I will start off with this: I have not seen EVERY movie out there and not all of my selections may be winners, but they are some of my favorites and maybe they will become your favorites too. Let's begin with some familiar faces...
The "Friday the 13th" series is a fun one, thanks to that momma's boy Jason, but only just a handful are worth viewing. My fav of the bunch has to be Part 3, because after all, it's the one in 3D. Just the ways they take advantage of it is great, and even more comical if you're watching it in 2D. After this one, the series turns into more supernatural than slasher. AVOID "Jason Goes To Hell" like the plague. Barely any Jason in that one. And don't get me started on the remake.
The King of Nightmares, Freddy Krueger, also has his stinkers. But if you're going to watch any Nightmare on Elm Street, part 1 is a must, along with New Nightmare, 3, maaaybe 4 and 5.
Now, you can't do Halloween without "Halloween." I was not a fan AT ALL of the remake, the original however was perfect in my opinion. It's why we have the slasher genre. Dr. Loomis talked about Michael Myers as if he was the devil and pure evil and you feel it. He's just someone who went crazy one day. killed his sister, and that's that. No remorse, no feelings.
The first two films are the ones to see, the third, "Season of The Witch," is a departure from the Myers story as the series was meant to be an anthology of horror stories. No Myers here, though there is a reference. Movie is all about a corporation brainwashing kids with Halloween masks and at first, I LOATHED it. But once I learned the reason why there's no Myers, I enjoyed it in only the guiltiest pleasure ways. Not a must-see, but you can't help but enjoy this bit of cheese. Oh, and anything H20 and on, AVOID.
"Hellraiser" brought us my favorite of the horror monsters, Pinhead and his ever-faithful Cenobytes. The first is fantastic for its visuals and only really features Pinhead for just a couple of minutes, but the sequel really picks it up and goes nuts with it. Anything after, you don't really need to see. And anything without Doug Bradley, the actor behind the pins, AVOID that too.
Now, for the not-so familiars...
Since I started off with slashers, why not mention this little gem. "Behind The Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon" is a pseudo-documentary about a man who wants to be just like Jason and Freddy. You follow him as he does his thing and like "Scream," they poke some fun at the horror genre. There is even some cameos by big-time horror peeps, so keep an eye out for this bad boy!
"Trick R' Treat" almost didn't see the light of day and for people like me, it would be a damn shame. It's an anthology of different and intertwining Halloween tales, with little scarecrow boy Sam as the thread that binds it all together. It has received cult status and his fair share of haters, "Trick" is one of those movies you have to see and judge for yourself. And any scary movie that all about Halloween is a no-brainer for a list like this.
Oh, "Slither." Mad genius James Gunn brings us what is essentially a hybrid of "Night of the Living Dead" meets "Body Snatchers" meets "Ghostbusters." More of a horror comedy, it can get REAL dark in some parts and I'm not one to cringe easily.
It definitely can be shared with a triple bill alongside "Shaun of The Dead" and "Dead Alive". Plus, alot of practical effects just adds much more charm to this weird one.
If you love blood, then you'll love director Alexandre Aja. "High Tension" was my introduction to the French man and his appetite for the over-the-top and gritty. Two girls go on a trip for the weekend and find some trouble along the way. And that's all I will say. Aja also directed the remake of "The Hills Have Eyes," which is one of the few horror remakes I actually love. "Dawn of The Dead" and "The Crazies" are up there as well.
For more violent, tough girl leads, "The Descent" is a good one to pair with "High Tension." It's all about a group of cave-diving girls and their battles with the elements and whatever is hiding in the shadows. Oh, and apparently, there is a sequel to it as well. DON'T WATCH IT.
And here some of the classics...
Director Dario Argento's "Suspiria." Anything Argento really is Halloween appropriate viewing. I hear "Phenomena" is so good too. And with a soundtrack by the band Goblin, just places the right kind of loud, creepiness his movies are so well-known for.
"The Omen" is another great supernatural film, especially with its ending. Original, of course. "Poltergeist" is safe, family-friendly in a way, but still scary as hell. And yes, can't forget "Exorcist." I almost want to include "Repulsion" as Roman Polanski really put together a very creepy film about a young woman dealing with her sexuality.
