21 Thrilling Movies for Halloween!

October arrived at midnight with a blanket of fog cloaking the twisted path. I awoke with a rekindled primal need deep down inside my core. I want to be transported. Flooded by memories and covered by goosebumps, I realized there was only one cure: Halloween movies!

Here are 21 of my favorite spine-tingling thrillers of all time.

For many years now as my favorite holiday approaches, I enjoy getting into the haunted spirit. In past years, I’ve watched scary movies as they counted down the days on TCM and AMC. I remember sewing many Halloween costumes while watching the old classics.

Alfred promoting “The Birds”

I LOVE psychological thrillers and grew up with Alfred Hitchcock films. When my children had sleepovers and would rent slasher movies, they would make ME want to scream. After all, most of those movies rely on the same tension buildup over and over with the inclusion of gore and special effects. Not only were most of them terrible films, but I had to deal with their nightmares during the following school week.

When a film compels the viewer to feel compassion for the character as they become more and more vulnerable to what….evil….lurks….behind…. that…..door… NO! DON’T OPEN THE DOOR! …too late – then it’s a really great film.

This is my list of all-time favorites!

X = 1 night’s sleep lost.

Click on the title to watch the YouTube movie trailer

Vertigo  – 1958 X

Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

A mysterious woman leaves a man spellbound as he struggles with the fear of heights.


The House of Usher – 1960 X

Vincent Price

Written by Edgar Allen Poe

A brother and sister are under a house’s curse. Will Madeline live to tell the tale?


Psycho – 1960 XXX

Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

The film was played at my high school and one of the parents raised the dead after seeing the shower scene!


Whatever Happened to Baby Jane – 1962 XXXX

Joan Crawford and Bette Davis

Directed by Robert Aldrich

Jealousy, guilt, and power take these sisters on a ride of filled with horror.


The Birds – 1963 XXXXX

Rod Taylor, Tippy Hedren and Suzanne Pleshette

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

The television networks used to play this film once a year on Sunday nights, so I didn’t sleep a wink until the next weekend!

I never looked at a huge flock of birds the same way again.


Wait Until Dark – 1967 XX

Audrey Hepburn

Directed by Terence Young

Anyone can get creeped out when they live alone, but when you are blind, it adds another dimension to creepy!


Rosemary’s Baby – 1968 XXX

Mia Farrow

Directed by Roman Polanski

Most pregnancies have their ups and downs, but Rosemary is carrying the devil’s child so all Hell breaks loose!

The Omen – 1976 XXXX

Gregory Peck, Lee Remick

Directed Richard Donner

After seeing this film, I walked around with the numbers 666 in magic marker on my ankle courtesy of a boyfriend “tattoo artist.” The numbers reminded me of several subsequent night terrors knowing Damian lived!


Halloween – 1978 XXXXXXx (I finally fell asleep at 3:00 AM on the 7th night)

Jamie Lee Curtis

Directed by John Carpenter

After watching Halloween on the UW campus, my boyfriend went to the kitchen. I turned around and he wielded a huge carving knife. I screamed and he went home soon afterward.


Amityville Horror – 1979 XX

James Brolin, Margot Kidder

Directed by Stuart Rosenberg

This haunting is based on a true story. How scary is that?


The Shining – 1980 XXXX

Jack Nicholson, Shelly Duvall

Written by Stephen King

“Here’s Johnny!”

One of my favorites! I have my own story about the Stanley Hotel. I believe that Stephen King had very similar experiences while staying there!


Fatal Attraction 1987 – XXX

Michael Douglas, Glen Close

Directed by Adrian Lyne

An affair leads to a stalking to remember never to have an affair.


Pacific Heights 1990 – XX

Michael Keaton, Matthew Modine, Melanie Griffith

Directed by John Schlesinger

An unsuspecting tenant attempts to ruin the lives of a young married couple.


Misery 1990 – XX

James Caan and Kathy Bates who won an Oscar for her performance!

Written by Stephen King

Watch out for super-stalker Annie Wilkes when it’s hammer time.


Silence of the Lambs 1991 – XXXXXXXXXX!  

Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins – This film swept the Oscars!

Directed by Johnathan Demme

It took me years to get a few of those scenes out of my head. This is the only somewhat slasher-esque movie on the list.


Sleeping with the Enemy – 1991 XX

Julia Roberts, Patrick Bergin

Directed by Joseph Ruben

Laura fakes her death to escape her maniacal husband, but doesn’t elude him for long.


The Hand that Rocks the Cradle – 1992 XX

Rebecca De Mornay

Directed by Curtis Hanson

Lust and longing could take a fatal turn…be careful who you trust with your babies.


The Ninth Gate – 1999 XX

Johnny Depp

Directed by Roman Polanski.

He is seduced by the ultimate power of the devil himself.


The Sixth Sense – 1999 XXXX

Bruce Willis 

Directed by M. Night Shyamalan

“I see dead people……” A fantastic film on so many levels.


What Lies Beneath – 2000 XX

Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer

Directed by Robert Zemeckis

This haunting will leave you gasping for air.


Secret Window – 2004 XXX

Johnny Depp

Directed by David Koepp

A stranger comes to the door accusing Mort of plagiarizing his latest novel. This twisted tale will keep you guessing until the end.


Feel free to print up the list and don’t forget to pop some corn!

What’s your favorite thriller? Do you like a good adrenaline rush?

21 Thrilling Movies for Halloween. Click for ideas! Halloween movies, Creepy psychological thrillers, Halloween ideas, spooky stories, #Halloween #Halloweenideas #paranormal #movies #films


All movie poster photos are thumbnail size in compliance with copyright guidelines. Other photos are copyright-free. Top and bottom photo copyright protected by Susie Lindau

Click for more wild adventures!

Related posts:

Time for Sweaters, Shivers, and All Things Ghoulish

Haunted Ghost Tours – Why You Should Go!

Haunted at the Stanley Hotel

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