels, which you may find yourself interested in after watching the first one. It’s another series you can turn into a marathon.
This movie is creepy as all get out. It deals with the haunting of a home, the taking of a child, and a desperate struggle to get that child back from the spirit world. If that kind of thing thrills you, you should also add Insidious and its sequel to your list.
92. The Haunting
Some people call it one of the most frightening films ever made. In this case, I’m talking about the original, not the 1999 remake. A paranormal researcher invites some women to a haunted mansion. Things start getting a little out of control.
93. Paranormal Activity
This movie is great. In fact, I’m including it here as a placeholder for all found-footage horror movies. That includes the ones that came before it. Its sequels are worth checking out as well.
94. Sleepy Hollow
Johnny Depp as Ichabod Crane. Tim Burton as director. The legend of the headless horseman. This movie was made for Halloween viewing.
95. The Silence of the Lambs
You already know about Hannibal Lecter. Feel free to invite him into your home this Halloween with this award-winning masterpiece. It’s great for the holiday, especially since it deals with things not being what they appear to be.
96. The Thing
A shape-shifting creature that looks just like your coworker or friend…is murdering people. That’s kind of what’s going on in this classic. The modern sequel is just as good.
97. The Amityville Horror
There have been many Amityville Horror movies over the years. For Halloween, I would suggest the original, and maybe the remake.
98. The Omen
Or, as I like to think of it, Adventures in Raising the Anti-Christ. This movie gave many parents the shivers.
If your one of those people like me, that constantly complain about the wussification of the modern day vampire, then John Carpenter has a tale for you. These guys are the real deal, and you get exactly what you would expect from Carpenter.
100. The Exorcist
No, I wasn’t going to forget the Exorcist. You know the plot. A young girl becomes possessed and two priests try to help. Sounds simple right? Well there’s a reason that this movie regularly takes top honors in lists of scary and horror movies.
This List is Not Exhaustive
I know for a fact that I’ve missed quite a few great Halloween movies. There are many of the older classics left out, as well as quite a few that came out in the last decade. The horror and Halloween landscape is rife with good fare for your eyes and senses to feast on this Halloween season.
Feel free to add your own to this list leave a comment below.
Halloween is a time for friends, family, and scaring the crap out of people for fun. These movies can facilitate each and every one of those things. Have fun with your viewings, marathons and movie-themed Halloween gatherings.