The oldest of the bunch I truly enjoy have to be "Little Shop of Horrors" (not the 80s one but hey, that one's still good) and "House On Haunted Hill." Vincent Price does no wrong for me, with this and "Last Man On Earth." For most people, black and white is tough to get through, but trust me... these are much fun that it won't matter.
Alright, that should give you a gist of what I'm into and hope that helps you out with your spooky watch parties. I'll have even more right below this, so you'll have plenty to choose from. And if I missed your favorites, please don't hate me! Any suggestions too, you let me know! Have a happy Halloween, everyone!
More quick picks:
Re-Animator: Campy, silly, but great special effects.
The Fly (80s): Cronenberg, man. You want to be creeped out, you go with Cronenberg! And Jeff Goldblum is awesome as the fly-man.
Evil Dead series: Nothing beats the first movie and its bleak, serious tone. Part 2, so over-the-top and so much fun.
Cabin In The Woods: If you haven't seen this yet, DO IT. Everything you know and love about cliche horror, and has a good time with it. A MUST for horror fans.
Braindead/DeadAlive and Bad Taste: Peter Jackson's best films, not to mention goriest. Love the gore!
Just about anything Alejandro Jodorowsky and David Lynch: Yeah, these two are nutty directors. Though their films won't play as well in front of crowds. Too alienating.
Dead Silence: Very well-done, eerie puppets, and much fear.
Devil: People trapped in an elevator for 90 minutes, and yet it's entertaining and nerve-wracking! Probably the best thing that came out of M. Night, and yeah, I just said that.
Drag Me To Hell: Sam Raimi's return to horror. Not perfect, but alot of fun and great practical effects.
Anything Fulci: He did Zombi 2 and that has a zombie fighting a real shark. Yeah, you're interested.
Night of the Living Dead/ The Dead trilogy: The classic is a must if you've never seen it. Simple zombie flick that is basis of every one to come after. And they never even say "zombie" either.
The Mist: Walking Dead director Frank Darabont brought this one to the big screen with a hell of an ending that has received a lot of flack from critics and movie goers. The ending is what makes for the movie for me and why I recommend it.
The Thing (80s): Practical effects, no computers make this one an easy recommendation. Nothing beats the literally out-of-this-world creature effects and their transformations here. Oh, and Kurt Russell and Keith David, man!
Cannibal Holocaust: This one's definitely not for the PETA crowd. There is real death in this (not of the human kind though) and was basically the Blair Witch/ Paranormal Activity of its time. The people who made this movie even went to jail because audiences believed this! It's not that great, but it's fun to watch a crowd squirm to this!
The Shining: Almost forgot about this one. King, Kubrick and Nicholson make this one a classic and necessary Halloween viewing and really, it's pretty damn creepy. If you never saw the old lady or the pig mask, yeah, then go see it and have a nice day.
Stephen King films: Not all of them, but "The Mist" I mentioned is a story by King. "Pet Sematary" is one of my favorites growing up and still has those creeptastic moments you remember the first time you saw it. "IT" brought us Pennywise the Clown and for a TV movie, it's still freaks you out. "Christine" and "Cujo" I'd like to recommend since they have a charm to them, and can't forget "Carrie" either!
The Devil's Backbone: Pan's Labyrinth director Guillermo Del Toro's earlier films involving Civil War and a haunted orphanage. Even Del Toro says this was his favorite film to direct.
In The Mouth of Madness: John Carpenter's movies are on my list a bunch, and this is one that not many talk about. Sutter Cane's popular book series is driving everyone mad and Sam Neill is in the middle of it. This one is a hell of a trip! Also, see Sam in "Event Horizon," a claustrophobic space horror piece!
Alien: This is one of my favorite films of all time. Slow, really takes its time, you're going along for the ride as a stowaway makes this group of space explorers' life a living hell. Part 2 is great, but dunno if I consider that Halloween viewing. But sure, why not?
Let the Right One In: It inspired a US remake, but I feel as if this was the stronger of the two. A boy falls for a vampire and the events that come with it.
Bram Stoker's Dracula: The visuals, the music, and Coppola make this a very epic Dracula film. Plus, Gary Oldman as the Prince of Darkness!
More to come here in this section as the week goes on...