It’s spooky season, which can mean only one thing: it’s time for the scariest celluloid creatures, gruesome ghouls and merciless monsters to come out to play. Here at The Handbook, we’ve handpicked our favourite spine-tingling horror films to feast on this Halloween.

From the Saw franchise to cult favourites like Scream and The Shining, here are the best 10 horror films to binge this weekend (if you dare)… 🎈

Midsommar

Arguably the prettiest horror film we’ve ever had the pleasure (or, rather, displeasure) of watching, Ari Aster’s Midsommar is littered with stunning, romanticised imagery of what is a rather gruelling tale. 

Starring Florence Pugh, Will Poulter and Jack Reynor, the film follows a couple who set out on a  pilgrimage to Sweden, but end up on a commune during a midsummer festival. Expect unusual pagan rituals to come into play in this traumatising folk horror. 

Saw

There are certain horror symbols that can keep you up at night, and for us, the Jigsaw Killer is one that immediately flashes to mind. The killer has become one of the most recognisable horror villains around – namely because there are too many prequels, sequels and everything in between – thanks to his fiery red eyes, spiralled cheeks and stone cold puppet facade. 

This Halloween, binge the nine films in the Saw franchise and uncover the Jigsaw Killer’s key traits. For those who haven’t managed to witness one of the films before, ultimately the Saw series sees the killer torment, terrorise and torture his victims while they are chained to pipes across a filthy bathroom. 

The latest in the franchise, Spiral, was released earlier this year and sees a Jigsaw copycat killer on the loose. Zeke Banks (Chris Rock) is assigned the case to investigate who is behind the murder of his fellow police officer. 

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

Expect your skin to crawl when you devour Tobe Hooper’s 1974 classic, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre’. As haunting as it sounds, it’s loosely based on true events, taking inspiration from the murderous crimes of Ed Gein. 

The film itself is terribly disturbing. When Sally hears that her beloved grandfather’s grave has been vandalised, she sets out with her paraplegic brother and friends to investigate. After a slight detour, they discover a group of murderous outcasts are living next door to their family’s farmhouse. The group try everything in their power to survive but end up being attacked one by one by the chainsaw-wielding Leatherface.

Us

For those hunting for a more modern day approach to horror, look to Jordan Peele’s 2019 spine-chilling film, Us. 

From the brains behind the 2017 Get Out starring Daniel Kaluuya, Peele brings our worst nightmares to life in Us in the form of evil doppelgangers. The narrative follows a young family of four as they come under attack at their vacation home. It’s only on closer inspection that the family in fact realises the attackers look incredibly similar to them…

Scream

Wes Craven’s 1996 slasher, Scream, has become a cult favourite starring Neve Campbell and Courtney Cox. The narrative follows Sidney Prescott, following the death of her mother, and her friends as they start receiving mysterious withheld phone calls that later turn out to be coming from a known serial killer who’s on the hunt. 

How scary the killer’s mask is debatable but it’s a great film to stick on if you’re having friends round for a spooky film night. 

This year it’s celebrating 25 years since its release with special cinema screenings. Find your nearest Picturehouse screening here. Plus, the 2022 remake’s trailer has just been released, catch it here to see what we can expect next year…

Purchase on YouTube or Apple TV 

It

Whether you are still haunted by memories of watching the original series back in the 1990s or you’re scarred by Stephen King’s novel, Pennywise is a horror villain we would never want to cross paths with. 

Relive the taunting pictures of King’s famed character, from his razor sharp teeth to his clown cladded red hair, in the 2017 adaptation, It. Once you’ve seen the Loser Club ‘defeat’ Pennywise, see their worst nightmares come back to haunt them in 2019 IT Chapter Two, which sees the clown return to terrorise the town of Derry 27 years later.

Purchase It on YouTube or Google Play / Stream It Chapter Two on Amazon 

The Shining

Needing little introduction, Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 The Shining is a film that defined the psychological horror genre and has since gone on to inspire many Hollywood movies. It’s also a movie that’s gone on to produce tonnes of cultural memes that millennials have grown to love too. 

After moving to a rural hotel in Colorado hoping to reignite his passion for writing, Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) uncovers the hotel’s darkest secrets and turns into a homicidal maniac who begins terrorising his poor family.

Carrie

Another story from the king of the horror genre, Stephen King, that’s been adapted is Carrie. Bypass the 2013 remake this Halloween and tune into the 1974 original, starring Sissy Spacek as Carrie White. 

Carrie follows a young teen who’s bullied at school by day and abused by her mother at night. When she develops supernatural powers things get a little complicated. When she’s asked to prom by a boy and begins letting down her guard, things take a dramatic turn for the worst. 

Stream on Amazon 

A Quiet Place

Shh, you don’t want them to hear you… Although not defined as a horror, John Kransinski’s A Quiet Place is well worth revisiting this Halloween for a suspenseful watch. The film, starring husband and wife duo, Kransinski and Emily Blunt, follows a family in a rather apocalyptic world as they must live their life in silence to avoid terrorising creatures hunting them down. Even the faintest of sounds will be heard by the death angels. 

Once you’ve finished the first, devour A Quiet Place II that was released earlier this year.

A Nightmare on Elm Street

Wes Craven is back at it again this time with an American slasher film, and let’s just say, you don’t want to get on the wrong side of Freddy Krueger. His terrorising presence will linger in your dreams and taunt you through the night – or if you’re not lucky enough to escape, these dreams will kill you in reality. Will Nancy and her boyfriend Glen (Johnny Depp in his younger days) solve the puzzle before it’s too late?


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