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15 Essential Movies for a Halloween Marathon

We asked, you delivered—here are the frightening flicks The Lineup audience can't resist on the spookiest night of the year.

essential movies for halloween
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  • Photo Credit: De Laurentiis Entertainment Group

Though we may be horror fans 365 days out of the year, nothing compares to the spooky rush of catching a horror flick on Halloween. But with so many great films out there, how do you even begi.n to pick which ones to binge throughout October? Do you stick to horror movies that take place on Halloween? Do you gather up the classics? Do you cater to the whole family?

Related: 13 Creepy Halloween Horror Movies You Need to See

We put the responsibility on your shoulders this year and polled The Lineup readers on what movies they have to watch every October 31st. We sifted through all of your great responses and pulled the best of the best. Here are 15 essential horror movies to marathon on Halloween.

The Shining

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  • Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

The epitome of a classic, how could anyone resist a film that brings together two great minds—director Stanley Kubrick and author Stephen King. Based off King's book of the same name, the film follows the Torrance family as they head to an isolated hotel to look after it for the winter. But while the father, Jack (Jack Nicholson) slowly descends into violent madness, mother Wendy (Shelley Duvall) is left to fight for the lives of her and her psychic son, Danny (Danny Lloyd).

Related: 20 Horrifying Books Like The Shining

The Evil Dead

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  • Photo Credit: Renaissance Pictures

This 1981 cult classic is as ridiculous as it is unsettling—and irresistible to boot. Five college students head out to an isolated cabin in the woods for a nice vacation, but an evil is awakened with incantations from a mysterious old book are read aloud. One by one the students are overcome by the evil force, leaving Ash (Bruce Campbell) behind to fight for his life.


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  • Photo Credit: Compass International Pictures

How can you have a Halloween movie marathon without the film that was named after the holiday? You can't! This seminal slasher from 1978 follows teenager Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) as she fights to survive the night a crazed killer returns to town. Michael Meyers (Tony Moran) murdered his own sister 15 years ago, and he's escaped his mental hospital to bring death to Haddonfield again.


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  • Photo Credit: Dimension Films

Whereas Halloween helped to establish slasher rules, Scream came along in 1996 to poke fun at them and toy with expectation. Still grieving the murder of her mother a year ago, teenage Sidney Prescott is at the center of brutal slayings committed by a masked killer. It's a great year to throw this film on for Halloween, since the newest installment in the franchise comes out in January!

Related: Exploring Masculinity in Horror Movies

Trick 'r Treat

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  • Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

If short, spooky, and thematically relevant tales are your Halloween vibe, then this anthology film is a must-watch. On Halloween, a disturbed principal, an inexperienced college girl, a group of trickster teenagers, a bitter old man, and a resentful young wife live out a gruesome and deadly night. And their lives—and deaths—are more connected than they seem.

Friday the 13th

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  • Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

While the movie is all about those spooky summer vibes, how can you celebrate the height of fall without the movie that laid the groundwork for one of the most iconic villains of horror, Jason Voorhees? In 1957, a young boy drowned at Camp Crystal Lake. A year after that, two counselors were brutally murdered. in 1980, the summer camp is reopened despite its dark history—but a mysterious killer descends upon the counselors staying there.

The Exorcist

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  • Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

Another film based on a book, this possession classic will make your head spin. 12-year-old Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair) has undergone some strange and dangerous behavioral changes. As things escalate, two priests are brought in to contend with the evil entity living inside of her.

Related: From The Exorcist to Incarnate: 6 Creepy Examples of Demonic Possession in Horror


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  • Photo Credit: De Laurentiis Entertainment Group

You can't have Halloween without pumpkins—though some are more nefarious than others... After the death of his young son, a father turns to an evil witch to help him get revenge on the group of teens responsible. The witch summons the demonic presence called Pumpkinhead, who unleashes hell upon the guilty teens.

Hocus Pocus

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  • Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

While a children's film, you can't deny this beloved film adheres to horror conventions. And if you say Billy Butcherson didn't terrify you as a kid, then you're lying. When Max (Omri Katz) and his little sister Dani (Thora Birch) move to Salem, they accidentally take part in awakening a trio of evil witches (Bette Middler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy). To keep themselves alive past the end of the night, the witches must steal the souls of the local children. But Max, Dani, their friend Allison (Vinessa Shaw), and a talking cat named Binx (Jason Marsden) are determined to stop them.

The Conjuring

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  • Photo Credit: New Line Cinema

Ed and Lorraine Warren are infamous real-life figures known for their investigations into the paranormal. While many consider them to have been scam artists, treating their story as fact makes for a terrifying horror film. This movie takes place in 1971, and Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) are called to Rhode Island to assist the Perron family. The Perrons have been tormented by an evil spirit in their house, and the children are in grave danger.

Related: 23 Terrifying Books for Fans of The Conjuring

Get Out

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  • Photo Credit: Universal Pictures

One of the best modern horror flicks to date, Get Out winds audiences up with a slow-building anxiety centered on deep-rooted racial issues. When Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya), a Black man, goes with his white girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams), to visit her parents for the weekend, the tension simmering just beneath the surface proves to have a sinister and pervasive source.

Related: 13 Essential Black Horror Movies


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  • Photo Credit: The Geffen Company

While still dark and creepy, this is another film that's great for family viewing—or just for those friends that can't stomach the gore and terrors of harder horror fare. After Adam (Alec Baldwin) and Barbara Maitland (Geena Davis) die unexpectedly, they are trapped as ghosts in their home. But when the Deetz family moves in with their peculiar and macabre daughter Lydia (Winona Ryder), the young girl is actually capable of seeing them. To scare the Deetz' away, the Maitlands enlist the help of the disgusting "bioexorcist" Betelgeuse (Michael Keaton), but quickly get more than they bargained for.


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The terrifying and sadistic murderer known as Art the Clown first gained popularity in the horror anthology film All Hallows Eve. But this creepy killer really shines in his feature-length standalone, Terrifier. On Halloween night, Art (David Howard Thornton) indulges in his sick obsession with heroine Tara Heyes (Jenna Kanell).

The Witch

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  • Photo Credit: Parts and Labor

This deeply atmospheric historical horror romp takes place in New England in the 1930s. Katherine (Kate Dickie), William (Ralph Ineson), and their five children are doing their best to lead a Christian life. But when their newborn baby vanishes, witchcraft, black magic, and possession begin to tear their family apart at the seams.

Related: 13 Horror Books About Witches That Will Cast a Spell on You

The Lost Boys

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  • Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

While this movie isn't as heavy on the horror as others on this list, it's one hell of a vibe. After moving to a small coastal town in California, brothers Michael (Jason Patric) and Sam (Corey Haim) find that their new home is overflowing with vampires. While Michael falls in with the deadly gang led by David (Kiefer Sutherland), Sam gets help from the peculiar Frog brothers (Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander).